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7 principles to leave no traces behind in nature - Leave No Trace

7 principles to leave no traces behind in nature - Leave No Trace

Nature is beautiful, alive, it knows how to take care of itself and its parts and heal itself. We, the people, are also a part of it, but we do not always treat it responsibly and considerately. If we want to preserve it for future generations, we should pay more attention to what we can and cannot afford in nature . In this blog, we will tell you why we should pay attention to our behavior in nature and show the basic principles of how to leave behind only traces of beauty and sustainability. Enjoy nature responsibly!

Leave no Trace

Leave No Trace could be loosely translated as "leave no trace" . It is also the name of an organization whose main mission is "Using the power of science, education and stewardship to ensure a sustainable future for nature and the planet." It is a non-profit organization that was founded in 1994. Although the idea of caring for nature is not is nothing new and the same principles were used by our ancestors and many Indian or indigenous cultures have been doing so for centuries, it is never too late to spread awareness.

 Leave No Trace

7 principles of Leave No Trace

According to the organization Leave No Trace, even due to the global pandemic , more and more people are looking for a stay in nature. However, up to 9 out of 10 people are incorrectly informed about how to behave properly in nature . And these gaps in knowledge can be damaging  and devalue those beautiful places that we all love so much.

That's why the organization established 7 principles that provide an easy-to-understand framework of practices with minimal impact for everyone who likes to go to nature and cares about it . They can be applied almost everywhere and we bring you their practical summary.

 Leave No Trace

1. Plan your trip in advance and prepare

Before every trip, hiking or stay in nature, you should devote at least a minimal amount of time to planning and preparation. If the trip is successful, in addition to feeling good, you will also increase your self-confidence that you thought of everything and everything turned out well. Poor planning often results in a less pleasant experience and damage to natural and cultural resources . So what to think about in the preparation phase?

  • try to get as much information as possible about the visited area from available online sources, maps or literature
  • choose your hiking equipment with an emphasis on safety, comfort and quality and in accordance with the idea of "leave no trace"
  • also think about extreme weather, hazards and emergencies that may arise
  • prepare activities that match your skills and abilities; it is important to be able to estimate your strengths and possibilities before you go to the mountains
  • you can repackage the food you plan to take with you to minimize waste at home
  • when you return, review your trip and make a note of changes, suggestions or improvements to make next time
  • especially before a multi-day stay in nature, you need to consider, among other things: where is the nearest access to water, what is your expected food consumption (so you don't have a lot of leftovers), what will the terrain be like, are there any restrictions and regulations? etc.

Why is planning important?

Everyone is different and some prefer spontaneity rather than dry planning. However, sometimes planning is necessary and prevents various complications. We will give just one example for all: A poorly prepared group of tourists can plan, for example, to eat by cooking food around a campfire. Upon arrival, however, he discovers that there is a ban on open fires, or that there is not enough wood for a fire. So he may have a problem finding alternatives or, what is worse, break the ban and thus endanger himself and the nature around him. 

 Tourism and planning - Leave No Trace

2. Travel and camp in designated areas

Tourist trails or places for camping are not marked just like that, for nothing. Therefore, you should observe and follow the signs and pitch or camp only in marked places, as well as walk only on marked hiking trails. By not following these rules, you are disturbing the vegetation and various animal communities. If you are already going off-road, check the strength of the terrain and try to take into account the intact nature. Do not unnecessarily create new trodden paths.

3. Dispose of waste properly

With this principle, we could base it on the English " Pack it In, Pack it Out ", which in loose translation means that what you took with you on your trip, you should also bring back . In short, cleaning up after yourself is the duty of every visitor to nature. The waste that people create in nature can have serious consequences for it if it is not disposed of properly. And that's the same for fauna and flora. Preventive measures include, for example:

  • planning meals that don't produce a lot of waste
  • planning the amount of food so that there are not many leftovers
  • carrying a garbage bag or sack in which you carry the waste away
  • do not burn excess waste one after the other
 Leave No Trace - Trekking

Waste water is a separate topic that we could discuss longer. If you need to wash dishes or yourself, the best way is to collect the water after use. Do not let it drain freely into the ground, but then disperse it at least 60 meters from a natural water source . It is best to use disinfectants that do not need to be rinsed off with water.

