Minimalist Camping

Gundriver64

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Hi Peeps,

Looking for ideas about must have (or even nice to have) camping gear with respect to minimalist camping. In other words, besides the obvious-a tent, a light source, water, some food, a sleeping bag, etc., what gear do you drag along as a minimalist camper? My preferred method(s) of fishing trips are out and back day hikes from a central campsite. My main desirable "creature comforts" are the occasional shower and compulsory morning coffee.

Look forward to reading your suggestions/experiences!

Cheers,
G
 

ratherfish

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I am not a hiker/camper, would like to try it but so busy. However my son is a part-time hiking/camping guide, when his real job allows time. He is very much a minimalist. A short, quick trip for him is 50 miles, he's gone 200 or more miles. I am not sure what all he takes, I can ask him if you'd like me to, but generally no tent, just a lightweight hammock. I know he has some tents but they are so small and lightweight, they are about as heavy as a pair of nylon shorts. I think he said the heaviest thing that goes on his trips are his boots/shoes, and he has gone on trips where he has to find a town to buy new ones of those. He will take some type of foods, but I believe dehydrated stuff and granola bars. For water he has one of those suck up out of a stream filtering deals, when he feels that needs to be done.
 

dillon

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I love to camp on extended fishing trips. However, I am far from a minimumalist camper. That being said, a high school age neighbor just returned from an 11 week back backing trip in the high cascades of Oregon. He showed me how they started camp fires using the bow line technique. I thought it was pretty cool and might try it on my next camping trip. I enjoy drinking coifed by campfire to knock off the morning chill. If I was a minimalist I would be sure to bring a flask or two of single malt Scottish Whiskey.

 

osseous

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A Jetboil has been a given on my trips for a long time. I stuff my coffee fixins inside, so I never have to go without a fix. A couple Mountain House meals, some Clif bars- and I'm good for a weekend.

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myt1

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I'm not sure if the OP is talking about minimalist backpacking camping, or minimalist car or truck camping.

Either way, some sort of chair is very important.

They make minimalist chairs for backpacking that are very light.

I was on a recent trip and one of my buddies had a lightweight chair and I was afraid the rest of us might kill for it. Sitting on rocks and stumps gets old after awhile.

You can even go lighter than the one pictured below.

1590254649635.png
 

jeep.ster

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I'm more of a minimal camper now that I'm older. Still need some comfort so I bring a cot for the tent. I make a bed and don't use a sleeping bag anymore. Everything goes in dry bags and very compact, a habit from my wht water rafting days.
 

denver1911

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Minimalist and gear in the same post? The obvious: a tent .. really? A minimalist camper with a tent? I was thinking more like a tarp for a minimalist. A chair? Seriously? This is not minimalist thinking. A tarp. A quilt if it’s cold enough for one. Warm food? Wow. And a cot?

Nothing wrong with camping comfortably. And doing so lightweight. But that’s not minimalist thinking. Minimalist thinking is, “What can I NOT take?” Do I really need this toothbrush for a three day weekend? I need my caffeine, but do I have to take a stove, filter, and grinds? They make caffeine pills ya know. Six days? Two pairs underwear. Or can I just go commando every other day?
 

Ard

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Hi,

I've actually spent a lot of time traveling remote places and still do. When I "camp" I make regular outfitter type camps but you ask about going minimalist style so I'll tell you what I carry in a small dry bag during summer while traveling here.

Shelter: 8 X 10 reinforced tarp with 3 stakes 2 bungie cords and a roll of Para cord.
Sleeping: Kelty Light Year 45 down bag and plan to sleep in clothing, usually all of it.
Cooking: Snow Peak stove with small fuel cell
Coffee and water boiler: Smallest coffee pot you can find. I use a little perk pot.
Water: Vintage Katadyn personal filter with bottle or an MSR pump for bulk.
Food: 3 days worth = 6 Granola bars & 3 Mountain House dehydrated meals.
BUG Dope: Your favorite brand but do not travel the bush without it.

