Our favorite eco-friendly camping gear

By Eleanor Stanesby

A camping adventure is the best way to disconnect from day-to-day life and connect with the great outdoors on your vacation. While camping is a more sustainable choice of adventure travel, the impact on the environment is still ever-present if you haven't invested in the right gear to help lower your carbon footprint even further.

A cheaper price tag often influences our decision on which product to choose, but that low ticket price typically is for camping gear that isn't sustainable for the environment nor your wallet. No matter the season, camping products are prone to damage and wear after battling against inclement weather, which means cheaper gear will likely send you back to the store in no time.

If you've dug out all your camping gear and realized it might be time for an upgrade, become a more eco-friendly consumer with this selection of gear that will allow you to enjoy some conscious camping this year.

Camping stove

CampStove 2 by BioLite

If your heading off-grid, the BioLite CampStove 2 is the perfect way to toxic fumes while cooking your favorite camp meal. This wood-burning stove is a great alternative to gas stoves and will allow you to cook with cleaner air—producing 95% less smoke than a normal wood-burning fire. In just minutes, you can boil water with any renewable biomass found in the campground, and the excess energy can be used to charge any electrical devices, stored in an internal battery and used for later!

Camping utensils

RePEaT Utensil Set by To-Go Ware.

Avoiding buying and using plastic for a camping trip is a great step towards sustainability. In doing so, you're both cutting down on your plastic usage and protecting any wild animals from plastic waste being left behind on accident. The RePEaT Utensil Set by To-Go Ware is the perfect substitute for all of your cooking needs. Made from responsibly sourced bamboo, this set includes a knife, a fork, a spoon, and chopsticks, and it comes with a handy carabiner, so they can be easily clipped onto your backpack.

2-in-1 lantern and phone charger

PackLite Hero 2-in-1 Supercharger by LuminAid.

If you're out in nature, lack of light can be a problem, and finding a product that will last for the duration of your trip is vital. The PackLite Hero 2-in-1 Supercharger from LuminAid is the ultimate solar-powered lantern—both illuminating your campground, with its 300 lumens, and charging your smartphone simultaneously.

Before you leave, you can charge it via USB in just two to four hours via USB, and while on the road, all it needs are 16 hours of direct sunlight. This may seem like a long period of time, but never fear! The lantern can be clipped onto your backpack during the day to soak up all the solar power you'll need come nightfall. It's also water- and dust-proof, so no matter what type of adventure you're planning, lighting your tent or campsite will never be a problem again.

Fire starters

Sweetfire Tinder Matches by UCO Gear

Starting a fire with chemical-filled, toxic fire starters can have a big impact on the environment, releasing unnecessary and harmful chemicals into the atmosphere and contributing to global warming. These Sweetfire Tinder Matches by UCO Gear are strikeable fire starters made from a sugarcane byproduct—an ingredient used worldwide as a form of renewable biofuel—and are biodegradable. The matches have a burn time of seven minutes, which is more than enough time to get a campfire started no matter where you're camping. This no-chemical product means you're also avoiding adding any toxicity to the food you're eating, making them an all-around win-win.

Sleeping bag

Trestles 15° Sleeping Bag by Marmot

A sleeping bag is a true essential of a camping trip, and choosing the right one is crucial to guarantee a comfortable night's sleep and prepare you for the next day's adventures. This Trestles 15° Sleeping Bag by Marmot is designed for sub-par temperatures with synthetic insulation, has moisture resistance, and is lightweight for portability, but it is also made from 100% recycled materials. You are sure to sleep soundly knowing all of this!


Curious to know more about ecotourism and supporting our environment while you travel? Check out these incredible upcycled accommodations around the globe for inspiration for your next vacation!

Upcycled accommodations: The most creative way to ecotravel

By Arran Wallace

Everyone's heard of recycling, but you might not have heard of upcycling. Whereas recycling extracts waste materials from something in order to be used again in the same way, upcycling is the process of using those waste materials to create something even better than what it was before. The graphic below from Hipcycle.com shows the difference between recyling and upcycling with a classic waste product—a wine bottle.

Upcycling is a great way to minimize our impact on the planet, as well as create something new and exciting, and our Glamping Hub hosts definitely agree. We have properties around the world that are crafted from a variety of different and unexpected materials—from a vintage Boeing airplane to repurposed boats that double as an ever-evolving art installation.

Check out some of our fantastic upcycled accommodations that will give you a creative way to embrace ecotravel.

U.S.

Upcycled Shipping Container Transformed into Luxury Accommodation, Florida

This creative accommodation in Florida is the perfect place for a truly unique glamping experience. It is made up of three, ocean-going shipping containers that were no longer able to be used and which would have otherwise been melted down. The exterior has a rustic feel, but the interior is anything but—with comfortable beds, a fully-equipped kitchen with a breakfast bar, and French doors that overlook the beautiful Loxahatchee River.

