Overnight Camping Trip – Keeping it Simple

I headed out on an overnight camping trip this weekend and tried to rise to the challenge of traveling as light as possible. I’m new at this whole backpacking thing, so my knowledge and experience didn’t allow me to go ultra lightweight. Overall, I kept things very simple, though. I brought a down jacket, some light gloves, a light, car keys, a knife, tent, a fruit drink (why? I’m not sure.) water, and some minimal food.

Of course you’re probably laughing at me now because you know I brought my fair share of camera gear too. All my gear combined (including food and water) weighed in around 7 pounds. Then I had my DSLR which weighs 6 pounds. I’m glad I brought it though because all the footage from my GoPro was lost due to a memory card error 🙁 That’s why you never heard the update on how my night was. So here it is:

I was very comfortable except for my feet. My feet were freezing. It was sprinkling rain/sleet for a good portion of the evening and the wind was really whipping (I had some pretty funny footage of me trying to set up my tent in the strong wind. I thought I had a pretty protected spot, but halfway through tent setup, I was doubting my choice). The conditions combined with the great ventilation in my tent let a lot of cool air in. I put my shoes back on and that helped a little, but my feet were far from comfortable the whole night. I ended up wearing the down jacket, which kept my upper body at a very comfortable temperature. I used my backpack as a sleeping pad/pillow, which was perfect with the foam on the back of the backpack. It also insulated me well from the ground.

If I had to do it again (which I will) I’d bring an empty water bottle and fill it as needed and purify the water with the SteriPen water purifier I have. It would be much lighter that way. I was looking at the satellite view of the area before I left and didn’t see any small ponds, but once I was hiking around, there were plenty. I’d ditch the fruit drink, and bring dried cranberries or something like that for breakfast. I also cheated a little (I feel like) because it was only an overnight trip. I went roughly 11 miles total. I think it was a good distance for me based on the forecast and my experience, but the true lightweight challenge comes on a longer trip. Unfortunately, I didn’t have the time from work to enjoy a longer trip. There will be longer trips in the future, though.

Lastly, I’m very interested in hearing your thoughts. I certainly made several mistakes on this trip. It wouldn’t be nearly as much fun or as rewarding if I didn’t learn something new while I was out there. Time outside is time well spent, and that’s why I do it. I’m sure I’ll continue to learn from you as well……..or at least that’s my hope 🙂 Happy trails!

Chris Martin

48 Comments

  1. wood tick on September 16, 2019 at 6:24 pm

    I have a challange for you, the only items you bring (other than cloths) knife, matches, tarp and cord. it will free your mind.

  2. The Outdoor Adventure on September 16, 2019 at 6:24 pm

    So, no sleeping bag?

  3. Gregory M on September 16, 2019 at 6:24 pm

    There is no real information for the person whom has not camped yet " how far did you hike, what is the tent, the temp, the season, where is the fire, ect.

  4. Tony WinASMR on September 16, 2019 at 6:27 pm

    this is an amazing tutorial on lightweight camping, simple.

  5. ExploreLife2012 on September 16, 2019 at 6:31 pm

    Good vid, great way to keep it simple. What were the night time temp without a bag? I do the layering thing too, using coats, fleece pants for summer nights or increasing any bag’s warmth. A baklava and wool gloves and scarf are very versatile for this too. I didn’t see a way to make a fire, usually 2-3 ways are better, a neck pouch of tinder will keep it dry and dry some out. I usually have 4 lockable big lighters with a ferro rod with a carbon steal blade. Compass…think about 10′ visibility.

  6. Survivalkraft on September 16, 2019 at 6:32 pm

    I think that if you were shooting for simple, lightweight camping, you nailed it! Based on how you said the overnighter went, I think all you might need is an extra pair of socks 🙂 Excellent experiment and video! Have a good one!

  7. 1acroyear1 on September 16, 2019 at 6:34 pm

    Wow. A five minute video with a one minute intro.
    If you can’t say, "Hi. Here’s my video. Please enjoy." in ten seconds or less then you’re wasting time, server space and bandwidth. There’s too much info on the web to make someone go thru that.

