Are You a Minimal Campest or Full On Pack Rat?

Do you want to hike 3 miles into the woods, find a clearing, set up camp and live like they did 200 years ago in the wilds? Or do you want to glampingdrive into a campground, find a plot that has electricity, running water, a camp pad and driveway for easy loading and unloading?


Do the lyrics of Bon-Jovi’s song “Blaze of Glory” run through your head when you think about camping or are you a Pinterest-aholic and think that “glamping” is more your style?

Shane and I differ in our thoughts about what is needed for camping.  We have had to find a common ground and meet each other half way.  If you camp with others you also must find what works for all of you.  As Shane said to me, “It isn’t just me that is camping, I have to think about what you want too.”  Ain’t he sweet y’all?  I replied back to him with, “That’s great because, I need the following things to be comfortable

He Said vs. She Said

This is our first attempt at co-blogging.  We feel that both our points of view are valid and we want to make sure that both sides are offered up so that it is an honest portrayal of what is is like to camp consistently with someone who thinks a bit differently than you.

NOTE: Neither of us read each others blog until after we had finished writing.  Once we were finished we went back and added our own comments to each other’s. It amazes me that even after 27 years of marriage we still think very differently when it comes to comfort vs. needs.  

Shane’s Idea of “Camping”:  

Definitely a minimalist.

  • I would be perfectly content to carry just one back pack (or “rucksack”) that would have everything I need for two to three days.
    • Fran:  This is ideal, but if I put everything I need in a rucksack, I would tip over from the weight.


  • Instead of lugging around 30% of everything we own, each person carries everything they need in one back pack.
    • Fran: It isn’t 30%, Shane.  It is ONE Rubbermaid tub of supplies, 2 chairs and a cooler!

      Despite what Shane thinks this is NOT a lot of items!
  • I don’t necessarily want or need the “luxuries” of home.
    • Neither do I, but basics are necessary, man!
  • Ideally, I would take MREs (meals ready to eat) instead of food that had to be cooked.  For two days, which is the length of time we have decided to spend in the woods on this little experiment, you would need only 6 meals each.  They are small and compact, have plenty of calories, and taste…edible.  Of course, you would also need something to eat with if the MRE does not come packaged with utensils.
    • Fran: *barf* room temp ready to eat meals – “no thank you!”


  • I can sleep on the ground using a mat and a sleeping bag just fine.  The first night we were in the woods, we actually slept on the ground (inside the tent of course) and I felt great the next morning.  The blow up beds are nice, but take up unnecessary room when packing.  I don’t need a pillow because you can roll up a towel or jacket to keep your head off the ground.  Again, pillows take up unnecessary space.
  • Water is the tricky part.  For two people spending two nights in the woods you need two to three gallons of water.  And that’s just for drinking.  So obviously, the space needed for water would be considered necessary.  The prepared campsites inside the state parks almost always have running water, though I am not so sure I would drink it right out of the faucet.
  • Fran:water
  •  There is also no need to pack a lot of clothes.  A couple pair of underwear, 3 pair of socks, one change of clothes and the clothes on your back.  Some type of rain gear is important (poncho, rain suit, etc).  A towel is nice to have because there are showers at the bathrooms in the State Parks.  A shower after a hot and sweaty day feels awesome, but you have to wait until the sun goes down so you don’t just get sticky all over again.
    • Fran: At least we agree on the showering part
  • Other than what I mentioned above, the only thing left is the tent.  Our tent is a small two man that weighs less than five pounds when rolled up.  I could easily strap that to my rucksack without taking up any extra room.
    • Fran: Agreed!

As you can see, you can fit all you need in one large back pack.  Of course, that is not how we camp.  I swear it feels like we are freakin moving when we pack our car…

Fran’s Idea of “Camping”: 

Definitely a “What else is necessary?” kind of camper

I don’t have to waste money on a Better Home Camp and Gardens version of camping, but I also don’t want to starve, freeze, roast, or become a smorgasbord for bugs.

Shane says he doesn’t want to pack a bunch of crap but he was the first to be picky about his egg sammich.  I started to scramble eggs for breakfast and he says, “Can you make mine a fried egg?”  Well no, no I can’t because I don’t have a spatula.  If you want to have specifics then you must pack for those.

Scenario:  I want fried egg sandwiches so therefore I need to pack the bread, toaster, spatula, frying pan, eggs, and butter, and grill or wood for camp fire.


