Going Further with Less, a Minimalist's Call to Arms

“Should you shield the canyons from the windstorms you would never see the true beauty of their carvings.”― Elisabeth Kübler-Ross

My father, though I doubt he intended it, instilled in me a great need go further with less. He encouraged me to learn to ski at an early age, but had me do it in jeans, a cotton sweatshirt, and some socks over my hands. He taught me to hike and camp, but never with more than a small backpack, tennis shoes, an old sleeping bag, and a small amount of food.

There is a stark difference in being ill equipped and going with the minimal items required to get a job done. Skiing with socks as gloves, falls squarely in the ”ill equipped” camp. Spending a night in nature, with only the stars above you and a sleeping bag separating you from earth, is minimalist.

We pursue adventure, travel, and learning new things to expose ourselves to moments that will encourage growth. The same way we prune a flower to ensure new buds will form, we introduce struggle to our lives to shape our future. With an abundance of unnecessary gear, gadgets, and solutions to evoke in every situation, we never ask ourselves to struggle. Going further with less is a call to arms to reject the modern adventurer’s toolkit. It is a call to arms to embrace struggle, to embrace success and failures as crucial moments in our development.

Build your own fire and feel the warmth of gratification warm your face. Build your own shelter to sleep with the sweet smell of earth around you. Travel in a way that will expose you to the elements, the journey will be more difficult, but the satisfaction will be better than any after trail ale.

If it is the journey that makes the trip, then it goes that how you journey is of equal importance. In order to feel the trail under your feet, you must step on the path. You must feel nature under your feet, grazing your arms, and you must sleep in its midsts. What good is camping in nature, if you wall yourself off from it? How can a person grow, if they are not exposed to the elements that will shape you?

“Should you shield the canyons from the windstorms you would never see the true beauty of their carvings.” - Elisabeth Kübler-Ross

Don’t know where to start? Follow these simple steps to start shaping your life today:

  1. Skip the tent! Spend a night outside with a tarp and sleeping bag. The first night might be a bit scary, but it will open your eyes to what you have been missing.

  2. Leave your jetboil at home. If the fire danger level permits, build your own open fire. Just be sure to always follow Leave No Trace ethics!

  3. Reduce your pack size. I’m not advocating buying a new pack, but use any small backpack that you own. For the past 8 years, I've used an Osprey 22 for my day to day commute as well as my overnight backpacking backpack. 

We want to acknowledge and thank the past, present, and future generations of all Native Nations and Indigenous Peoples whose ancestral lands we travel, explore, and play on. Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!