What's the point of minimalist family camping? I can tell you from own experience that it is definitely possible to camp with very little gear with children, but why should you bother camping the minimalist way?
1. It’s quicker - however much stuff you like to bring along, having most of it organised at the start of the season, ready to grab’n’go at the first hint of sunshine will rapidly reduce your preparation time.
2. It’s easier - With less work to do and little planning required you’ll feel less stressed. Set up and pack is easier as there is less stuff to handle, and when you get home just chuck it all in a cupboard/shed, no need for weeks of laundry and squirrelling everything back away all over the house. Keep a list of local campsites which don’t need to be booked in advance so you have some ideas of where to go at short notice.
3. It’s cheaper - although camping superstores would have us believe we need piles of equipment to survive on a campsite with hot showers, electricity, its own shop and only minutes from Sainsbury’s, you don’t. And by not buying into it you’ll save a fortune.
4. If you are single-handed - You will be able to take your children camping on your own. Whether you are single, divorced, bereaved or just the only adult not at work that weekend you can do this all by yourself. Gender stereotypes of a man needed to carry and pitch the enormous tent, and a woman to plan all the meals are out the window. Just pack light and get out there. The kids won’t care if you don’t bring salad bowls and swingball.
5. If you have an illness or disability - A smaller, lighter kit will be easier to manage if you struggle with mobility or are not as strong as you once were. A small fast pitch tent, light-weight pans and minimal bedding can get you on an outdoor adventure quickly and easily with little help required from anyone else.
6. Get your kids outdoors more often - this is the whole point for me. My 8-year old son’s happy place is on the sofa staring at a tablet with the TV on in the background and an old moblile phone beside him. If we are at home its a struggle to make him do anything else. But in a vast empty field, with long grass to run in, sticks to gather, mud to jump in and bugs to hunt he is completely absorbed and content to be wild. And, for those few days, I feel a lot happier about my parenting. With my grab-n’go camping kit we can dash away for a night or two
7. Less clutter in your home - all this kit needs to be stored somewhere and for the 350+ days a years when its not in use all this gear will be filling precious space in your lovely home.
8. Better for our planet - much of the camping equipment available now isn’t made from sustainable materials and is not recyclable. New time you take a look in a camping superstore just picture everything they sell in a hole in the ground, one day most of it will be landfill. Let’s not add to the pile.
9. More time - when you can camp with less you get to spend more time on the important things in life. Like playing with your kids or talking around the campfire with your favourite people. Somehow, being out in the dark night with stars above and fire beside you conversations get really interesting! And children love the magic of campfire too (from a safe supervised distance, of course).
10. Escape from routine - Let’s face it, life as a parent is insanely busy. How did our to-do lists get so long? Where did this crazy schedule come from? With so many things to think about and keep on top of day-to-day, its hard to relax and remember who we used to be before we had children. Getting away from your everyday life quickly and easily with a simple camping set-up’, even if its just for one night, gives you chance to put life on hold and relax.
Have look around this website for some simple hacks and ideas to get you camping with less too.