If there is one thing you need to do at least once in your life, it is to go camping. If you are a vegan, though, you may be wondering if there is anything you need to do differently being vegan camping. Well, the answer to this question is yes… and no.
For the most part, much of your camping experience will be similar to that of non-vegans. At the same time, there are a couple of changes that you will need to make to adjust to your new lifestyle. To get the full rundown on this, here is your ultimate guide to vegan camping:
Be Careful Where You Camp
As an ethical vegan, you have a responsibility towards animals on numerous levels. This is something that comes into play, especially when you are camping. Why? Well, when you are venturing out into the great outdoors, you are actually encroaching on natural habitats. Therefore, you need to tread carefully when you are outdoors.
This is why, whenever possible, you should stick to a campsite. For one thing, they have been designated for human use, and it is unlikely that you will be infringing on any wildlife. Furthermore, campsites are set up on the solid ground, and there is no chance of you damaging the surfaces beneath your tent.
Does this mean that you can’t set off on your own? Absolutely not! If you want to head off to a more remote camping spot, you can. Nevertheless, there are a couple of things to keep in mind. First of all, stay away from surfaces that have vegetation. You will simply kill off any plants or lichens growing there if you trampled all over them and set up a tent there.
Instead, opt for what is known as “durable surfaces.” These include beaches, dry grasses, gravel bars, snow, and bare rock. The robustness of these surfaces will ensure that no damage will be done to the camping area, and you will be able to leave it the same way you found it.
Choosing Your Camping Gear
The good news is that most tents are naturally vegan – they don’t contain any animal-derived materials. Instead, they are made from canvas, polyester, or nylon. Of course, when you are shopping around for one, it can’t hurt to check the label, just to be on the safe side.
An issue arises when you go looking for sleeping bags. This is because traditionally, most sleeping bags use down as filling or insulation. Of course, down is certainly not vegan. What’s more, it isn’t all that useful as an insulator either. This material gets wet rather quickly and is quite expensive to boot.
Luckily for vegan campers, there are plenty of synthetic filling options available. The most common type of synthetic insulation is polyester. So, keep an eye out for this when you are looking for sleeping bags.
Apart from a tent and sleeping bag, you aren’t going to need too many other items, especially if you are roughing it. For added comfort, though, you may want to throw in some cruelty-free pillows and blankets so that you aren’t sleeping on the cold, hard ground.
Finding Cruelty-Free Footwear
If you aren’t planning on venturing out into the wilderness during your camping trip, then your regular shoes should be just fine. However, if you want to go hiking or tackle rough and uneven terrain, it is a good idea to upgrade your footwear.
As veganism becomes a more widespread movement, there are now a more significant number of companies catering to the cruelty-free population. Thus, you can now find shoes that are solely made from vegan leather, rubber, and other fabrics.
To be sure that your shoes or boots are entirely vegan, it is best to buy from a company that focuses on vegan footwear. While some companies offer shoes made from synthetic materials, these aren’t necessarily vegan. These brands can’t always guarantee that the glue they use is not derived from animals.
Camping in the Cold? Pay Attention to Your Clothing
During the summer, the temperature can dip a little at night. However, in most instances, you are unlikely to need anything more than a sweater or jacket and a thick pair of socks. In the winter, however, it is an entirely different story.
Once summer has passed, you need to think more carefully about the jackets you will be wearing. This is important for vegans since there are many jackets out there that are filled with down for insulation. Thus, you need to make sure you select a synthetic version instead.
There is a silver lining here for vegans. First, as with sleeping bags, synthetic jackets offer many advantages. Most importantly, this isn’t a material that gets wet or damps quickly. So, you will be well-protected, even in a drizzle. Furthermore, synthetic jackets are a lot easier to care for as well, so it’s okay if you get a little dirt on yours.
When looking for a synthetic jacket, it is best to head straight to a company or brand that specializes in outdoor clothing. These often use top-notch patented technology. As a result, they are designed to keep you warmer and drier, regardless of the outdoor conditions.
Make sure to keep an eye out for the following terms when shopping around. These would let you know that a jacket is made from a synthetic material:
- Polartec Alpha
- FullRange Insulation
Vegan Camping Cooking
Of course, you simply can’t forget about food on a camping trip. Now, the key to stress-free (and delicious) mealtimes is planning and preparation. So, before you head out on your trip, figure out what you are going to make for every meal.
If you are only going to be spending a night or two outdoors, then you aren’t going to want to pack too many supplies. As a result, your “stove” is going to be rather primitive. Due to this, it is best to limit the amount of cooking you need to do.
In case your camping trip is going to be a bit longer, you may want to take a portable stove with you. Naturally, it is going to be easier to cook on this setup. Despite this, you should still stick to recipes that can be cooked within a short period of time. Since people tend to be more active on camping trips, they are also more likely to be hungrier as well.
For breakfast, oatmeal, or powdered vegan eggs is an excellent go-to option. The ingredients for these recipes travel well and don’t take up too much space, either. For a to-go snack, granola bars and fruit leathers are a tasty, quick meal. To cut down on preservatives and unhealthy additives, you should consider making yours beforehand.
For the other meals, consider hardier vegetables that can be easily grilled. This way, you can make quick and easy kebabs. Don’t forget plenty of seasoning to add a tasty kick to these skewers. Soups, stews, and vegan chili is an excellent way to go too. And, if you want to cut down on the dishes, opt for some veggie tacos!
The one thing that you absolutely can’t omit on a camping trip is s’mores. This treat can be veganized pretty easily with the help of honey-free graham crackers, dark chocolate, and vegan marshmallows. So, they should definitely not be left off of your list!
Practice Eco-Friendly Camping Tactics
It is important to have zero impact on your surroundings. As such, when you leave your campsite, there must be no trace of you ever having been there. However, this can be easier said than done. So, it is essential to keep sustainability in mind when camping.
To begin with, limit how many plastic and single-use items you bring. This way, you will not need to throw away much. Also, carefully measure out how much food to bring and prepare for your camping trip. This will cut down on how much food will go to waste.
If you have set up camp near a lake or stream, make sure to stay far away when washing dishes, bathing, or even brushing your teeth. It is crucial to make sure that no soap or unnatural substances enter the body of water.
Last but not least, make it a point to keep your distance from local wildlife. While it can be exciting to spot a deer or a rare bird, you shouldn’t approach them. Instead, back away when you notice that you are in the presence of wildlife. By doing so, you can avoid the possibility of disrupting their routine in any way.
There are some differences to abide by when camping as a vegan. This is certainly not a bad thing, however. By adopting plant-based, cruelty-free, and sustainable practices, you can enjoy nature without harming it in any way.
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