Good Campsites Are Found, Not Made
The best camping hammocks leave the least environmental footprint making then the ultimate low impact shelters. When used with appropriate, tree-friendly suspension systems, and hung correctly hammocks do not alter the natural environment. The smaller your footprint, the less likely you are to impact on plants or wildlife. Backpacking hammocks require no ground leveling, trenching or staking.
Camping hammocks have gained in popularity over the past few years. Many camping equipment manufacturers are offering camping hammock tents as a way of reducing the “footprint” on camping areas and hammocks have evolved to be very comfortable, compact and lightweight.
Protect Your Environment
Use only “tree saver straps” webbing for wraps around trees, this will minimize girdling and damage to the bark and cambium layer of the tree, any other system could cause wood tissue damage. Never use anything thinner than .75” and that’s made from a non-tree-friendly material, such as plastic zip cords. Please don’t hammer or screw hammock anchor points into the trees.
Set up hammock camp at least 200 feet away from any water source to protect riparian areas (the interface between land and an area of water.) These areas provide unique plant habitats and communities, and are significant in soil stabilization.
When you find two suitable hammock trees, make sure to thoroughly check the ground area for sensitive plant life. Always hang your hammock on the thickest part of the tree trunk and avoid trees that bend or those found in wet areas and damaging leaves or new growth. Consider the load if using a double hammock, avoid smaller tress. They could potentially become uprooted, and wet soils are far more susceptible to impact than dry ground.
Proper planning lowers the risk of hammock campers being concerned about, geography and fatigue due to planning trips within your ability. Observe weather forecasts and prepare and plan accordingly, this will ensure being located in campsites with enough time to reach destination in day light, set campfires in appropriate locations and this ensure comfortable and fun camping and hiking experiences. Match hikes and camping to skill levels of all participants through proper plan and implementation.
Planning and preparation helps hikers and campers accomplish and safely enjoy while minimizing damage to natural and culturally sensitive resources. Campers who plan ahead can avoid unexpected situations, minimize their impact on the natural surroundings and environment.
Schedule your trips to avoid times of higher use. Always obtain permits or permission before for you hike. The principles of Leave No Trace might seem unimportant until you consider the combined effects of millions of outdoor visitors. Poorly located campsites or campfires may have little significance in the short term, but repeated instances hundreds or thousands of times seriously damage the outdoor experience for all. Leaving no trace is everyone’s responsibility.
Travel & Camp on Durable Surfaces
Damage to land occurs when hikers trample vegetation beyond recovery. In high-use areas, campers should concentrate their activities where vegetation is already absent. Minimize resource damage by using existing trails and selecting designated or existing campsites. Keep campsites small by arranging setups in close proximity if possible with hammocks to reduce foot traffic.
In more remote, less-traveled areas, hammock campers should generally spread out. When hiking, take different paths to avoid creating new trails that cause erosion. When camping, disperse hammocks and cooking activities—and move camp daily to avoid creating permanent-looking campsites. Avoid places where impacts are just beginning to show. Always choose the most durable surfaces to set up camps
Dispose of Waste Properly
Pack it in pack it out… This simple yet effective saying motivates backcountry visitors to take their trash out with them. It makes sense to carry out of the backcountry the materials taken there by you or your group. Be considerate, if you see trash, please remove, even if it was left by accident or less considerate last campers, they might not thank you but nature will reward you!
Inspect your campsite for trash or spilled foods. Accept the challenge of packing out all trash, leftover food, and litter, biodegradable food matter can be buried.
Help prevent contamination of natural water resources: After straining food particles, properly dispose of dishwater by dispersing at least 200 feet from springs, streams, and lakes. Use biodegradable soap 200 feet or more from any water source.
Human Waste, we all know it’s not only bears that poop in the woods so appropriate human waste disposal helps prevent the spread of disease and exposure to others. “Cat-holes” 6 to 8 inches deep and 200 feet from water, trails and campsites are the safest and easiest practical way to dispose of waste.
Leave What You Find
Allow others a sense of discovery, preserve the past. Leave rock formations, plants, animals, archaeological or artifacts and other objects as you find them. Look but do not touch cultural or historical structures and artifacts. Remember to Take only memories leave only footprints.
