One of the most common things you’ll hear campers bemoan is the load-in and load-out portion of the trip. How strenuous that process is really depends on what you deem necessary to bring with you. If people actually sat down and thought about it, we think they’d find that it actually is possible to pack everything you need using just one bag. If this minimalist approach appeals to you, here are a few tips that can help you achieve your one-bag goal.
Start with the right bag.
The bag should be big enough to hold a camper’s weekend essentials, but should still be easy for them to carry when full. A pack that a backpacker would typically wear is excellent for this purpose, as you can compartmentalize your various pieces of gear inside, and still be able to affix other parts of your gear to the exterior. These packs usually have some kind of internal frame to help distribute the weight evenly, allowing the user to carry their gear across long distances if necessary.
The best way to make sure that everything can be fit in one bag is to invest in lightweight equipment. Ultra-light camping gear is designed for individuals who take multiple day backpacking hiking trips. After carrying a backpack for miles, every extra ounce feels like an extra pound. Even if you’re not planning a vigorous hiking trip, by the end of your weekend camping trip you will appreciate a lighter load.
Leave unnecessary items at home.
You should have plenty of room in your camp bag if you omit unnecessary items. Take the time to really plan out what you need to survive and be relatively comfortable for the weekend. This basically boils down to sleeping quarters, clothing, cookware, food, and hydration. If your smartphone travels with you wherever you go, you probably don’t need the tablet. Consider what the weather will be like, and pack clothing accordingly. Thin layers can add up to a lot of warmth while not hogging space in your pack.
Share the load.
You can cut back on the amount of stuff you need to pack in your bag if the pair or group splits up their list of essential gear among each other. There is no reason to bring duplicate gear on the trip. For example, one person in the group could pack camp cookware, while another packs along a stove. Planning to share the load will help everyone pack lighter.
Evaluate upon your return.
Upon returning from your trip, write down what items you did and did not use. If there was something you brought that remained in your bag the entire weekend, consider leaving it at home the next time. The exception to this rule is emergency and first aid kits. These items should always be in your bag and taken out only to replenish supplies. Once you pack a single bag for a few camping trips, we think you’ll find it hard to go back to your multiple-bag ways.