One of the main reasons that Mother Nature entices backpackers, hikers and campers to come back time and again is her pristine look and beauty. As an avid backcountry camper, it is up to you individually to ensure that nature still looks as untouched when you leave as she did when you first arrived. This practice is known as "leave no trace" camping and it is a skill every camper should develop. Leave No Trace tips for camping seek to minimize the human impact on the water, the local flora and fauna, and also to maintain the look and feel of nature so that the next camper may enjoy this area without finding proof of your presence. The precautions to take are simple but have far-reaching consequences. Here is the easiest and most effective collection of leave no trace tips that ensure you can do your part to keep the camping trip and camp site green.
Leave No Trace of Picked Flowers
Avoid picking wildflowers and only pick up as much wood as you need for a properly contained fire. Wildflowers are sometimes endangered or serve as the main food source for an endangered insect. Remember that the thoughtless decimation of wildflowers in one area may actually eliminate the insect from that particular locale. Take photos of the most beautiful specimens instead.
Leave No Trace by Disposing of Camp Fire Ashes
Bring a camping stove for cooking to avoid the need for a fire, but if you must have a fire, only use wood that is already on the ground. Do not cut down any trees or bushes to fuel your fire. Create a fire pit naturally by finding big rocks and removing a part of groundcover, ensuring that it is kept moist. When you are ready to leave the area, scatter the ashes, return the rocks to where you found them, and replace the moistened groundcover over a bit of freshly added dirt, and so erase the fire damage.
Leave No Trace by Traveling Light and in Limited Numbers
Carry only as much gear into the back country as you must. The less you bring in, the less you may forget or be tempted to discard. A fine example is the Alpine Kitchen Set which ensures that you can easily carry out what you brought into the wilderness setting.
It is noteworthy that the idea of traveling light also applies to the number of hikers, backpackers or campers in your party. The fewer people join together in a trip to the backcountry, the more successful this group is at leaving no trace. Larger groups have a far greater difficulty accomplishing this feat. Even if everyone picks up discarded items and carries out everything they brought in, the sheer volume of feet on the ground can destroy plants and compact the soil to create bare spots.
Leave No Trace by Burying Human Waste
Dig a hole to contain your fecal waste and at the end of the backcountry camping trip, fill up the hole and replace the ground cover. Make sure that the hole containing your waste is dug far enough from any nearby streams or lakes to not pose any contamination hazard. Dig a sewage hole at least 200 feet away from the water's edge. This prevents the sewage from contaminating the water. Make sure that the hole is deep enough---about 10 inches deep---to ensure that even during a rain the sewage will not spill over into the water. Use biodegradable toilet paper.
If you bring a pet along, it is vital to also clean up after the animal and then dispose of the feces in the waste containment hole you dig.