Last fall I found that a town forest area had been logged and that a lot of tree parts had been left behind. Two weeks ago, after a bad wind storm that blew down a lot of tall pines, I was back in the town forest and found one particular pine that had come down,having a large root mass uprooted and leaving a dry spot where the roots had been. I decided that would be a great area for a minimalist outing. I went back last week with my shoulder bag packed with the following items: a small butane lighter, a sheath knife, a water bottle, a 15 oz tin can with a lid and a bale wire to use for boiling water, tea bags, some jerky and corn nuts for food, a couple of bandanas, my cell phone and a whistle. The total weight of my shoulder bag was about 3 1/2 pounds. My water bottle with a liter of water added another 1 1/4 pounds. I was wearing waterproof hiking shoes, cargo pants, a chamois shirt and a sweatshirt. I had a pair of work gloves and a winter coat that I had tied around my waist.
My first task was to improve the hole that was to be my shelter. One side of the hole had a large, flat stone that I determined would be the reflector for my fire. The other side was to be my "bed". Using stones uprooted by fallen trees, I built up the side of my bed area so that I could sit and be out of the wind. Plus the heat from the fire would reflect into my bed area and then back off the wall. Then I gathered a bunch of thin branches left by the loggers and built a fr
Before it got dark I went down to a small stream made from show melt and filled my tin can pot. Once it started getting dark, around 7 pm-ish, I started a small fire and boiled up the water for some tea. The tea, some corn nuts and some jerky made up my dinner. Then I sat back inside my shelter and listened to the night sounds.
I knew that there was no rain in the forecast, but that the low was expected to be around 30 degrees F, and I expected that my night would be spent dozing, waking up, rebuilding the fire and dozing again, with this process repeated all night. That's what happened all night. My shelter was snug and warm as long as the fire was kept burning. I think that my longest dozing period was about a half hour, but I made it through the night and was really happy to see the darkness give way to light and to see the sun come up.
I boiled up some more water and had coffee and corn nuts for breakfast as I sat in the morning sunlight. That was my March 2010 minimalist campout.
My experience has been that a minimalist campout really needs a lot of planning and that good weather is an important element in the planning. If I had expected rain I would have brought along my poncho and would have used that to waterproof my shelter roof. If the ground had been wet I would have needed a ground cloth; normally I use a left-over piece of Tyvek for the ground cloth. But all of that adds weight.