Sustainable Camping is a Mindset

Sustainable Camping is a Mindset

sustainable camping photography sunset tent wilderness

We sat down with Justin from Saperior Tree Sap Products to help write this blog and shed light on what sustainable camping means to him. 

Justin is a camping enthusiast and has spent years building his skills through bushcraft. 

What is bushcraft you ask? We had the same question for him! 

“Bushcraft is wilderness survival skills. It is about thriving in the natural environment, and the acquisition of the skills and knowledge to do so. Bushcraft has molded my mindset”

During our conversation with Justin we learned how bushcraft, entrepreneurship, and sustainability have many common threads. 

“Bushcraft is about rounding out all of your skills to get by with less. Making something new out of something else triggers innovation, reduces waste, and brings a sustainable creative mindset to the forefront. When you are in the bush you go out and ask yourself what can I use around me to make into what I need?”

This outdoor resourcefulness and attunement to nature is how Justin came across his obsession for pine resin in its many forms.

“I could use it on wounds, to start a fire, or seal a surface. Then I started asking myself what else could I do with this? How could I clean it and purify it and share the benefits with other people... That is how I got into skincare.”


What is Bushcraft? 

Bushcraft - survival skills for the forest

“When I think of camping - think of practice surviving. Thinking outside the box. I have learned a lot from that which is classified as bushcraft. Survival skills for the forest.”

10 C’s  - Things you can’t live without 

If you have a certain set of tools, then you have the capacity to make the tools for everything else you need. 

  1. Cutting Tools - choose one or two multipurpose tools - ax and saw a knife, or even a multitool like a leatherman. These tools could give you access to most of the C’s.
  2. Combustion Devices - ferro rod/magnesium rod, magnifying glass, and a full bic light should be the base of your fire kit.
  3. Clothing/ Cover - from the elements for on your body or above it along with many other uses
  4. Containers - cook, carry, conceal (ex. keep dry)
  5. Cordage - cords, binding material, paracord 
  6. Cotton - dries quickly, can be used for netting, can be used to create char cloth
  7. Cargo Tape - anything strong ex. Gorilla Tape. Great for patching, fixing and holding including wounds
  8. Compass - traditional or not, knowing your direction is critical knowledge
  9. Candling Devices - crank lights, something to give you light. Oils and fats 
  10. Canvas Repair Needles - something to fix stuff, clothing, netting, stitching wounds

    camping stove campground

    What does camping sustainably mean to you?

    “To me, sustainable camping is a mindset and an evolving awareness of the impact of our actions on the local environment.”

    “When you go camping you get to spend time in nature and build a connection with the thing we are all advocating to protect. I love bridging my love for bushcraft with camping with my friends at festivals. It is an opportunity to set an example, and be prepared as f*** all the time.”


    Camping Mindfully 101

    1. Respect the RULES of the campground

    • Camping can be a revolving door for tourists and is often how invasive species are introduced into new ecosystems. 
    • Be aware that some fish bait and fire starters from other places can have parasites or bugs that could devastate a new ecosystem. For example pine beetle, fish bait, and the European Wall Lizard (introduced in the 1800’s)
    • Don’t vandalize. Treat the land with respect

    2. Learn about your local environment 

    • Buy some books! 
    • Learn how to identify things in nature. Learn about the plants, trees, the birds, the local foods you can harvest from the forest! The list of things you can eat is huge, knowing even a few could save your a$$.

    3. Leave NO trace

    • It is impossible not to impact our environment - as humans that is what we do: we impact our environment. So all you can do is be considerate, be respectful, and understand your impact
    • Clean Up  - take out MORE than what you bring in 
    • Try to bring in less next time. 
    • Other people’s trash is just something you have to clean up.
    • Make the space cleaner because you were there. Make your mark, even if it isn't seen. 

    4. Plan Ahead

    • Think about the nature of camping you are participating in. Consider the cleanup and your waste streams. You must be your own recycling, garbage, compost, water, and energy manager. 
    • Reduce - Bring less in
    • Reuse - what you can
    • Recycle - everything
    • Leave - no trace 

      Shadow family camping

      What advice would you give to parents or friends who are wanting to change their camping lifestyle?

      “Make your camping experience a learning experience. Learn how to use things for more than what they are designed for.”

      Influence people to try and reuse and repurpose stuff that you already brought in to the campsite before disposing of it. 

      “If you have your can from soup, instead of just getting rid of it, suggest to the kids or group how they can find another use for it.”

      Camping is a chance to be creativeBecause then you are creating something bigger. Spawning creativity and innovation from the materials you have available - that is the answer!

      Trigger the mindset - the way of thinking - how can we reuse? - how can we repurpose? An empty can isn't just trash, it's a container, a lantern, a bailer, a collector, an instrument. Those are a few, but what if you open both ends of the can?

      You have to start looking at things in a different way, stop being so throw away-ish. Ask yourself "how can I make something from nothing" "how can I create what I need from what I have" You can make anything happen!


      What are the best survival skills you learned at a young age?

      “Knife control! Learning how to use and handle a knife and to understand that it is a tool, not a toy, because it is essential to our survival in the bush. I used to just widdle for hours making spoons and tools."

      Fire building techniques and safety is also very important to understand, I've made mistakes, I've had tons of difficulty, but I keep practicing.

      I learned about pine resin and really started getting into that, probably 10 years ago or more, hard to say. The amount I've learned, I find incredible. The amount of times I set fire to an entire batch of raw resin I was trying to purify, is scary, including almost burning my beard off, or setting fire to everything around me. The burns were and still are endless. I never stop learning and adapting, but I will never win the burn battle. Comes with the territory.

      And Books! Learning how to identify stuff. And YouTube! I like Dave Catenbury - An American military guy who teaches bushcraft. Watch the show Alone"

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