The Green Guide to Low-Impact Hiking and Camping (The Countryman Press, 2016), by Laura and Guy Waterman is a necessary tool for any outdoorsman or woman. Laura and Guy Waterman teach readers about the value that a few small contributions can have on the land. With their suggestions, they also teach readers how to achieve each task. The following excerpt is located in Chapter 10, Low-Impact Camping: Swinging in the Woods.
The advantages of the combined innovations of hammock plus dispersing into the woods are legion:
1. Loads are lighter to carry, by several pounds.
2. Camp is easier and quicker to set up.
3. Camp can be set up anywhere (except above treeline, of course)—the weary search for level, smooth tent sites is over.
4. No roots will stick into your back all night.
5. No other people will be around (ah, solitude!), because it’s so easy to set up off-trail, out of sight.
6. There is no risk of theft when you’re gone, because only you know where your “camp” is.
7. No well-trained “wild” animals will be waiting to raid your pack at night, like those that inevitably take up residence at shelters (though you still have to guard food against chance passerby squirrels and other potential marauders).
8. You won’t have to deal with caretakers, restrictions, fees, crowds, and other hassles.
9. You will help reduce the pressure for more regulations, sure to come about if we all continue to squeeze into already overcrowded campsites.
10. You will be part of the solution, not the problem.
Perhaps the most satisfying thing about practicing low-impact camping is the experience of trying a new approach. Once again, a major theme of this book is to open our minds, to take a fresh look at problems and solutions, to think.
It’s easy to fall into a rut of maintaining the same camping patterns—head for the same good old shelters, build that heartwarming campfire. But once these routines are thoroughly mastered, they can become dull, and you can become set in your ways. “Powerful indeed is the empire of habit,” wrote the Roman Publilius Syrus. Trying new camping habits can be a satisfying and rewarding experience.
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