Holiday Gifts That Help You Achieve Leave No Trace Principles

For the extreme explorers, avid adventurists, or casual campers, learning the Leave No Trace principles is an important skill. There are seven core principles that apply to all your adventures. They help us enjoy our time outside in a responsible manner. Therefore, future generations get to experience the wonders of nature too.


PC: Romeo Ceaser

If you’re shopping for outdoor enthusiasts, here is a gift guide that will help them achieve Leave No Trace principles.

1. Plan Ahead and Prepare

Planning ahead encompasses checking off your gear list so you don’t forget anything. As well as, preparing for adverse scenarios, unpredictable weather, fire bans, etc. It’s essential to minimize your impact outside. The following gift ideas are all great to keep in your car or gear bin to be fully equipped.

  • • Headlamps like these ones from REI, are excellent to have in various places, including at least one in your car. Or, Solar Powered Lanterns like this inflatable one.
  • • Solar charging devices like this one from Goal Zero are easy to use. Not to mention, they can be a lifesaver in powerless situations.
  • • This AAA-Roadside Emergency Kit from Target has tools for almost every situation.
  • • Gift a set of reusable Silipints. They’ll never have to make a last minute purchase of single-use cups, bowls, or plates. They stack and pack without ever breaking. Heat-safe up to 450°F, the durability of these cups and bowls makes them very versatile.
  • • An assortment of Dry Sacks is very useful to “pack in and pack out” all your items. They safely hold all your gear and you can use them as sustainable, washable trash bags.

2. Travel & Camp on Durable Surfaces

An important principle of Leave No Trace is camping and hiking in areas that have already been impacted by human use. The organization believes that a good campsite is “found and not made.” Here are a few gift ideas that could help your fellow travelers follow this guideline.

  • • If someone has a few adventures planned, grab them trail maps or books about the areas they’re visiting.
  • • A National Park Pass would be a great gift for anyone who’s planning on several trips over the next year. The pass gives you access to over 2,000 federal recreation sites. Plus, free entry into National Parks and Wildlife Refuges.
  • • Another gift idea is a Scrim Cloth. These are great to lay down under high-use areas in your campsite like the kitchen and sleeping area. It allows dirt and sand to fall through but captures litter and food scraps for easy cleanup.

3. Dispose of Waste Properly

This principle is a guide to understanding what to do if your campground doesn’t have a bathroom. However, the following gift ideas are also great to minimize impact from garbage and wastewater.

  • • This biodegradable, environmentally-friendly soap from Sea To Summit is very versatile. It comes in hand soap, dish soap, body soap, and even laundry soap. In association with Leave No Trace guidelines, these soaps won’t harm the environment. Plus, their TSA-approved, perfect for travelers.
  • • For dishes, hand washing, and brushing teeth, these buckets and sinks from Sea To Summit are practical, compact, and easy to clean.
  • • Replace plastic water bottles, which are costly and unfriendly to our planet. Gift a reusable, refillable, water jug like this one from REI. Bonus, REI has a 100% satisfaction guarantee on their products.
  • • Ditch the single-use dishware and get a set of unbreakable Silipints. They’re anti-microbial, BPA-free, and safe for use with hot and cold. You can cook with them, reheat leftovers, and sip all your adventure beverages. All Silipint products carry a lifetime guarantee. There are sizes for everyone in the family!
  • • Plastic utensils are often flimsy and small pieces can break off and cause harm to wildlife. Instead, check out this set of 4 bamboo sporks, made from USDA certified organic bamboo, they’re anti-microbial and safe for the environment by nature.

4. Leave What You Find

This principle is a great one to teach your kids. Curious minds often lead to hands-on explorations. However, especially in the outdoors, not everything should be handled. There could be poisonous plants, unfriendly critters, or fragile habitats that we shouldn’t disturb.

  • • A great gift for explorers is a book on different species they might find in areas they live or travel to. When they’re out exploring, they can bring their book and mark down findings without disturbing nature.

5. Minimize Campfire Impacts

An essential part of planning ahead and preparing is knowing campfire rules. Whether there are fire pit rings in your campsite and wood to buy, or if you’ll need to go into the woods and gather your own. It’s also important to check the fire ban status.

  • • Have a backup plan to cook your food, in case you’re unable to build a fire. Here’s some advice from REI on how to choose a camp stove that suits you. Pair this gift with a few Mountain House Meals and the adventurer in your life will be ready for anything!
  • • Throw in a stocking stuffer set of unbreakable Glow-in-the-Dark Silipints for a one-of-a-kind surprise! They’ll “charge” during the day and illuminate your night with fun and laughter.

6. Respect Wildlife

Part of respecting wildlife is being prepared for them. Knowing what type of animals live in the area and how to keep them from coming into your campsite.

  • • Avoid attracting wildlife into your campsite by storing your food in a safe manner! Use bear bags or containers to keep your food secure. Another tip, don’t leave “natural trash” like orange peels and apple cores in your campsite. They are decomposable but not natural to the area, so you shouldn’t leave them there.

7. Be Considerate of Other Visitors

At last, this principle is a reminder that we are all guests in the outdoors. While you’re trying to enjoy your own unique adventure, so are the others around you.

The best way to be considerate of other visitors is to follow Leave No Trace principles as closely as possible.

  • • This comprehensive book from Leave No Trace is a great guide to mastering all seven principles.
  • • Or, check out these reference cards. Excellent stocking stuffers that you can buy for anyone.

If you’d like more information on the Leave No Trace principles, you can learn more here.

Adventure on, and Happy Holidays

No matter how you’re spending the holidays, we hope they’re filled with laughter and joy.

Cover Photo By: Chance Keso