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Thread: What's your idea of a minimalist camping trip?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
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    Glendale, CA
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    76

    Default What's your idea of a minimalist camping trip?

    What's your idea of minimalist camping on the trail? How simple can it get?

    I used to be part of a flying/skydiving club. We camped on dry lake beds. Over the years I saw a big variety of camping styles. There were, of course, those with RV's and every bell and whistle.

    My favorite was when friend slept in his beater sedan, with a blanket, had a small cooler with ice, sixer of beer, gallon of water and a pack of kielbasa sausage. No stove. He cooked it over the fire on a stick. He mooched whatever chair was unused around the fire.

    One motorcyclist had no tent, no cot, no pillow. Just a sleeping bag. He joked he only needed a rock-- not to use as a pillow, but to knock himself out at night.

    My minimalist approach was: I'd remove my Tacoma's passenger seat before I headed out, I'd sleep on an air mattress on the floor, eat MREs, water and canned coffee drinks. Zero cookware.

    Most of the time I was a "cooler camper" and used no stove, only cold items; tuna salad mix, crackers, water, beer, for dinner and lunch. And for breakfast was yogurt and canned coffee drinks.

    My low point was one memorable trip when, after getting stranded at night beyond a deep river, with no gear, four of us shared a single can of chicken chilli that we found in a cave. We cut spoons from an empty plastic water jug, and cooked the soup in the can over an open fire. Slept in the open under a blanket.
    John

    My rig: five gears, four wheels, three radios, two seats, one nut.

    "Nobody seems to have the time to do it right, but everybody seems to have the time to do it again."
    "Ennie Meeny Dip-sah-deeny, Ob Gob Oobaleeney, Up Dump Diddliney Out Goes Y-O-U!"

  2. #2
    lol I remember the days when I swore by only bringing some hebrew national dogs that I would cook on the fire, Id throw a tarp down and sleep on it with a sleeping bag and try and hide behind the trucks shade when the sun rose ..

    Now days I try to make my 4runner as decked out as possible with my edgestar fridge, sleeping mats, inverter for my ipod music box. I can appreciate those old days but i like the more modern approach better ... Oh yea and aways botta bring the beer and spicy sausages lol

    I even bring a 600watt coffee maker for those cool winter morning
    2002 4Runner 4wd. Dual Yellotops, Yaesu ft7900, Cobra 75, 43qt Edgestar freezer, Hella500's HID, 1000w Xentrex inverter, superflow 12v compressor, Wilson cellphone booster, 60w Roof Mounted Solar Panels

    My build

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
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    Sydney, Australia
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    326
    When I was just out of the (Australian) Army I still used to enjoy carrying a very light pack, some dried pasta and rice, cooking it in my cups canteen which also carried my water bottle, and sleeping in a bivvy bag w/ sleeping bag, and under a hoochie, much like this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Ta...n_fly_tent.jpg One set of clothes to wear the whole time, with a spare set to wear once I re-emerged into the real world and a jumper which doubled as a pillow or 'comfy' seat/back rest/oven mit.
    .
    I was much younger then. Much younger. My back and neck would ***** for days if I tried it now. I'm with CaliMobber on preferring the slightly less extreme form of camping these days. I'm planning something where I can take my nice mattress and a shower with me where-ever I go, not to mention my own chair for around the fire.
    .
    I do wish I could go back to the ultra-minimalist ways, though, but that might just be these rose coloured glasses I am wearing...

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
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    Glendale, CA
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    I hear y'all. I've since gone far to the other side: last month I car camped at Bass Lake, CA, where there are showers, diners... and BARS, not to mention a lake and beaches. I came back laughing that I actually used my MSR Whisperlite Internationale stove at my site to make some modest one-pot meals.

    I swore next time to at least bring my giant three-burner Coleman multifuel and make a massive three skillet breakfast for my wife and I. We keep joking "next year let's not bring anything and just hang at the diners and bars." Call it the new minimalist approach; bring only money.

    But I sometimes do still sleep in the Tacoma instead of a tent. Last 4x4 trip I drove it partly up a trail on a hill to give my reclining seats a perfect angle for sleeping. Window shades were nice also. See photo.
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Last edited by ObGobOobaleeney; 09-20-2011 at 02:49 PM.
    John

    My rig: five gears, four wheels, three radios, two seats, one nut.

