5 Homesteading Skills to Practice while Camping


 

Camping is THE vacation choice for any homesteader looking to sharpen their skills even while they relax! Here are 5 skills to master in the wilderness.We took our daughter on her first camping trip last weekend. She loved it. All the fresh air, staying up late in front of the campfire, eating al fresco and trying her first roasted marshmallow put a permanent smile on her face (well, at least when she wasn’t crying because she had to go to bed). 

I loved camping as a kid. I still do! It’s a chance to go somewhere remote, power down and reconnect with nature. The only problem is, as a homesteader, it can be difficult to abandon the big to-do list to get away for a few days.

Homesteading is busiest during the warm-weather months, which just so happens to be the time of year when camping is best too. We have gardens to tend and, in many cases, livestock to care for. 

Personally, we are just at the tail-end (hopefully) of dealing with a bad pest problem that took out many of our seeds and seedlings this year. We had to resow, and we finally just got our transplants in the ground. We still had a bunch of tiny seedlings just starting out in the greenhouse too, and alongside them were seeds still taking their time to germinate. 

Seedlings, like babies, need a ton of care and attention, so I was hesitant to go away and risk losing our entire crop. Luckily we also have amazing family and friends who help out when we’re away, so we had people step up to do the watering and take care of our animals. But it’s still difficult to take “time off” from all the things that need being done as we get into growing season and gear up for summer.

As I stressed about leaving our chores behind for the peace of the great outdoors, I eased my mind by reminding myself that camping really is (or should be) a vital pastime of any homesteader. Not only do we need a break too, camping also offers a chance to learn and refine an array of important homesteading skills that we don’t always actually get to practice at home.

Going out into the wilderness for days at a time forces us to rely on ourselves, our skills and whatever provisions we have with us. There’s typically no “running to the store” if you forget or run out of something. There’s no flipping a light switch when it gets dark. And there’s no takeout to fall back on if you’re not into cooking that night.

As I thought about the valuable skills we would get to practice while camping, I felt less guilty about leaving “work” behind for a long weekend in the remote wilderness that we are lucky to have access to just a few hours from home. I also thought about the amazing experience we were giving our little girl. 
It is very important to me that she be exposed to lots of time outdoors and in nature from a young age, because the first step in learning to respect the environment is learning to love and appreciate it. Even if all my seedlings died, I reminded myself that it would be worth it just to have Evelyn experience her first camping trip.

5 Homesteading Skills to Practice while Camping

Evelyn and dad, about to try her first roasted marshmallow.

It was definitely worth it in the end. It was relaxing and refreshing and we came home with our clothes smelling like campfire (mmmm… Is it weird that I LOVE that smell?). And equally as important, we got a chance to put some of our skills to the test. Here are just a few of those skills we got just a little bit better at on our most recent camping trip…

 

1. Prepping

There’s nothing like going on a 5-day camping trip to throw you into “prepper” mode. You need to think about how much food you’ll need, what tools will be essential for (comfortable) survival, how you will obtain and store fresh drinking water, what you will use for shelter… 

Camping is sort of the ultimate prepping experience without there actually being a disaster. Once you get out to your location, you probably won’t be making any runs back to town. 

We were at least an hour or more from the closest town, so we planned to have everything we would need for 5 days. We brought enough food to last up to 10 days, because it’s always better to have more food than you need in a potential survival situation. And we brought all of the important tools, cookware and gear we needed to make ourselves a temporary home in the woods. We forgot some stuff too, but over all we survived comfortably during our time there.

The process of prepping for this trip did really open my eyes to how underprepared we are for an emergency though. Just shopping for food and supplies alone took up more than a full day. And packing everything up took a few solid hours as well. It made me think about how we would handle a situation where we had only minutes to evacuate our house. I have a couple bug-out bags and supplies ready just in case that happens, but if it took all this just to prepare for a camping trip, we are drastically underprepared for an emergency.

The great thing is, camping highlighted our shortcomings in this department, so we can make improvements before we find ourselves faced with a disaster situation.

