Get back to the simple life and get away from our heavily materialist lifestyles by saving yourselves the hassle of lugging the alternative camping gear for nearly every item in your home. Free yourself from your unnecessary clutter and go minimalist with these three top tips from Little Roadway Farm Campsite Woolacombe.
Be prepared to go wild, to adapt what nature offers and to make the things you do have do double duty. Minimalist camping is about avoiding the increasingly wide range of homelike comforts that are being sold as camping gear. The problem with all this gear is that it clutters your experience from the beginning (what to take, what to leave, etc.), it weighs down your transport, and it compels you to have experiences that are directed by the gear rather than allowing yourself to be led by the natural resources around you. By taking taking less, and being more prepared to make do, you can have an incredible minimalist experience.
- Designate one small to medium bag per camper only. Anyone under 10 gets to share a bag together. The fewer bags, the less stuff already. Within that bag, each person needs to accommodate their clothes, shoes, bathroom needs (including travel towel), entertainment needs, and anything else not directly related to the setting up of the campsite itself. Set the challenge and tell them that there is no more room.
- Have a basic rule that if the packer can’t carry their own bag for five minutes without wanting to put it down, they can’t take it with them but must lighten it. Work out what you to survive comfortably for a few days through to a few weeks. The basics you need would include are:
- Accommodation: if a large group plus groundsheet. Only take enough tents for the amount of people – you don’t need additional tents for living rooms, kitchens, etc. However you may want a general-purpose tarp as well, for all sorts of possibilities.
- Sleeping gear: per person you’ll need one sleeping bag. Extra cold people can bring along either a warmer sleeping bag or an additional pace blanket.
- Clothing: Be prepared to wear clothing more than once (use deodorant) and to layer to accommodate changing temperatures. (Take a small bottle of laundry detergent that works in cold water. You could easily clean some underwear in a sink, and dry it on top of the tent.)
- Cooking gear: Keep it really basic. One small camp stove (and fuel), one to two pots, one pair of tongs and some bowls, eating utensils, plates, sharp knife and cutting board, and a few cups for drinks as well. Foil is excellent for lots of possibilities and while one tablecloth can be handy, you can also use a newspaper for occasional reads. Have a small amount of detergent (suitable for the natural environment) and a knit dishcloth. If you have cans, bring along a can opener and a bottle opener is useful (these can also be attached to pocket knives). Take a small camping stove.
- Lighting: Choose a personal flashlight or headlamp per person. Or for fun have a go at talking in the dark until you fall asleep, and get up early.
- Basics: Natural insect repellent, toilet paper, rope, trash bags, small sewing kit, essential medications, first aid kit, and sunscreen. Anything more and you’re getting too fancy.
- Work out what you ”don’t” need: There are many things that you don’t need but that are heavily marketed at luxury camping additions. Coffee makers and any other appliance that has been repackaged for camping purposes. Do you really need an espresso or can you enjoy normal coffee instead?
- Folding tables and lounge chairs. Perhaps a folding stool is useful but keep the dining room and lounge room furniture at home. Many campsites provide tables and seating, and nature provides logs, stumps, and other natural objects that your imagination can make good use of. You can even use a camping mat just lean the mat up against a rock for comfort and seating!
- Fancy large lamps, heaters, satalite tv or anything powered. If these are your thing then perhaps hiring an RV camper van is a better choice.
- Anything fancy and not something your grandparents would have known when they went camping. This test will help you to leave lots of gear at home.
- Cut down on the bathroom needs. All you need is your toothbrush, some toothpaste (share a tube with everyone of the same gender as it’s easier in the same bathroom facilities), one bar of soap, a small bottle of shampoo (and conditioner if you ”really” need it), and deodorant. Dental floss is great for both teeth and lots of things that need tying up, and doesn’t take up much space. There are even more hard-core versions of washing your hair, such as only using soap and water or all-in-one hair, body, face washes.
- Minimize the food selection. There are plenty of possibilities in the camping food section and the supermarket but you can easily get carried away on the food front, with too many seasonings, too many cans etc. Stick with what you know works when camping, and that’s the basics. Make a small kit consisting of a small bottle of olive oil, salt and pepper, paprika or chili powder, small soy sauce and one seasoning of choice as the basic cooking kit. Buy drinks such as milk, water, juice, and beer as you need them. There is no need to be lugging along anything other than some drink for the car journey. Buy fresh fruit and vegetables while camping. Use local farms as your supply source. Avoid having too many processed foods. Some cans are helpful but not an entire range of canned foods. Use dried foods such as raisons to add dried vegetables to dishes you’re cooking. Oatmeal and wheat biscuits make good breakfast cereals. Rice, pasta, and quick cooking grains are important basics. Use Teabags As Fire Starters and instant coffee pouches are useful. Buy fresh fillets of fish or catch your own purchase locally slaughtered meats to cook on your camping stove with pan fried vegetables or salad.
- Be tough on the fun equipment. Only take what you know you will actually use. Good small fun items for the minimalist camper include a pack of cards, a set of storytelling dice, a frisbee and your swimsuit. Consider banning the electronic gadgets. You’ve had access to them all year round. Just why do you need to take them camping? The laptop, tablet etc risks being dropped, getting dirty and having water soaked all over. Rediscover conversations, story telling, drawing in the sand/soil, and star gazing. None of these activities require complex gear. Decide if you need a mobile phone for safety is okay but turn it off. It’s out of bounds for games, work emails, and internet access (unless you’re looking up how to put up your tent). A camera is probably the one exception; documenting the beauty of all you see and the happiness and tribulations of your fellow camp companions is definitely worthwhile.
3. Adapt and extend yourself. Learn new ways to do things that you haven’t thought of before. This is good for your creativity and sense of resourcefulness. So, you don’t have a stand for your cooking pots? Improvise and make one from rocks and logs. You haven’t got a watch to tell you the time? Tell the time using your hand. No bowls for dessert? Wash the ones you used for soup first and reuse them for the same meal. There are so many things that you can improvise and be resourceful about, that this is in itself a fun and exciting part of minimalist camping.
Enjoy the experience of minimalist camping. If you go camping with the mindset that you’re depriving yourself of luxuries and comforts, you’re unlikely to enjoy yourself. On the other hand, if you have the mindset that you have enough for surviving, plus some treats, and that the real purpose of the trip is to rediscover nature and your resourcefulness, the trip will be enjoyable, healthy, rewarding experience. You will learn much and discover things about yourself and your fellow camping companions that you didn’t know before and that is something gear can’t ever give you.
Why not rediscover yourself, get back to nature and enjoy a minimalist camping holiday at Little Roadway Farm Campsite in Woolacombe, on the beautiful North Devon coast.