After many years of traditional car camping at campgrounds, our frustration level has risen high enough that we now seek the more solitary experience. When you visit almost any campground what you find is that people bring so much stuff and essentially set up "home" in an outdoor setting. Personally, we like to go camping to get away from our stuff and our normal daily lives....not recreate them in a different setting.
So when we were invited to join friends to hike in 7 miles to a secluded mountain lake to camp, we jumped at the chance.
When you have to carry everything you need on your back for the next few days, you tend to keep things simple and pack light.....especially when you are hiking 7 miles one way to your destination.
Now I won't lie to you. We did not actually end up carrying all our stuff on our backs. The party we were going with had three horses and we were able to load quite a bit of our stuff on them. This was especially helpful since my husband was suffering quite a bit of back pain and our daughters are young, 5 and 7.
But we packed with the mentality that we would have had to carry it all. (And hopefully someday we will.)
What we took:
- lightweight tent (4 man)
- sleeping mats and bags
- 1 small bag of clothes for each person (stuff sack doubled as pillow)
- camera bag
- food (just add water kind of meals) and a jet boil to heat our water
- sandals for each person (to give our feet a break from our hiking boots)
- water bottles for each person and a walter filtration system
What we didn't take:
- chairs to sit in
- cots to sleep on
- cooking pots, pans and stove
- elaborate meals to cook
- table to cook on
Advantages of camping light
I think the most obvious advantage of camping light is the lack of distractions and the ability to really enjoy the experience fully. It was a joy to see my kids fully occupied and satisfied by nature and all it has to offer. They weren't bored. There were too many frogs to catch, flowers to pick, trees to climb and snow patches to slide down. (I did take my Kindle, but only spent about 10 minutes reading it. Even I, who can hardly stand to sit around without reading, didn't want to be distracted from the glory and beauty that surrounded me.)
Another advantage is the ease and efficiency of setting up camp and then packing it back up. Granted, packing light and effectively takes a little more time and thought up front, but once you have what you need in your packs, the rest is easy.
Finally, it's a good challenge. It's good to stretch ourselves and test our limits every now and then. It builds character and I almost always learn something new about myself.