Just Add Water
There is obviously a large mental component to minimalism. It is simple but not necessarily easy. Luckily, the bulk of the work is in the construction of your minimalist life creating a sort of homeostasis, a low energy default state.
To me a backpacking trip is almost a ritual ceremony of my beliefs. To be at ease in nature with only my wits and a light load on my back is my goal. I aim to be prepared with little effort, and to be ready to hike at a moments notice. I achieve readiness with my Just-Add-Water kit.
I keep my pack ready to go with anything I might need locally and seasonally for a quick trip. I may add or remove things as the weather changes but the photos represent a base kit. The idea is to keep planning and packing to a minimum.
I’d like to point out the highlights, but for items I don’t cover I’ll establish some general guidelines.
- My gear must help me be safe, comfortable, and happy.
- An item must proven and high quality.
- If I can make something that is lighter or better I will. Sometimes an item intended for non camping purposes fills a niche in my pack better than any overpriced piece of gear.
- If possible an item should have many uses.
I’d like to share A few highlights of my Just-Add-Water kit that meet these guidelines.
Food and water:
I keep about 2000 no-cook calories in an odor proof bag. I will grab stuff to make a hot meal and to fill any additional caloric needs from my kitchen or at a grocery store along the way. A warm meal is an important objective for my camping enjoyment. I gave up on “camp food” because of it’s price, blandness, and scarcity in my area. I carry storage for about four liters because I drink a lot of water and in Texas water sources can be few and fare between. Unless I know for sure where refill points are i will fill up all of my containers before I leave. The Platypus makes a good pillow when not in use. The Sawyer Squeeze has been a welcome replacement for a heavy, hard to use pump filter.
My kit consists of a Trail Designs Ti-Tri and a Snowpeak Titanium bowl with DIY titanium foil lid. State parks in Texas frown upon fires in the backcountry so the alcohol stove comes in handy, but there are a few national wilderness areas where I can enjoy the wood burning capacity of the stove. Wherever I end up I do have a few fuel options. And even if I can burn wood, weather conditions or just the spirit of that particular trip will call for the quick boil the alcohol stove brings. I ditched the plastic caddy that came with he stove and made a smaller, lighter one from two plastic bottles.
My BIAS Weight-Weenie-Micro hammock and bug net fit spaciously in a mosquito head net that also serves as a ridge line gear caddy. My Gossamer Gear Nightlight sleeping pad serves as bottom insulation in the hammock, a clean spot to sit, a pack frame, and in the event I have to sleep on the ground it is pretty comfy.
One item I always have is my DIY Tyvek rain coat (instructions to make your own can be found here). It weighs 3.5 ounces, breathes well, cost $9 and makes a nice wind shirt even if it’s not raining. I tend not to carry too much insulation in cooler weather, just enough to stay comfortable based on my level of activity. I’ll wrap up in my sleeping bag around camp if I need it. I also carry a lighter weight sleeping bag and wear all of my clothes to bed if I need more insulation.
Everything packs up nicely in my Gossamer Gear Gorilla. The Gorilla is a very versatile pack. If I have to carry a lot of water it provides plenty of support, but if I have a light load I can ditch the sleeping pad/frame and hip belt to lighten the load further.
The key is to figure out what you’ll need to be comfortable, anticipate your needs and surprises, and be ready to get out there when the opportunity arises. So I may be able to go light based on the specifics of a trip but the “lightness” of being able to just add water and go is greater than the lightness achieved by scrutinizing my gear all of the time.