Camp away from water: You need to avoid camping on the banks of streams. When people camp there, it tramples the vegetation and stresses the ecosystem. A good rule of thumb is to stay about 200 feet away from water.
Take a camping stove with you: There will not be a grill here like at a campground. Especially in the summer, it is likely campfires are not allowed. A camping stove is a good investment, and you'll be glad you brought it along.
Have a waste disposal plan: Make sure that you dig cat holes away from water and trails. If you're feeling fancy, you can even bring a system -- like the Wag Bag -- to pack out waste. The key is to plan this out before you leave home.
Grab a First Aid kit: There is no camp store where you can buy a Bandaid to cover a blister, and there's certainly no running water to clean your wounds. Be smart and make sure you bring the necessary supplies with you.
Before you head out, here are a few tips to keep in mind to make the experience more enjoyable for you and for the people who come to the area after you:
- Not a campground: There is no routine trash pick-up system in a primitive site like there is at a campground. Plan accordingly.
- Take your trash with you: "One particular problem we have is that people leave trash. It is really important for people to take their trash with them when they leave," said Linda Riddle, ranger for the Jemez Ranger District.
- Bring trash bags: Several small grocery bags might be easier to deal with when leaving a site than large trash bags.
- Leave it better than you found it: Leave a site cleaner than it was when you came. Sure, that rusty old soup can isn't yours, but if it's gone before the next group comes along, it just makes the area that much more beautiful.
For more, check out Leave No Trace's 7 principles at lnt.org.