Minimize site alterations, don’t dig trenches or build structures unless in extreme conditions for self-preservation. Never hack at trees or saw, damage bark or tree roots. Replace surface rocks or twigs that you cleared from the campsite. On high-impact sites, clean the area and dismantle inappropriate user-built facilities such as fire rings and structures such as log seats or tables if made by others.
Minimize Campfire Impact
Some would not think of camping without a campfire. Yet the naturalness of many areas has been degraded by overuse of fires and increasing demand for firewood. Lightweight camp stoves make low great alternatives, they lower the impact on the environment and make it possible by encouraging a shift away from fires for food preparation. Stoves, burners and jet-boils are fast, eliminate the need for firewood, and make cleanup after meals easier.
Whenever possible, use an existing campfire ring in a well-placed campsite. Choose not to have a fire in areas where wood is scarce like higher elevations, deserts or in heavily used areas where limited supply of wood is short supply.
If you choose to have a camp fire then true “Leave No Trace” fires are small. Use dead and downed wood that can be broken easily by hand. When possible, burn all wood to ash and remove all unburned trash and food from the fire ring. If a site has two or more fire rings, you may dismantle all but one and scatter the materials in the surrounding area. Be certain all wood and campfire debris is out cold and no hot fire embers remain.
Enjoy a candle lantern instead of a fire or simply enjoy the night sky and stars (my favorite app) if weather permits.
Leave No Trace Principles & Outdoor Ethics
Plan Ahead & Prepare
Clean Up After Yourself, Leave No Trace
Travel & Camp on Durable Surfaces
Dispose of Waste Properly
Minimize Campfire Impacts
Be Considerate of Other Visitors
Be Prepare For Extreme Weather, Hazards, or Emergencies
Schedule Your Trip To Avoid Times Of High Use
Obtain Permits & Regulations on Planned Trail
Repackage Food To Minimize Waste
Camping At Least 200 Feet from Lakes & Streams
Respect wildlife, quick movements and loud noises are stressful to animals. Considerate campers practice these safety methods; observe wildlife from a safe distance to avoid disturbances. Give animals the space they require and need, especially during breeding, nesting, and birthing seasons.
Store food securely and keep garbage and food scraps away from animals so they will not acquire bad habits. Never feed wildlife, help keep wildlife wild! You are too close if an animal alters its normal activities.
Consideration of Others
Be considerate of other campers and hikers, respect other visitors and protect the quality of their experience. Travel and camp in small groups and know-right-of way on trails (no more than the group size prescribed by land managers). Let nature’s sounds prevail. Keep the noise down. Select campsites away from other groups to help preserve their peace and quiet. Always travel and camp quietly to avoid disturbing others around you.
Prepare the right clothing and equipment, pack colors of clothing and gear blending with your environment, if hiking in hunting permitted areas wear a bright orange jacket or over vest! Pack extra food, water, maps, and a flashlight along with spare batteries. Weather changes rapidly, especially above tree line. Check the weather forecast and never be afraid to turn back. It could save your life. Research the area you will be visiting and seasons, including any regulations or restrictions. Keep your group size to 10 or less (this is required in Wilderness and recommended everywhere).
Respect private property and leave gates (open or closed) as found.
Altering Campsites Is Not Necessary
Concentrate hiking and use be trail smart, use campsites that already exist. Walk single file in the middle of the trail, even when wet or muddy. Keep campsites small. Focus camp activity in areas where vegetation is absent or clearing. Disperse use to prevent the creation of campsites and trails backcountry. Avoid places where impacts are just beginning. To wash yourself or your dishes, carry water 200 feet away from streams or lakes and use small amounts of biodegradable soap. Scatter strained dishwater.
Summary; Leave No Trace
The principles of Leave No Trace might seem unimportant until you consider the combined effects of millions of outdoor visitors. One improper poorly located campsite or campfire may have little significance at the time, however thousands of such instances seriously degrade the outdoor experience for all. Please be considerate of your impact to environment.
Leaving no trace is everyone’s responsibility.