 

2. Chopping wood & building fire

If you ever plan to live off-grid, you will likely be chopping a TON of firewood in your life. Even if off-grid living isn’t for you, you just never know when the power will go out and you’ll need to build a fire to keep warm or cook your food. 

Chopping wood and building a fire is something every homesteader should know how to do. As an added bonus, you might even want to learn to start a fire without a lighter or matches. My husband Ryan brought a flint with him this time and was able to start a fire with it, so it is something we will be keeping in our emergency/bug-out bags from now on.

I have to admit, Ryan is the fire guy. I don’t usually chop the wood or build the fire because he enjoys doing it. There’s something primal about it, so I let him have it;) But next time we go camping I definitely want to practice my wood-chopping skills. I know I can chop wood and I’m a pretty decent fire-builder, but I do get a bit lazy and let him do most of that work. I want to start taking on more of that responsibility and get a little more confident with these skills. If something were to happen to him (God forbid), it’s important that I be able to take care of our family without him. This is just one, small way to ensure I can do that just a little bit better.

 

3. Hunting/Fishing/Foraging

I used to hate hunting. Like, HATE it. As an animal lover and protector of the environment, I still do loathe trophy hunters and poachers, but over the years I’ve gained great respect for anyone who hunts, kills and processes their own meat. I have come to believe that if we are going to eat meat, we should at least be able to kill it and try doing so at least once in our lives.

5 Homesteading Skills to Practice while Camping

I would like to try hunting at some point, but I’m still a ways off from having the training and equipment necessary to just go off into the bush and take an animal. However we did get our fishing licences and a couple rods before this trip, and we had the opportunity to cast off in some of the richest fish-bearing waters anywhere in the world!

We camped on the northwest coast of Vancouver Island, where there are all kinds of salmon, cod, halibut, sole and dungeness crab for the taking. Unfortunately, we don’t have a boat and didn’t catch anything from the dock. We also didn’t know that we would NEED a crab trap for the dungeness crabs, so that will definitely be an investment worth making next time. We did, however, scoop up a ton of fresh oysters off the beach, and in the end we enjoyed two consecutive nights of oyster dinners!

As we live in an area renowned for its world-class oysters, and there were an abundance of big juicy ones on the beach when the tide went out, just begging to get in our bellies. We steamed them and then pan-fried them as there is always a warning about eating potentially-contaminated raw oysters. Not only were they super yummy (on their own and in our rendition of Oyster Po’boys on hotdog buns), but the feeling of satisfaction you get from providing your own food right from the source is indescribable. 

If we had to, I know how to forage for a few other things in our local environment. We could have eaten some seaweed or some edible greens from the forest, or some berries in summer. We didn’t this time around, but I believe it’s important to be able to identify at least a handful of edible plants that grow wild in your area. You just never know when they might become a valuable, or even vital food source.

 

4. Living & Cooking Off Grid

Now, if you’re living out of a massive RV complete with television, microwave and hot shower, you are not doing camping right! Sorry if I upset anyone with that statement, but while that makes for a nice vacation and is worthhile if you’re going to camp somewhere for extended periods of time, you at least need to power it down and spend some time cooking and washing up outdoors and enjoying some off-grid entertainment.

We met another camper while we were away who had brought his RV up to set up camp for the entire summer. Since we were in the site he usually stays in, he asked if he could set up some of his things while we were there. He brought us some cinnamon buns as a grateful gesture, so of course we obliged! 

5 Homesteading Skills to Practice while Camping

We watched as he set up an off-grid chest freezer in the woods just behind our site (to store the fish he would catch) and showed us how he sets up his outdoor shower beside it. He had a big drum to store water and told us he heats it with a propane water heater. This was an excellent example of someone who still made an effort to live outdoors and off-grid even though he had a big RV with all the bells and whistles available to him.

As for us, we got to practice cooking outdoors, living without running water and entertaining ourselves without TV or technology. We cooked over the fire and on our propane stove. We collected water from the creek and boiled it to heat it up. And we entertained ourselves with fishing, exploring, cards and a solid game of beer pong, as well as simply enjoying uninterrupted face-to-face family time with each other and, especially, with out baby daughter. Putting our phones down and switching off for a few days not only teaches us valuable skills, it is also one of the healthiest things we can do for ourselves and our relationship with others.

