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RV Minimalism – Part 2: Camping Rules

May 4, 2014
Camping in the Bob Marshall Wilderness with two of my favorite men:  My dad and Carissa's dad.

Camping in the Bob Marshall Wilderness with two of my favorite men: My dad and Carissa’s dad.

I love camping.  Getting back to nature…escaping the rat race…and making do with less “stuff” for a weekend or even just a night.  It’s refreshing!  It helps you kind of re-focus and gives you a minute to think about what’s important.  There’s a reason why camping is one of the world’s most beloved and universally appreciated activities.  That, of course, is just ONE way to think about camping.  Some folks will be quick to point out that there’s another side to that super-optimistic story.

“I gotta use WHAT for a toilet?”

“We’re cooking on THAT?”

“We’re doing dishes WHERE?”

“I’m sleeping on the hard ground in a BAG?!?”

Yep, when we go camping, we put up with things that – in a “normal” context – would seem kind of absurd.  All of a sudden, the rules change. What used to be bare essentials (a roof over our head, sanitary conditions, climate controlled environment, a warm, cozy, place to sleep, etc.) are tossed out the door for a whole new set of acceptable – even ENJOYABLE – conditions.

Well, one of the most helpful ways in understanding how to be successful living like a minimalist in a tiny RV is to toss out your set of rules and minimum expectations and replace them with something most of us can immediately identify with: CAMPING RULES!

Here are a few examples:

– When you’re camping, you don’t need an oven to prepare food.  An open flame will work for preparing all kinds of tasty and delicious meals.

– When you’re camping, you don’t need hot water for everything.  You can wash hands, face, and dishes just fine with cold water.  But if you DO need hot water you can just heat some in a pot, then use conservatively because there’s not much of it!

– Speaking of dishes, when you’re camping what passes for “clean” looks a lot different.  Suddenly, a plate that was wiped off with a napkin after use works just fine for the next meal.  And you don’t need a scrubby to get dishes clean, either.  You’re hand works just fine if you do dishes immediately after using them instead of letting that old food set up like concrete before you wash it.

– Speaking of clean, when you’re camping it’s just fine if you don’t take a hot shower every day.  Turns out you will NOT die if you shower every 3 or 4 (5?  6?) days instead of every day.

– When you’re camping, you don’t need lots of space for stuff.  A tent is a sufficient bedroom.  A lap works just fine for a dinner table.  And a small backpack suddenly holds everything you need for a few days.

– When you’re camping, there’s no need for constant use of technology.  The fact that you don’t have a flat screen TV and wifi internet all the time doesn’t seem to be a problem.

– When you’re camping, privacy requirements are much lower.  You can change clothes behind a bush, the other side of a tree works for a toilet, and you don’t need to be behind a locked door for…err…any other things that you might do that normally you’d kind of want a locked door to do.

Give me a Leatherman and I can MOVE THE WORLD!!

Give me a Leatherman and I can MOVE THE WORLD!!

– When you’re camping you don’t need every gadget known to man to accomplish tasks.  If you’ve got your Leatherman multi-tool you can do just about anything from opening cans to small repair jobs.

– When you’re camping, you don’t need a 4 course meal every time you eat.  A skillet full of nutritious, yummy food mixed in all together is dinner fit for a king!  And water is your go-to drink which works out great because it’s better for you anyway.

And you could probably think of other examples, but you get the idea.  To feel as though you’re living like a king, you just have to adjust your expectations down to CAMPING RULES.  For us, the fact that we have running water, a cold fridge, a space larger than a tent that is protected from the elements, a soft bed, and a bathroom with a working toilet and lockable door is kind of amazing!  Our constant sense is that we have SO MUCH.  I’m not kidding.  We are all super grateful for the amazing amenities that we enjoy and rarely feel like we’re just making do with the tiny bit we have.

So there it is:  The key to happiness whether you live in an RV or are just thinking today about downsizing a bit.  Adjust your mindset to roughly where it is when you go camping, then sit back and enjoy your abundance!

Mother's Day 2013:  This meal was fit for a QUEEN (note the flowers and chocolate)

Mother’s Day 2013: This meal was fit for a QUEEN (note the flowers and chocolate)

 

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