By Vanja Pinterič.
Camping is a wonderful way to forget about your obligations from daily life and to restore some energy. When going camping, especially in the wild, you will need to bring some stuff with you to feel safe, comfortable, and pleased.
As a woman, I can say that we pack more than men, no matter if we are going to a family resort or somewhere else in the backcountry. I think that this is programmed in us as we are mothers who have to care about our children.
How can you have minimalist camping and still be happy out there? I will tell you which things are important to pack and a few tips to have a satisfying camping experience without taking your whole closet in nature.
Things to consider for a minimalist camping trip
These are the things that are important to bring outdoors and some of the things that are not appropriate to use while you enjoy yourself amongst nature.
No matter where you are going camping, the most important gear to have is a camping tent.
When you leave your home you will be exposed to the outdoor elements so a shelter or a tent is the first piece of equipment that must be prepared.
Do you have a tent yet?
If you have a tent but haven’t used it for some time, pitch it in your backyard to see if any part is missing and to see if the fabric holds still without holes and punctures.
Are you buying a tent?
There are a ton of tents out there from different manufacturers to choose from. However, how do you pick an appropriate tent for you and your camping needs? If you don’t have a tent there are a few buying factors that you should pay attention to:
- Space and number of occupants
- Waterproofness and seasonality
- Pitching difficulty
- Other features
Space is very important to consider as you can get grumpy fast if you don’t have enough space for sleeping and storing gear (if you don’t have a vestibule available). Choose a tent that will provide enough space for a number of occupants. Tent manufacturers label this number on the product but I suggest that you opt for a bigger tent to have additional space.
Waterproofness & seasonality
Every tent model is different and has various features. This also applies to waterproofness and seasonality. In general, you can choose a waterproof tent that is meant for the first three seasons of the year or the one for winter camping.
Choose your model regarding the area you are going to and the weather conditions.
The most used fabrics to make a camping tent are synthetic (polyester, nylon, polyurethane) and cotton. Synthetic fabrics are cheaper, more usable, and in general lighter than cotton tents. Campers who choose cotton models want comfort and are more frequent campers who want their tent to serve them for a long time.
Do tents set up the same way? Today, you have plenty of options regarding tent setup. A tent can be pitched with poles when you have to assemble them and put them into the sleeves of the tent’s fabric.
Another option is when the poles are attached to the fabric with clips. This is an easier way to have a tent set up faster.
And there you have instant (automatic) tents and pop-up tents that are the fastest pitching tents on the market for outdoor activities.
Automatic tents have a hub system that connects all poles together. Your task will be to lift this system up and extend the poles to have a fully standing tent.
Pop-up camping tents are the ones that you just throw in the air and your shelter will be ready in a few seconds. Great, isn’t it?
Weight is one of the important factors that you should consider when buying a tent. Big tents are heavier than small ones due to the used material. If you intend camping solo then you should watch for the weight you will be carrying.
Pay attention to these factors as they can determine the success of your outdoor journey. Oh, and the most important tip? Don’t get the cheapest tent because there are high chances that you will be disappointed at the end (my cheap tent couldn’t handle the storm so I stayed without a shelter and was forced to head home earlier).
Pack important pieces of clothes
Women like to wear different types of clothes and colors to look and feel good. Do you like to wear attractive clothes to impress others?
You will be camping in nature so there won’t be many (or any) people around you. When minimalist camping, you will need comfortable clothes that will enable you to move freely. If you take skirts and fancy shirts on a trip and forget to take a raincoat and waterproof shoes you can be in trouble.
You must understand that camping demands sporty clothes that are waterproof, comfortable, and soft for your skin. Don’t worry; you can still look great in these types of clothes or footwear:
- Sporty long (or short) pants
- Cotton or synthetic T-shirts
- Warm fleece or pullover
- Hiking footwear
- Rain jacket
Wear sporty pants that will enable you to explore surroundings in comfort. They are made with breathable materials that will allow your skin to breathe and won’t be irritated at the same time.
Bring cotton and synthetic T-shirts with you. Cotton is warm and you can wear it inside the tent, when going to sleep and when hiking. However, it is best to wear a synthetic one when you expect rain since it will dry much faster than a cotton shirt in case you get wet.
Wear a fleece or pullover
Taking a piece of a warm fleece or pullover is a smart way to make your trip comfortable. When the weather changes or the temperature drops you will be thankful that you brought warm upper body clothes along.
No matter if you will be more inside a tent or exploring the surroundings you will need a good pair of hiking footwear. I suggest that you invest in waterproof hiking shoes so you won’t get surprised by the rainwater and mud.
I don’t go anywhere without this piece of clothing. You never know when the weather will change so it is best that you take a rain jacket or a poncho so you will be able to enjoy rainy camping days too.
