Campers share some of their best tips for environmentally friendly camping and RVing.
One of the best parts of camping is getting to enjoy fresh air and sunshine. That’s why a lot of KOA campgrounds—and KOA campers— have incorporated some green-friendly practices into their outdoor adventures.
Here are some tips for camping and RVing green from the experts – KOA campers!
- Solar Panels: To save energy, KOA camper Robert Carey decided to install a 52” x 26” solar panel on the roof of his RV. “I have two 12-volt batters that ‘save’ the energy for nighttime lights usage,” he says. Fellow RVer Ronald Payne agrees: “Our 125-watt solar panel puts out 40-55 [amps] daily,” he says. “Enough to run everything except the hair dryer, A/C and microwave.”
- Real Silverware/Dishes: Solar lighting, as well as hand-crank flashlights and lamps are also a part of Greg, Shannon and Lilly’s Johnson’s camping jaunts. But that’s just one part of this North Carolina family’s green efforts. “When we camp, we set up recycling bags or bins immediately and we recycle just as if we are at home,” Greg says. “We also use ‘real’ silverware and dishes and wash dishes once or (if we have to) twice per day.”
- Minimize Supplies: As tent campers, the Johnsons say that they must think forward, meaning that they take just enough supplies, not too much, due to space limitations. But traveling lighter can also mean saving resources—like fuel.
- Reusable Bins/Bags: Dr. Kelli Allred also pre-plans by using reusable plastic see-through bins and heavy-duty, reusable plastic bags. “We avoid using tin foil, plastic wrap or grocery bags,” she says. “We also pack our garbage out of the campgrounds so we can sort and recycle at home.”
Just like these campers know, there are great ways to be environmentally friendly when you’re on the road.
Here are other tips from the KOA Home Office for fellow campers to consider:
- Use a clothesline to dry your swimsuits, towels and other items that you feel you must wash—wind and sun energy are free.
- Skip the bottled water and bring water from home in recycled milk or juice jugs. Even better, freeze a few ¾-full jugs, use as ice in the cooler and then as drinking water after they thaw. Later refill the jugs from the local tap. If you have a discerning palette, bring along a filtering pitcher. Again, this saves time, money and resources.
- Use an all-in-one biodegradable soap for dishes, showering and laundering. Burt’s Bees and Campsuds are two of many companies that sell an all-in-one wash for dishes and bodies and made specifically for camping. Less to haul along and less to keep track of, too.
- Buy your produce from local farmers at your destination. It tastes better and you can consider it an outing in search of local flavor. Try localharvest.org, farmersmarket.com, or ask at the KOA front office for directions. A growing number of KOAs even have their own gardens from which campers are welcome to enjoy produce.
- To listen to a ball game try a wind-up or solar radio—how else will kids know about life before ipods? Try windupradio.com for options or go here for a how-to-use.
- Shower less often. Fewer showers mean less water use—and less energy needed to heat it.
- Start your campfire the old-fashioned way—without lighter fluid or gasoline. Try saving your dryer lint at home and stuffing it into used toilet paper rolls. Or, ask a Scout for help.
- Leave the extra electronic gadgets at home. Do you really need more than a mobile phone? Dock it while you camp and charge it when it’s almost dead instead of leaving it plugged in for the entire weekend.