The Tent Commandments

Tread Lightly! and Leave No Trace both offer the foundations for reducing your impact during your encounters with the natural world. While The Chipka House offers training in both programs up through Instructor Trainer, when we conduct our wilderness based courses we use a slightly different system for teaching low impact use, that is a combination of both programs, and we call them the Ten(t) Commandments! These 10 commandments encompass the principles taught through Leave No Trace and Tread Lightly into a single fun handout!

  1. Thou Shalt Plan Ahead and Educate thou self before you go. Essentially we are talking about making sure you are really ready for the adventure you about to head out on. We have a common phrase used in our courses of “If you don’t have the time to get the training you need and plan properly than you don’t have the time to go on the adventure.”
  2. Thou shalt be properly equipped. Most accidents and damage occur in the wilderness, are as a result of not having the correct equipment. The long and the short is if you can’t afford the right equipment then you really can’t afford to be going on the adventure.
  3. Thou Shalt Not Play in the Mud.Camping and walking in the mud is not only uncomfortable but it also result in excessive damage to the environment. As it is said you should Travel & Camp on Durable Surfaces!
  4. Thou shalt eat as ye do at home. We have all had it happen even if we don’t want to talk about it. When we poop during a backcountry adventure, it’s just not the same as it is when we do at home. This is as a result of making a rapid change in your diet that your body doesn’t have time to adjust to. For this reason when traveling in the wilderness eat the same way you do at home, just eat more of it. If you’re not eating healthy at home, then its time to change your diet in the front country as well.
  5. Thou shalt not be an annoying guest. You are a guest to the wilderness you visit and no one likes an annoying guest. Think about what the area you are visiting is like when you are not there and do your best to keep it that way when you are there. For starters this means leaving the iPhone behind so the morning sunrise is not ruined by the sound of your phone.
  6. Thou shalt not leave the poop. I don’t poop on your living room floor, please don’t poop where I am going to have to see it. Pop a squat, bag it and take it out with you. Your poop is not natural in the environment and if your digging cat holes your toilet paper does not belong in said hole. There certainly isn’t toilet paper growing out of the ground. If you brought it with you then take it out.
  7. Thou shalt not steal from nature. In Leave No Trace this is known as leaving what you found. If you prepared properly there is no reason for you to be taking anything from the environment you are visiting, that includes food. Artifacts are commonly removed from nature and placed on shelves at home, you thought it was cool enough to take, I would have loved to see it as well and think about how cool it is but you took it and now I won’t get a chance.
  8. Thou shalt prevent forest fires. As smoky the bear says only you can prevent forest fires! Forest Fires ruin the habitat and destroys the homes of countless animals. Be careful with your fires, keep them small, and when possible just don’t have them. If you don’t have a fire there is no way for it to get out of control and start a forest fire.
  9. Thou shalt not ride the creatures of the forest When we visit the wilderness we need to respect the wildlife that lives there. You wouldn’t like if I came to your house pooped at you, tried to feed you strange foods, or ride you around so don’t do it to the animals. Remember you are a guest in their home.
  10. Thou shalt not leave a trace! When you finish your visit to the wilderness there should be no evidence that your adventure occurred! Give a hoot and don’t pollute, take your trash and the trash of others home with you!
TCH Tent Commandments

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