Do you have a favorite campsite that you return to each summer? Have you noticed any changes to the surrounding landscape during your last trip? What can you do to make sure that your spot remains as beautiful as when you found it?

Tentsile tree tents, a tent with literally no footprint, has truly taken conservation and preservation to heart. “If we’re all hanging out in trees, they can’t be cut down,” their founding philosophy states. On a global scale, Tentsile partners with three reforestation organizations—Arbor Day Foundation, Eden Projects, and WeForest—to plant three trees for every tent purchased. Together, they have planted 129,386 trees in Madagascar, Zambia, and the United States (Oregon).

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Additionally, the company has started a social media conversation surrounding reforestation with their #EchoChamberDisruption campaign. The goal of the campaign is to promote individuals, projects, and organizations that are making a difference in the effort to preserve Earth’s forests. If they can add stories to their followers’ newsfeeds that educate and inspire actionable impact, then their passion for conservation will go even further.

Tentsile also encourages individual action in the form of a partnership with Leave No Trace. Tentsile now includes a No Trace Kit with their whimsical tents, the goal of which is to protect the tree trunks that provide support for the tent. Tree wraps, tree protector straps, and chrome-plated carabineers allow you to string up your tent and avoid damaging the bark and integrity of the tree trunks. They have also begun an initiative to up-cycle retired tents into accessories, such as iPhone pouches and toiletry bags.

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Tentsile. Photo Credit: @TheRichardKelly, courtesy of Tentsile.

Camping is one of the best ways to explore and enjoy Colorado’s outdoor landscape and backcountry wilderness, so how can you get involved? Following the seven Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics camping principles when out in the backcountry will reduce the impact that we have on the landscape and will ensure that the wilderness remains in its pristine, untouched condition. After all, your footprints are all you need to leave behind, and your memories and a few snapshots are all you need to bring home.

Here are some of the key takeaways to incorporate into the planning of your next camping adventure and to remember when you’re out there.

Be Prepared

This may seem like an obvious principle, but it’s worth a reminder. Research the area you’re headed to before leaving home so that you can plan the route, bring the proper gear for weather and activities, and avoid times of heavy use to minimize the overall impact of your visit.

The Road Less Traveled is not always the most sustainable choice.

It can be tempting to bushwhack through dense forest or on mountainsides to seek out the best views and most secluded campsites. What campers often forget, however, is the impact their presence has on the untrodden land. Instead, choose to camp in previously established sites, on durable surfaces like packed dirt, dry grasses, and snow, and be sure set up your campsite at least 200 feet away from lakes, rivers, and streams to protect their fragile ecosystems.

If you find yourself in a remote destination with few other people (lucky you!), avoid camping in spots where you’re already seeing impact.

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Tentsile. Photo Credit: Sean Murphy, BOTE Paddleboards, courtesy of Tentsile.

Pack It In, Pack It Out

Don’t leave the next campers to pick up after you—your mom would be disappointed. Bring trash bags to pack out all leftover food, trash, and hygiene products.

Drop Everything

Photographs are really the only souvenirs you need from your camping trip. Potsherds and structures left behind by ancient peoples are now part of the natural landscape and should be left in place as well as natural objects like rocks and plants.

Ring of Fire

One of the pleasures of camping is sitting around a fire as the day winds down, talking about the day’s adventures. But a fire isn’t always necessary or allowed in the area that you’re camping. A lantern in place of a fire can have a similar ambiance and cookstoves can take the places of coals. When you do make a fire, use established fire rings and don’t fall asleep until the fire has completely gone out and turned to ash.

Back away from the moose.

Wild animals are just that—wild. They’re really not interested in you unless you’re bothering them in some way. If you bump into wildlife on the trail, observe them from a distance. At night, secure your food in a airtight bear canister or hoist your food high into a tree out of reach of hungry animals below. Additionally, if you decide to bring Fido along with you, know that he is infinitely more curious about the animals than you are. Protect him and the animals by making sure he stays by your side.

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Tentsile. Photo Credit: Ben Read Photography, courtesy of Tentsile.

You know we’re all about that bass… Except in the backcountry.

Be courteous to your fellow campers. You might be out there to party, but others are out there to enjoy the sounds of nature and the peace that comes with a night under the stars. Respect their experience and give yourself a break from the noise and technology that inundates everyday life.

Be the Lorax. Speak for the Trees.

We are responsible for maintaining the integrity of the outdoor spaces that we all enjoy. For more information about how you can incorporate Leave No Trace principles into your outdoor adventures and how you can contribute to sustainability efforts in your local community, visit lnt.org.

What We Believe

We are driven by our deep respect for our environment, and our passionate commitment to sustainable tourism and conservation. We believe in the right for everyone - from all backgrounds and cultures - to enjoy our natural world, and we believe that we must all do so responsibly. Learn More