Hiya happy campers! It’s a new year—a brand-new decade, even. So, although our New Year’s resolutions don’t typically go a whole lot further than “play more,” your friends at Kelty would like to step onto the Sincerity Bus for a hot second. Because let’s be honest: the Built for Play lifestyle we’re all dedicated to pursuing would be a lot LESS amazing without our favorite playground: Planet Earth. Here are seven sustainable living tips to kick the decade off RIGHT.
This probably isn’t the most surprising of sustainable living tips, especially coming from folks whose job it is to make your favorite camping stuff. But did you know: an average night in a hotel carries an ecological footprint of 15–27kg of CO2. That’s about the same as driving 50 miles. Sure, you have to drive to get to your campsite, but you can consider your night under the stars a carbon offset, as well as a really great way to connect with nature.
Experts (including Yale Climate Connections, which leads research in this area) generally agree that flying carries a slightly lighter carbon footprint than driving; while airplanes do use more fuel than earthbound vehicles, they usually carry a LOT more people, which brings the overall average down. One important exception: when full, multi-passenger vehicles can average out just fine. So, if you’re wondering how to live more sustainably, the answer may be as simple as inviting a few more homies along on your next camping trip.
Look, we get it. Nothing’s more satisfying than hauling a weekend’s worth of trash to the campground dumpster, then collapsing your Kelty Folding Cooler for the roomy ride home. Also: nobody loves dirty Tupperware. But we also can’t think of a better reason to ditch the pre-packaged nonsense and try your hand at real-live locavore living. And you don’t need to be all Chris McCandless about it—please don’t, actually—just fire up this handy Farmer’s Market Finder, then go find some food with a super-low transpo footprint.
This is a big one, and we’ve all been guilty of it at some point. After all, car camping is SO much easier when you don’t have to lug your dinner dishes over to the shin-splashing, mosquito-breeding non-potable water source. IT’S ONLY A FEW PAPER PLATES, KAREN. However, if you’re a conscientious composting machine at home and you’re genuinely looking for sustainable living tips, you can start by washing those dang dishes. We’ve even made it easy for you with the Kelty Camp Kitchen.
If you’ve gotten through our first four sustainable living tips, we can probably assume you’re serious enough to know the basic tenets of leave no trace. So now it’s time to get a little more serious about waste sorting—which is one of the easiest ways to be a little greener during your next outdoor adventure. Weirdly, many campgrounds don’t sort recycling; you’ll have to do that yourself, and these pop-up trash bins make it hella easy. You can even store your compostables in an airtight container to handle when you get home.
If you’ve ever hiked the backcountry, you already know the importance of packing light. So, while you might never be one of those people who trims your toothbrush (which is FINE, by the way), now’s a great time to apply some of those backpacking principles to the rest of your life. As with many sustainable living tips, “lightening up” looks different to everyone—and it might mean anything from Kondo-ing your closet to downsizing to a tiny home. One idea we kick around often here at Kelty HQ is this: if you don’t even know where it is, do you really need it? This applies to the “nice” dishes from your wedding registry as well as the soccer ball ice cream maker you got in the white elephant exchange a few years back. Our humble suggestion: haul everything out of storage, and consider donating stuff you don’t need.
Sure, we want you to buy our stuff! It’s good stuff, and it’s kind of our job to get you to buy it. But one of the things that makes Kelty gear so great is our commitment to durability. When we say something is #keltybuilt, we mean it’s really made to last. Every now and then, we come across a customer who’s traveled a ridiculous distance with a Kelty product—one pack withstood 50,000 miles of adventure, including an attempted murder!
Our point is, one surefire way not to add more junk to life’s landfill is to buy BETTER stuff. This means sturdy, well-made products that you don’t have to replace every two years. And, when it’s time for your favorite gear to finally go, make sure you donate it. There are hundreds of ways to give these guys a new home, but local shelters and youth centers are a great place to start.