Lets be honest, not every hike needs to be an ultralight trek across the Americas lasting 6 months. Sometimes just a simple overnight trip is more than enough to reset our brains and energy, and more importantly it’s these overnight trips that prepare us for the longer treks, letting us experiment with different set-ups, gear and explore our own preferences when it comes to weight and comfort. It’s damn easy to sit at home at say “shit yeah, all I need is a tarp, two sticks and a big ass knife and I can live like a king”. But the truth is, that until you try it for yourself (which I have), you realize not only is it fairly difficult to actually find food in the wild, a nice comfortable bed and to keep warm, it also sucks bad. Just ask the wild tribes of Amazon if they actually think life is awesome living off the land, sleeping under banana trees and piercing their penises with twigs is actually fun. (I’ve seen too many pictures in Nat-Geo that I can’t unsee)
Anyway, I don’t want to get too far ahead of myself, or easily sidetracked as I usually do.. What I want to get across and the point of this article is to discuss the joys of an overnight trip. Bring your axe, massage table and Fjällräven kajka! These overnighters are meant to be fun, let you test your gear and hopefully won’t get your killed. My overnight trips in the winter are some of my funnest trips! I bring my axe, saw and sometimes even home made fire stoves. I rarely think about my weight on overnighters because my only goal is to get out and have fun. My favorite area to go hike and camp overnight is out in Tyresö, a small forest and national park about 10 kilometers from my house. I just load up my car and head out. Since I don’t own too much equipment, packing and getting out is about a 10 minute process.
But this is where I make the distinction and I really can’t stress this enough: There is a major difference between camping and backpacking. Camping I want to classify as even car camping. I would suggest that the majority of people who attempt to backpack are simply campers who are starting to get brave and want to explore more than just their backyard. Who love gear and getting out, and truly want to start exploring the world. It’s campers that keep the gear shops open, it’s these guys, who after taking their first real trip start rethinking all their gear choices (usually if they are smart), and either 1. sell everything and say “fuck this” 2. Keep everything and say “fuck this sucks” or 3. sell everything and start investing in lighter more practical gear.
How do my overnighters and camping trips look these days?
While my base gear is rather simple with my same MLD duomid, (or Exped scout combi hammock), my same sleeping quilt the Enlightened equipment revelation pro), sleeping mat the thermarest xlite and so on.. In face since I don’t own too much gear anymore, it’s usually the extra things that I tack on. The axe to chop wood, the fire starter to pretend to be “wild”, sometimes I will bring a fishing pole and bait. Basically I have no real trip planned out, no agenda or goal, hell, half the time I don’t walk more than a kilometer or two before I setup up camp and get a fire started. Sometimes I will pack my gear in the morning, throw it in my car, and head out directly after work. The food I bring is some hotdogs, beer and chips. The outdoors becomes my “man-cave” and I love every second of these kinds of trips.
What beats fishing by a lovely flowing river, a campfire roaring in the background, a beer in one hand and fishing pole in the other?