  8. Jack Peters on September 16, 2019 at 6:35 pm

    You probably realize now, but the pointing in front of the camera was useless and annoying. Apart from that, great video

  9. Papa Smurf 420 on September 16, 2019 at 6:36 pm

    this is the first video of his I’ve seen and I don’t know like this guy

  10. tim keele on September 16, 2019 at 6:37 pm

    great video. the photography is very good. loved the opening shot. beautiful! I used to be a backpacker, decades ago. prepping to get back into it again. only much lighter this time. you seem to think you made some mistakes. I don’t see anything really wrong. but I appreciate people who share their mistakes, or perceived mistakes as openly as their successes. we all learn more, that way.
    re: Naked juice. psychological comfort is important, too. if it’s important enough to you, then accept the weight penalty philosophically.
    re: cold feet. fresh socks for sleeping is good. I’ve used produce bags on my feet w/ socks over top ( a free, ultralight vapor barrier to prevent my "sensible" and "insensible" perspiration from degrading my socks insulating potential). it helps.
    also, even if planning only cold meals, a diy alcohol stove, 2 oz fuel and an aluminum or stainless steel water bottle with a screw on, sealing top is a way to make a hot water bottle. If i were planning an overnight w/o a sleeping bag in potentially windy, rainy conditions I’d definitely like to have this capability.
    re: trip planning. I like USGS topo maps for the most reliable and detailed info. still the best, imo.
    Thanks for sharing your experience. ATB

  11. IntenseAngler on September 16, 2019 at 6:39 pm

    A wimp? No way man! I would have had my down sleeping bag with me. You’re braver than I am, lol 😉

  12. inspireAson on September 16, 2019 at 6:40 pm

    Thanks. I’m still trying to optimize. I need to go on a multi day trip to really test out any lightweight decisions. It’s pretty easy overnight because you know what the weather will be like (mostly) and you can leave a lot of food weight (stove, fuel, calories) at home.

  13. Ben Steele on September 16, 2019 at 6:41 pm

    nice vid man, wish we had areas like that in the uk. although we have some great spots in the lake district. what was the make of you tent? keep up the good work.

  14. inspireAson on September 16, 2019 at 6:43 pm

    Ledicious – It’s great to hear that you’re getting your son out. I was planning on taking my son out (18 months) on a car camping trip this weekend, but there was going to be quite a bit of rain so we held off. I wanted to be sure his first experience was a great one. There definitely is a much bigger hurdle getting outside with the kids, but it seems like most kids really love the experience. Anyway, keep on exploring and thanks for stopping by. Take care 🙂 – Chris

  15. vivi & fafa on September 16, 2019 at 6:43 pm

    Inspired

  16. Gale Sipple on September 16, 2019 at 6:44 pm

    You really need to add a first aid kit to your pack, even if you are just going out overnight.

  17. inspireAson on September 16, 2019 at 6:44 pm

    Hey, thanks! I appreciate the support 🙂

  18. inspireAson on September 16, 2019 at 6:44 pm

    I completely agree 🙂

  19. one two on September 16, 2019 at 6:45 pm

    Beautiful view on mountain

  20. Ben on September 16, 2019 at 6:46 pm

    The water at s25 is stunning, so beautifully clear. I’ve had enough freezing cold nights to know a lightweight sleeping bag is great. You could’ve put that in/on instead of the extra jacket. But, we learn by doing, and you learnt. Good on you 🙂

  21. inspireAson on September 16, 2019 at 6:48 pm

    It’s always a good challenge to see how light I can travel. I look forward to seeing how you cut weight on your future trips 🙂 You’ll have to keep me in the loop in terms of your successes.

  22. IntenseAngler on September 16, 2019 at 6:54 pm

    Definitely! 🙂

  23. inspireAson on September 16, 2019 at 6:57 pm

    Hey, thanks! I appreciate you stopping by my channel to watch 🙂 All the best. – Chris

  24. IntenseAngler on September 16, 2019 at 6:57 pm

    Wow Chris, I have to say that I was very surprised to see just how minimal and lightweight you were able to go on this trip! I was simply expecting you to take your normal gear and see what you could do without, lol. You illustrated some very good ultra-lightweight principles here; using your pack as a pad, bringing food that didn’t require a stove, etc. And to top it off, amazing shots of some gorgeous country! Thanks for sharing!
    P.S. Don’t forget some thick Merino wool socks next time 😉

  25. The Outdoor Adventure on September 16, 2019 at 6:57 pm

    Wow that’s impressive. I don’t know if I would have attempted that without a fire! Way to go!

  26. Anax Cmpatible on September 16, 2019 at 6:58 pm

    nice video

  27. The Outdoor Adventure on September 16, 2019 at 6:59 pm

    Nicely Done!

  28. Adventures with Frodo on September 16, 2019 at 6:59 pm

    what tent is that.

  29. Broseph Russell on September 16, 2019 at 7:01 pm

    nice little backpacking trip.