Also, think about packing soft socks, a hat, gloves, pairs of underpants, sporty bras, and other clothes that you will feel comfortable in.
You can easily overdo with the food supplies. I suggest that you think about how many days will you spend out there so you can plan your meals.
Sometimes we have difficulties evaluating how much food we really need. I remember how I used to bring too much food outdoors as I knew that I won’t be able to buy food (no stores in the wild) or hunt (I couldn’t kill an animal). So, I always came home with extra food that I didn’t even open.
Consider meal plans at home and take food according to your activities. If you intend to hike and explore more then you should have nutritious stocks packed. I like to take energy bars, seeds, nuts, dry food, some vegetables, cooked rice or pasta, and meat that won’t spoil soon.
We like to take several hygiene and beauty products with us as we go on a trip. It is so easy to choose these kinds of products while going camping. For minimalist camping think this way; you only need products that will keep you clean and fresh.
You don’t need to bring make-up and perfumes along; on the contrary, I don’t recommend these for the excursion. Perfumes have a strong scent so they could attract a bear nearby and I am sure mosquitoes will join the party.
Which products do I take?
- Toothpaste and toothbrush
- Menstrual products
- Hygiene wipes
- Natural shampoo and/or soap
These are the basic products that I use when I go outdoors for minimalist camping. I use foldable hairbrushes and sunscreen in plastic bags to save some space inside my backpack.
I also use odor-free wipes and other hygiene products because I don’t want any animals to find me so fast. I use soaps, shampoos, and roll-ons which substances don’t cause any harm to the environment and are without perfumes.
When I have a period, I take care of regular hygiene each day and store the trash in tight plastic bags, usually in zipper-lock bags.
What else to take?
Even when doing minimalist camping, you will need a few items that will help you with your daily activities for setting up a campfire, cooking a meal, walking at night, feeling safe, etc.
Before heading to a campsite, think about your activities and you will see which items do you need to survive a day. Here is a list of the items that I pack for a camping adventure:
- Waterproof matches
- Cooking container
- Homemade fire starters
- Sharp knife
- Sleeping bag
There is no science regarding the headlamp, it will help you in night activities such as going into the woods when you must take a pee, when reading, and finding things inside and outside the tent. It is one of the musts. You can also opt for a normal flashlight as well.
If your headlamp and other devices run on batteries it is best that you take an additional package of them so you won’t be surprised when you are left alone in the dark or without a sound.
These matches are important as you will be able to set a campfire and cook a meal even in rainy conditions.
I love to cook, even when I am in the great outdoors. I bought a cooking container that I can put on an open fire and cook a warm meal. You must eat and I am sure that you want to consume at least one warm meal a day so go ahead and invest in a good fire-resistant cooking container.
Homemade fire starters
You can prepare yourself and make your own fire starters at home. Grab some dryer lint from the drying machine, some egg cartons, and put the lint inside the carton baskets. Melt some wax and pour it on the lint. This is the best and the easiest way to make homemade fire starters.
Do you own a camping knife? If you don’t there is a ton of good survival knives that will help you to cut wood and prepare the fire material, cut the rope, and clean and prepare the food. When minimalist camping there is just no need to bring several knives on the journey.
Where will you use a rope you ask? Well, a rope can be of great help if you need to tie something, secure a tarp or a tent, lift a bear hang, and even help you in an emergency when you don’t have a first-aid kit with you on the trail.
I love tarps as they are very effective and versatile to use. I use one to make additional tent protection from the elements (as a roof), also under the shelter to stay dry and to protect the gear that I don’t want inside the tent.
A sleeping bag is the most used camping sleeping gear ever. It will provide you a warm sleeping experience and keep you insulated through the night. A sleeping bag will also protect you from most of the animals.
Keep things simple
Camping is all about nature and relaxation so you won’t need many things to stay safe and happy. When you plan a camping trip think about minimalist camping and the essentials that you will need out there.
You will be exposed to the elements so it is crucial that you take care of a shelter where you will sleep and hide from the rain. Regarding clothes pack basics but don’t think of bringing luxury items because you won’t need them, even contrary, they can make your trip miserable.
Items that you bring along also depend on the season. If you intend to camp in wintertime you should take care of the warmth. Bringing warm (and waterproof) clothes and a sleeping bag is a must.
Pack some kind of light (a headlamp, a flashlight, or a lantern) so your walk through the woods at night will be safe. A light will enable you to read inside the tent and also scare wild animals away.
Consider my tips and make your own camping checklist that will include only minimalist camping items. This way you won’t feel overwhelmed and under stress what to pack to feel safe and satisfied.
Your thoughts on minimalist camping?
Let us know in the comments below what you consider important or essential things to take along! Are you into minimalist camping or would your list be really extensive according to your lifestyle? Do share your thoughts below.