August 26, 2007


We had a fun camping trip this weekend (car camping with the family). For those who don't know, car camping is a way to enjoy the outdoors but still have all kinds of conveniences and gear along with you. We find state parks that have flush toilets, fire pits, picnic tables, as well as trash and recycling bins. Truly roughing it would be backpacking or something along those lines.

We load up all our clothes, food, water and gear (pillows!) and camp for a few nights. We cook outside, sleep in a tent, hike and play. This weekend we even brought bikes for the kids to ride around the park's bike path.

Camping comfortably and efficiently has been a big learning process for me. I am slowly trying to "green" my camping experience each trip. When I first started I brought disposable plates because I wasn't sure about dish washing. Now I bring reusable table and cookware. This was the first trip I tried to bring a really eco-friendly dish soap (since the water and soap go straight into the ground under the faucet). I brought some Dr. Bronner's Magic Soap.

We also have been bringing our reusable water bottles (we like the Sigg and Kleen Kanteen) rather than plastic disposables.

There are some elements that I know need improvement but I have yet to find a great solution. One is hand wipes. I have been bringing anti-bacterial hand wipes since there is not usually soap or towels in the bathrooms. I want to be able to keep everyones' hands clean after using the toilet and before we eat. I could try to switch to some wipes that may be more earth friendly, like the EO wipes. It would probably be even better to bring our own soap and towel. Actually, the Dr. Bronner's could work for this purpose also.

I also have been looking for a better tablecloth for camping. The standard ones are made from vinyl, which do a fine job of covering up the super-dirty tables and wipe off easily but vinyl is probably made from PVC, which isn't such a great thing. Of course I could try using a durable cloth table cloth, but I do like being able to wipe down the tables. The seem to get really dirty throughout the weekend. I love the Mimi the Sardine tablecloths, which are made locally in the Bay Area. "The fabrics are produced in accordance with strict environmental laws and are Oeko-Tex certified; the coating is made from acrylic and not PVC." They also use no chlorine in the production process, and only use water soluble dyes.

One of the great scores during the trip was when we went over to a local beach and our friend found a tangled, abandoned kite that had washed up on the beach. He was able to quickly repair it and pull all the seaweed off. It flew better than any kite we've ever tried. Even our 3-year-old got it off the ground! Someone's trash, now a treasure.

If you have any good camping tips to share with me I'd love to hear them.


Gift of Green said...

Great post!!!! I love this one! I can't wait to go camping with Sprout and Pip and your ideas are keepers. It looks like a fabulous time was had by all. Thanks for documenting for us!

Anonymous said...

I noticed you mentioned Dr. Bronner's soap in this post. Do you like it? I am looking for a safe and gentle liquid handsoap to use at my kitchen and bathroom sinks. Any suggestions? Thanks!

mom go green said...

hi mommy bee,
I do like the Dr. Bronner's soap okay. I've used it in the shower and sink at home also. One thing to be aware of is that it kinda clogs in a pump dispenser. If you leave it in the original bottle, it should be fine.

I also love the EO soap, but it is pretty pricey. The peppermint smells sooo good.

Happy washing!

Anonymous said...

I also use the Bronner's soap in the kitchen, I found that re-using either an olive oil or baslamic ving. bottle with the three larger holes on top, works well and doesn't clog..


Thanks for the great camping tips!!