How to have a low-waste camping trip when it comes to your menu

How to have a low-waste camping trip when it comes to your menu

GUESTBLOG: Hear from sus­tain­abil­i­ty cham­pi­ons Folk of all Trades for their top tips for a low-waste camp­ing trip.

Camp­ing is a great way to get out and explore South Australia’s nation­al parks.

Sum­mer and ear­ly autumn in par­tic­u­lar are the per­fect time to get away and see what our beau­ti­ful state has to offer.

But let’s face it – half the fun of camp­ing is the cook­ing and eat­ing part.

Dani from Folk of all Trades, an Ade­laide hub that shares skills and sto­ries of sus­tain­able crafts – both online and at in-per­son work­shops – has giv­en us a run­down on how to plan your camp­ing get­away, in terms of meal prep and cook­ing, so you take the right things and ensure you have less waste.

Low-waste camp­ing tips 

Read on as Dani shares five sim­ple tips to have an envi­ron­men­tal­ly friend­ly camp­ing trip that she’s learnt from her fam­i­ly holidays:

1. Make a meal plan

There’s noth­ing worse than for­get­ting to bring an entire meal, or ingre­di­ents that would have made a dish more deli­cious. We’ve been camp­ing where no-one has brought any salt or oil, which can be pret­ty bland.

That’s why we now always make a plan, which has mas­sive­ly reduced the num­ber of items we for­get to bring, but it also means there is much less waste in terms of unnec­es­sary food we don’t get around to eating.

It might seem like extra work to think about what meals to make or to list ingre­di­ents, but that list or spread­sheet can be saved and used time and time again, which cuts down on plan­ning time and the head scratch­ing that comes from decid­ing what to make.

Some of our favourite one-pot meals include a beany Mex­i­can chilli, Moroc­can stew with cous cous, jam­bal­aya rice, and lots of quick and easy pas­ta dishes.

2. Bring reusable containers

Reduc­ing the amount of pack­ag­ing that comes into your house is a great way to take care of the envi­ron­ment gen­er­al­ly, so why not extend this prac­tice when you’re pack­ing your food to take camping.

There are lots of excel­lent bulk food stores around Ade­laide, and more pop­ping up region­al­ly, many with a selec­tion of local and eth­i­cal­ly pro­duced food.

By pur­chas­ing in bulk, you can then bring camp­ing ingre­di­ents in any suit­able con­tain­ers – repur­posed cof­fee tins, take­away con­tain­ers, or draw­string bags. And by bring­ing just the right amount for the meals you are prepar­ing, it will help you stick to your meal plan. 

Bonus: hav­ing con­tain­ers with you also means any left­overs can be sealed and kept for the fol­low­ing meal, which reduces food waste while you are away.

3. Pre-pre­pare if necessary

Dur­ing sum­mer it won’t be pos­si­ble to cook on an open fire in a nation­al park, and dur­ing total fire ban days you’re also not allowed to use gas or liq­uid fuel stoves.

In those cas­es, it’s a good idea to bring food that you’ve pre­pared at home or doesn’t require cooking.

This could be pas­ta or pota­to sal­ad, bread, veg­gies, dips and more. Think about the trip like a series of pic­nics, or if you pre­fer – a smörgås­bord of antipasti. Yum!

4. Repli­cate your at-home bin system

Depend­ing on the items you’ve brought, the only waste that you may need to take home with you will be com­postable mate­ri­als like food scraps, so it’s a good idea to bring a ded­i­cat­ed com­post bin with com­postable liners.

These are often sup­plied or sub­sidised by local coun­cils, though they can also be bought from some supermarkets.

It’s impor­tant to check that the bags you’re using are actu­al­ly com­postable. Many green coloured bags are labelled as biodegrad­able, which means that they will break down into small­er pieces and could still be made of plas­tic, rather than being ful­ly compostable.

We often take a bas­ket or bag for recy­clables too, like glass, card­board and tins. For any small amounts of land­fill, you can use plas­tic bin lin­ers or com­postable bags – just make sure you don’t mix up the com­postable and land­fill bags when it’s time to put them in the right wheel­ie bin when you get home.

5. Make your own ice

Before going away, we like to freeze sev­er­al drink bot­tles as our ice blocks. It saves on buy­ing plas­tic bags full of ice, and also keeps the esky much less soupy by the end of the trip.

The added ben­e­fit of using drink bot­tles is that we can drink the water once defrost­ed, or use it for cook­ing or wash­ing dish­es. We’re all about mul­ti­pur­pose use here!

For more handy resources and inspi­ra­tion from Folk of all Trades, check out theirFace­bookpage. And to start plan­ning your next camp­ing adven­ture, check out our sto­ries:Every­thing you need to know for your first camp­ing trip in a nation­al parkandEvery­thing you need to know about cook­ing on a camp­ing trip.

This sto­ry was orig­i­nal­ly post­ed in Jan­u­ary 2021.

This con­tent was pro­duced in part­ner­ship with  Good Living