Iran Nomad ToursNomadsEco-Camping

What is Eco-Camping?

Eco-camping, also known as eco-friendly camping, green camping or sustainable camping is a type of camping in which campers try their best to protect nature, reduce their environmental footprints and respect wildlife. It includes considerations such as producing less plastic waste, no littering, using energy-efficient electrical appliances (if necessary at all), bringing simple food from home or procuring healthy food from regional producers, etc. It emphasises the fact that by merely setting up a tent in nature and enjoying mother earth’s blessings, one can’t profess that they are a nature lover. It is especially in such circumstances that this “love” can and should be put to the test; since love comes with care. True nature lovers are those who look after mother earth, not only for themselves but also for future generations. They understand that consumption is not a race and try their best to leave no trace.

Children and Eco-Camping

As important as eco-camping itself is the awareness spreading about it and teaching it to others, especially children. For the well-being of nature and its inhabitants (including humans), parents must pass on their knowledge about eco-camping to their children and raise them to lead sustainable lives. Children learn easily and whatever they’re taught at an early age usually sticks with them and is internalised in them for life; so the importance of eco-friendliness and sustainability doctrines is doubled for them. Children who learn about sustainability grow up to be considerate, responsible, and resourceful adults who make the most out of whatever they have and develop a sense of appreciation for it. They will be the ones who’ll stop to smell the roses instead of plucking them 😉

Tourists & the nomads setting up a tent

How can I Practice Sustainability While Camping?

The idea for eco-camping is leaving your campsite the way you found it or even better (for example by collecting the trash)! It’s about leading a healthy and harmonised life with nature. Since sustainability practices are not limited to camping, you can start applying its principles to everything you do. For instance, it can start from the moment you set your foot outside of your house to get to your campsite. Here you can apply sustainability to transportation through choosing a campsite near your home, to reduce fuel consumption (if you plan to go there by car) or ride a bike to reach there instead. Other sustainability tips and considerations for eco-camping include:

An orange camping tent in a vast nomadic pasture in the Zagros mountains

Setting up your tent:
Sustainable camping includes, among other things, using a tent that is made of recycled material and locating it where the ground is flat and suitable enough already. Try not to clear a spot for your tent by cutting tree branches, plants, or bushes, or moving rocks. Treat the place as such that when you leave it, it feels like you’ve never been there. Remember: Leave no trace!
Washing and Cleaning:
Cleaning products usually contain harmful chemicals or ingredients that can pollute the soil, water, or air. That’s why it’s better to use natural, biodegradable, and organic alternatives and choose soaps, shampoos, detergents, etc that are sustainable and safe, both for the body and the environment. It’s important to remember that cleaning oneself and one’s clothes and tools shouldn’t result in polluting the earth. We shouldn’t even separate ourselves and our cleanliness from that of nature’s. Such is the idea of eco-camping.
Food and Water:
Simple organic, local food with the minimum preparation or packaging effort that does not require refrigeration or much cooking/heating is an ideal option for eco-camping since it will be a step toward saving time, energy, and resources. Packing reusable utensils, containers, glasses, bottles, etc is highly recommended as well for a more sustainable way of camping.
For cooking purposes in the process of eco-camping, it’s better to consider using a camp stove or solar cooker rather than relying on fire. But for other camping needs, you can use a fire pit, ensuring that you reuse an already established fire pit or ring (already in the campsite). Refrain from starting a fire directly on the ground or in close proximity to flammable substances. Use solely dry and deceased wood discovered on the ground or the surrounding, and avoid cutting down branches or trees. Maintain a small and manageable fire, extinguishing it entirely before departing or retiring for the night.
Other humans, animals, plants, etc… :
In Persian, there is a saying that goes like this:
شهرِ ما خانه‌ی ما
Shahr-e mā, khāneye mā
(Literally: our city, our home)
Which means that one should treat one’s city (any surrounding, be it city, country, etc) like one’s home. Just like we don’t litter at home and clean up the house, we should practice hygiene in the outdoors as well. Now when it comes to eco-camping, this saying can be implied in the sustainable practices of not littering, not leaving any trash or food unattended in the wild, not feeding or hurting the close-by animals, not plucking flowers, etc.

Kooch & Eco-Camping

Kooch, the nomads’ seasonal migration, is known to be the closest way of living to mother earth. Almost everything goes ahead in accordance with nature’s rhythm and we follow the nomads’ way of life which has been living such a lifestyle since 10000 years ago. But it doesn’t mean that the nomadic lifestyle is 100% based on the principles of eco-camping. There are a few cases where the nomads have distanced themselves from their ancient way of living, affected by modernity & what has reached them from cities, and in each trip we try to have mutual learning from each other.