As fun as camping might be, it is always important to think about the environment as you camp. This means that you should always camp with the end goal in mind not to leave any trace of yourself behind. This eco-friendly mindset is becoming more and more popular nowadays and it couldn’t come at a better time now that so many visitors are exploring the wilderness.

If you love to camp, then it would be vital for you to remember to preserve and protect these sacred areas. Here are 7 rules you should live by when camping and caring for the environment.

Prepare Way Beforehand

Before camping, you should always prepare yourself way beforehand. This includes getting to know the area that you will be camping in and learning the camping and hiking rules that come with that particular area. It would also be advisable to travel with a small group and to avoid camping during peak seasons when a lot of people will already be in that same area with the same idea in mind.

Look for Durable Surfaces to Camp On

In a nutshell, this means looking for campsites and trails that are already established. It wouldn’t be advisable to come up with new campsites and paths of your own as this could disrupt the area and its purity. Plus, you could get lost.

Properly Dispose of Your Garbage

This is probably the most important rule of all. Basically, what you need to remember is not to leave things behind that weren’t there before. Also, if you need to dispose of any human waste, make sure you bury it 8 inches into the ground and 200 feet away from bodies of water.

Leave Nature Be

As tempting as it might be to bring plants and rocks back with you from a campsite as souvenirs of some sort, you have to leave nature be. In other words, try to avoid bringing non-native species to the campsite and transporting things out of it.

Reduce Campfire Impacts

Use fire rings that are established and bring a light and small stove with you. When you start a fire, make sure you burn it down to ash when you’re done, completely put it out and scatter the ashes around, as well.

Respect Wildlife

This is important for both the environment and your overall safety. No matter how intrigued you may be of a wild animal, resist the urge to feed it or follow it into the wild.

Respect Other Visitors

A lot of the time, you won’t be the only camper at your campsite, so make sure you respect everybody around you. Give way on the trail and keep quiet, as well, so that everybody can enjoy nature to the fullest.

While not leaving a trace is vital for anybody who camps and cares of the environment, you need to consider which ones you can follow after you figure out where you want to go.

If you plan on going somewhere primitive, for example, you might want to maintain a small campsite, stick together on new trails, and learn more about the animals and plants in the area before heading over there. If you plan on visiting a campground, on the other hand, you might want to make it a point to give other campers their space, yield to them, put your fire out completely and clean your site afterward.

Of course, you may want to backpack, too. In this case, try trekking on existing trails, travel in a small group, get rid of your waste properly and keep your fires to a down low. Either way, you should not forget to respect all of the places that you visit and think about the environment at all times.