  30. TheMountainRN on September 16, 2019 at 7:01 pm

    Awesome

  31. Magnus Dominus on September 16, 2019 at 7:02 pm

    PB&J Tortilla. I thought I was the only person who made those.

  32. Matt Miller on September 16, 2019 at 7:02 pm

    Very cool. The best part about backpacking is the journey. Weight and gear is all about your comfort and enjoyment in that journey. I’m glad that you’re trying new things. I hope you find what works for you. I’ll keep watching to find out.

  33. Garrett Johnston on September 16, 2019 at 7:03 pm

    Very nice video

  34. LostButFound on September 16, 2019 at 7:05 pm

    Enjoyed your vid. 

  35. bushputz on September 16, 2019 at 7:07 pm

    Some additional items you should never go camping (or even a day hike) without:
    1) first aid kit
    2) something to start a fire with
    3) emergency gear (space blanket, whistle, signal mirror, etc.)
    Also, always let someone know where you’re going, and when they can expect you to contact them, informing them that you made it back safely.
    You may set out on a simple trip to the outdoors, and something might go wrong. You may slip and badly twist an ankle and not be able to hike back to your car. You might get off-trail and get lost.
    Always consider the possibility that you might have to deal with a survival situation until help arrives. You don’t have to be comfortable in the mean time, but you do have to keep yourself alive (it’s bad manners to make your rescuers haul your corpse off the mountain).

  36. The Outdoor Adventure on September 16, 2019 at 7:08 pm

    And the Merino wool underwear too!

  37. Dyermtnman c on September 16, 2019 at 7:09 pm

    Great vid, did you take a knife?

  38. IntenseAngler on September 16, 2019 at 7:11 pm

    Camera equipment doesn’t count 😉

  39. eqlzr2 on September 16, 2019 at 7:13 pm

    Why are you on your knees?

  40. Trevor S on September 16, 2019 at 7:15 pm

    Great Video , …….you always know the video is well done if you immediately become Jealous… hehehe. Seriously though , makes me want to be Camping Right Now.!!
    Cheers..😉

  41. Black Owl Outdoors on September 16, 2019 at 7:15 pm

    great video! can’t believe i didn’t watch your channel earlier. it took intenseangler to send me over. great work chris! – stony

  42. inspireAson on September 16, 2019 at 7:18 pm

    Hey, I think I might be able to find a pair of those merino wool undies somewhere 🙂 John, I actually was sporting some thick SmartWool socks, so maybe I’m just a wimp 😉 I’ll have to give that merino wool underwear a shot. Can’t say I’ve ever experienced it, but I do love my other merino wool stuff.

  43. The Outdoor Adventure on September 16, 2019 at 7:19 pm

    Yah, a padded back can do well. I’ve used mine as a foot rest with my xlite pad, but that’s pretty slick what you did.

  44. Jb Bennett on September 16, 2019 at 7:19 pm

    I would have loved watching the setting up camp show.  In my hay day, if I had trouble, I’d wrap myself up in a tarp and punt. Now, of course I’m probably twice your age or more and I too get out in the woods. My pack was similar to yours recently but the weather was quite a bit warmer.  I walked 10 miles and pretty much collapsed into a tiny tent with my clothes on.  I had a jacket, tent, food, water, and an alcohol stove.  But I did have my fire(when I came too) with area wood to keep me warm and it wasn’t raining. I have had P B & J, but I prefer cooking food rather than the cold stuff.  Know that I remember, snuck in an air mattress, too and used my auto sunshade as a moisture barrier.  My tent was set up at night in pitch darkness with a cap light which took about 4 minutes and then I just crashed.  At my age, its a good idea to bring in a large foam drinking cup to pee in and pray you don’t kick it over in the night.  Liked your vid.  Continue your quest to enjoy Gods mother earth, ATB, Jb.

  45. Ottawa Tinkerer on September 16, 2019 at 7:20 pm

    Beautiful intro!

  46. Ledicious on September 16, 2019 at 7:20 pm

    Great video! I myself am new to backpacking and you sir are braver than I. This weekend my son and I went on an overnight and since I carried both our stuff the heavy pack weight almost discouraged me from doing it again. However, you have shown that we can go much lighter without sacrificing too much. Thank you and I look forward to seeing what you do next! PS I totally understand the cold feet! You’re not a wimp! I too had smart wool socks and at 40 degrees my feet were almost numb!)

  47. Schpankme Verimuch on September 16, 2019 at 7:21 pm

    I brought me Tent?

  48. Emory Bragg on September 16, 2019 at 7:21 pm

    Great video. Ramen noodles r great because they are light and high in calories. They also taste very good.

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