 

5. Making Do or Doing Without

“Make do or do without” are words many homesteaders live by. Being resourceful, using the materials you have on hand and not being wasteful are founding philosophies of the homestead movement. Naturally, getting a chance to really practice we preach only helps to make us better at what we do.  

Like I said earlier, a camping trip somewhere remote forces you to prepare all of the food and supplies you will need for your time away if you can’t pop out to the store for something you need. Likewise, once you have arrived at your destination, you need to make do with whatever you have with you. If you forgot something, oh well! Run out of something? C’est la vie! You’ll have to find a way to use something else in place of whatever you don’t have, make it out of materials you do have on hand, or simply do without altogether.

This is a great lesson to learn whether you’re a homesteader or not. We live in a wasteful, consumer society where we are used to getting whatever we want whenever we want it. Learning to make do or do without teaches us to reuse and repurpose items, find novel solutions to problems, waste less and and see value in places we only saw junk before. It helps us to appreciate what we do have and be grateful for it. And that’s a lesson we all need a refresher course on from time to time.

In the end, our camping trip was a success. We forgot a few things that might have made life a little easier, we didn’t catch any fish, and when we arrived home a few of our smaller, more fragile seedlings had withered and died. But the lessons we learned were invaluable. And the time spent together, unplugged and out of reception, off-grid and huddled together around the campfire, was time we don’t make for each other often enough. 

So if, like me, you find yourself making excuses why you shouldn’t go camping, next time think of all the reasons you should. You might lose a few seedlings too, but what you gain while camping is priceless. So, what are you waiting for? Go play outside!

SaveSave

SaveSave


CATEGORIES
HOMESTEADING
REAL FOOD
NATURAL LIVING

6 Comments

  1. Mandi Dolton

    Hi Anna.
    This is a wonderful read. I wanted to say thank you for the fabulous recipe for the castile soap to make washing liquid. I made it as my daughter has delicate skin, It smells lovely & made the clothes soft. x

    Reply
    • Tish Painter

      That is wonderful, Mandi!
      Thanks for the feedback and I am glad it works so well for your daughter! 🙂

      Reply
  2. Paul OConnor

    how do i join

    Reply
  3. Lynda Lu Gibb

    You had an amazing growing time! Now start planning for the next one! This Island has so much to show you!

    Reply
  4. Michelle Lewis

    I’ve not been camping for a few years now…think I need to put it on my summer to do list. I’m also going to take a harder look at a bug out bag. Thanks for sharing.

    Reply
    • Anna Sakawsky

      Thanks for reading!

      Reply

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

ABOUT ANNA
Hi! I’m Anna, and I’m a city girl turned modern homesteader who’s passionate about growing, cooking and preserving real food at home, creating my own herbal medicine and all-natural home and body care products, and working toward a simpler, more sustainable and self-sufficient life each and every day. 
You Might Also Like
Homemade Yogurt Recipe (Plain & Greek Style)

Homemade Yogurt Recipe (Plain & Greek Style)

* This article contains affiliate links. For more information, please read my Affiliate Disclosure.   I’ve known that homemade yogurt was “a thing” for a long time. I always considered making it myself, but it was never really at the top of my list of skills to...

read more

The Ultimate Guide to Emergency Water Preparedness

The Ultimate Guide to Emergency Water Preparedness

* This article contains affiliate links. For more information, please read my Affiliate Disclosure.   Water. Fresh, clean, potable water—Besides air, it’s absolutely the most important thing when it comes to survival. To many people around the world who...

read more

The Modern Homesteading Conference is just a few short weeks away, and I have TWO free tickets to give away to one lucky winner.

This is a live, in-person event in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho on June 28th and 29th. I’ll be there speaking and teaching alongside expert homesteaders like Joel Salatin (Polyface Farms), Melissa K. Norris (Pioneering Today), Carolyn and Josh Thomas (Homesteading Family), Lisa Bass (Farmhouse On Boone), Anne Briggs (Anne Of All Trades), Lisa Steele (Fresh Eggs Daily), Robyn Jackson (Cheese From Scratch) and more!

