How to hike or run sustainably

TrailRunMag 10.02.2020

Five solid tips to help you stay green on your next adventure

Guest Post by
Sara Freeland, Freeland Hiking Co.

Love getting amongst the great outdoors but cringe at the thought of harming the environment in the process? If you were as horrified as me last year when the uproar sparked about the environmental damage caused by the quest for the perfect Instagram shot, then it might be time to consider your own impact a little more deeply.

Yes, you stay on track and would never trample a native for the ultimate selfie, but what about the next steps? What else can you do to stay sustainable on your next hike?

Here are my top 5 tips for making sure you have the smallest impact possible next time you hit the trail, based on the Leave No Trace principles followed by organisations and individual hikers around the world.

  1. Skip the campfire. Sure, it creates a mood, but it’s one of the quickest ways to mess up an ecosystem (not to mention the potential for it to get out of hand). Follow the rules always, and where possible, use a fuel stove with recyclable canisters instead to minimise your impact.
  2. Invest in quality gear. It lasts longer, saving you money and the world more landfill. Also, rent or share items you don’t use all the time – we recommend pooling with friends for big-ticket items or investigating to see if there are any share libraries in your area (like the awesome Toolo in the Blue Mountains).
  3. Dispose of your waste responsibly. I love the way Heather Porter’s Hike It Out campaign elevates this, encouraging commitment by hikers to leaving the wilderness in a better state than you found it by removing all rubbish we find along the way as well as anything we create ourselves.
  4. Better yet, cut down the waste you create in the first place. A couple of the ways I like to do it are by making my own trail mix from ingredients bought at a bulk food store, and transporting in a reusable container (no muesli bars = less packaging and sugar!). Using a reusable dry bag rather than plastic bags to keep things organised and dry. Separating out my compost and recycling as I go using RePete bags, to minimise the final amount that ends up in the bin.
  5. And lastly, but perhaps most importantly, leave what you find. The wilderness is a delicate ecosystem, so leave behind that beautiful flower, or vibrant feather, because really, the best bush souvenirs are memories. And maybe a responsibly taken selfie.

Freeland Hiking Co. is a different company – we have a major focus on minimal impact policies, to keep the environment wild, the way it should be. All those things we just talked about? We do them all, and more. Check out to find out more!