Camping & Overlanding Gear for More Sustainable Trips

kids overlooking a forest

There's no doubt that camping and overlanding offer unforgettable experiences and a unique way to connect with the great outdoors — but it's crucial that we give as much as we take by preserving the very habitats that we love exploring. Sustainability is a shared responsibility, one that we should exercise more carefully, especially when exploring nature. To help in these efforts, we’ve put together a list of some eco-friendly gear you can take with you on your next adventure to reduce your carbon footprint so that everyone can enjoy the beauty of our landscapes for generations to come.

Rise of eco camping

Eco camping, the practice of minimizing your environmental impact while enjoying the great outdoors, has gained momentum in recent years. Research from Mordor Intelligence suggests that the camping equipment market is expected to grow from nearly $19 billion to $25 billion by 2028, with a notable uptick in sales of eco-friendly camping gear. This shows that outdoor enthusiasts are becoming increasingly aware of their ecological footprint and are actively seeking sustainable camping options. Given this growing interest in eco-conscious camping, it's a perfect time to delve into some sustainable gear options that can make your next outdoor adventure both enjoyable and environmentally responsible.

Sustainable camping gear

You don’t have to sacrifice convenience, function, or comfort when prepping for a more eco-friendly camping trip. To make the most of your trip while leaving a positive impact on the environment, here are some sustainable camping gear and accessories to consider.

PVC-free tent

A conventional tent is often made with polyvinyl chloride (PVC), a material that comes with several environmental concerns. PVC production involves the byproduct of dangerous chemicals like dioxins, which can have detrimental impacts on both wildlife and human health. PVC is also non-biodegradable and challenging to recycle, leading to long-lasting waste in landfills. Even when incinerated, PVC releases harmful hydrogen chloride gas into the atmosphere, contributing to air pollution.

To reduce the presence of this toxic material in our environment, opt for PVC-free tents made with eco-friendly alternatives like polyester, recycled nylon, or organic cotton. You can also consider using aluminum stakes and biodegradable ropes. By making these sustainable choices, not only do you reduce the tent's overall environmental impact, you reduce the weight and load of your gear, as these materials are typically lighter and easier to transport.

Sustainable sleeping bags

It's not just about what's outside; what's inside counts too. Look for sleeping bags filled with sustainable materials like organic cotton or recycled polyester. Organic cotton is grown without the use of synthetic pesticides or fertilizers, preserving soil quality. Recycled polyester also helps divert plastic waste from landfills and minimizes the demand for chemical and non-biodegradable resources. Make your sleeping environment even cozier with organic blankets and pillows, and you'll rest well knowing you're keeping your footprint to a minimum.

Eco-friendly bug spray & sunscreen

DEET-based bug sprays help ward off pesky and irritating insect bites by masking the human scent, making it difficult for biting bugs to locate people. DEET (which stands for N,N-diethyl-meta-toluamide) often gets a bad rap because of its man-made chemical nature, yet the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) states that they have not identified any risks to human or environmental health associated with its use. Plus, DEET breaks down rather quickly in the environment and hasn’t been shown to linger in animals, according to the CDC.

However, if you have reservations about using DEET-formulated repellents, you can always use natural, plant-based bug sprays made with essential oils like citronella, lavender, or eucalyptus to combat pests.

On the other hand, many conventional sunscreens contain chemicals like oxybenzone and octinoxate that have been found to harm coral reefs and aquatic life. So try swapping out these damaging products for natural, reef-safe sunscreens — while they may be pricier, the protection they offer your skin and the environment is priceless.

Reusable kitchenware & bottles

Replace single-use plastics in your camping kit with durable, reusable kitchenware and water bottles. Many brands offer collapsible options made from eco-friendly materials like stainless steel or bamboo, which save space and reduce waste. When it’s time to wash the dishes, lean towards biodegradable soap and practice water-saving washing techniques, such as filling the sink with soap and water and turning the faucet off while cleaning, to keep mealtimes sustainable.

Natural or zero-waste toiletries

When it comes to personal care, small changes can have big impacts. Unlike traditional toiletries, which often contain pollutive ingredients and come in plastic packaging, natural and zero-waste options usually feature biodegradable or reusable packaging and plant-based ingredients. For instance, toothpaste with natural ingredients not only avoids harmful chemicals but also often comes in recyclable or compostable packaging. Biodegradable soaps and shampoos also break down naturally, reducing your impact on local water sources. In addition to being better for the environment, these toiletries can also be gentler on your skin and overall health, making them a win-win option for mindful travelers.

Recycling & garbage bags

When you pack it in, pack it out — but make sure you’re doing so in an eco-conscious manner. 

Give thought to your waste management with sustainable options like recycled or compostable garbage and recycling bags. These eco-friendly alternatives are crafted from post-consumer materials or organic matter, reducing the demand for new plastic production. Using separate bags for recyclables also ensures that reusable materials aren't needlessly sent to landfills. While composting could be a viable option, consider bringing bags to take your waste with you and relocate your compost to an area that’s more appropriate, like your yard or another designated site.

Recycled cooler

Even your cooler can contribute to your eco-efforts. Look for options made from recycled plastics and those that employ environmentally friendly insulation materials. Many traditional coolers are made with styrofoam or polystyrene, which both typically end up in landfills since they’re not very recyclable. What's more, a recycled cooler can be just as durable and efficient as its non-recycled counterparts, so you're not compromising on performance. Next time you're in the market for a cooler, consider a recycled option as a simple yet impactful way to make your outdoor adventures more sustainable.

LED lights

Sustainable camping doesn’t have to leave you in the dark. Think about switching to LED lights, which consume far less energy than traditional incandescent or halogen bulbs, making them a more eco-conscious choice. Beyond their energy efficiency, LED lights are also more durable and long-lasting, which means fewer replacements and less waste. Because they are energy-efficient, they are also well-suited to be powered by alternative means, such as portable solar panels, although we'll dive deeper into solar power in the next section.

Solar charging station

For the eco-conscious traveler, solar charging stations are an absolute game-changer, freeing yourself from the noise and pollution of gasoline generators. Solar electrical systems are not only good for the planet, but also incredibly practical — allowing you to extend your trips without worrying about running out of power. While the upfront cost of a solar charging station may be higher than that of a gas-powered generator, the long-term savings on fuel costs can make up for it. And if you're an owner of a TAXA habitat, you're in luck — our habitats come pre-wired for solar power, setting you up for an easy transition to more eco-friendly camping.

Keep your carbon footprint small

At the end of the day, our choices make a difference — choices like selecting eco-friendly camping gear or opting for sustainable camping habitats. Our campers serve as excellent storage solutions for all your green gear while providing a comfortable home away from home for you and your loved ones. And if you opt for our lighter models, you’re looking at even more eco-friendly features, including a higher MPG with all-electric capabilities for a minimal carbon footprint. No matter what TAXA adventure vehicle you choose, know that you’re aligning with our mission of sustainability by keeping our cherished outdoor spaces as pristine as we found them so that future generations can experience the magic, too.

Chat with one of our adventure specialists to learn more about our trailers and how they can help make your next trip more comfortable and conscientious.