Comment “ENTER” below and I’ll send you the link where you can submit your details and enter to win!

I’ll be drawing a winner this Thursday, so make sure to enter by tomorrow night (Wednesday, June 5th) if you wanna win!

May the odds be ever in your favour 😉
...

17 4

For Mother’s Day this year, my husband is teaching our daughter to empty the dishwasher on her own. It may seem like a small feat, and for anyone who has kids who already do this and more, this may seem like nothing to celebrate. But for all of the moms who understand how much quicker and easier it is to just “do it yourself,” slowing down and allowing our daughter to take ownership of this even if it’s not perfect or takes twice as long is a huge milestone, both for her and for us as parents!

While it may sometimes feel like the work that we do day in and day out is just mundane and repetitive, the way we show up every day over many years with our children will have a huge impact on the type of people they’ll grow up to be.

What we teach them—the skills we pass on and the values we instil—will help to shape who our children become as adults, and who they become as adults will help to shape what our future world looks like.

It may seem as simple as emptying a dishwasher, but what this really symbolizes is that we’re raising a capable human being who takes responsibility for contributing to our household and is a valued member of our family. And since she will someday grow up to run her own household, possibly be a mother herself, and contribute to our future society, that means that we, as parents, (and especially us moms!), have immense power to shape what the future looks like through the simple actions we take every day to teach and empower the next generation.

All of that to say, thanks for everything you do moms! You are more valued and powerful than you know.

Happy Mother’s Day, and may someone else be doing the dishes for you today!
...

21 2

Hot cross buns are an Easter tradition in our house, so naturally I wanted to learn how to make them at home.⁣

They're surprisingly easy to make with just a few basic ingredients, including flour, dry active yeast, milk, eggs, sugar and spices, plus raisins or, more traditionally, dried currants and/or candied citrus peels. ⁣

Click the link in my bio to learn how to make your own and enjoy hot cross buns fresh out of the oven this Easter!
...

15 1

🗞 BREAKING NEWS!

I’m not always so good at sharing all of the awesome stuff I’ve got going on in life and business here on social media. When you’re a full time homesteader, business owner, editor, mom and wife, sometimes IG falls by the wayside 😬

But I just had to pop in this morning to let you know that I’m doing something I’ve never done before, and offering anyone who would like to try out my online membership program—The Society Of Self-Reliance—the opportunity to join for just $1.

Yup, you read that right: Right now, you can get unlimited access to The Society Of Self-Reliance for an entire month for just $1!

Here’s what you get access to:

🌱 Over 150 video lessons to help you build your skills in the kitchen, garden, workshop and home.

👨‍🌾 A private community of amazing people sharing their on journeys and supporting you in yours.

🫙 Our monthly live group coaching call, where you can ask questions and where I offer personalized help and guidance on your homesteading journey.

🌿 Exclusive bonuses: Get downloadable digital copies of my Home Canning Handbook and the annual edition of Modern Homesteading Magazine for free (regular $40 for both), as well as access to other bonuses, like my gardening and preserving masterclasses and bonus interviews with other top homesteaders.

I’m only offering this deal for a limited time, and after it’s over, the membership cost will be going up. But if you join now for $1 and decide you love it, you’ll still be able to continue with your membership for the introductory price of just $20/month (or $200/year).

However, if you decide The Society Of Self-Reliance just isn’t for you right now, you can cancel any time.

All you have to lose is $1, but what you have to gain is priceless:

—> Independence and self-reliance in all areas of life.
—> Security and confidence in your ability to provide for yourself and your loved ones in good times and bad.
—> Freedom from complete and total dependency on “the system”
—> Skills and knowledge you can pass down to the next generation.
—> Fellowship and community with other likeminded folks.

And so much more!

Comment “Society” below and I’ll send you the deets!
...

67 4

Me shopping for Easter candy for my kids, and walking out empty handed because it’s all full of absolute garbage!

I don’t mind my kids having sugar now and again, but I draw the line at food dies, seed oils and artificial ingredients. (Or at least, I try!)

