Labor Day is already upon us. I know it snuck up. I know it’s not fair. I know we work all year and all we get is one lousy day off, right? On top of all that many of us are dealing with ever shrinking funds. That and a nagging conscience about carbon footprints makes many of us think twice about participating in that grand tradition of the Labor Day Campout. But fear not, a safe cheap and guilt free camping adventure is within your grasp.

First, take a look at your local city, county, regional, state, and (local) national park. You may find hidden gems at your doorstep, you never knew existed. The closer the better. Just be aware of fees and restrictions (think dogs, campfires, alcohol, etc.) Another way to turn your trip in to a fun and fulfilling adventure is to volunteer with one of many groups helping to clean up the environment for the future enjoyment of all.

The next step is preparation. In order to keep packing down, try to prepare your meals ahead of time and freeze them if you are car camping. That way it cuts down on potential waste at the campsite and your meals actually help keep the ice chest cold. Many companies offer eco friendly camping supplies, including recycled and organic gear. One good idea is to get yourself a Kleen Kanteen. They are BPA free, super rugged, and no warm plastic taste. Just make sure you bring organic biodegradable soaps and always take care of your poop. If you are looking to go backpacking, try to keep it ultra-light and self contained. Be prepared to load out as much as you load in. One classic adage of camping though is always leave your site better off than you found it. For ideas on how to accomplish this, check out Leave No Trace’s program.

The last and final step is getting there! If possible avoid spending the gas traveling far or with many cars! If you are traveling solo, check out a bus line. These are affordable, less stressful, are more environmentally friendly, and you can get some reading or work done on the way! And if you are really feeling adventurous, why not make  the bus your adventure! Remember the closer to home you camp, the less of an impact you have and the more in tune you can be.

So get out and enjoy that environment we all are trying to save,  celebrate your hard work with a relaxing labor day,  dnd don’t forget to bring the (vegan) Smore’s!