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Leave the Back-country as Healthy as You Found It


In our most recent blog post, we talked about preparing to be sanitary in the back-country — in order to preserve your health. Today, we want to share a little about the “sanitation” of your campsite—in order to keep your environment healthy!

Below, we’ve listed a number of simple ways that you can show appreciation for the natural beauty you enjoy while camping. If you follow these guidelines and practice compassion in general, you’ll find that people for generations to come will have a better chance of enjoying the same wild beauty that we do today.

  • Never use soap directly in a water source, whether it’s a lake, stream or river.
  • Carry bathing water at least 200 feet from a water source.
  • If you’re using sanitary or disinfectant wipes, always pack them out of your campsite. They are full of chemicals that are not safe for wildlife to eat, and will not break down quickly.
  • If you are using soap, try to choose a biodegradable variety.
  • When you’re disposing of grey water, pour it on dirt as opposed to rocks. The soil’s microorganisms can effectively combat soap residue while lichen growth on rocks would be disturbed.
  • Wash before swimming, if possible. It’s particularly important to rinse off sunscreen, repellents or other chemicals that may be on your skin.
  • When disposing of human waste, ensure that you dig a hole and cover it up afterwards. In some locations, you may be required to pack out solid human waste so do your research! Our vast assortment of sanitation products includes equipment to make packing out as simple and clean a process as possible!
  • It may also be required that you pack out toilet paper, so check on the bylaws or else use a natural toilet paper substitute such as thimble-berry leaves or other leaves, sticks, grass or pine cones.
  • When urinating, aim for bare rock or soil and avoid vegetation.

For more, expert advice on keeping the back-country happy and healthy, visit Leave No Trace’s website. You may have to spend a little extra time cleaning up after yourself than if you didn’t care, but when you think big picture, it’s all worth it!

-Article contributed by Sophie Wooding – Avid gardener and cyclist in Victoria, BC and Content Writer for Frontier.io

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