How Camping Encourages Our Minimalism

We loaded up our Nissan Versa Saturday morning and headed North to Payson, Arizona to beat the heat.

We love summer camping. It provides a reprieve from the scorching sun and allows all four of us to relax.

There was not a fire ban (yet), so we actually got to roast marshmallows and make s’mores!!!

We hiked down to the bottom of the Tonto Natural Bridge, played in a creek, and just relaxed.

It was our best camping trip yet.


An older couple camping next to us could not believe we fit ourselves and our stuff in our tiny car.

They were two people with an SUV and said they felt crowded.

This disbelief got me thinking about the relationship between camping and minimalism.


It might sound obvious that camping encourages minimalism.

You are sleeping outside in a mostly-reliable fabric structure without electricity and plumbing.

You have only what you brought.

Isn’t this a perfect picture of minimalism??

Not always.

At first, camping and minimalism seem synonymous. But as you walk through many campgrounds you will find some of the same excess that exists within city limits.

Excess gear, excess media, excess food, excess sitting. The only difference is it all happens (mostly) outdoors.

This is not a judgment, as we are guilty of many of these excesses while camping.

It is, however, a reminder that minimalism is not simply an activity but rather a state of mind and attitude.

When I return from camping, my attitude can go one of two ways:

1. “I am so glad to have these comforts back. I could hardly live without them.”

Or

2. “I lived abundantly without all these things for two days, maybe I don’t actually need them.”

The first attitude focuses on what I was “missing.” This attitude leads to complacency with my stuff and usually no change.

The second attitude focuses on gratitude. It recognizes all the joy that happened without convenience and stuff.

The second attitude brings fresh eyes to the home and changes how I view my things.

When we returned yesterday from our camping trip I was full of gratitude and this second attitude.

Everything looked different to me.

Since Monday is always our cleaning day, I look forward to tackling our space with these fresh eyes.

So even though camping itself is a great form of minimalism, I believe the attitude you bring home dictates how it permeates the rest of your life.

-Brittany

(This post also appeared on No Sidebar)

6 comments

  1. Hi Brittany, I found your Blog through No Sidebar and I absolutely love it! I have gone back and read every post. You have a lovely way of writing, and thankyou for your post on Social Media. I too feel the same and will be shutting my accounts. – Michelle

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    • Michelle,
      Thank you for your kind words! Glad you enjoyed the Social Media post, and I wish you the best of luck in shutting your accounts. It is a freeing feeling!! 🙂 -Brittany

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  2. Hi Brittany,
    Yes I love going on holiday (anywhere) and how you can happily live with very little. It’s so easy to keep organised and I rarely miss anything from home except maybe a sharp knife when preparing food.
    It’s freeing to not be reliant on anything that doesn’t fit in a suitcase.
    I need to channel that feeling better into more ridding of excesses in my home.
    Thanks for the inspiration.

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  3. Thanks for this Brittany. I have always loved camping. Minimal housework. One cup, one bowl etc. for each person. No television. Everyone pitching in with the jobs. It’s interesting for me to reflect… my family now grown. I haven’t thought about the minimalist connections until now. I guess I’ve always been a minimalist at heart. (I found you through no sidebar.) Thanks Vicki

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