Minimalist Camping Gear for Backpackers
As a backpacker, there will likely be times you want to camp, particularly if you feel your other accommodation options in an area are overpriced and not good value. However, if you’re doing a mixture of city and nature travel, then it’s a pain to lug your camping gear the rest of the time.
Camping can save big dollars since other types of accommodation in beach and wilderness locations (e.g., in or near national parks) is often much more expensive than the general norm for an area.
How can you take camping gear without it weighing you down when you’re not using it?
- As a general principle, take less stuff rather than buy super expensive, ultra lightweight versions of everything. You perhaps don’t want to be putting expensive camping gear in checked luggage anyway.
- Have things do double duty. For example, you can use a sarong as a sheet for beach camping in hotel climates. A sleeping mat can be found that compresses to a small size and is quite useful if you want to sleep on a friend’s floor for the night rather than take an expensive taxi ride after the public transport has stopped running. A trangia alcohol stove is very small and will fit in any corner or pocket of a backpack. It can be a bit of a pain to find the fuel for it sometimes, but not generally. You can get a mini trangia kit that comes with a pot stand and very small pot (good for heating a ready meal or boiling water for coffee).
See here a video of how to make your own stove.
- Camp in warm weather so you don’t have to have lots of extra warmth protection. Use a tent that has bug mesh so you can have ventilation but also bug protection.
- Sometimes it’s best to just buy a cheap version at your destination rather than bring it with you. You’ll always find someone you can donate it to at the end of your stay e.g., another backpacker. Or, of course you can try to sell it on.
- Shop around online, and only for what you need. Stick to your list rather than adding lots of “that’s cool” non-essentials. You can also shop at camping shop clearance sales to get highly discounted camping gear.
- Do a few minimalist overnight camps in your local area before you camp out somewhere unfamiliar. See what you need for a sub 24 hour camp, called an S24O for sub 24 hour overnight.
- Pay attention to both the weight and size that your gear packs down to.
- Camping in the dry season is also a lot more fun than dealing with rain.