Let’s be real: camping is the perfect summer adventure. You can roam as far as you like, or just pitch a tent in your backyard and relive the glory days of childhood. Wherever your vegan hiking boots take you, one thing is certain: camping requires the perfect balance of wanderlust and practicality. Armed with some tips for the ultimate vegan camping experience, you’ll be ready to set out into the wild blue yonder and discover all the wonders of nature—even if “nature” is just five steps from your back door.
1. Get the Gear
Live by the eco-creed “try before you buy.” Northern California residents can borrow a free camping kit stacked with gear such as a backpack, cookware, and tent from Alite Designs’ Ranger Station. Not in the area? No problem! REI has a nationwide rental system, and those in the Great White North can head to MEC for all matters material. But what’s an adventure without your furriest friend? Backcountry K-9 has all the gear to keep your pooch protected against the elements, including leashes, beds, and backpacks.
2. Set Up Camp
While we’re sure you can give Bear Grylls a run for his money, there’s no need to ditch your toiletries and forage for leaves instead. Toilet paper is a beginner camper’s salvation, so stock up on an earth-friendly brand like Ecos to keep your rear in gear. For those who find your daily cup of joe equally important, get your morning jolt before a hike with Coleman’s 9-Cup Coffee Percolator, which cycles boiling water through the grounds using gravity. Got some impromptu precipitation raining on your parade? Settle in for some fun at the tarp-covered picnic table with easily packable, space-saving word-game (and VegNews-editor favorite) Bananagrams. If you and your fellow campers really get into it, don’t let a lack of batteries stop the fun. Use Dynamo’s kinetic flashlight to keep the games going (or find your way back to basecamp).
3. Explore the Path Less Travelled
What’s camping without the obligatory hike? Trail-ready vegans can kick up dust in animal-friendly brands Keen, Merrell, and Wicked Hemp. As you tread, remember to hydrate and fuel. Vapur’s roll-up water bottles feature clips that easily hook to your backpack and stow away in seconds. When hunger pangs hit, be sure to stop for a bite, but don’t trust a hiker who doesn’t love granola bars! The anytime snack is abundant in flavor and chock-full of on-the-go-goodness. While you stop to take in the view, attach your camera to Alite Designs Twigpod, a tent-poled monopod that can stake in the ground anywhere you choose. Watch out for photo-bombing squirrels!
4. Dine in the Great Outdoors
Ready your roasting sticks, because campfire classics are getting a gourmet twist. For your main dish, coat your flame-grilled Field Roast Smoked Apple Sage sausages with OrganicVille’s Tangy Organic BBQ Sauce, and dress with kale slaw and walnut crumble. Chase your dinner with swigs from 21st Amendment’s Hell or High Watermelon Wheat Beer, but be sure to leave room for the mother of all campsite confections: grilled s’mores with strawberries and bananas. You might have to go find your wool-free hiking socks, because we’re sure they were just knocked off.
5. Relax Among the Redwoods
After you do the dishes in your Sea-to-Summit Kitchen Sink, remember: just because you’re camping doesn’t mean you’re not on vacation, so kick back in swinging fashion and chill out on one of Eagle’s Nest Outfitters’ Double Nest Hammocks. Bring out your cruelty-free, solar-powered “firefly” jar, take a sip from your Stanley Classic Flask, and repeat after me: “Ahhhhhhhh!”
Being a veg-friendly and conscious camper is easier than ever, so be sure you are well-equipped with weather-appropriate gear for you and your cuddly companions, stock up on good food and drinks to satisfy after a day in the sun, and carry that “hello, world!” mentality with you on your treks to keep your busy life in check. After all, you are here to be away from it all, so, be away from it all.