    "Nobody seems to have the time to do it right, but everybody seems to have the time to do it again."
    "Ennie Meeny Dip-sah-deeny, Ob Gob Oobaleeney, Up Dump Diddliney Out Goes Y-O-U!"

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Location
    Colorado
    Posts
    644
    Now married with two kids, minimalist means I couldn't fit it in the rig. Last trip I brought an Excersaucer for the 4 month old! When I was into rock climbing we would sleep on top of the cliff no tent, and peanut butter and bread was the meals for the weekend. We might have snagged some pasta from the cabinet and cooked that once in a while. But beer and bread were about it.
    Car Camping Extraordinaire!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Glendale, CA
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    76
    A friend used to joke of another "her idea of roughing it is when room service is late"
    John

    My rig: five gears, four wheels, three radios, two seats, one nut.

    "Nobody seems to have the time to do it right, but everybody seems to have the time to do it again."
    "Ennie Meeny Dip-sah-deeny, Ob Gob Oobaleeney, Up Dump Diddliney Out Goes Y-O-U!"

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Wichita, KS
    Posts
    1,007
    I'm building 2 sets of camping stuff.
    One is for Jeep based camping and while not a bunch of stuff, it includes a bigger tent, cot, regular camp stove, an action packer full of stuff, etc.
    The other collection is for carrying on my motorcycle - a Yamaha V Star 1300 cruiser. This is my attempt at minimalist camping, and it's a work in progress. I have some of the equipment that's lightweight and takes up relatively small space, but I still have a few things that I need to get. Sleeping comfort continues to be a challenge as my fat butt doesn't like the ground all that much. I also haven't found an easily portable (on a bike) chair that is also comfortable.
    I'm hoping to get the motorcycle thing down well enough to do some extended exploring on the bike - back roads, etc. and do alot of camping along the way. Minimalist is the only way I'd want to do this as I absolutely don't want to carry around alot of gear.
    The power of imagination makes us infinite. - John Muir

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Running Springs, CA
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    573
    This is exactly how we do it, too. He has a Harley, so all of the back-packing gear stays in a separate kit we can stuff into the saddle bags. As for being comfortable sleeping, we use a Big Agnes King Solomon bag paired with their Insulated Air Core pads for that setup. That combination is the best I've ever slept on the ground.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Parker County Texas
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    1,879
    I used to backpack and cross-country ski a lot when I was younger, so I have still have the "less is more" frame of mind. If I'm alone on a trip or with my one daughter who likes to backpack or one of my sons, then I have a kit which will fit on my touring bike or in my FJ40: backpack tent, Thermarest pad, sleeping bag, Svea 123 stove and fuel, water, Sierra cup, mostly dehydrated food, rain gear, a small military canvas tool bag, and a Kermit camp chair.

    When Mrs. 1911 comes along, we take the FJ Cruiser and a bigger tent, much larger self-inflating pads, a PETT toilet and shelter, an REI folding camp kitchen with pots and pans, a second stove, an ARB fridge, and a computerized astronomical telescope and tripod.

    When I was young and single, I would frequently make a soft "pack" out of an army blanket and rope, with nothing much in it beyond a sleeping bag, Svea 123, food, and a Clorox bottle for water. Used the army blanket for a ground cloth and slept under the stars.
    '80 FJ40, '86 FJ60, '07 FJC
    N5MUD Parker County ARES/RACES
    4x4ham.com
    TLCA # 16550

  10. #10
    Christophe Noel's Avatar
    Christophe Noel is offline Expedition Portal Team Adventure Bike Moderator
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    For me, minimalism in the backcountry isn't possible with a truck in the picture. My minimalist approach to travel is ideal for travel by foot, bike or skis. In that mode, I still carry a tent, bag, pad and stove, so it's still very comfortable. It is however exceptionally light.

    My lightest, most svelte kit is used on my mountain bike. It weighs less than 18 pounds with water:

    CoT1.jpg
    That load, paired with a small 20 liter backpack is sustainable for up to five nights.
    Bicycles rule.

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