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Simple Camping is Way More Fun

Simple CampingImage: FreeDigitalPhotos.net

I have wanted to post about this since last March but somehow it got pushed in my posting schedule down to now.  Just in time for labor day here in the USA 🙂 I want to talk about simple camping but really the same applies to any kind of vacation … and maybe just a trip to the park.

Simple Camping

It doesn’t come as a surprise to me that minimalism benefits all areas of the life.  It just pops up in different areas and I like sharing what I am seeing.  I have mixed feelings about this idea because in a lot of ways it makes me frustrated that people miss it — and miss out.  It is almost a crime to me to have people waste valuable vacation 😉

Basically put simple things, or things we make simple, can happen easier.  Want to keep a clean house? Cut down on the things in it.  Want to eat simpler?  Make foods with less ingredients?  Want to have a simple mind and thinking?  Drop the baggage from the past and unrealistic expectations of the future.

Want to camp (or vacation more)?  Make it simple.

It was our ‘simple camping’ trip last March where this really jumped out at me.  Because we are self-employed we never are able to plan things that long in advance.  This time we were out on date night Wednesday night looking at the beautiful weather for the weekend and thinking — we should take off and go camping.  We finished up what we needed to do on Thursday and took off first thing Friday morning.  Because it was a few months ago I can’t remember exactly how much time it took to prepare but it never takes us much time to take off.  As long as the laundry is done I think we could go from an idea to being on the road in an hour… because it is simple.

Compare that to the other campers surrounding us.  I am not against any of this, but I can see it being a lot more work, money, and time to make it all happen:

  • Fancy-multi compartment tents
  • Lots of chairs
  • Piles of firewood
  • Meal/eating tents
  • Bikes
  • Hammocks
  • Games
  • Fancy grills
  • Whole tables full of coolers and lots of ice
  • … not to mention the huge campers with windmills, flags, and christmas lights.

Who knows how much time it takes to plan and prepare for the trip, but it sure seems like it takes a day to set up and a day to take down.  Come for a weekend and it would be lucky to get any time to actually enjoy.

When we are road tripping and staying in campsites we see lots of people driving in with overflowing cars, back hitches, and car top carriers who spend hours setting up.  … lots just staying only one night and driving on the next day.  Our simple camping allows us to get in, explore, and get out.

I have other things to do with my camping and vacation.  Simple camping has let us do that 🙂

We have a simple, little tent that takes no time to set up.  We have simple mats, and sleeping bags.  We have a bag of cloths per person.  We cook and eat very simply eating as many meals without cooking as possible and using things that need to be kept cold as seldom as possible.  Lots of time on the road we have nothing that needs refrigerated.

I don’t want this post to sound like it is looking down on anyone.  If planning, setting up, and taking down is your thing and you have a few weeks to stay in one spot this might work.  But if there are other things you want to do while camping or vacationing, minimalist/simple principles work just as well as in the house.  Less stuff=less work no matter where you are!

Take what you need and what you love and leave the rest of the clutter at home 🙂

What do you think?  (if you are reading RSS or on currents join us in the comments)

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17 Comments

  1. Amy Amy

    PWe love camping with just tents, sleeping rolls and a bag of clothes for the 5 of us to share. We usually find wood there, if there is none we pick some up when we go get groceries.

    When I was a kid we camped for a month while my parents looked for a house during one of our cross country moves. We didn’t have much with us but it was so much fun.

    • 🙂 When we road trip we mostly camp (when we can’t crash at someone we know’s house) We did 2 weeks+ 2 years ago, about 5 weeks last summer and hope to get out for about 5 weeks this fall on a camping road trip.

  2. Heather Heather

    You have just hit on a topic I have been contemplating since our last vacation. I spent days before we left preparing to go, and then the last couple days of our vacation cleaning up the rental house and collecting our things. I was resentful of that! I even mentioned to family members that the next trip I take will be drastically simpler and I am going to cut down on how much we bring with us (especially did and clothing). So thanks for the reinforcement! BTW, I am a homeschooling mom to a 7 year old, 6 year old and 1 year old (only my second semester). I’m really just “getting my get wet” in regards to minimalism and homeschooling, and I have been reading and enjoying your blog for a while now.