Eclectic Eco-Friendly Vacation Rental for Five in Round Top, Texas

This upcycled shipping container in Texas goes the extra mile by using old lumber from a Kentucky distillery, salvaged glass from a Philadelphia school, cabinets from a Brooklyn laboratory, and countertops made from old bowling alley floors in Texas. The host, Matt, has been antiquing from young on and has a fascinating story to tell, which we captured when he was our Host of the Month last October!

P.S. Check out more fun shipping container accommodations here in Missouri, Colombia, and Portugal.

Amazingly Unique Getaway Made from Repurposed Boats near Shoshone, California

Located near the Mojave Desert in California, this accommodation is actually an ever-evolving art installation created by a collective of artists, whose purpose is to combine luxurious interiors and fine art using repurposed materials. Promoting sustainable design, visitors remark that staying here is like entering the mind of one of the artists.

As well as being visually impressive, guests can stay in comfort here, with features such as comfortable beds for four guests, Wi-Fi access, a flat-screen TV, and a charming outdoor space to enjoy the Californian sunshine. It was also featured in the music video for Calvin Harris and Dua Lipa's song "One Kiss," so head to YouTube to check it out!

Cozy Lofted Rental for Four in Repurposed Barn near West Jefferson, North Carolina

This gorgeous cabin tucked away in the woods of North Carolina, near the Cherokee National Forest, is made from a refurbished barn. This accommodation is unique both for the history that runs through its walls, as well as for the natural spring found nearby.

Discovered in 1883, the local farmers found that after drinking from the spring, the poison ivy sores on their hands disappeared. Soon, the spring was receiving as many as 300 visitors a day, rumored to cure all sorts of ailments, from rheumatism to indigestion. Nowadays, the farm is still running, providing beef, pork, and poultry to the local area, and guests can even help with the daily farm chores!

Converted Grain Silo for Unique Glamping Accommodation in Alvin, Illinois

Dating back to the 1950s, this getaway used to be a storage container for grain for the Illinois farm upon which it's located. The container was used up until the 1970s, when it changed location to be used on a different farm, though it's recently returned to its original location, albeit no longer needed for its practical use.

Today, the grain container is a beautiful rural getaway, featuring a sleeping loft, a comfortable front porch, and an upper deck that offers vistas of the most incredible sunsets. An added bonus to staying at a farm-based upcycled accommodation? You'll not only be helping support U.S. agriculture—you'll also be staying on a piece of living history.

P.S. Over in Tennessee, we have another accommodation made from a not just a grain silo, but also a 100-year-old barn!

Stunning Riverside Cabin Crafted from Recycled Materials near Cockaponset State Forest, Connecticut

Located in Chester, Connecticut, between the Connecticut River and Cockaponset State Forest, this stunning, riverside cabin has been crafted from 80% recycled materials. The wood furnishings of the interior, coupled with the large amounts of natural light let in by the windows, give a warm and cozy atmosphere and an authentic cabin feel.

The crafted cabin is situated beside the Pattaconk Brook and features a breathtaking waterfall, giving guests the chance to really reconnect with nature. Although the cabin boasts incredible natural surroundings, the cities of New Haven and Hartford are reachable in under an hour, and offer cultural activities like museums, theaters, and music venues, as well as opportunities for shopping and dining. For those looking for something a bit more relaxing, the coastline of the Long Island Sound is a 15-minute drive to the south.

Latin America

Unique Pipe Accommodation in Glamping Resort near Mexico City

At this resort, old concrete construction pipes have been used to create little glamping pods, fitted with queen-size beds and storage units. These pipes would otherwise have been crushed up for their raw materials, but we think this is a much better idea! Not just a cool and original place to stay, they're also fantastically located just a few minutes away from the center of Tepoztlan, about 45 minutes south of Mexico City, on the other side of the mountain range. Other cool features that guests will love are the speedy Wi-Fi and an amazing infinity pool.

P.S. Check out these similar accommodations in Cambodia!

Unique Refurbished Vintage 1965 Boeing 727 Airplane, Costa Rica

One of our most unique accommodations, this two-bedroom tree house suite is made from a refurbished 1965 Boeing 727, which in a previous life shuttled travelers around the globe for a South African and then Colombian airline—until its final resting place in San José, Costa Rica. Decommissioned and wasting away in a hangar, it was taken apart piece by piece, transported to the tropical jungles of the Manuel Antonio National Park on Costa Rica's south coast, and reassembled in the tree canopy 50 feet above the ground.

At this height, guests can enjoy ocean and jungle views from the deck and try to catch a glimpse of sloths, toucans, monkeys, and more! Inside, from cockpit to tail, the interior and furnishings are made from luxurious teak, and up to six guests can stay among its two bedrooms. Guests will have access to a nearby hotel's swimming pool, all while being strategically located to enjoy the best of Costa Rica's fantastic biodiversity.