Scenario:  I want to eat a prepackaged breakfast bar, therefore I need to pack breakfast bars.

If you aren’t picky you can pack light, however if you want specific items you must be prepared to bring the kitchen sink if needed.

I, for one, want to eat a nice significant breakfast when camping because you are expending more energy and will need the protein and carbohydrates to power you through the morning and into the afternoon.  A small breakfast bar won’t do it for me, within an hour I will be wanting to eat again.


When not camping, I am a grazer, with a lowish carbohydrate intake (100 carbs a day or less).  This means I eat something small every 2 hours, i.e. a handful of nuts or a cheese stick.  I can’t do this when camping because I feel run down from lack of carbs.

Grazing means you eat every two hours from 8am-4pm.   So think about it this way.  Pack a lot of snacks or pack the supplies to make a full breakfast.  Either way you are packing a lot of items.  My philosophy is: “carb up” in the morning and it lasts me until lunch time when I eat a sandwich and a piece of fruit, this pushes me through the afternoon until 4pm when I can have some granola or trail mix.

Bottom line either way you look at it.  You gotta eat and unlike my Army Veteran husband, I am not going to eat an MRE – Meals Ready to Eat.

SIDE NOTE:  Shane, You should totally be crushing on me right now, I knew what the acronym “MRE” meant.

– Love,  F.


There are so many other supplies that I feel are necessary but I am only going to list the top 10

  • Air Mattress – I am not sleeping on the ground. I did it the first night of our first trip and that’s a nope never again.
    • Shane:  Wuss
  • I am going to take a shower, therefore I need: soap, shampoo, conditioner, towel, shower shoes. I am not going 3 days without one, Nuh-uh.
    • Shane:  Soap and towel, you don’t need all that other crap.
    • Fran: You’re almost bald… You don’t have long hair.. I need shampoo, and you agree with me about shower shoes.. admit it!
  • Several changes of clothing. I need shorts for in camp and pants for hiking.  I need fip-flops and sneakers. I also need several shirts in case I spill my coffee, wine or food down the front of the one I am wearing.spill
    • Shane:  I will give you this.
  • Um bug spray and sun screen! Helllooo!
    • Shane:  I hate insect repellent, but if you don’t have it the mosquitoes will destroy you.
  • Extra tarps and air mattress. OH MY GAW what if we NEED these?!
    • Shane:  You don’t need this crap either.  You need ONE water proof bag that you put in your backpack and pack all your crap in that.
  • Cooling towel, hand towel and fans – I am not spending another day with a hot crabby husband. He needs these!
    • Shane:  I am not a huge fan of the cooling towels, I think a normal, small towel, to wipe sweat off would be sufficient.
  • First Aid Kit – what if we get a boo-boo?
    • Shane:  Yeah I suppose.
  • Blankets – what if in 90 degree weather we have a significant shift in global warming and the ice age 2.0 hits!
    • Shane: Blanket OR sleeping bag, you don’t need both.
  • Grill – *ahem* Shane bought this one.. not me.. I was happy to cook on the firepit
    • Shane:  If you insist on cooking, then the camping stove is the way to go during the warm months.
    • Only Breakfast in summer months is now my motto.  Read here why.
  • COFFEE POT – nothing else to say here.
    • Shane:  I need my coffee, but I could settle with instant coffee and boil water over a fire.  Many MREs come with a packet of instant coffee.
    • Fran: Instant Coffee is NASTY.. that’s a big fat “Nope!”

Keep the Lust for Wandering Y’all!

Fran & Shane


5 thoughts on “Are You a Minimal Campest or Full On Pack Rat?

  1. I’m not a camper. Not really that much of a fan of nature in general other tan I enjoy “looking” at it and I find it beautiful. As a couple , James and I have camped at Atlanta Motor Speedway. Some might consider that not real camping…..I slept in a homemade camper away from my bed and cooked outside….it was totally camping. Hiking? Hahaha…, no. (Side note, no running, skipping or jumping either…if you see me running, run also, something HUGE is chasing me! I applaud your adventure and will admire it from afar, in my air conditioned home. While I concede the “his” points and understand them, I have to stay firmly on the “hers” side. Keep having fun!!


    1. haha Wendy! I hear ya girl. I never thought I would be one to enjoy being out with the bugs and heat. But I do! I love hiking much more than most of my family. Only Emily likes it as much as I do.
      I would totally call the time spent at AMS as “camping” so whooo hoo! you go!


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