How to Make Sure You Leave no Trace

When hiking or camping out in the countryside, help to keep natural surroundings unspoilt for future visitors. The following tips should help you to enjoy your experiences while leaving no trace of your visit behind.

  • Plan ahead and prepare carefully for your trip.
  • Observe all regulations, and the responsibilities that come with everyman's right (www.environment.fi).
  • Make sure you leave no trace behind when you hike or camp out.
  • Pack it in, pack it out! - Look after all wastes carefully.
  • Wash yourself or your dishes only on dry land.
  • Take great care to prevent uncontrolled fires.

Plan ahead

Careful planning can help to reduce the environmental impacts of your trip.

  • Pack your food, drink and other supplies in washable and reusable containers to prevent waste.
  • Avoid unnecessary travel, and use public transport or share car journeys whenever possible.
  • Bring only the equipment and supplies you really need for your safety and comfort.
  • Borrow, rent or share equipment if possible.

Leave no trace

Leave the natural environment as you find it. Respect other people's property, and do not disturb the ground or any other natural features.

  • Stay on marked trails to prevent erosion and other unnecessary disturbance.
  • Camp only at marked campsites or in other sites that have been used before.
  • Avoid sensitive areas such as rocky ground with fragile lichen and moss cover.
  • Avoid unnecessary noise and disturbance to help preserve the peace of the countryside and protect sensitive wildlife - especially during the breeding season.

Wastes

"Pack it in, pack it out!"

  • Take away all your litter when you leave, to help reduce the need for disruptive waste collection.
  • Separate organic wastes such as food scraps, teabags and coffee filters, and leave them in special containers for compost where provided - or pack them out when you leave.
  • Make sure that any waste burnt on campfires is safely combustible. Do not burn anything containing plastics or metals.
  • Where no toilet facilities are available, dig a shallow hole well away from any water sources, trails or campsites. Carefully cover the hole with loose soil and vegetation when you have finished using it. Use toilet paper sparingly, or use natural alternatives such as leaves, moss, or snow.

Bring wastes to the recycling points. Photo: Martti Sirola

Washing

Wash yourself or your dishes only on dry land.

  • Put some water into a suitable container where you can wash your dishes.
  • Pour used dishwater into the ground, to avoid contaminating streams or lakes.
  • Follow the same rules when washing yourself.
  • Use only biodegradable soaps, and use them sparingly.

Campfires

Take the utmost care to prevent forest fires.

  • Use a camping stove for cooking. Remember to take away empty fuel bottles when you leave.
  • The public campfire sites provided in many national parks and hiking areas etc. may be used freely with due care, except during forest fire warnings.
  • Hikers may only light campfires away from such sites with the landowner's permission. In such cases take great care to choose a suitable site, look after your fire well, and put it out properly afterwards.
  • Open fires may not be lit anywhere during forest fire warnings.

See the separate Lighting campfires web pages for more detailed tips on where and how to light campfires safely, and leave no trace.