Hey, we’re not perfect, and yes, our kids will get Easter candy on Sunday morning. Ryan has already bought some and I’m sure he didn’t check all the ingredients like I do! I’m fine with the 80/20 rule most of the time. But the meta question here, is why are these types of ingredients allowed in foods to begin with? Especially food marketed toward kids!

Yes, it’s “junk food.” I don’t expect it to be HEALTHY. But it could be made better by omitting the known carcinogenic ingredients that have been linked to everything from ADHD to hormone imbalances to cancer!

Folks, we must demand better. We DESERVE better, and so do our kids.
...

27 7

We said goodbye to a family pet yesterday. My mom has had Zoe since I was a teenager, and Evelyn has grown to love her during her visits with nanny.

It’s never easy to say goodbye to a family member, human or furry. But we don’t shelter our kids from death either. Evelyn was with us when we found our rabbits dead. She went with my mom to say goodbye to her other cat a year ago. And she knows where the chickens go when it’s their time.

Having a healthy relationship to death is important. It is, after all, the only certainty in life.

Today Ryan is heading down to clean out his dad’s place after he passed last week. They had a strained relationship, so our kids never knew him as their grandpa. But still, it’s never easy.

It does, however, teach us to be grateful for every day we’re alive, and to appreciate the ones we love while we’re still together, because you never know how much time you have left.

RIP Zozo ❤️ See you over the rainbow bridge 🌈 🐾
...

94 16

When I first started homesteading, gardening, and trying to be more self-sufficient, I had no idea what I was doing. Everything was new to me, and I had no one in my life to teach me the ropes.

I’m not a second or third or fifth generation homesteader. I’m a born-and-raised city girl who had to figure it out on my own, using books from the library and resources from the internet, and advice from random strangers on social media.

While these free resources have taught me a lot, I’ve also come across lots of bad (or just wrong) advice online, and sadly, I’ve dealt with a jerk or two in the comments section of public Facebook groups.

Eventually I did invest in online mentorship and my success from there was exponential. Now, less than a decade after leaving the city in pursuit of our new life as homesteaders, I’ve not only learned how to grow an abundance of food and troubleshoot all kinds of plant issues to ensure a healthy crop and successful harvest, but I’ve learned how to be more self-sufficient in just about every area of life.

I’ve learned how to
🌱 grow my own groceries
🫙 can and preserve my own food
🌿 make herbal medicine and natural products
💵 create multiple income streams
🆘 prepare for a wide range of emergencies
and more.

Plus, with my husband’s help, he can also
🛠 fix or build most things
so together we’ve got a wide range of skills that allow us to live a more empowered, self-reliant life.

Now I want to help you do the same…

I recently reopened the doors to The Society of Self-Reliance—my private membership program where I teach you the skills and mindset you need to become more self-reliant in every area of your life.

Not only do you get access to nearly 150 step-by-step video tutorials (and counting), you also get monthly live group coaching calls with me, and access to a private, SUPPORTIVE and knowledgeable online community of likeminded folks on the same journey.

For a limited time, you can join The Society for just $20/month (or get two months FREE with an annual membership!).

Come, join a community of people who will lift you up and ensure you DON’T starve 😉

Comment “Society” below to learn more!
...

28 7

Never before have we had access to so much information at our fingertips. Whether you have a question you need answered, are looking for a tutorial to walk you through a specific task or are searching for a recipe to help you figure out what to make for dinner, all you have to do is Google it.⁣

But the problem is that there's no real way to be sure whether the information you find on line is genuine. Is the person who wrote or shared it actually sharing their own experience, or are they too simply regurgitating answers that they Googled?⁣

As we barrel full speed ahead into the era of AI and deep fakes, it will be even more difficult to know whether the information you're getting is even from a real human!⁣

While it's definitely an exciting time to be alive, so many people are feeling overwhelmed, and are craving a return to the analog world; To a world where information was shared in the pages of trusted books and publications, or was passed on from human to human, from someone who held that knowledge not because they Googled it, but because they lived it, experienced it, even mastered it.⁣