Europe

Unique Campervan-Style Vacation in a Converted Vintage Truck near Coimbra, Portugal

This great little accommodation is located in the back of an old Bedford truck. Bedford Vehicles stopped operating in 1987, so it really is a vintage accommodation! The back of the truck has been converted into a cozy living area, but it has much more than just a bed. You'll also find tables and chairs to relax in, an oven and a stove for preparing meals, and a heating unit to keep things toasty. The walls are made of canvas and can be rolled up to let a cool breeze roll through, and there is also a fire pit a few meters away to ward away the cold at night. (Head's up—this isn't a mobile accommodation, despite its appearance.)

Charming Cottage Made from Recycled Materials for a Unique Getaway on Madeira Island, Portugal

This charming cottage on the stunning Portuguese island of Madeira is itself a piece of art—every room boasts a unique touch. Beauty is combined with sustainability, with walls made of car glass, wine bottles, tree branches, and various types of stones. At sunset, the rays of the sun shining through the different colored glass creates a mesmerizing effect.

Outside, there are also many private areas and gardens for glampers to explore. Guests are welcome to enjoy the communal areas, which include a barbecue for some al fresco cooking, dining, and socializing while enjoying the enchanting mountain views.


Be sure to check out all of our eco-friendly collections for more incredible ecotourism options!

How Earth Day is celebrated globally

By Eric Wright

Vertebrate populations have decreased in size by 60% since 1970, 18 million acres of forests are cleared each year, and the Arctic ice melting at an alarming rate. The protection of our planet is now more important than ever, and appreciation of the natural world seems to be something that we as humans are finding hard to grasp, as we continually mistreat the most precious thing we have. It's time that we start to defend the oasis we live in, which provides our food, water, and air, and we need to learn to share our world with the all the other living creatures that inhabit it.

Earth Day was founded on April 22, 1970, as a way to increase consciousness about environmental concerns by founder Gaylord Nelson, a U.S. Senator from Wisconsin. In 1969, after a brutal oil spill wreaked havoc in Santa Barbara, California, Senator Nelson pushed for a "national teach-in on the environment," which eventually led to events all across the U.S. and 20 million Americans taking to the streets to display support for a sustainable environment.

Since then, the global situation has continued to deteriorate, as yet more wildlife habitats are lost forever, and pollution reaches terrifying levels. It's time for us to abandon our destructive ways and take responsibility to create a planet that can be a haven for both us and the thousands of wonderful living species that we share it with. It may seem a great challenge for us today as climate change lays waste to our small blue and green planet, but Earth Day is the perfect way for us to stand together in unison for the most important thing we have—Earth, our home.

Explore with us, as we find out how Earth Day is celebrated around the globe.

1. New York, U.S.

Earth Day's main aim is to educate people about our global environmental problems, and the rally in New York offers the chance to connect with companies using green initiatives, as well as learn more about environmental campaigns and green travel. The event is one of the biggest outdoor Earth Day celebrations and takes place in Union Square—comprised of festive events, live music, and ecological food trucks, all while raising awareness of the fragile state of our environment.

The 5-kilometer, eco-friendly walking tour is a great way to discover ecology schools and state-of-the-art waste and recycling centers, while the New York Botanical Garden showcases live music performances, parades, and tours that highlight the urgency to protect the world's plant species.

2. London, U.K.

Between Tuesday, April 16, and Monday, April 29, the Neoclassical Somerset House opens its doors with a two-week program that allows the public to enjoy interactive events and large-scale installations created by some of the best artists around the world. During the program, visitors will be able to discover ways to combat climate change, promote sustainable living, and attend family workshops.

Some of this year's highlights include exhibits such as a Dystopian vision of a future without humans; a flag and audio commission on the roof exploring the voice of the natural elements; and a large scale LED installation that brings together the voices of international activists, philosophers, and poets.

3. Sydney, Australia

For Earth Day 2019, Sydney is holding an incredible 24,901-mile challenge where event organizers will find out how many times participants can run the entire length of the equator. The challenge needs 415 participants to run at least 2 miles each day in April to make the distance around the equator at least once—calling all runners, joggers, and walkers!

Sydney will also have experts in clean energy talk about how companies and technology impact the condition of the planet. These experts in clean energy and environmental entrepreneurship will share their insights into how industries have an impact on the environment on April 23 at The Podium Building on Market Street.

4. Tokyo, Japan

Yoyogi Park in Tokyo sees over 100,000 Earth-conscious people gather each year to learn how to live more sustainably from various NPOs and speakers. Earth-conscious artists and musicians perform in the park over the weekend and visitors can find plenty of organic products and local business' explaining their respective green initiatives. One of the highlights of the celebration is the Tokyo Vegetarian Festival, which offers delicious, ecologically-sourced food.

