A big part of the joy of hiking comes from its simple ecological nature, using your own body’s power to slowly propel yourself through the wilderness, learning to live with less, become more resourceful, but also consciously learning to leave no trace. Another joy that comes with hiking is in the encounters we have with other like-minded individuals. Often it is in these encounters that we learn new ways of tackling common hiking concerns.
Here are just a few innovative and eco-conscious tricks from the trail;
Textured vegetable protein has become increasingly accessible in major supermarkets and makes for the perfect lightweight and quick-cooking vegan protein on the trail. Made from soy flour its protein content exceeds many animal proteins, has a good balance of carbohydrates, and is high in B vitamins and dietary minerals like phosphorus, magnesium and iron- all the things that the body needs to replenish itself after a tough day on the trail. TVP makes a wonderful plant-based bolognese or chilli sin carne and we have even seen some pretty mean TVP ‘beef’ burgers fooling the meat-eaters out there!
Sure, plastic zip-lock bags are super convenient for meal prep but there are now plenty of greener alternatives. Leading supermarkets offer a wide range of affordable bioplastic zip-lock bags or reusable silicone pouches. One of our favourites on the market are these feature added paper bags; that are fully sealable, plant-based ink and compostable. They also make for the perfect, and harmless, fire starter for your campfire.
The opportunity to wash dishes, bodies and clothes often revolves around a natural water source on the trail so it’s imperative that when choosing a soap it is biodegradable and safe for the environment. Instead of carrying serval soaps for all these uses why not find one that ticks all the boxes? For us, it has always been Dr Bronner’s Organic, Biodegradable soap. It’s highly concentrated allowing for greater cleaning capacity per millilitre but it also has infant uses, for body, hair, teeth, dishes, equipment, fruits and veggies and more.
Water is always a finite commodity on the trail but there is nothing more refreshing after a long day of hiking than to wipe away the dirt and grim before you crash into your sleeping bag. Baby wipes and face wipes are certainly convenient but they are another one of these single-use plastic items that are easy to avoid. A simple alternative is a small washcloth from home, with a mere cup of water and a few drops of tea tree oil. You will be feeling cleaner without creating any further unnecessary waste that you have to carry out.
For those who are opting for a slightly longer journey, nutrition is always going to be a focal point when making food preparations. Typically we cast aside all of our fresh food favourites because of their excessive water weight and lack of durability and switch to dried or dehydrated substitutes. These options rarely satisfy the crunch once you get out on the trail. So have you considered taking a few seeds to sprout along the way? It sure sounds a little far out to be growing your greens on the trail but it is incredibly easy! Repurpose one of your mesh produce bags and scoop up a cup of beans. We recommend mung beans- they are the easiest and the hardiest. To get them growing soak overnight in a cup of water. The following day hang them from your pack and let them absorb the sunshine’s rays, occasionally submerging in water to watch them grow. Within just a few days you will be sitting pretty and munching on fresh and nutritious sprouted greens. If you are looking to expand from just mung beans, Sproutie is a Melbourne based sprout subscription that will send you a range of different sprouts to test and try on a monthly basis. Perfect for finding the perfect hiking sprout for you.