‘Leave Clean’ When Hiking

Hiking is all about enjoying nature at its most pristine, and we want to strive to keep it that way by making sure we ‘pack lean, leave clean.’ Enjoying the outdoors and leaving the smallest eco-footprint possible in the wilderness isn’t hard–but it does require planning. Here are tips on how to pack lean and leave clean when preparing for a hike. 

Prepare food in advance

One of the largest sources of garbage and recycling to pack out on a hike comes from food, from storage to meal preparation to light snacks. If possible, bring reusable cutlery and dishes and prepare homemade meals in advance to cut down on packaging. Store bought freeze-dried  meals can create a lot of plastic waste per serving, especially on a multiday hike. Plus, they are often easy to put together yourself, and much cheaper.  

Instead plan and prepare:

  • ‘One Pot’ meals:  Soups, hashes, burritos and stirfrys are all meals where the ingredients can go into a single pot, saving space and reducing packaging.
  • ‘No Cook’ meals: Meals that can be prepared in advance and don’t need to be heated not only reduce garbage and recycling, but also use no fuel.
  • Dehydrated snacks and meals: From hiking snacks to supper, dehydrated foods are light, nutritious, sustainable and as an added bonus they’re also less often expensive. Dried lentils, dried ramen noodles, and dehydrated soup stock are tasty and lightweight  ingredients that will give you the energy for a day of hiking. 


Minimize packaging and single-use plastics 

It’s not just good for the environment to have reusable camping and hiking supplies, it’s also a good investment if you love spending time outdoors.


Water is one of the most important items you’ll need to bring with you hiking, and there are several options when it comes to reusable and lightweight carriers. No need for single-use plastic bottles. 

You can either invest in a reusable plastic water bottle and filter, which has a low overall weight and is easy to carry, or a water delivery system like a hydration pack, which sits on your back. 

Psst! A recommended precaution is packing an extra 1 litre of water for each hiker. Visit BC Parks Backcountry guide and AdventureSmart for more information on how to prepare for a hiking trip. 


Drop off your flexible plastics together–no sorting necessary 

There are over 200 depot locations around BC, including London Drugs stores, where you can drop off your plastic, metal, glass packaging and paper for recycling–and guess what? No more sorting flexible plastics. Plan a stop at your local Recycle BC depot, or visit a participating London Drugs store to drop off your flexible plastic and foam packaging. You can find a depot here.

Flexible plastics that are accepted include: 

  • Crinkle wrappers, like granola bars and chips
  • Zipper-lock and stand-up pouches used for used for snacks and freeze-dried meals
  • Flexible packaging with a plastic seal for prepackaged deli meats or stuffed pasta
  • Plastic bags for bread, produce, and groceries
  • Overwrap for pop flats, paper towels, or toilet paper
  • Shrink wrap 
  • Zipper-lock sandwich and snack bags
  • Woven plastic bags for fruits and vegetables 
  • Protective packaging from items like crackers and seaweed snacks

To see the full list of what we accept, visit

Plan a Recycle BC depot stop for the trip home

There are over 200 depot locations around BC where you can drop off your plastic, metal, glass packaging, and paper for recycling. Plan a stop at your local Recycle BC depot, or London Drugs store. You can find a depot here.

Enjoy exploring the wilderness and remember to Pack Lean, Leave Clean!