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Ensuring that you’ve packed the right equipment when you’re camped out in the wilderness, or even in a relatively civilized camp site, can make or break your eco escape.

While sleeping out under the stars once involved bivouacking with the materials close at hand, the pursuit of a rural retreat has become big business.

However, while there are certain aspects of camping that require specialised equipment, there are a number of homemade and ethical additions that can enhance your night out in the wild and reduce the footprint you leave behind.

Here are six of our favourite eco friendly camping essentials that you can make at home.


Tom Allen’s viral video of his beer can camping stove shows a superb way to reclaim an everyday object that has served its original purpose, and give it new life.

This 7 minute how to will show you that all you need to cook some supper when you’re out in the sticks in a beer can, a pocket knife and some pure alcohol or a high proof, low cost spirit such as vodka.



Campfire Orange Cakes by Food Beast

Pre-prepare a small tub of your favourite gluten free/chocolate/fruity cake mix at home and pop it in your pack with a nutritious orange.

Eat the orange when taking a breaking from hiking out to your camp site, and then fill the skin with the cake mix, wrap it in foil, and cook it in the campfire for around 30 minutes.

The result? A single portion of cakey goodness that will fill your tummy and remind you of home!



DIY Solar Pack by Kajnjaps

Instructables user Kajnjaps has come up with a solution to charging your electronics when you’re out in the wilderness. Navigating you through the steps required to build a detachable solar panel for your backpack, this is the ultimate in eco friendly essentials.

Able to charge or power any gadgets you might take with you on your camping trip with clean energy straight from the sun, his innovative invention will give you the power to roam free!



Eco friendly body wash by Life Bliss Solutions

While we all try and be as green as possible it is easy to forget that the products we wash away down the drain when we shower, can have a negative effect on the surrounding environment.

Chances are that if you’re camping out in the wilderness you’ll be utilising Mother Nature’s abulution block – ie a river or lake – to keep yourself smelling sweet, so stick to all natural toiliteries or make your own!

Matt & Betsy from DIY Natural have whipped up a yummy honey body wash that’ll wash away the day without polluting the beautiful landscape you’re exploring.

Simply put the following ingredients into a bottle, shake vigorously and dispense into your palm as required.

  • ⅔ cup liquid castile soap
  • ¼ cup raw, unfiltered honey
  • 2 teaspoons oil – grapeseed, jojoba, sweet almond, sesame, or olive
  • 1 teaspoon Vitamin E oil
  • 50 – 60 drops of your favourite essential oils



Honeybee with lavender by Ryan Wick

The active ingredient found in most store bought bug sprays is known as DEET. Toxic to numerous species of wildlife and linked to neurological problems in children and adults as well as agitating those with sensitive skin, it’s pretty nasty stuff.

So, hands up who wants to spray themselves with a dose each time you camp out?

When the alternative is itchy and painful red lumps it can be tempting, however there are natural alternatives that smell 100% better and pose no threat to you, your family or the environment.

Wellness Mama has a great recipe of essential oils that’ll knock those pesky mosquitoes for six and keep them out of your camp.

1 x 32 ounce bottle of Apple Cider Vinegar

2 x TBSP each of dried Sage, Rosemary, Lavender, Thyme and Mint

At least quart size glass jar with airtight lid

Put the vinegar and dried herbs into large glass jar.

Seal tightly and store on counter or place you will see it daily.

Shake well each day for 2-3 weeks.

After 2-3 weeks, strain the herbs out and store in spray bottles or tincture bottles, preferably in fridge.

To use on skin, dilute to half with water in a spray bottle and use as needed.

Use whenever you need serious bug control!

You can also tie together some dried sage leaves and toss the bunch into your campfire to create a mosquito free zone around the fire.



Egg box fire starters by Life Hacker

Negate the need for those noxious chemical ridden fire starters and make your own at home.

Over the winter months save up the lint that collects in your dryer, collect some candle stubs and an egg carton and away you go.

Fill each cavity of the egg carton with lint and then pour over melted wax. Once the wax has set tear the carton into individual segments and place in a zip lock bag ready for your next camping trip.


When you’re sleeping in the great outdoors there’s nothing better than utilising nature’s bounty to provide you with everything you need. These clementine candles are the perfect addition to a roaring campfire, especially if you’re out under the stars with your loved one.

Maxwell at Apartment Therapy has created an instructional video to illustrate exactly how to make these fruity lanterns.

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Do you have your own DIY eco friendly camping essentials to share with us?

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31 Responses

  1. Carol Henshaw MB CHB MD

    Deet outperforms all other homemade/citronella alternatives (even if they smell better) if you really want to avoid mosquitos and other insects. The relatively small amounts absorbed are not going to cause serious harm. Also, if you are in a malaria endemic area, don’t forget to take antimalarials

    • Charli Moore

      Thanks Eva! It was a great fun to put together. We’ve yet to try the beer can camping stove, but we’re on the look out for an opportunity to camp out in the wilderness and give it a go!

  2. Susie

    I love bug block by Dr. Schulze it’s 100% pure organic with wild harvested pure plant essential oils. Great for the outdoors!

  3. Katie Featherstone

    Really interesting tips- I’ve come across people travelling with just the beer can stove for months! Thank-you especially for the river friendly body wash. I’d been meaning to research that. 🙂

  4. Mandrew

    Awesome! We’ve been looking for a decent alternative to DEET. We’ll be trying this out on our upcoming two week long Yukon River canoe trip. Hope it works =)

    • Charli Moore

      Great! You’ll have to let us know how it stacks up against the chemical alternatives in such a wild and remote location!

  5. Beth

    Might have to try that DIY body wash, even though I’m not going camping! I’m a huge fan of DIY, so thanks for this.

  6. Jenna

    Awesome tips! The solar powered pack is in interesting concept–it would be nice to have power when camping off the beaten path! I’ve never thought about making my own body wash either–sounds like a fun thing to try!

    • Charli Moore

      Thanks for your comment Jenna. I agree, the solar powered pack does seem like a great concept and we will definitely be adapting one of our day packs to harness the power of the sun when we travel.

  7. Megan Claire

    Great tips! I love the make your own body wash idea – had never considered or heard of that, but we go camping so often that this will come in really handy! Great post!

  8. Maria

    Awesome tips, can’t wait to put them in practice on our next camping trip. Probably not the backpack solar powered battery though, looked through the steps to build it and my brain nearly exploded!

    • Charli Moore

      haha! Well I’m sure with a little patience you’d manage it! Especially if it gave you the power to camp out in the wilds for longer!

  9. Maria from Nerd Nomads

    Great tips! Thanks! Will definitely try to make the honey body wash and mosquito spray! And the clementine candles seems so cool and smart! Will try it out on my next camping trip back home in Norway.

  10. Oliver

    I adore Tom’s wee can stove! I also like the diversity of the idea shared in your post, ranging from the “nerdy” to the most natural and practical… Excellent!

  11. Hilda Hurtel

    Question really, we could not wait to make the stove. Ours would not stay lit. It was crimped and the flame would come out the vent until we put the coffee pot on then it went out.

  12. Carmen

    Great tips – learnt the lint one last year and love it. Didn’t know about the other ones though – will need to try them the next time we go camping.
    Did you receive my email btw Charli?