Thoughts From The Wilderness – Less Is More or How Choosing Items For A Backcountry Trip Can Lead Us To A Simpler Life.

The “Outdoor Adventure Show” in Toronto is only a few days away for those of us “pushing at the bit” for all things outdoors. Many who attend are looking for the latest, greatest and newest products and gear which might be all of those things and more, but also gear that doesn’t weigh very much.

Weight is one critical issue when tackling outdoor pursuits. Going hand in hand with less weight is being able to survive or at least be comfortable with less stuff.

Less gear; less weight.

There is an old adage in the outdoor gear market. It goes something along the lines of – “there is no limit to how much you can spend on gear.” Just when you think you’ve bought all you’ll ever need, some company releases Version 4.0 of some piece that you just now MUST HAVE. Often there is never enough money for the stuff you think you may need.

When it comes to adventuring in the wilds of nature, it is either you or someone you’re with who has to carry all that stuff. A good thing to remember before heading out is that ” less is more.”

The same general approach can apply to our life as well – “less is more.” And the “less is more” approach usually leads us to an exustence that overall becomes more much simple and enjoyable with less stuff.

Seems simple enough.

From February 2019

“Less is more” is a great rule of thumb or strong suggestion recorded in many well-worn and read backcountry canoe or hiking manuals on dusty shelves in basements or found in the often-overlooked hidden corners in an outfitter’s store.


Weight is one of the more important factors to consider when travelling and adventuring in the backcountry. Whether it be a canoe trip through the wilds of Algonquin Park or backpacking for multiple days along the Lake Superior Coastal Trail in northern Ontario. Weight is paramount.


Weight is critical!

Given that weight is very critical, choosing what items to pack or those things that get left can an arduous and difficult task. Thankfully, these days backpacking and canoe tripping equipment is very lightweight and packs up quite small. Nevertheless, each item weighs something and those “somethings” can eventually add up to 50, 60 or 70 pounds of weight.

Much of the process to lightweight packing, in essence, comes down to three elements:

  1. what is absolutely necessary to take?
  2. would be nice, but not critical
  3. get rid of the rest

As much as, preparing for an extended backpacking adventure or canoe trip spanning a week is an exercise of choosing equipment and planning, it is also this. A mindset that says, “I don’t need all kinds of stuff. All I need is just a few simple items. Happiness and contentment are not found within the trappings of wealth and things that will weigh me down. It’s found with fewer things; less clutter; a simple approach to life. Just the necessities.”

It is this deep-seated mindset or even conscious decision that leads us to a less cluttered and simpler approach to our times spent in the outdoors.


Nature and the outdoors can teach us wonderful things and provides us with an abundance of wisdom that is universally transferrable to life.

One of the most important lessons it gives us is making a commitment to a simpler life(remember weight is critical) is one of the surest ways to happiness and peace.

There are plenty of those throughout the world who make a fine living out of extolling the virtues that life, happiness and fulfillment are only achieved through the accumulation of stuff. When at the end of all days, they say the winners were the ones with the biggest pile of stuff.

Conversely, nature and the outdoors are teaching us that really you don’t need all this “stuff” to be content. Some shelter over your head, a few clothes to wear and food in your tummy and life is good. Isn’t that the base story of any backcountry trip report? You had shelter, clothes and you ate – the perfect trip!


The beauty of what Mother Nature is enlightening us on is that the foundation for happiness and serenity is sourced from within ourselves, not based on something external. It is an “art of wealth” that is eternally sustainable. Why? The infrastructure or support for it is not based on the accumulation of tangible “stuff”, but the intangible – the stuff that is found within our soul; within us.

Nature is telling us if you want happiness do this:

  1. pack what is absolutely necessary to have
  2. look at what would be nice to have, but not critical
  3. get rid of the rest
  4. focus on Items 1 and 3

There is much to learn from a canoe trip or backpacking adventure. Most of us head outdoors to enjoy a simpler environment provided by time spent in nature. To escape the craziness that we’re surrounded by on a day-to-day basis.

Mother Nature is also telling us to quit this hypocritical stance. You say you want a simpler life, but you do nothing to get anywhere near close to achieving even an ounce of it. She is screaming at us to step back to see a bigger picture.

You want a simpler life? Yes or no?

She’s got a lesson to leave you with whose value will rise above the weight you choose to carry on your back.

Remember – weight is critical.

Thanks for reading.

— get outdoors; find inspiration; discover yourself —

4 thoughts on “Thoughts From The Wilderness – Less Is More or How Choosing Items For A Backcountry Trip Can Lead Us To A Simpler Life.

  1. Yes, I totally agree with you Glen, less is definitely more. I think that’s why I enjoy camping so much because it’s all about getting back to basics and making do with minimal stuff. Great post. Happy trekking to you.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s