I carry that kit in my boat during summer and toss it into the truck if I do any road tripping. In the winter it gets changed out to a larger kit because you need a -25 down bag just to be in the game and they are way bulkier compared to the Kelty. Skip the water filter and melt snow, swap the Snow Peak for your MSR Wisperlight and the food stays the same. The MSR white gas stoves are a pain in the butt compared to the Snow Peak with butane gas cells but the gas contracts so much at -5 that it's too hard to boil water. The MSR will be stinky and create a little soot but they are great stoves. Worth mentioning is buy the best stuff you can find. That coffee pot I boil my water in? I bought that in 1980 and will use it this coming week.

Minimalist camping is I believe an objective concept because we all have baseline requirements. What I described is not a comfort camp experience, it is a survival type kit and one you could easily pack for miles due to the overall light weight.. To cut bulk even further you can source a square or rectangle coated nylon rainfly which will pack 1/4 the size of a plastic tarp.......
 

trev

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besides the obvious-a tent, a light source, water, some food, a sleeping bag, etc., what gear do you drag along as a minimalist camper?
Well, I was a camper when younger, never need a tent except in towns, can't recall ever needing a light source, wouldn't carry much water unless in a desert, better to have a purification system, a sleeping bag is light but bulky and unless unusual cold is expected I might opt for a wool blanket. The tarp or rain fly Ard mentioned together with the blanket makes up the bed roll. Two cup aluminum water boiler and tea- tea is lighter and less bulky than coffee I think. I'd also probably take a small light weight fry pan to double as a plate, a pack stove to be used where fire's not an option or left out if fire is an option. A tablespoon and a filet knife. Fire starter stuff. 2# axe
Food is where I'll differ from most, Canned goods make much better eating than dried meals do and if possible some cans of vegetables to make up stew/soup and some canned meat or salmon, biscuit mix, cured bacon, raisins, etc. some/much dried foods if the camp is for more than a couple days.
Food should be the bulk of the outfit.
First aid kit, including super glue.
One change of clothes (big enough to wear over the first set) and two of socks.

Whatever you decide to tote try it out in your back yard for three days and nights without ever going into the house-this will let you become aware of your mistakes.
 

Joey Bagels

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I’ve been minimalist camping for 30 years all over the place. I need matches and a lighter (never know when one or the other won’t work), a good first aid kit, cell phone AND satellite texting/GPS unit, water (use empty Gatorade bottles since they’re far lighter than heave Nalgene and other bottles) and water treatment tablets, dehydrated food, spare underwear and socks, knife, and clothing based on where and when I’ll be. Small tarp to throw under my bag if the ground is damp and a small, one person tent to keep bugs and unwelcome rain or snow off me should weather start to turn. I ALWAYS bring warm clothes since you never know when weather will turn or how cold nights and mornings can get. Don’t forget toilet paper, small compass, map of the area, and a whistle and small signal mirror...just in case. Sounds like a lot of stuff, but it’s not. And if you find yourself in a bind, you’ll be thankful you have what you need. A fire or being able to stop bad diarrhea can mean the difference between having a good story to tell and being a cautionary tale.
 

Bent Undergrowth

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I've been playing around with my setup quite a bit the past few years to increase comfort and get my weight down. I recommend you check out the site backpackinglight if you want to get serious about cutting weight. Some of those guys weigh everything down to the ounce. I'm not that crazy, but here are a few pieces of gear that I really like:

-Nemo dagger 2p tent
-neoair xtherm sleeping pad
-osprey atmos ag 65 pack
-platypus gravity filter (will never go back to pumps, fill this and walk away while it filters, effortless)
-jetboil flash
-rei magma 30 down bag (there's no substitute for down; get the best you can afford for your climate)
-leukotape (cut a section of ballpoint pen and wrap around to cut weight so you don't have to bring the whole roll)
-smartwool PhD outdoor light socks (these are awesome, and super important, especially as you get into high mileage trips)
-small Nalgene bottles for soap, oil, etc.


