What a wonderful experience, to live on very little things!
The following tips are valid for the walkabouts and the bike tours. For the gatherings it might be more comfortable to bring a bit more. But if we have to carry the stuff on our back or if we push our bicycle up to a mountain... Get to know with me the fine feeling of needing very little things for living - this feeling of freedom and independence!
It is possible to walk durable with only 2,8 kg and a bit of clothes, food and water on the back and sleep outside - rucksack 1kg, sleeping bag 1kg, isolation mat 200g, rain protection 300g, smartphone etc. 300g...
You can carry more, if you’re sure that you’re able to do it. But if you follow my recommendations, I’m maybe ready to help you, if the walk gets difficult for you.
If the weather is cool, you wear all the clothes which you have about you. If the weather is hot, you have a few clothes additionally in your back. It’s suitable to use wool, silk or special fabric for outdoor, not cotton.
Food & water
Often we can find so much food, that it’s not necessary to carry anything, also drinking water. Otherwise I recommend to take only a bit food and water. Please eat on the tours only raw food.
- substitute clothes; I wash my clothes on the way
- underwear; I don't use them since several years
- shoes; I walk barfeet or in sandals
- bathing clothes; I bath naked
- towel; sun, wind and movements dry as well
- pyjamas; I prefer an inlet (see below)
- much food; I find it on the way, or I buy a bit
- nutcracker; I crack with stones
- soap; I don't see a sense in it
There are down- and synthetic-fibre-sleeping-bags in many variations. Downs are better isolating in relation to their weight, but also more expensive and sensitive against humidity. Take advice! An ethical aspect: When buying downs you support the meat industry. Senseful is a light inlet from silk or egypt cotton, which you put into the sleeping bag. This lessons the wear of the sleeping bag, it's washable, good to your skin and additional isolating.
Isolation mat* Light and packable, but hard and less isolating: A foldable isolation mat from the army shop (about 5 Euro; only for hardend outdoor hikers in the summer)
* Better isolating and more soft, but more weight and more expensive: isolation mats which blow up by themselves. They are also more sensitive against stones, sticks and thorns.
* Compromises: I use a light (about 300g) cheap and rollable isolation mat.
* Unsuitable: air mattresses (lilos) are badly isolating and heavy
I like to use a poncho-tarp (approx. 2,2 x 1,4 m, 280 g). It's a fabric strengthened plastic plane with a sewed-in hood. It protects me against rain both during the day while walking and in the night while sleeping; it saves a lot of weight. For the night I tighten it over my sleeping place (how to build up); I don't have a tent.
* The cheapest tarp: a fabric-strengthened plastic plane from a bricolage market
(2x 3 m, 700 g, approx. 5 Euro) Because of the missing hood you need additional for the daytime rain clothes. Gets holes after some time.
* The swiss company Exped offers good but also expensive poncho-tarps.
* Compromise: My favorite is the Rain Poncho from "Terra Hiker", made in China. It's light, waterproof even on the seams and very light. it's a bit small (2,2 x 1,4m). But it will protect you from rain, if you don't sleep in the back. About the durability I don't know, as I bought it recently.
In army-shops you can find more poncho-tarps. Some are from not waterproof material; I recommend to take one of Nylon-Ripstop fabric, with waterproof seams. Really waterproof is the
rubber-poncho-tarp from the German army (Bundeswehr); 2,1 x 1,65 m, 900 g (instead of 280 g my favorite). It's more heavy but rubust, and if a thorn makes a hole you can fix it with bicycle repair kit. Look at Ebay for "US-Poncho", "Poncho BW" or "Poncho army".
+ 5 strings (2 m) and 5 tent-herings for tighten up the tarp
+ Protection against midges: It's rare, so normally I don't have it on my tours. If needed, I use an old curtain with narrow meshes. The ends I put into my sleeping bag, the middle I tighten up with a string.
+ Clothes appropiate the temperatures. Not too much and no substitue clothes; in case of cold weather there should be ideally no clothes in your back pack! Your sandals or shoes should be used some times because of the risk of blisters; also there are special socks for hikers. Blisters are often a problem on walking tours.
+ A cotton bag and 3 opaque plastic bags
+ A water bottle, depending on your preference from carbon, plastic or glass
+ A little book or walkman for the case that the breaks are too long for you. A mobile phone should be used less and only in a distance to the other partcipants
+ Torch: I got from Aldi very light mini-torches, chargeable with USB.
+ Knife, spoon, tooth brush, comb etc.
+ Rucksack: You can find a rucksack which weights less than 1 kilo!
+ Smartphone or very light stuff for reading, as sometimes it might be nice to do something in the rests.
+ Passport for the frontier passing walkers (check the validity)
+ A free head with songs, love, light and longing for nature
Instructions how to build up a tarp you can find here.
Sometimes we build up common tarps:
In case of dry wheather we like to sleep completely in nature:
If it is continuously raining, we prefer a roof overhead: