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May 2005

Trail Cooking: The Low-Impact Kitchen

9 tips for Leave No Trace dining

It wasn’t long ago that many campers thought nothing of burying leftover stroganoff or soaping up dishes in the creek. Today, though, only the uninformed leave a mark. Practice these Leave No Trace (LNT) methods in your camp kitchen to keep the backcountry pristine.


Repackage foods in zipper-lock bags to minimize trash. Once empty, the bags can serve as trash bags, ditty bags, or waterproof socks.

Making camp

» Form a large triangle with your sleeping area, kitchen, and food cache in the corners about 100 yards apart, and make sure your tent is in the upwind corner. That way, if an animal hits one corner, it won’t necessarily get to the others, and food smells won’t lead it past your tent.

» Hang your food even when you’re not in bear country; squirrels, mice, and other varmints can be peskier than bears. Ideally, food should hang 12 feet off the ground and 4 feet from a tree limb or trunk. You’ll need about 50 feet of cord to do the job. And be sure to hang other odorous items like soap, trash, and toothpaste so they don’t attract unwanted visitors to your tent.

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