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tcorfey

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One thing everyone left out is a warm hat and gloves, When the night gets cold those two items can save the day. I actually carry a fleece hoodie thing that covers my head and neck, and a pair of fleece gloves. I have been in the Sierras in August when temps during the day were in the 90's but the nights went to the 20's. Waking up with teeth chattering at 3am then putting on the hoodie and gloves made a huge difference. For coffee I carry the little single packets of Starbucks instant, use a jetboil and eat from the dehydrated meal packages, also carry some nuts (great energy). I do have a plastic cup to drink from, and a long handled plastic spoon to mix food / eat with. I do carry a lightweight tent, but only because I would rather wake to a bear sniffing the outside of the tent when I sleep (has happened numerous times). When I sleep without a tent I wake up to all noises for fear of having one come up and lick my face instead (never actually happened just a fear I have).
 
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omas

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Ok, maybe I miss the point here, I thought the op was talking about camping out of his vehicle at remote campground (say in a National Forrest) and taking day trips from there and not backpacking in. If so, then no tent is needed sleep in your vehicle. Also, when I camp like this, I cold camp, meaning no hot food, no stove, no grill. Just PBJs, protein bars, dried fruit, etc.. Light weight rain gear, set of warm clothes (if need), 2 sets of fishing clothes. A loud high pitch whistle, bug spray, toilet paper, my kindle, a Sawyer Filter (for water on the hike or fishing) and my fishing gear.
If we are talking backpacking in to a remote camping area then that is a different list of things.
 

tcorfey

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Omas, good observation, I guess we got carried away :unsure:.

Yeah if you are minimalist car camping then you can carry a bunch more stuff. Sleep in the car with a wool blanket and a pillow if you are stealth camping, although in a campground for increased comfort I bring my tent-cot with a 3" inflatable sleep pad (it's awesome). I have a full kitchen packed in a Tupperware tub, and a cooler with drink, meat and eggs. Still bring my hoodie thing and gloves. Of course I prefer to load my camper on my pickup but I don't think anyone considers that minimalist.
 

100954

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I second the Jet Boil. I always bring a solar shower. Fill it with water in the morning & leave it in the sun during the day while you are gone fishing. It’s a perfect temperature about supper time. If no sunshine at campsite try s3curing to the top of the vehicle.
 

FlymanSJB

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Thats why I deleted my post, I missed the bit about sleeping in a car, that's not camping to me. Ive slept in my truck steelhead fishing too many times for years when its cold and rainy, you dont need anything except a blanket and you might want to bring long Johns.
 

possiebugger

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my "minimalist" setup for this summer looks something like this:

- tarp shelter
- sleeping bag (down is hard to beat)
- ultralight pad
- knife
- lighter/matches
- water bottle and filter
- clothes: jacket, rain tear, socks/hat, extra layers as needed
- dry bag and paracord to hang any food or sunscreen or anying else that might attract bears and other critters
- basic first aid kit
- fly rod and just enough flies/tackle

that's about it. I know some dudes who say even that is a lot, and say things like pads are luxuries. More and more I'll just sleep under the stars, and only put the tarp up if the weather looks likely to turn.

of course, that's my bare bones setup, with minimalism in mind. Much of my backpacking is done in the high elevation Rocky Mountain backcountry, so warm and dry is particularly important when it could freeze or snow any day of the year.

I have other creature comforts that often make it out too, depending on where I'm going and how far and how long and stuff: proper tent, little backpack stove and pan, hammock, thicker mattress if car camping, folding table and chairs, hatchet and folding saw, frisbee to toss, etc. But once you dial in your backpacking standard operating procedures, you can become more skilled at things like cooking over an open fire instead of needing a stove.

but much of my backpack setup is going minimalist, cuz this season I just got a pack raft. Though it packs up small, I'm creating the space for it in my pack without making the pack unbearably big or heavy, so bye bye tent.

Who wants to hike miles and miles just to sit in a tent anyway?
 
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