The accessibility of water can make or break any outdoor adventure. When there’s a free flowing stream mere yards away from our campsite, we don’t think about how important our water resources are. But when you haven’t seen an obvious water source all morning, and that Nalgene seems like a glass half empty, you become acutely aware of how scarce water can be. That’s why as stewards of the outdoors, it is crucial for us to care for these water resources as we travel through the backcountry and the front country. Let’s use some of the principles of Leave No Trace to discuss how we can care for our water.
Plan Ahead And Prepare
Before you head out the door for your next expedition, take a minute to research what kind of water resources are available to you during your travels. Water might be so plentiful that you might get away with bringing just a water bottle or two. Or water might be hard to come by. Having a Camelbak and a few water bottles to carry extra water could be prudent. Tailor the gear you’re bringing with you to the experience you want to have.
Travel And Camp On Durable Surfaces
There’s something so serene about falling asleep next to a babbling brook, but it’s not the best idea. To preserve riparian zones, you should camp at least 200 feet away from a water source like a river or stream. By camping on hard surfaces like rock, dry grass or snow, you’re preventing the degradation of these valuable resources. Not only that, by camping away from water sources, you’re making sure that your wild neighbors like deer, marmots, and bears can have access to drinking water too.
Dispose Of Waste Properly
In the front country, there’s no question as to how and where we dispose our waste. That candy bar wrapper gets tossed into the trash can, and you’ve got a toilet nearby for all the waste you made the natural way. Most anywhere you go in the front country will have these receptacles for you. But in the backcountry, it can change between environments. Deep in the mountains of Grand Teton, digging a simple cathole might be enough to dispose of your waste. But paddling down the Green River might mean you need to bring a portable toilet with you. Most importantly, don’t treat water sources like an outdoor toilet! By urinating or defecating into a water source, you could be turning that pond into a prime spot for diseases like giardia to propagate. This could damage the water source’s ecosystem, and make it dangerous for use by other backpackers. And as always, when it comes to food, trash, gear, and clothing, anything you pack in, you should pack it out again.
Leave What You Find
It’s important to leave these natural places the way you found them. It might be tempting to make a log bridge over that stream, but it could have long-lasting impacts that you won’t be aware of. It could prevent the free flowing of that stream, and cut off water supplies to plants and animals that need it to survive. Leave rocks, plants, trees, and artifacts the way you found them. Not only does that protect the resource, it gives the backpacker behind you to experience that same sense of discovery that you had.
The principles of Leave No Trace can be used in the backcountry or your backyard. They are an easy, and essential part of caring for our water and other natural resources. We at Infuze practice these same principles when we explore our world. And that’s why we don’t want your water enhancer to leave a trace in your Camelbak. Easily switch between plain water and flavored water with the twist of a dial. Our water infuser is the newest essential item on your packing list.