Today’s modern conveniences are not required while camping. All that “Stuff” is weighing you down. Instead of having a good time with your family, you’re spending all your time loading, unloading, setting up and breaking down. It’s time to embrace an uncomplicated approach.
- Leave it at home.
If it doesn’t fit in the bag it doesn’t come. I allow one small bag per person and outlaw anything that isn’t a necessity. Where you are camping will dictate what you bring along, but as a general rule, your bag should include your clothes, hygiene products, insect repellent, sunscreen, and if you have kids, maybe a few outdoor friendly games to entertain. Add to that a sleeping bag and everyone’s individual needs should be covered. Minimalism will always bring out a person’s inner hoarder, we all know that person that would try to bring along their entire volume of high school yearbooks and rarely used pressure cooker, if they could. Exercise self-control, only bring what you absolutely need!
- Shelter me.
Tents are great, but they aren’t a must. Most tents tend to be bulky and require a good amount of time and sanity to set up and take down. Be honest, how many of you find it maddening when you are trying to snake those snap together poles through the pockets on your tents, only to have them snag at the pole joints and inevitably break apart? It’s annoying. The amount of time you actually spend in your tent while camping, in most cases, is minuscule. To me, the hassle isn’t worth it. Tarps make excellent shelters, the only thing they are missing from a conventional tent is a zip close door. Tarps are cost effective, fold up really small, are light weight and super versatile.
- Feed the campers.
One of the biggest sources of bulky excessive gear comes in the form of outdoor cooking stuff. Stoves, fuel, pots, pans, cups, plates, utensils, and the list goes on. Instead, I bring along my Smokey Joe, it’s a small portable charcoal grill from Weber. If you don’t want to do that, or if you don’t have one, an open fire is an obvious choice. One large bag of charcoal and some tongs are all I need to cook for a couple of days. Instead of plates, we use foil or parchment paper to eat off of and fingers serve as utensils. As soon as you’re done, your foil can be tossed in the trash, your hands can be washed and there are no dishes.
- Taking care of business.
Spending a few days without the luxury of modern plumbing is sometimes one of the biggest hurdles for people to overcome. It’s weird doing your business outdoors. However, come prepared and it won’t be a problem. Bring along that biodegradable toilet paper and don’t forget the soap, and you’ll be fine. If you aren’t outdoor potty savvy, check out these tips: When Nature Calls – Do You Answer?.
- Have Fun.
This is probably the most important part. With the availability of technology, it is easy to get sucked back into work even when you are supposed to be relaxing. Every time an email or text comes in, your phone chimes and it takes you right back to business mode. Try to keep the work-related interruptions to a minimum and instead enjoy the freedom of the outdoors.
Hugs, Handshakes and Happy Campers