Skills Series Leave No Trace

The Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics Skills Series videos are for new and experienced outdoor users alike. These handy videos, and the blogs that accompany them, are a great resource for learning more about specific Leave No Trace skills.

With more than 12 billion visits to public lands last year, it's vitally important that we all do our part to practice these Leave No Trace skills on each and every outing to help protect our outdoor spaces.


Dirty dishwater and food scraps can pollute our rivers, lakes, and streams, which is why Leave No Trace always recommends doing your dishes at least 200 feet, or 70 big steps, away from any water sources. Even biodegradable soaps can take between six months and several years to fully break down in water environments. In that time, they contribute excess nutrients to water sources and alter pH balances, both factors that are critical for healthy waters.

The one-bucket wash system is perfect for backcountry situations when your group has finished a one-pot meal. If you're in a larger group consider using the four-bucket wash system for increased sanitation. If you're in a frontcountry campsite, use dishwashing facilities if they are provided. Alternatively, overnight backpackers can consider packing out their dirty dishes to wash at home.

front country kitchen set-up

At Leave No Trace we love camping, so much so that between all four teams of Subaru/Leave No trace Traveling Trainers, we spend over 1000 nights a year under the stars! With all of this camping experience, we have picked up some useful tricks to create the ultimate frontcountry kitchen setup. Read on to see how we Leave No Trace while camping all year long.


For many women, periods can be an uncomfortable and personal topic. Some may find it hard to ask, "What am I supposed to do in the outdoors if I'm on my period?". In addition, male guides or educators may skirt the issue, avoiding a topic they may not feel knowledgeable about. If some women are unwilling to ask and men feel uncomfortable explaining, we risk damage and impacts to the outdoor places we visit if periods are dealt with in a less than Leave No Trace way.

But have no fear! Amanda, Jessie, and Donielle from the Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics are here to teach you what to do with your pads, tampons, diva cups, and urine so you can protect the places you love to visit. We dispel myths about period smell attracting bears and tricks to keep the modern woman happy and healthy in the outdoors! If you're a woman about to head out on a camping or backpacking trip tell your female friends. If you're a male or female guide or educator use this information to educate your participants prior to the trip so everyone knows and feels comfortable. For more, see our tips for communicating to women about their periods.

backcountry trip planning

Planning an overnight backcountry trip and not sure where to start? Or just want to make sure you’re minimizing your impacts in the backcountry? Either way, check out the video below for pro tips on what to do before you hit the dusty (or sandy, snowy or rocky) trail. Being prepared for your backcountry experience will make your trip more fun, safer and will keep you from damaging your favorite outdoor places.


Disposing of waste properly is an important part of every outdoor adventure, especially when it comes to disposing of our human waste. In this Skill Series video, we will discuss why human waste is a problem, the four objectives of proper human waste disposal, and how to dig a Leave No Trace cathole.

Where required or allowed, catholes are the best way to properly dispose of human waste. They maximize decomposition, minimize the spread of disease, prevent water contamination, and avert unappealing aesthetic and social impacts.



The Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics is a national organization that protects the outdoors by teaching and inspiring people to enjoy it responsibly. The Center accomplishes this mission by delivering cutting-edge education and research to millions of people across the country every year.

Enjoy your world.

Leave No Trace.


Aaron Hussmann

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