7 Hiking and Camping Tricks that are Good for Planet Earth

Because we are running for planet Earth this year, we wanted to take this post-time to share some fun hiking and adventure gear tips that make the trip more comfortable for you and are better for this world we all share.


Prevent Blisters with Layers

If your feet are prone to blisters, it is well worth it to take preventative action by doubling up. Don’t wait until you get a sore spot or worse. All you need to do is have a really thin and tight wicking material sock over your skin and then put your standard fitting hiking sock over. The thin base layer acts as your new layer of skin so it takes the friction instead; hence, preventing blisters. Also, the extra sock can double as a cleaning cloth or even as mittens in an emergency situation.


How does this help the world?
This tactic is reusable whereas band aids and blistos are not so you are doing good by not using more plastics that require more frequent transportation and more packaging than products you can use over and over. You still need first aid supplies including band aids but taking preventative action can spare you pain and reduce waste.


The Nalgene that Does Everything

A very cool trick is to take your head lamp inside an empty Nalgene bottle and wrap the strap around the long end which locks it in place with the light pointing inside the bottle. The causes the light to glow everywhere and you can easily hang it over head from a branch or rope it through a clothesline by your hangout spot. It’s even more fun if you have colorful containers. Empty Nalgenes also work perfectly as a waterproof storage container that holds fire starting material, first aid supplies, and keys. I bring an extra Nalgene for all of these purposes and it only has water in it when it is used for water purification prior to refilling my pack bladder or to stock up on water if I know I am not going to be near a stream anytime soon.


How does this help the world?
Stop buying “grocery store” plastic bottles!! We pick up more plastic container trash in the woods than anything else. It is sooo bad for the world. Plastics take 700 years to breakdown, and when they do, they release Bisphenol A, phthalates, polyethylene terephthalate and a soup of toxicness. Not to mention, the manufacturing process uses a lot of crude oil. Sacrifice a bit of convenience and save money and Earth by reusing a BPA free bottle. Here’s an interesting article that explains the risks that plastics pose to humans and the environment: http://www.onegreenplanet.org/animalsandnature/whats-the-problem-with-plastic-bottles/


Bandanas, Dental Floss, and Duct Tape have a Ton in Common

Ya they do! Multifunction… here we go…Bandanas can go on your head to collect sweat, can protect your skin from sun, used to filter solids from water before purifying, used to tie a splint or a tourniquet in emergencies, as a cleaning tool, and to transport wild edible fruits.

Duct Tape can be used to patch tents and bags, to prevent blisters, twist into a rope, seal food, to pick up important small stuff that fell in tight places, as reflectors…

Dental floss can be used as thread to repair tears in gear, as fishing line or clothes line, and for wound stitching in an emergency.


How does this help the world?
Again, reusing items that serve many functions means less that needs to be produced, packaged, transported, and trashed. It also means less you have to carry.


Salty Goodness Fire Starters

Greasy potato chips or corn chips, believe it or not, has enough oil and fat to ignite as very effective tinder that lights easy and burns long enough to light larger pieces of wood. Even rubbing small sticks inside the chip bag can grab enough grease to help a fire along. Think of that next time you eat them!


How does this help the world?
Avoid using toxic fire starting chemicals or spraying hand sanitizer over kindling which puts chemicals into the ground and air. This is a safer alternative.


Try Packing These Snacks

Homemade gorp from dried local fruits and nuts. In New Hampshire, The True Nut Company has some good stuff to mix in.

Fresh fruit and hard cheese from a local farm. Try Harmann’s Cheese and Craquelins Artisanal Flatbread crisps

Canned Tuna from either Bumblebee or Chicken of the Sea because they made a commitment to not harm bluefin tuna. Canned chicken is good too.

The Dirty Gourmet has so many delicious ideas and recipes

How does this help the world?
What you choose to eat every day has a major impact, positive or negative, on the sustainability of the world. There are things that we all can do collectively to have more positive impact on the environment such as: if you eat meat, choose to eat more meat from animals with a much smaller carbon footprint such as poultry instead of beef or pork, buying local helps support your communities financially and results in less emissions and packaging that is required for transport, eat snacks that you make at home instead of plastic-wrapped premade snacks, choose sustainable food products especially in regards to products from the ocean, and become loyal to companies with concern for sustainability and community.


Biodegradable Soap

If you have to wash yourself or wash dishes in nature, it is very important that you use biodegradable soap and use it correctly; and carry all empty containers with you! It is important to remember that biodegradable soap is not automatically safe for the environment and needs time to breakdown so you need dilute it and use far away from bodies of water.

How does this help the world?
Non-biodegradable soap can contaminate water and harm fish, plants, and wildlife.



Garbage Bags are NOT for Garbage

Last tip but not least; this is one plastic that we can make an exception for: a large, black garbage bag. The reason this is an exception is because this is one convenience and survival item that you will keep in your pack again and again and likely won’t replace unless it gets worn out. This is a multifunction item that can be used to sit on if the ground is wet, as an outer layer that insulates heat, as a rain cover for yourself or your gear, as a wind breaking shield for fire or comfort, can be used as a tool to desalinate sea water, and can be twisted into a sturdy tying material for emergencies. Obviously, it can be used to carry stuff too.

How does this help the world?
Using plastics doesn’t but using less of it does so reuse please.

On a quick side note, without turning this post into a “soap box” blabfest, I just wanted to make this one point: We all are responsible for protecting the world we are in, so please, please, please, please keep it pure. Do not leave trash behind, do not damage living plants or feed wildlife, stay on trails, and do not rip out rocks within trails that help to prevent erosion. Follow the rules and code of ethics that are in place to protect our forests, wildlife, and make it so that everyone can enjoy our precious natural experiences as much as you. Okay, back to business…


Running for planet Earth,
the New Hampshire State Park Bloggers Reach the Beach Team 


Michele Cota

Who in their right mind would sign up for a 200 mile race? That’s what the Reach the Beach Race relay organizers asked the New Hampshire Division of Parks and Recreation when they generously offered the Division a relay team. Twelve crazy runners jumped at the opportunity. This year we are running for planet Earth to encourage fans of New Hampshire State Parks to reduce their carbon footprint and help to protect our environment.

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