That what sets Homestead Living magazine apart from much of the information you'll find online: We don't have staff writers, we have experienced homesteaders sharing their hard-won wisdom in each issue. And while we do offer a digital version, we're also now offering monthly PRINT issues for U.S. subscribers (Canada and elsewhere hopefully coming soon!)⁣

Plus, until the end. of January, you can get your first 12 issues of Homesteading Monthly for just $1.00!⁣

No matter where you are on your homesteading journey, if you've been feeling overwhelmed with the sheer volume of information and the noise of the online world and have been craving a return to the real, the tangible and, quite frankly, the human, Homesteading Monthly was made for you. ⁣

For homesteaders, by homesteaders.⁣

*** Comment "Homestead" below and I'll send you the link to subscribe! ***
...

38 14

When I graduated from university with a degree in journalism many years ago, I remember thinking that while I knew how to write, edit, interview, shoot, and handle just about every part of creating a publication from the editorial standpoint, I really had no clue how to actually get published, let alone how the printing process works.

Over the years I’ve followed my passion for writing, editing and creating content, figuring much of it out on my own. From creating my blog to “self-publishing” my own digital/print magazine for the last 4 years, I’ve taught myself most of the practical skills necessary for turning an idea into a publication and getting said publication in the hands and in front of the eyes of many hundreds of readers.

But now that I’ve joined forces with the team at @homesteadlivingmagazine and @freeportpress, we’re all able to level up and reach many THOUSANDS of print and digital readers together.

People are HUNGRY for tried and tested advice on homesteading and self-reliant living. There’s a huge movement happening right now as more people wake up to all of the corruption in the world and realize that many of the systems we have come to depend on are fragile and on the brink of collapse. People are ready to take matters into their own hands by growing their own food, preparing their own meals, becoming producers instead of merely consumers and taking control of their health, freedom, security and lives.

I’m so proud to not only be a part of this movement, but to be at the forefront of it with some of the most passionate, talented and driven individuals I could ask to work with.

Getting to meet and brainstorm with some of the team in person and tour the printing facilities over the last few days has opened up a whole new world of possibilities, not just for me, but for everyone who considers themselves part of the modern homesteading movement. We are growing faster than I could have ever imagined. We’re creating a system outside of the system! We’re charging full steam ahead and we invite you to climb aboard and join us for the ride:)

#homesteading #modernhomesteading #homesteadliving #selfsufficiency #selfreliance
...

31 5

It’s been a minute since I popped into IG to say hi. (Hi! 👋) But before I share what’s been going on behind the scenes, I thought it would be a good time to (re)introduce myself, because I’ve never actually done that before!

My name’s Anna, and I’m a city girl turned modern homesteader living in the beautiful Comox Valley on Vancouver Island. I live with my family (human, furry and feathered) on 1/4 acre property where we grow and preserve hundreds of pounds of our own food every year, and strive to live a more self-reliant lifestyle in all that we do.

I grew up in Vancouver and had pretty much zero experience homesteading before my husband, Ryan and I decided we wanted to escape the rat race, become less dependent on the modern industrial food system (and all modern industrialized systems), and dove head first into this lifestyle around a decade ago.

We packed up and moved to Vancouver Island where we live now, started our first garden, and the rest is pretty much history.

(Well, actually that’s not true… There have been A LOT of ups and downs, successes and failures, wins and losses, struggles, challenges and pivotal moments along the way, but those are stories for another day).

Over the past few years, our decision to follow a less conventional path that aims to break free (at least in some part) from “the system” has been affirmed over and over again. We all know for a fact now that our food system, healthcare system, financial system, transportation system and so much more are all really just a house of cards built on shaky ground. We’ve been lucky so far, but sooner or later it’s all liable to collapse.

But preparedness and security isn’t the only thing that drives us… The peace of mind I get knowing that everything we grow is 100% organic, and that the ingredients in our food, medicine, personal and household products are safe and natural is worth more than anything I could buy at the grocery store.

(I’m not perfect though. Not by a long shot. I still rely on the grocery store, on modern medicine, and on many modern conveniences to get by, but I balance it as much as I can:)

(Continued in comments…)
...

122 42

© The House & Homestead | All Rights Reserved | Legal