Minimalist camping is highly subjective to each camper. People who prefer minimalist camping typically carry only the minimal basics of what they need for their outing. One reason to do so is to avoid carrying too much gear and having to deal with clutter, but it’s also about potentially making less of an impact on the place you camp after you have packed up and moved on.
Minimalist campers like to travel light and bring along only bare comfort items. They may also rely on certain skills that are needed to replace not bringing extra gear along.
Minimalist Camping Is Not Glamping
Minimalist camping is not ‘Glamping’. Glamping is a term used by many for the type of campers who like to have as many creature comforts as possible when they go camping. There is nothing wrong with glamping, and many people enjoy their outdoor time doing such.
However, what you call bringing the barest of comfort items and what I call bringing bare comfort items are likely two different things – and that’s why minimalist camping is subjective to each person who does it. Even for myself looking back over the past fifteen years, what I called minimalist camping in my thirties has changed now that I am a few years away from fifty.
Minimalist Camping Is About Your Basic Needs
It’s all about breaking down your needs and wants when it comes to what you bring with on your outings.
A person hiking the Appalachian Trail is a great example of someone who is a minimalist camper. Such hikers carry everything in their backpack they need to survive for a handful of days along the trail. Usually that includes shelter, sleeping gear, food, rain gear, change of clothes for hot or cold conditions, cooking equipment, water, toiletries, and a few other small items. They pack light with minimal gear, so they don’t wear themselves out while hiking.
Minimalist Camping Applies To Many Forms Of Camping
Minimalist camping applies to all various methods of camping, whether it’s bushcraft, car camping, canoe tripping, overlanding, or whatever. Just because you have a Jeep Gladiator and can haul a bunch of camping gear to go car camping or off pavement overland boondocking, doesn’t mean you need to. Sure, your canoe can easily fit three large packs full of all kinds of gear and comforts, but do you really need to bring as much as you can haul?
Bring Less & Know Happiness
The less I bring along on my trips into the woods the less complicated things are. I like keeping things simple, and that allows me to enjoy myself tenfold. In my youth I could jam as much as my pack or car could hold, and then would end up not using most of the stuff I hauled along.
Minimalist camping is about knowing what you need and will end up using and keeping items out of your pack that will just add weight and take up space.
Minimalist Camping – What Do You Really Need?
Ask yourself what you need to bring on your outings? Do you want to travel light and spend less time messing around with gear you bring along, or do you want lots of creature comforts? Do you need a two burner Coleman camp stove and a bottle of propane to fuel it? Or can you get by with a tiny twig stove that takes up 1/10 of the space and weight. There are no wrong answers to those questions, because what you need to meet your bare comforts is going to be different from my own.
As it turns out, I am writing a book about this very subject. It’s not so much for the experienced camper, but for those who are new to it.
I will be posting book updates from time to time on this blog site, as well as other tidbits.