Pack It In, Pack It Out: Managing Gear and Trash

Heading outside for a camping or rock-climbing trip often involves gear, snacks, and unfortunately, trash. Like you, we’ve experienced the hassle of managing clutter and waste during our outdoor adventures.

This is why we’ve researched and compiled some practical solutions to maintain cleanliness outdoors by adhering to the principle of “Pack It In, Pack It Out.” Let’s dive in!

Importance of “Pack It In, Pack It Out” Principle

The “Pack It In, Pack It Out” principle is crucial for minimizing waste on outdoor adventures and preserving the natural beauty of our environment.

Minimizing waste on outdoor adventures

Maintaining the pristine condition of our natural landscapes during outdoor adventures is an essential part of responsible camping. The “Pack It In, Pack It Out” mantra embodies our commitment to environmental stewardship and conservation efforts.

One effective way to minimize waste involves repackaging solid foods into plastic bags and liquids into reusable containers, reducing the volume of trash that needs to be packed out.

Proper waste management not only protects nature but also saves time and money. A shining example would be Seth Orme and Abby Taylor who embarked on a cross-country bike tour in 2017 solely dedicated to picking up litter! Following their lead can make us eco-conscious climbers while keeping with Leave No Trace principles closely associated with “Pack it in, pack it out”.

This simple change transforms rock climbing trips into sustainable practices promoting wilderness cleanliness.

Preserving natural beauty

Preserving the natural beauty of our outdoor spaces is a responsibility we should all take seriously. As amateur rock climbers, we have a unique opportunity to immerse ourselves in the stunning landscapes that surround us.

By following the principle of “pack it in, pack it out,” we can ensure that these beautiful places remain pristine for future generations to enjoy. Properly managing and disposing of our gear and trash helps minimize waste and litter, keeping the environment clean and free from eyesores.

Let’s do our part by leaving no trace behind us as we explore and experience the wonders of nature.

Protecting wildlife

As amateur rock climbers, it is crucial for us to be mindful of our impact on wildlife when we are out enjoying the great outdoors. “Pack it in, pack it out” includes not only our trash but also any food remnants or items that could attract animals.

By properly managing and disposing of our gear and trash, we can help protect wildlife from becoming dependent on human food or even getting harmed by ingesting litter. It’s essential to follow this principle to ensure that we leave these natural habitats as pristine as possible for the creatures that call them home.

Did you know that improper waste disposal can be harmful to wildlife? Plastic bags and other debris can easily entangle animals, causing injuries or even death. Additionally, discarded food scraps may seem like a convenient snack for some animals, but consuming human food can throw off their natural diet and disrupt their balance within the ecosystem.

Tips for Managing Gear and Trash

– Store and pack out trash properly to minimize waste and maintain a clean outdoor environment.

– Repackage food into reusable containers and bags to reduce the volume of trash that needs to be packed out.

– Dispose of human waste responsibly using products like Restop 2, which safely contains solid waste for easy packing out.

Properly storing and packing out trash

Properly storing and packing out trash is essential for maintaining the cleanliness and natural beauty of outdoor spaces. As responsible rock climbers, it’s our duty to minimize our impact on the environment and leave no trace behind. Here are some tips on how to effectively manage your gear and trash:

  1. Carry reusable trash bags or ziplock bags with you: These will come in handy for storing any trash generated during your climb. Make sure to seal the bags tightly to prevent any leaks or odors.
  2. Separate recyclables from non-recyclables: If possible, separate your trash into different bags or containers. This will make recycling easier when you return to civilization.
  3. Store food in airtight containers: Avoid using single-use packaging whenever possible. Instead, transfer snacks and meals into reusable containers or wrap them in beeswax wraps to reduce waste.
  4. Compress items to save space: Flatten plastic bottles, crush aluminum cans, and compact any other waste that can be compressed. This will help maximize the space in your pack while reducing the volume of trash you’ll need to carry out.
  5. Securely pack out human waste: It’s important to dispose of human waste properly in order to protect water sources and wildlife habitats. Use products like Restop 2 that safely contain solid human waste for easy packing out.

Repackaging food to reduce waste

One way to reduce waste while camping is by repackaging your food. Here are some tips on how to do it effectively:

  • Use reusable containers or bags to store your food instead of single-use packaging.
  • Transfer snacks, granola bars, and other individually packaged items into a larger container.
  • Pre – cut fruits and vegetables and store them in reusable Ziploc bags.
  • Bring bulk foods like nuts, rice, and pasta in reusable containers or cloth bags instead of buying pre-packaged versions.
  • Opt for powdered drinks instead of bottled ones to minimize trash.
  • Consider dehydrating meals at home and rehydrating them on the trail. This eliminates excess packaging and reduces weight.
  • Plan your meals ahead of time to ensure you only bring the necessary amount of food, minimizing leftovers that can go to waste.

Disposing of human waste responsibly

As outdoor enthusiasts, it is our responsibility to ensure that we dispose of our waste properly, even when nature calls. Here are some tips on how to dispose of human waste responsibly while enjoying your rock climbing adventures:

  • Use designated toilet facilities whenever possible. Many climbing areas have established restroom facilities or pit toilets where you can do your business.
  • If there are no designated toilets available, dig a cathole at least 6 to 8 inches deep and at least 200 feet away from any water sources, trails, or campsites.
  • When digging a cathole, make sure to choose an inconspicuous location and cover it up properly with soil afterwards.
  • If you are in a rocky area where digging a cathole is not feasible, consider using a portable camping toilet system like Restop 2. This product safely contains up to 32 ounces of solid waste for easy packing out.
  • Always carry an adequate supply of toilet paper in sealed bags or biodegradable options. Never leave used toilet paper behind; pack it out with the rest of your trash.
  • Remember that urine does not need to be packed out but should still be disposed of responsibly by urinating on rocks or gravel away from camping areas and water sources.


In conclusion, adopting the “Pack It In, Pack It Out” principle is crucial for any outdoor enthusiast. By properly managing gear and trash, we can minimize waste, preserve natural beauty, and protect wildlife.

Let’s all do our part to leave no trace and ensure that future generations can enjoy the wilderness as much as we do.


1. What does it mean to “pack it in, pack it out”?

“Packing it in, packing it out” means that outdoor enthusiasts are responsible for carrying out all of their gear and trash from a natural area, leaving no trace behind.

2. Why is it important to manage gear and trash while outdoors?

Managing gear and trash while outdoors is important because it helps preserve the natural environment and prevents littering. It also ensures the safety of wildlife by preventing them from ingesting or getting caught in discarded items.

3. How can I effectively manage my gear while hiking or camping?

To effectively manage your gear while hiking or camping, you can start by organizing your equipment before your trip and only bringing essential items. Utilize storage solutions such as backpack compartments or waterproof bags to keep things organized and easily accessible during your outdoor activities.

4. What are some tips for responsible waste disposal when camping?

Some tips for responsible waste disposal when camping include properly disposing of food scraps in designated areas or packing them out, using biodegradable soaps for washing dishes away from water sources, burying human waste at least 6 inches deep and 200 feet away from water sources, and practicing Leave No Trace principles by carrying out any other garbage generated during your trip.

Calvin Rivers

Hey, I’m Calvin Rivers, a climbing veteran with 10+ years on crags and walls around the world. I can’t wait for you to explore our site and fall in love with the outdoors just like I have.

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