I sometimes get asked about hobbies, and how can we downsize those hobbies to fit with our minimalist ideals. Today I’m sharing one of our hobbies – camping. Camping has a wide range of equipment that is either required or desired. You can go as maximum as a truck full of gear or minimal as a small backpack filled with just the essentials. I fall somewhere in between as I like a little comfort when camping. It wasn’t long ago, however, that I fell into the truck full of gear category. I describe the downsizing and share what remains in this video. (If you are reading in email or in an rss reader and don’t see the video, you can click through to the website or directly to Youtube.)
Hi, today we are talking about minimalist hobbies. To celebrate today’s topic I’m going to show you my minimalist pinhead artwork collection.
Minimalist hobbies – you think does that mean we have to have small hobbies. Maybe so… my minimalist pinhead artwork collection, let’s take a look. (Artwork so small it fits on the head of a pin.)
Here we have the pinhead Mona Lisa. And the pinhead Scream. And the pinhead Starry Night.
Alright, actually I”m just joking. That’s not my artwork collection. You don’t have to have small hobbies as a minimalist, but what you do want to do is downsize your hobbies in a way that they can still be enjoyable yet not have as much clutter. To show you what I mean by that I’m going to show you my camping equipment.
Camping is one of my hobbies. We don’t do it all the time, but we do it a few times a year. We like to get outdoors and spend some time in nature enjoying the outdoors. My daughter really enjoys it. It’s something we can do as a family and have fun together.
That’s great, but the downside to camping is that a lot of times it takes a lot of equipment to go camping with. Not always, but sometimes. A lot of people go backpacking, so it’s obvious that you can fit everything you need in a backpack. But, that’s not always ideal. What I’m going to show you is my camping collection where we’ve downsized from what used to take up an entire pickup truck, plus some, and now it fits in half the back seat of my Jeep.
You’ll be able to see what kind of stuff we’re taking camping, to see that just be you’re minimalist doesn’t mean you have to give up your hobbies. You can do things that are fun with the family or that you personally enjoy and do it in a way that doesn’t create a lot of clutter. Today I’ll show you one example of that.
Here we have my camping equipment. You can see it doesn’t take up a lot of space. We basically have everything we need to have an enjoyable weekend campout without having it take up a whole bunch of space. This amount of camping gear you could fit in a trunk. We fit it in a Jeep. We have three people in my small Jeep Wrangler, me, my wife, and my daughter, and the other half of the back seat is dedicated to the camping equipment.
Let’s go through it so you can see an example of how we downsized our camping equipment. I’ve read from some others on the Internet about people like to go camping but they aren’t sure how to downsize and still have everything you need. This is just one example. There are hundreds of ways to do it to fit your needs. This is way we’ve done it.
We’ll start with our tent. Before I downsized we had a 4 room, 12 person tent that was humongous. We basically used one room of the 4 room tent and the other rooms were empty. It was kind of ridiculous. But we though it was cool to have that much space.
Since then we downsized to this. It’s a Marmot 4 person tent. Like all tents when they say 4 people what they really mean is 3 people unless you want to be really crowded, then you can fit a fourth. This one is a pretty good one. It’s a limelight 4p. It’s fairly lightweight, not exactly a backpacking tent, but it’s good for us. We wanted something compact that didn’t take up a lot of space.
We bought this one on sale at Gander Mountain. Normally they are around $300 or $350, and we got it on sale for $200. It was a good deal and the tent will last us a while.
This box is for when we are camping in places that have electric. We have a heater and a fan. We don’t always bring this box with us, it depends on where we are camping. We’re going camping this weekend and the spot we’re camping does not have electric, so this box will be left at home this weekend.
If we do camp somewhere with power, it’s nice in the winter to have heat or in the summer to have a fan. We have that and some electric cords and a couple of splitters in case we need to split power.
Sleeping bags, everyone needs a sleeping bag when you’re camping. We used to do an air mattress and blankets and sheets. Those don’t pack down as well as sleeping bags, and they don’t keep you as warm. If everyone has their own individual sleeping bag, it’s better for keeping the number of items down and the bulk of the items down. Blankets just don’t pack down as well.
We don’t like to completely without comfort so we have these bunkhouse sleeping pads by Gander Mountain. It’s basically the same as a Thermalrest, which is a foam pad that fills with air. You open a little a valve and it self inflates as the foam expands, and then you close the valve. It’s a combination air mattress and foam pad. These ones are two inches thick.
It’s not the most comfortable thing in the world, but it sure beats sleeping on the ground. We have three, one for each of us. We find they work better than an air mattress. With an air mattress you have to bring a pump to air them up and we found they didn’t pack down as small.
This box contains the rest of our camping stuff. Before we downsized, like I said earlier, we took up a whole pickup truck bed full of stuff. The stuff that was in this box, there was more of it and the box was bigger. It was just so much stuff that we really didn’t need. When we paired it down to what we did need it fit nicely in this little box.
We have a welcome mat that rolls up. This is good because you won’t track as much dirt and sand in your tent. Although I seem to have tracked it onto myself.
Styrofoam cups for morning coffee or hot chocolate. We also have plastic cups. We have paper bowls because one of my favorites is camp chili. And some paper plates and plastic forks, spoons, and knives.
That type of stuff, you have the option of brining real plates or go with the paper/plastic. It’s a personal choice depending on what you want. Real plates mean more to clean while paper means more trash.
We have a small collection of cookware. We had considered downsizing our cookware. They make some nice compact sets that stack into each other. This is stuff that we already had. We upgraded our kitchen cookware at some point and these got tossed into the camping box. We have two firing pans and two small pots.