As for the disposal of human waste , if there is no toilet at hand, it is ideal to dig the so-called cat hole outside the main drag of people and bury the waste there. Ideally, at least 80 steps from a water source, to a sunny place (sunrays help decomposition) and not to use the same place more than once. By doing so, you eliminate:

  • water pollution
  • you minimize the spread of disease
  • you maximize decomposition
  • you prevent anyone from stumbling upon it
 Leave No Trace - hiking with children

EXI tip: Involve children in picking up trash. In terms of Leave No Trace, it is necessary to clean up after yourself, even orange peels, cigarette butts or leftover food. Announce a competition to see who collects the most volume and you win.

4. Leave in nature what you find there

Nature is beautiful, but you should not take souvenirs from it. Leave everything as nature showed you, so that others can enjoy the same pleasure. Observe with your eyes, not your hands . Do not allow your children to take stones, plants or other objects such as fallen antlers and the like. What other habits should we avoid?

  • don't pick the flowers - take a picture or draw them instead; removing flowers will affect pollination and the plant's ability to reproduce, which may result in fewer flowers in that location in the future
  • do not damage living trees - tear out the bark, carve various signs or names into the bark
  • do not make obstacle courses out of trees or use them as part of a dwelling - hammer nails into the bark for hanging, etc.
  • do not cut "unwanted" branches

An important note is that you should also enter nature with clean equipment. We mean, for example, hiking boots , tents, boats, car tires, bicycle tires, etc. This will prevent the introduction of invasive species from the place where you were last to the place where you are going.

5. Minimize the impact of the campfire

Fireplaces are steeped in history and tradition and simply belong to being in nature. But are they a necessity? Season and regional restrictions must always be considered. Next, you should think about whether the area has enough wood not only for the fire, but also for subsequent regeneration.

A few rules regarding bonfires in nature:

  • if you decide to build a campfire, make sure it doesn't leave any traces
  • try to use already existing foci
  • keep the fire small and never leave it unattended
  • only use the so-called dead wood, not branches from living trees
  • at the end, burn all the wood and coal to ashes, extinguish the campfires completely, and then scatter the cold ashes

6. Respect wildlife

Whenever you are outdoors, you are in the natural habitat of many wildlife and you should try to minimize your impact on them. Try to observe nature quietly, from a safe distance and with respect for it. A certain amount of noise (the volume of a normal conversation) is allowed so that wildlife registers us and does not approach us unnecessarily. Other rules of conduct include, for example:

  • wild animals do not need to be fed
  • do not scare the animal or follow it unnecessarily
  • for your own safety as well as theirs, never touch or pick up the animals
  • Always keep your pets under control or leave them at home
  • avoid wildlife during sensitive periods such as mating, nesting, rearing or winter
 Leave No Trace Hiking

7. Be considerate of other visitors

One of the most important things about outdoor etiquette is to be courteous to others . Excessive noise, uncontrolled pets and polluted environment deteriorate its natural appeal. Being considerate of others guarantees that everyone can enjoy nature equally . So how to behave?

  • respect others
  • be polite, the unwritten rule is hikers going uphill have the right of way, yield to them
  • take breaks, but don't get in the way of others
  • let the sounds of nature win over your own voice
  • if you like to listen to music while walking, use headphones so as not to disturb those who came to nature to enjoy the silence
  • in areas such as campsites, follow the guidelines and limit noise during quiet hours
  • only go with pets to places where they are allowed to enter

EXI tip: In order for you to feel good in nature, it is advisable to have the right clothes. Tourist clothing has many functional properties that make your stay in nature more pleasant or provide the necessary protection.

You can also watch the following videos for more information on how to behave in nature.



There are many different people, cultures, traditions and ecosystems in the world. Although different rules may seem to apply everywhere, nature as a whole is only one. If we want to preserve it for us and future generations, let's spread awareness on how to be as gentle as possible with it. These 7 principles can also help us in this.  Let's unite for a common goal: respect nature.

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