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The Ultimate Guide to Vegan Camping

From s’mores and hiking boots to cruelty-free sunscreen, our vegan camping guide readies you for an adventure into the wilderness.

With summer’s beautiful weather and longer days, there’s no better time to plan a weekend getaway in the wilderness than now. Camping offers the perfect opportunity to get in touch with nature and live simply, away from the rush of civilization. Whether you’re into roughing it in a tent and sleeping bag or going glamping in an air-conditioned RV, you don’t want to forget your vegan ethics at home. To ensure you have the best cruelty-free camping trip ever, we’re highlighting a few of our favorite foods, supplies, and essentials to ensure you have a peaceful weekend in nature. 

The gear
If you plan to camp where the temperature dips at night, make sure to bring a warm sleeping bag to avoid shivering throughout the night. Some sleeping bags are made with down or wool, but REI offers a selection of sleeping bags—made only from synthetic fibers—that will keep you cozy all night long. If you plan on hitting the trail, a sturdy pair of hiking boots are a must. Without proper shoe wear, you put yourself at risk of injuring your ankles or having aching feet due to lack of arch support. To remedy this, we suggest Eco Vegan Shoes’ All Terrain Pro Waterproof Hiker, Vegetarian Shoes’ Approach Mid, and Merrell Women's Capra Sport Gore-Tex hiking boots to keep your feet and ankles supported during wilderness treks. When trekking in the outdoors, you’ll also want to have a cruelty-free backpack to hold your water, snacks, and any other necessities. Mountain Smith’s Lariat Backpacks are 100-percent vegan and come with a lifetime warranty, so you can be sure they’re made to last for many trips.

The food
Camping food is all about low-maintenance meals that don’t require kitchen appliances and can be thrown together with a few basic ingredients. Still, that description doesn’t have to equate to endless PB&Js and protein bars. For a fun and simple breakfast, bring VeganEgg to whip into a scramble or sandwich, as it requires no refrigeration and comes in a travel-friendly powder form. If you want to go a bit more gourmet as you fuel up for your day, make this Campfire French Toast, which requires mixing only a few ingredients before your trip. When the day draws to a close and your stomach is ready for dinner, get the campfire roaring, and toss some veggie and seitan kebabs on the grill, or indulge in summer camp nostalgia with Red Lentil Sloppy Joes. As the sun sets, pull out a bag of Dandies marshmallows, your favorite fair-trade vegan chocolate bar, and honey-free vegan graham crackers to make s’mores while you tell spooky ghost stories.

Other essentials
Camping isn’t just about food and clothes, which is why you’ll need to have a few more basics with you to make your trip as enjoyable as possible. First, when you sling up a hammock at your campsite, don’t forget to apply cruelty-free sunscreen to protect your skin and avoid dealing with the pain of a sunburn later. One downside to camping in the summer can be the mosquitos—especially if you’re near a lake. To keep away the bugs in a cruelty-free manner, use a vegan bug spray or a mixture of essential oils such as citronella, peppermint, lavender, and eucalyptus oil. Finally, you’ll want to pack your own plant-based hand sanitizer or hand soap because your bathroom options might be limited (or not ideal), and your trip will be much more enjoyable if you stay clean and comfortable. 

Sarah McLaughlin is an editorial assistant at VegNews who loves exploring the outdoors and weekend camping trips.

Photo courtesy of Fresh Off the Grid

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