We downsized our stove from a two burner stove to this little backpacking stove. It’s a Peak 1 multi-fuel stove. I’ve had this since I was in Boy Scouts at like 12 years old. I’ve had this for a long time. I did have to replace some of the seals at one point, but it was quick and easy, and it works good as new.
The cooking stuff is what takes up a lot of space in your camping stuff. It’s necessary since I like to eat. 🙂 We have a pot to heat water in. Usually for hot chocolate, although you could also make instant coffee. This one had a percolator for regular coffee, but we didn’t really use that part so we tossed it.
Trash bags. Everyone needs trash bags when you go camping. We like to clean up around camp to leave it better than when we arrived. Having plenty of trash bags helps that.
Cooking utensils. Tongs for grabbing hot dogs or whatever. A few cooking spoons and a spatula. A big fork for steaks. Extending marshmallow/hot dog sticks. The kids like to roast marshmallows over the fire.
I have two lighters. I’m not sure I need both but fire is pretty important when you are camping.
A set of measuring cups. Bottle of dish soap for doing dishes at camp. A couple of sponges, with the rough brillo pad type stuff on one side.
One smashed pack of matches. Oh… Starting fires is important, it’s also important not to get your matches wet. These are pretty much no good anymore. Good things we had the lighters.
Can opener. Have you ever gone camping, brought canned food and realized you didn’t have a can opener. Yeah, it’s happened to me before, so make sure you have a can opener.
A small broom and dustpan for sweeping out the tent.
Insect repellant. We have two, one that is a skin so soft type that isn’t so stinky, and another that is a deep woods version with DEET.
A bottle of fuel for the stove.
An LED flashlight. We keep one in our camping box. We usually try to bring a few flashlights when camping, but I keep one in the box in case I forget to grab the ones from our house.
I also have this small LED lantern. This one is a Coleman brand. This thing doesn’t looks super bright now, but in the middle of the night in a dark tent it really lights things up. It’s super small. Before we bought this, I had a normal size propane lantern and an electric one. It was more then we needed and they took up a lot of space. This LED one has been really great.
Some bungie cords, because you never know when you might need to tie something down or hang something up. It’s good to have a few bungie cords or string/rope.
A tarp to put on the ground under our tent.
That’s it, that’s all our camping stuff. Before downsizing it was so much effort to get ready to camp, set up camp, and then after to take everything down and put it away when we got home. Now that we’ve downsized it’s much easier.
The bottom line is you can still have your hobbies as a minimalist. You can downsize them to the basics. I did it for camping gear because this is one of our hobbies, but downsizing hobbies can apply to knitting, needlepoint, or shotgun shooting. Whatever your hobby might be, you can likely downsize it.
You don’t have to keep up with the Joneses of camping with their huge tents and camping setups. Your not camping to stay in a luxury hotel, you are going to camp. So you take just what you need and you have a good time.
Minimalism applied to our hobby of camping has made it more enjoyable. If you apply your minimalist principles to your hobbies, you can downsize it to just what you need, and you get rid of all the excess. That can make your hobbies more enjoyable.
In the next day or two, or maybe later today, take a look at your hobbies and see if there is extra stuff that you don’t need anymore. Maybe that stuff no longer applies to your hobby. Or maybe you don’t even do the hobby anymore. If you’ve given up a hobby then you might as well give up all the stuff that went with it.
If you are doing your hobby, take a look at what you have and decide what you need. I see a lot of minimalist or people looking to downsize that do craft type hobbies like scrapbooking. Those types of hobbies come with a lot of stuff, but you don’t have to keep everything. If you buy some stuff for one project, you don’t have to keep all the extra when you are done with that project. That just in case stuff, that you might use it for another project, can create mountains of clutter.
If you have 50 balls of yarn, and you like to knit, do really need that much yarn? Maybe you do if you are actively using it. But if you knit as often as we camp, which is a couple times a year, then you likely don’t need a room full of yarn.
Look at what you need. Look at what your hobby requires. Look at how often you do it. And then decide how much stuff you really need.
That’s it for today. Hopefully you can take what you saw here and apply it to your life. If you camp, you can get some ideas from my example. If you have other hobbies, then you can apply the principles and declutter those hobbies. Get rid of the excess so that you can better enjoy your hobbies.
Thanks for watching and we’ll see you next time.
I filmed this video a couple of weeks ago and we are back from our weekend camping trip. After I had the Jeep loaded I didn’t feel very minimal. In addition to the camping gear I shared in the video, we also brought a small cooler for our food and drinks, 3 camp chairs for sitting around the fire, and a small canopy for shade and rain protection. Oh, and all our clothes and personal care items, mine in a small backpack, but my daughter and her friend insisted on bringing their small suitcases which don’t pack down as small.
The Jeep was definitely packed full, with the front passenger seat full of gear, the small amount of space behind the backseat holding the tent, chairs, and canopy, and the kids in the backseat with their suitcases on the floor. I was feeling a little frustrated with the amount of stuff until I arrived at camp and saw an example of the old me. One of my friends arrived at camp in his Jeep pulling a small trailer full of stuff, including several coolers, a huge tent, huge canopy, and a bunch of other gear. I definitely felt minimal in comparison.
The camping trip was really fun. I was unable to get the camp stove to work, so we had to cook over a fire, which ended up being more fun anyway. We camped with a bunch of friends from a Jeep club that I’m in. On Saturday we all drove some trails through the forest and explored the local area.
At one point my daughter’s friend said he wished he had a TV. He’s definitely a TV watcher, but instead of zoning out in front of a TV, they had to find their own activities to stay entertained. They ended up finding ways to entertain themselves. It was a great weekend and it felt really good to unplug and get out of the city for a bit.
I’d love to hear about your hobbies. Have you had success at decluttering your hobbies? If you’re struggling with hobby decluttering, ask some questions in the comments section and we’ll see if we can help.