The Luggage Professionals take on the bare necessities of camping

April 24, 2014 4 min read

Many people go camping to get away from our heavily materialist lifestyles. However, when you consider all the camping gear that's marketed to those who love to camp, it is possible to end up lugging around a substitute for your house and leading you to set up a small fortress away from home. Where's the fun in dragging all that useless stuff with you?

Camping is as much about mindset as it is about gear. Allowing yourself the space to just get going is the most liberating aspect of it all. Show the over-packers and consumerist campers just how camping should be!

1) Rough it up and adapt to what nature gives you

It's all about eschewing the unnecessary. Don't be a gear-oriented camper! It'll clutter your experience from the beginning with all that long decision making. When in the great outdoors, remember that less is more and also practical.

 2) One small to medium bag per camper only

The less bags, the less stuff already. Within that bag, you have to accommodate everything: clothes, shoes, bathroom needs and entertainment needs. Set the challenge and tell your merry adventure party that there is no more room. And veto large bags!

Have this basic rule: if you can't carry the bag for more than five minutes without wanting to put it down, either don't take it or lighten it.

Camping Gear - Caribee Plasma Extreme (+3˚C) Sleeping Bag

3) Work out what you need at the campsite

To survive comfortably for a few days, the basics you need include:

  • One tent, or two or more for a large group. Only take enough tents for the people, otherwise book cabins and just avoid camping.
  • One sleeping bag per person. If you know you have a low tolerance to cold, do take a warm sleeping bag or a space blanket.
  • Clothing: Be prepared to wear clothing in layers. And be prepared to wear them more than once.
  • Cooking gear, but keep it really basic. Cook with a fire (remember the matches) and have a basic axe for wood chopping.
  • Lighting: One flashlight or headlamp per person is more than enough. You won't get lost. Also remember to buy some spare batteries.
  • Basics: Insect repellent, toilet paper, rope, trash bags, small sewing kit, essential medications, first aid kit, sunscreen and perhaps a mosquito net if warranted where you're headed.
4) Work out what you don't need at the campsite

Many campsites provide tables and seating, and nature provides logs, stumps, and other natural objects that your imagination can make good use of. Embrace it and you'll love it!

5) Cut down on the bathroom needs

Really, all you need is your toothbrush, some toothpaste, one bar of soap, a small bottle of shampoo and deodorant. Also Dental floss is great for both teeth and lots of things that need tying up.

6) Minimise the food selection

Stick with what you know works when camping, and that's the basics.

  • A small kit consisting of a small bottle of olive oil, salt and pepper, paprika or chilli powder and one seasoning of choice as the basic cooking kit.
  • Buy drinks such as milk, water, juice, and beer as you need them. Tip: buy spirits and half them with water. Easier on the load, double the fun.
  • Use local farms as your supply source for fresh fruit and vegetables.
  • Oats and wheat biscuits make good breakfast cereals.
  • Catch your own fish. If you hunt, hunt your own food in legitimate places, or purchase locally slaughtered meats. Jerky is also useful as a take along.
7) Be tough on the fun equipment

Good small fun items for the minimalist camper include a pack of cards, a Frisbee, your swimsuit and creativity.

8) Consider banning the electronic gadgets

You've had access to them all year round. Just why do you need to take them camping? Get wild and leave the electronic gear at home!

Rediscover conversations, story-telling, drawing in the sand/soil, and stargazing.
Do take a cell phone for safety, though, but turn it off. Camera makes the exception. Documenting the beauty of all you see and the happiness and tribulations of your merry bunch is definitely worthwhile.

9) Adapt and extend yourself

Learn new ways to do things that you haven't thought of before. Nourish your creativity and sense of resourcefulness. Improvise! There are so many things that you can do and be resourceful about. This is in itself the fun and exciting part of camping.

Camping Gear - Caribee Road Runner Waist Pack   Camping Gear - Caribee Bottle Caddy

10) Enjoy the experience of camping

If you head out to camp 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, the trip will be enjoyable and a healthy, rewarding challenge. You will learn much and discover things about yourself and your fellow companions that you didn't know before. And that is something gear can't ever give you.

11) A bonus for the aftermath: Campfire Cologne

Once you get back from camp, you’ll spend your Sunday night happy to be back. Sure, you enjoyed yourself while “becoming one with nature,” but you'll also relish that “real shower” and having a proper toilet. But then Monday you find yourself at work, sitting and dreaming of that lake you spent the whole weekend staring at. You can almost smell the campfire. Then, your boss emails you and asks you to do another thankless task and you get depressed.

The best way to perk yourself up after a long day at the office is to light some Campfire Cologne. It’s like incense, except it smells like a real campfire. It’ll make your apartment smell like your campsite—the one you long to return to.

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