If this is your first time planning a minimalist camping trip you can get a leg up with these tips. I’ve contacted some of my favorite survivalists and picked their brain for their expertise. If you’ve ever watched Naked and Afraid then you’ll no doubt recognize them.
If you’ve never watched Naked and Afraid you can find it on the Discovery channel and catch up on Hulu.
The experts I interviewed have years of survival experience and training. They’ve learned to survive in the wild with little to no tools or resources. They are definitely people I’d want to be stranded with if it ever came to that.
What are the top 3 things a survivalist should have for a minimalist camping trip?
Afften DeShazer suggests having a fire starter, a pot to boil water, and a knife. She points out that, if you have never used a fire starter, Vaseline soaked cotton balls will burn for hours. Use a lighter to light them and toss them into your pile of wood to help keep the fire going.
Jason Szabo suggests having a trusty blade, means of water purification and a fire starter. He gets a little more specific suggesting a machete or bushcraft blade and either a steel pot or water purification device for drinkable water. As far as fire starters go you can choose flint and steel, magnesium, or potassium permanganate.
What type of area should you look for to set up camp?
Afften: Depending on what kind of area you’re comfortable in I would recommend wooded area near river or streams for easy catching of fish, also more resources for fire and drinking water.
Jason: Shelter , use your surroundings and build shelter above ground most places. Keeps the bugs off and water from ruining your day, if you’re on the ground creepy crawlers can get on you, don’t turn yourself into a buffet.
If you’re in the wilderness without food, what should you do first?
Afften: If your alone in any area and need food, 1 of the first things you should do is start carving a spear and making traps. Look for animal tracks and make a trap on their route. Be alert and aware of surroundings. Get out there and look for anything.
Jason: If you’re in the wilderness without food, hopefully, you know how to trap and snare, build fish traps. Know your flora and fauna for the region to survive off vegetation if you aren’t well versed in hunting game.
Let’s talk water, what do people need to know about sourcing water on a camping trip?
Afften: Any water you would come in contact with you would want to boil and let cool before drinking. Unless the water is clearly moving and flowing I would not drink it. When in doubt just boil.
Jason: Source your water from streams and rivers and be sure to boil and purify it before consumption. If you’re in a rough spot dig to the water table and get yourself a quick easy fix to end dehydration.
Any advice for a first-time minimalist/survival camper?
Afften: Best advice for first-time campers be aware of surroundings. Keep your things in a safe area so you don’t lose them in the adventure.
Jason: Advice to a minimalist survivalist or wannabe survivalist, if your head is in the right place the body will follow. Know what you need to do to Macgyver materials in whatever location you’re in. Be well versed and studied in every aspect, region or continent. Go to a new place and know what you’re in for; nature will surprise you and rain on your parade at any and all times.
Respect nature though it won’t respect you. Treat animals with respect, and mainly, know what you need to know to survive in the region you’re exploring before going, that way you aren’t caught by surprise.