Camping out in the woods can be a wonderful experience. Getting out in nature helps to rejuvenate the human spirit because there is something relaxing and restorative about being in a natural setting. Having said this, the reason that we have these wonderful places to camp is because there are enough people who care about the environment to practice sustainable camping. Hammocks are one of the oldest portable beds in use today. They went out of style for a while, but are making a comeback in popularity. If you love sleeping under the stars and believe that it’s important to preserve our environment, here are some tips that will help you to practice sustainable hammock camping.
Table of Contents
- Take care of the trees you use
- Living by the Outdoor Code
- Leave no trace of your activity
- Use environmentally friendly cleaning supplies
- Follow all the posted rules
- Bring a portable hammock
- Use wide hammock straps
- Use webbing straps instead of rope
- Try to leave rocks, twigs and other natural things in place
- Clean up any chemical spills
- Take hammocks down when you’re not using them
- Lift all ground mats off the ground when not in use
- Share these tips with others
Take care of the trees you use
Suspending a hammock from a tree generally requires tying a rope around the trunk of the tree to hold the hammock up. The weight of your body can cause friction against thee bark of thee tree. While it’s perfectly fine to do this with a larger and sturdy tree for a few days, it’s important to give the tree a break. Consider moving your hammock setup to another tree that is in good health and has tight bark to protect it. By doing this, you are ensuring that no damage is being done to the trees because of the use of a hammock. If more people do not start practicing sustainable camping methods, at some point, the use of trees for hammock use could become restricted.
Living by the Outdoor Code
While camping, it’s important to do so in a way that is clean and does not cause any kind of damage to the environment. As much as is possible, it’s important to leave the camping area as pristine as it was when you arrived. There are actually several things that you can do to ensure that this happens. Here are twelve tips that are recommended for campers who are concerned about the environment.
Leave no trace of your activity
The best practice is to leave the campsite with no evidence that you have been there. This includes cleaning up all garbage, leftover food and taking it with you. In addition, only dig when you need to, and don’t leave any holes in the camping area. Try your best to avoid breaking or damaging trees, shrubs or wildflowers that grow in the area.
Use environmentally friendly cleaning supplies
There are some commonly used detergents and cleaners that can be dangerous for wildlife and vegetation. Make sure that when you wash your camp dishes, it is with environmentally friendly products, and dispose of wash and rinse water properly.
Follow all the posted rules
If you plan to hammock camp, find out if this activity is allowed in the area that you plan to camp in. If it isn’t, you may need to select another location. It’s always important to follow all of the rules that are posted in wilderness and designated camping areas.
Bring a portable hammock
Portable hammocks do not require the use of trees to set them up. In fact, they are far safer for the environment. This type of hammock may be allowed as long as no trees are needed for securing them in place.
Use wide hammock straps
When you are in a camping area that allows you to use trees for hanging your hammock, protect the trees. By using wide webbing straps, you lessen the chance of causing damage to the bark. The recommended width of the straps should be between one and a half to two inches in width.
Use closed cell foam in between the strap and the tree. This will further help to shield the tree from damage. It will lessen the friction against the bark.
Use webbing straps instead of rope
Webbing straps in the proper width are much gentler on delicate tree bark. Ropes are narrower and they build friction more quickly. They are far more likely to saw into the bark of the tree, causing damage, than wide webbing straps.
Try to leave rocks, twigs and other natural things in place
The key to sustainable camping is to leave as many things in nature, in place while you’re there, and when you go. If you have a campfire, it’s okay to use dead wood from nearby, but be sure that all embers are properly extinguished before you go to bed and before you leave the campsite.
Clean up any chemical spills
If you drive into the campsite, there is always the chance that automotive fluids will leak onto the ground. It is vital that you clean up any of these spills and remove them from the ground. Antifreeze, oil, fuel and other automotive liquids can be devastating to plant and animal life. If you bring it in with you, then take it out with you.
Take hammocks down when you’re not using them
This is particularly important if you leave the camp for any amount of time. It is very easy for curious wildlife to become tangled in the lines. Deer and elk are curious animals and it’s important to protect their safety when you’re not there to be on the lookout.
Lift all ground mats off the ground when not in use
Many campers enjoy using a ground mat to make the area cleaner for walking. While this is acceptable, it’s also important to move them off the ground whenever possible, or when they’re not in use. The reason for this is that they will damage or kill any vegetation growing beneath.
One of the best ways that you can help to preserve the pristine camping areas you use, is to let others know what you know. There are many well meaning people who truly love camping and also care about the environment. They may not know that some of the things they do are damaging. By sharing these tips with them, you are helping others to understand how to better protect our favorite camping grounds.