Outdoor Lifestyle: Minimalist Camping Essentials


Camping has become one of the most popular recreational activities in the country, with over 7 million new campers since 2014.

In a Statista survey, records show that U.S. consumers spent at least $3 billion on camping equipment, with a huge chunk allocated on backpacks and sleeping bags. Increasing interest in younger consumers’ outdoor activities is one of the driving forces for the increasing demand for camping equipment.

If you check camping tips nowadays, you’ll kind of think that camping has become more of a hassle than just a fun activity to do over a weekend. More gear, more labor-intensive maintenance involved, and more belongings you have to worry about when going on camping.

Before getting hyped with current camping trends, you might want to consider going back to the roots of camping. Remember that the whole point of camping is to experience nature at its core. It means foregoing all the material goods and comforts of everyday life. And this is the essence of minimalist camping.

You can still go camping with just one small, lightweight and versatile bag with all the essentials you need with minimalist camping. But easy as it sounds, there is a lot of planning involved in this type of camping.

What Is Minimalist Camping?

Minimalist camping or ultralight camping involves carrying camping gear and equipment that only weights between 12 to 20 pounds. The goal in minimalist camping is to carry the least number of versatile items on your trip to lighten up the load you will be carrying

Absolute Necessity: Survive the Elements

When preparing and planning on what gear and equipment to bring for minimalist camping, ask yourself the following questions:

1. Is the item truly indispensable? Bare essentials are the only things you need in minimalist camping. Think of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs.

2. Is there a lighter alternative? Instead of bringing a heavy tent, opt for a tarp or consider sleeping under the stars with just a sleeping bag.

3. Do you have a budget to buy a lightweight alternative? If you have extra money at hand, opt to purchase lighter camping essentials.

4. Is your camping bag underweight? If there is still some space (and extra free weight) in your camping bag, now is the right time to add some of the comforts you took out earlier.

Remember that staying lightweight is essential in minimalist camping.

What You Need for Minimalist Camping

camping hill

Tarps or Tents

You need some form of shelter when you go camping. It is to protect you from the rain and to give you shade during hotter months. For this, opt to bring a tarp instead of a tent. Even ultralight tents are heavier than tarps. Though it can be challenging to change your mindset about this, you will soon realize the major benefits of bringing a tarp instead.

Natural Light

Nowadays, you can purchase state-of-the-art LED lanterns with solar panels for your camping trip. But this means carrying additional weight. Minimalist campers do instead carry their headlamps or tactical flashlights and live by moonlight and campfire.

Water Filters

You obviously need water when you go camping. But a two-day trip would mean carrying two separate one-gallon water jugs. That also means carrying an additional 16 lbs of weight, not to mention the plastic waste materials have to deal with. Opt instead to use a portable water filtration system. It can be used for thousands of gallons of water.

One-bag Rule

Since minimalist campers only carry the essentials, then it means following the one-bag policy. The bag should carry the necessary camping clothes, toiletries, and entertainment needs. If there are children below 10 years of age going camping with you, the two of them can share a single bag.


Multi-tools are minimalist camper’s best friend. This small yet functional accessory is a must-have if you are going ultralight camping. Although a Swiss Army Knife with plenty of functions is delightful, keep in mind that quality matters above all. Better not buy a low-end multitool as it can break off easily.

Stick to the Essentials: Ditch Glamping Ideas

Glamping or glamorous camping is extremely popular right now, but it takes off all the essence of camping. When going on minimalist camping, bringing only the essentials cannot be over-emphasized. Follow the one-bag rule, bring only the essential gear and equipment, and try to live off the land.

Besides, be mindful of the footwear you choose. Opt for your most durable hiking boots or Xtratuf deck boots. Your footwear should be able to withstand the harshest condition whilst providing you comfort and flexibility.

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