Low Waste Camping with Kids

Baby standing in a campsite in front of a bell tent

Is it possible? Yes. It is completely Zero Waste? Not a lot is but we can try…

The number 1 thing on the list is to Be Prepared. Easier said than done I know and I certainly failed a few times on this trip. But the main learning curve with all of my holidays really is to write a list. I get a little better every time.

As a kid we used to go camping every year. My mum had stopped working at the time to look after us and did some childminding from home so camping was our big holiday in the summer and it was done of a budget, something I now see my Mum was very good at. And you know what? We loved it!! There are so many places we went that are now on my list to take the boys and Reeva.

One of the big things I remember from those camping trips though is the HUGE list my Mum would make and STICK to. She had to I guess, 3 kids in a tent for two weeks, you literally need to take the entire house. So that’s what I’ve learn from her, lists are important!!!

Next up, use what you’ve got. We have a ton plastic kids plates, bowls and cups we’ve collected over the years, pre trying not to buy plastic of course, and these come in handy. Why buy a set of special camping ones? Or worse disposable ones, when their all sitting in your cupboard so I packed all of these, plus cutlery for the draw. Again you could buy fancy bamboo ones specially to keep for camping but I think that’s one of those pretty zero waste things you don’t really need. The ones in the draw do just fine. Unless of course they are a special set you don’t want to get lost, in which case head to a charity shop and get some cheap one you can keep in your camping box.

Next is Food. Again use what you’ve got when it comes to food. I couldn’t believe the things I found in our cupboard and fridge. Some cereal bars I think we brought to take skiing that no one ate but hey they will now if their hungry in the car… sweet corn and other leftover BBQ bits, ham and cheese, (all good for making sandwiches) it all went in the cool box and we did an ok job of using it up.

If you’ve got a baby you’ll know how handy baby wipes come in so even if you don’t have a child in tow I recommend taking as many wipes as possible. And when I say wipes I mean Cloth Wipes. If you’ve read any of my other post including My Low Waste Newborn Essentials you’ll know how passionate I am about cloth wipes and how they work sooo much better and you’ll know disposables are just not an option. Unless you want to clean your car tyres, because that’s a recommended thing for single use wipes. Having said that Reeva was dead set on grabbing the car tyres and getting her hands dirty while we attempted to chase after her and put a tent up at the same time, so maybe disposable wipes were not sure a bad idea…

Following on from cloth wipes we also took our cloth nappies and it was fine. No different from at home. We actually took our nappy bin but for the future I must invest in a large wet bag as I think this would take up less space. We had enough nappies for the 3 days so I just washed when I got home but if we were staying longer I think I would just use the laundry room that most campsites have. Making sure I rinsed any dirty nappies well before. Plus when the suns out nappies will dry super quickly in the outdoors and babies can run feral with just a fancy nappy on. How else would you want to do camping?

And then my last tip is to invest in a few decent camping essentials. Weather you do a big two week long holiday or you just do a couple of weekends away every year a decent little gas stove and a BBQ will last you years and years and stop you buy the little disposables BBQs. We actually have my parents gas stove which is a great two ring one and their old fold away metal BBQ from the days they took me away 20 plus years ago. Obviously they brought well as their both well used and still going strong.

Another great essential for me is a Camping Box. A few Christmas’s ago Mats Mum and sister made us a great camping box, filled with a camping wine glass (which is stainless steel and lidded to avoid spills on the grass) cups for the kids, fleece blankets (fleece with repel the moister so won’t get damp and keep you lovely and warm) a box for cutlery, a foldable washing up bowl and lots of lovely fairy lights for our tent. It’s great because I put everything neatly back in the box and then the next year there’s no packing and searching to do. Could be a nice gift idea if you know someone that likes a camping trip.

But the best thing about camping with kids?…… the freedom they get. They can run off, make friends, come back with huge sticks and hungry bellies and that my friends is all completely plastic free….

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