Must-Have Gear for Eco-Friendly Camping

Few people have greater love and appreciation for nature than campers and backpackers, so it’s no surprise that eco-friendly camping gear is growing fast in popularity. If you’re planning a camping or backpacking trip this summer and need new gear, consider these eco-friendly options.

Eco-Friendly Tents

Tents tend to be the hardest type of gear to find good eco-friendly alternatives for. Natural fiber tents made from hemp or organic cotton tend to be fairly eco-friendly, but they often do not hold up well in rainy conditions and are too heavy for backpackers. For most campers and backpackers, the most eco-friendly option is PVC-free tents made from recycled synthetics.

Big Agnes Salt Creek 2 Tent

Big Agnes Salt Creek 2 Tent

The Big Agnes Salt Creek 2 was awarded the Editor’s Choice Green Award by Backpacker Magazine in 2009. This three season backpacking tent is made from 100% recycled, lightweight polyester and is free of PVC, solvents, and dyes. The lightweight but durable aluminum poles are anodized using an eco-friendly anodizing process that does not use harsh chemicals.

In addition to developing eco-friendly products, Big Agnes purchases 100% wind energy to power its offices and warehouses.

Eco-Friendly Sleeping Pads

Eco Thermos 6 Sleeping Pad

Eco Thermos 6 Sleeping Pad

Pacific Outdoor Equipment recently developed the first carbon neutral sleeping pad! The Eco Thermos 6 is made from bamboo fabric and insulation, with recycled aluminum valves. The sleeping pad weighs in at just 25 ounces thanks to its weight-shaving “mummy” shape.

Eco-Friendly Sleeping Bags

Traditional materials for sleeping bags include cotton, which is one of the most resource-intensive crops to grow, and polyester, which is made from oil and therefore non-renewable.

In recent years, a growing number of sleeping bags are being made from eco-friendly alternatives like hemp, coconut husks, bamboo, and post-consumer recycled polyesters.

Marmot EcoPro 15 Sleeping Bag

Marmot EcoPro 15 Sleeping Bag

For example, the Marmot EcoPro 15 is filled with a CoCoNa fabric blend. CoCoNa is made from discarded coconut husks and fast-drying, soft, durable, and naturally anti-microbial. The lining is made from recycled plastic soda bottles! The Marmot EcoPro 15 is rated to 15 degrees Fahrenheit and thanks to its fast-drying CoCoNa insulation, it is perfect for cold, wet weather.

Eco-Friendly Camp Stoves

Burning charcoal and gas is not only bad for the environment, it’s also bad for your health, releasing dangerous fumes, volatile organic compounds, soot, and more into the atmosphere, and your lungs.


Hot Pot Simple Solar Cooker

A safe, eco-friendly, and fun alternative is a solar oven such as the Hot Pot Simple Solar Cooker. Though not light or compact enough for most backpacking trips, the Hot Pot Simple Solar Cooker is great for car camping trips. it can reach cooking temperatures of up to 350 degrees F in one hour in full sun, and can be used up to six hours, so it’s great for baking or slow cooking stews or soups.

Proceeds from sales of the Hot Pot Simple Solar Cooker are used to subsidize the distribution of the cooker to developing countries to reduce deforestation and health problems caused by wood and charcoal cooking fires.

Eco-Friendly Insect Repellent

Nature's Herbal Mosquito & Insect Shield with Catnip Oil

Nature's Herbal Mosquito & Insect Shield with Catnip Oil

Most insect repellents on the market to day contain the chemical N,N-Diethyl-m-toluamide, better known as DEET. DEET is a known eye irritant and has been linked to neurological damage in children. It is also toxic to birds and aquatic life, yet has been found in 75% of all US water sources.

Natural insect repellents use safe, eco-friendly essential oils and other natural ingredients, such as citronella oil, citrus oil, rosemary, and lemongrass.

Nature’s Herbal Mosquito & Insect Shield with Catnip Oil uses a blend of catnip oil, cornmint oil, glycerin, and rosemary oil to repel mosquitoes and biting flies. Recent studies have found that one of the compounds in catnip, neptalactone, is ten times more effective than DEET at repelling mosquitoes! Nature’s Herbal Mosquito & Insect Shield with Catnip Oil is long-lasting, water-repelling, safe for children and adults, and not tested on animals.


Main Image Credit: stevecadman

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  1. Lynne says:

    Hey Kerry,

    Love this post… I am actually very much into ‘green’ and ‘natural’ stuff, including herbal things, so I especially found this interesting.

    Interesting about the Big Agnes Salt Creek 2, I had only just been looking at some Big Agnes backpacking tents, so this article will definitely influence my thinking regarding tents to buy and also to recommend to others.

    The Marmot EcoPro 15 is another interesting one… although I am not too sure about sleeping in recycled plastic soda bottles :) It does sound great for backpacking, particularly with the quick dry feature.

    Really love the solar cooker and the insect repellant too.

    Have only just found your site, so will have to check it out some more posts. As I am into ‘green’ things, I am bound to find a lot of other topics of interest.

    Thanks again for the post…

  2. Sean says:

    Just to add to this list, I would also bring a water microfilter when hiking or camping because it is better for the environment than using iodine tablets/chemicals to treat water.

    The camp stove listed is very interesting – never knew they could get that hot using just the sun’s energy. But they’re probably limited to cooking hotdogs and smaller things unfortunately.

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