5. Vancouver, Canada

Canada's "Party for the Planet" takes place from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday, April 13, at the City Hall Plaza in Surrey, where three stages offer live music and performances. For the kids, there's the Earth Day Pilgrimage to Burns Bog on Sunday, April 28, where more performers sing, dance, and drum as they walk through the gorgeous Delta Nature Reserve. This year, the free outdoor event features keynote speakers, poetry recitals, and music from the Susan Summers and the Sacred Web Singers, as well as Aline LaFlamme and the Daughters of the Drum.


Curious how you can give back this Earth Day? Hop on over to our recent post to find out where to volunteer this year!

How to garden sustainably

By Fred Jéquier

Photo from BBC's Monty Don.

What is sustainability?

Sustainability is never a simple thing to summarize in a brief description, but in 1987, the United Nations defined it as when "design, construction, operations and maintenance practices [...] meet the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs."

Photo from United Nations.

Sustainability has become an increasingly important issue in recent years, not just in the larger sense that the UN is working tirelessly to achieve for the betterment of people living in poverty, but also in our day-to-day lives. Whether it's recycling, riding a bike to work, or even reducing the amount of meat we eat, we're all trying to do our bit for the environment. But what about our gardening practices?

On the face of it, working on our gardens seems like a pretty environmentally-friendly activity, but whether we have the classic back garden, an urban community garden, or even a new-age roof garden, there are things that all green-thumbed people can do to ensure that their gardens are environmentally-friendly and continue to be sustainable—producing flowers, vegetables, and shrubbery for years to come—as well as working in harmony with the local environment.

Photo from The Spruce.

Here are some practical ways to make your garden more sustainable and environmentally-friendly.

1. Plant trees

Photo of a a man working with One Tree Planted.

Planting trees is one way to not only improve your garden aesthetically, but it also makes it more healthy. Trees actually store the carbon from the atmosphere that your soil needs to become more fertile and fruitful. Of course, not everyone's garden can necessarily afford to give up space for trees, so why not volunteer with a local organization planting trees in communal areas, such as parks and community gardens?

2. Use natural fertilizers

The use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides can have far-reaching consequences, according to a study by PETA.

To ensure our gardens and the habitats in them stay healthy, it is a good idea to try to avoid using synthetic fertilizers, and as much as possible, avoid using pesticides. Do you really want all those chemicals going from your vegetable patch to your plate? There are many other sustainable ways to help your garden thrive and grow—the most obvious of which is using compost. Filled with all the natural nutrients your garden needs, it's an eco-friendly way to keep your plant beds growing strong, and the beauty of it is you can make it yourself.

3. Composting

Photo from Earth Easy.

As we mentioned earlier, recycling is an important part of sustainability, and this includes our food and garden waste. By making your own compost, you're ensuring that all that leftover food and lawn clippings aren't simply ending up in a landfill somewhere. When making your own compost, you want to keep a balance between the brown and green plant matter, and you might be surprised as to what you can put in your mix.

To keep that good bacteria busy and active, the green matter is helped by grass clippings and kitchen waste. You can use your fruit peels, vegetables that are past their prime, and even coffee grounds. The brown plant matter is helped by shredded newspaper, wood chips, and dry leaves, so you can keep hold of yesterday's sports pages, and don't just bag up those leaves on the driveway when you've finished sweeping them up. Think of it as food for the garden!

4. Weed out the weeds

Every area has weeds that are native to it, and it's important to find out what may be growing in your area and during which season. Sometimes the worst garden weeds look like they're nothing more than wildflowers minding their own business, so it's important to know the difference. It's pretty tempting when you see evidence of weeds in your garden to get the herbicide out, but before you do that, there are natural ways to get rid of them. Tricks such as using salt, vinegar, boiling water, or simply removing them from the root can often be enough to a put a stop to them.

5. Diversity is key

When planning out your garden, try to get as many different species of plants as possible. Creating biodiversity is a good way to ensure that your prize flowers bloom for as long as possible, and keep coming back year after year. A wide range of plants also encourages local wildlife to visit your garden. Small birds and insects are an important part of a garden's life cycle, especially when it comes to pollination. Encouraging these habitats to spring up helps to keep your garden in ecological harmony with your surrounding environment.

6. Get the kids involved

As the old adage says, kids are the future. By getting your kids to help you in the garden and learning eco-friendly and sustainable gardening practices, it'll become second nature to them. No matter if it's at home, school, or in the local community, by teaching kids the right way to garden early on, you can make sure that they will continue to follow these practices as they grow older and start their own gardens.


Want to take sustainability to the next level? Expand your eco-friendly way of life to the day-to-day with some our favorite wellness tips!