    • Heather Heather

      Sorry for the word errors. I meant to write “especially FOOD and clothing”, and “getting my FEET wet”!

      • no worries 🙂

    • Heather, great to meet you 🙂 It is always a struggle to find ‘simple’ with kids but it is worth the effort 🙂

  3. Ann-Marie Ann-Marie

    I’d love to hear a little bit more about the meals you prepare when camping. We already do the simple tent, mats, and sleeping bags. However I spend much too much time planning, cooling, and preparing our food. I’d love more ideas on how to simplify the food aspect of camping.

    • Ann-Marie, I am still working on that as well. We do breakfasts of oatmeal or toast. We have done pancakes just mixing up the dried ingredients and adding water and frying at the campsite. Peanut butter, honey, syrup, or a sugar/cinnamon mixture all don’t need to be kept cool. For other meals we can do noodles and spaghetti sauce out of a can, or make noodle soup with noodles and canned vegetables. We will do canned beans and boiled rice. We save up extra salsa packets or ketchup packets we get to take camping. um.. that is what I can think of now.

      • Ann-Marie Ann-Marie

        Thanks!

  4. We just got back from our own simple camping experience and I’m working on a post about it! We went with others who weren’t quite as simple in what they brought and we commented more than once how much easier it was for us!

    • yep 🙂 So much easier! Feel free to leave a comment on this post with a link to your post when you get it up 🙂

  5. Laura Laura

    You know what I’d love, Lorilee? A place to camp!!!

    Not a campground- but rather a place that isn’t illegal to pitch a tent for a night. Where I live, land is either private property or posted.

    Like the tent in your photo- that is a dream of mine. To just drive somewhere beautiful and pitch a tent and take in the beauty for the day/night.

    • Laura, I hear ya. I am not sure where you are writing from but around me (Nebraska) there isn’t many places to camp either. Lots of land, but very few campgrounds. The one we used to go to quite often that was close to us was washed away with a bad flood last year. We have to drive lots farther, .. another reason to make it simpler 🙂

    • Angela Angela

      Look for a National Forest or Grassland near you. Campgrounds are typically simple and inexpensive (at least the ones near us), but you can also camp anywhere outside of a campground for free. Hike a trail or follow a forest road and set up a tent. 🙂 Here’s the map of all the National forests/grasslands: http://www.fs.usda.gov/Internet/FSE_DOCUMENTS/stelprdb5274609.html

      • thanks for adding that information 🙂 I need to do some looking, we are starting to plan a road trip out east and I think there is a bunch of national forests out that way.

      • Laura Laura

        Thank you, Angela.

        I am in upstate NY. The nearest park to me on the map you sent me was MA, about 3 hours away. Not bad for a road trip.

        It’s sad there are not more in NY, with the Adirondacks and the other beautiful mountains near me, it’s a shame I can’t enjoy them more (outside of a packed overpriced campground)

        I would LOVE to be in more open country.

        Thanks for the info!

    • Kurt Kurt

      Try a national forest. They have some primitive campgrounds or just hike in any where and camp. If near one of their campgrounds you can hit their toilet and water pump for free. Always, always, always, bring extra water in your car. The day will come when you find out why. Make sure you bring a friend till you get more comfortable with being in the wild. This might sound crazy but I often camp or test new gear at home before I’m in the woods. Let’s me see if I’ve forgotten something and makes sure my new stuff is performing. I can go simpler but not always lighter because of the temperature. I sleep in a homemade hammock. The cord that cinches it closed at the end goes through my sleep bag. If you need to poke a hole in the bag reinforce it with thread to prevent tearing. I get in the hammock and pull the bag up and around me like a caccoon. Don’t need a pad till about 40F for my comfort. Get a 10×12 green tarp at your discount store, paracord, and walmart stakes and put the tarp above you. You can sit in the hammock during the day or easily take it down and work under the tarp. What about bugs? Just bring a military bug net that will go over your hat. What about animals? Most leave you alone. Some may be interested in your pack–not you. Nothing like going to sleep watching the night sky and the small flames of a dieing fire. Hope I’ve given you some thoughts. You’ll need a light more than a hatchet, and some dry socks and under clothes at night. Hope to see you on the trail.

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