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Leave No Trace: Seven Principles of Camping

Being an eco-friendly and responsible camper is key for us at Achtung Camper. We love the outdoors, and believe strongly in preserving where we visit. We’ve shared our etiquette tips with camping in the past, but Leave No Trace™ Australia takes it one step further with their Seven Principles. These are for anyone and everyone who likes the outdoors, and these are our people too. Our goal is to encourage more people to hit the road and camp.

For a bit of background, Leave No Trace™ is a non-profit organisation dedicated to promoting and inspiring responsible outdoor travel and recreation. Their philosophy is to empower everyone to accept responsibility for the conservation of nature and this is achieved by forming partnerships to spread the Seven Principles.

The Seven Principles are:

1. Plan Ahead and Prepare

This is crucial in a country where fires and floods occur. Before you zip out the driveway, take note of the weather and check your local emergency services app to ensure your route is clear, roads are open and there are no emergency warnings. Weather conditions can vary, and poor planning can put you and your loved ones in danger. This extends to activities such as hiking or mountain biking once you are camping.

Schedule your driving time outside of peak hours to avoid high use. It is not fun to be cruising down the highway smack bang during the busiest time of the day.

Double check with your host, park or campsite website that roads are open and you are not going to face a surprise closure.

2. Travel and Camp on Durable Surfaces

Setting up camp especially in remote areas, it is imperative to park your van, pitch your annexe or additional tent on durable surfaces. The best suggestion is to opt for established sites and previously used spots.

Remember that hidden gems are found not made and there is no need to alter anything. Keep your campsite to a minimum.

Protect the local vegetation should be front and centre in your thoughts. A couple of ways to do this is to walk or bike ride in a single line, walk along shorelines during low tide to avoid disturbing vulnerable and fragile areas such as sand dunes.

3. Dispose of Waste Properly

It’s a no-brainer but clean up after yourself when it is time to head home. Collect any rubbish, pack it in a bag and remove from the site. If you brought it with you, then take it home again.

4. Leave What You Find

It’s vital that when you are out in nature and exploring to leave everything as you found it, especially fauna, artifacts, historical markings, etc. If you do turn over rocks, logs or shells to reveal hidden treasures, be sure to return them to your natural state. If you come across

5. Minimise Campfire Impacts

It’s no secret that campfires are a winner with camping, but Leave No Trace™ encourages people to question whether campers really do need to light a campfire and if they do, to keep them to a minimum. Additionally, a twig fire keeps it small and gatherings intimate.

If it is warmth you are after or staying up late to toast marshmallows and play charades, then go for it, and if on offer use an established fire ring or mound and keep fires small. Most importantly at the end of the night, completely extinguish the fire and ensure there are no sparks.

6. Respect Wildlife

If you encounter wildlife whilst camping, remember to keep your distance, never feed them, respect their habitats, and do not interfere with their actions. Also, control your pets, protect wildlife, secure rubbish, and be aware of certain times when they could be mating, nesting or raising young.

7. Be Considerate of Other Visitors

Respect other campers and nature lovers. Some parks stipulate rules and one that tends to be at the top is a curfew for noise. There is a blog on our website that compliments this principle, Responsible Camping and Camping Etiquette Tips.

These tips are being shared at the time of Earth Day, and the theme for this year is Planet versus Plastics.

Be kind to our planet, campers!

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