Your browser version is outdated. We recommend that you update your browser to the latest version.

The Waki Way - Living full-time in a motor home

Like what you see? Bookmark the page or click follow on Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter (@thewakiway), and Instagram (@sarah_thewakiway)!


We always seem to get asked the same questions about living somewhat off grid in a motor home, to which the answers seem to spark a dozen more questions! So (to give our voices a rest!) here's the answers to our most frequently asked questions...

Read more>>


Lightweight Camping Tips:

How to pack light in general

Image courtesy of freedigitaolphotos.netImage courtesy of freedigitaolphotos.netFirstly, why bother packing light? Isn't it better to just pack everything you possibly might need just in case? You know, be prepared and all that? 

Sometimes it's through sheer necessity because you physically cannot carry everything, other times it's because simple means less to worry about losing or breaking. Think camping mentality.

For motorcycle touring a lighter bike is much more manoeuvrable and therefore safer to handle. In our opinion the journey should be as enjoyable as the destination, and that goes for trekking too. If you have to hike your kit to your camping spot, a lighter load means less chance of blisters and sores, and no shoulder, knee and back pain to battle with later on! Sounding worth the effort now?

Excess equipment also has a way of distancing you from the natural world, without you even realising your precious 'stuff' can be undermining the whole ethos of your get back to nature camping trip!

See below for our guide and a few extra tips on how to lighten your load:


1. Make a list of everything that you'd like to take. Everything you can think of, clothes, cameras, binoculars, sandals, games, books and magazines...

2. Lay your kit out on the living room floor to get the measure of it, weigh each item as well if you can and tally it up.

3. Remove anything that is non essential, and the just-in-case luxury items. That's probably the games console and fancy heeled sandals for in case you go dancing gone... but you might want to keep the rain poncho! ;)

4. Study each remaining item critically to see how it can be further substituted with something multi-functional or made smaller and lighter. I've read advice from some people who even cut their tooth brushes in half to save the weight of the handles, at first it sounds somewhat extreme and unnecessary but when you have to carry everything on your own back then every gram saved here and there adds up to a considerable difference overall!

5. Repeat steps 2-4 several more times until you're left with the minimum kit you know you can get by with!

6. Make a meal plan to ensure you only bring the food you need.

7. A problem shared is a problem halved. Are you travelling as a group? Often there's no need for each person to have their own complete set of pans with stove etc so share the kit out between you. One person carries the tent (unless you're each sleeping separately of course!), another the cooking equipment, someone else the communal food items and so on...

8. Learn some survival skills. Knowledge is the lightest and most useful piece of equipment you can bring with you, and practising your survival skills can be a fun pastime for a camping trip! You may be able to forage some of your food whilst hiking or at the beach, make your own tent pegs on arrival if there are trees around, gather moss and leaves for a comfy mattress instead of relying on a bulky foam mat, or you could even scale the tent itself right down to a simple tarpaulin shelter...


Still not sure where to begin? Here are some lighter or more compact substitutions that we regularly employ to help get you started:

  • Bring water purification tabs or a filter. (or a refillable bottle for camp sites with drinking water taps) As long as you're not visiting a desert, sourcing your water on site is better than trying to carry all of the water you'll need from home. Water weighs 1 kg for every litre, consider that the average person needs to drink 2-3 litres per day and your knees and back will definitely thank you...

  • Pack a microfibre towel instead of a full sized heavy towel from the airing cupboard. Our microfibre towels are possibly the best camping items we've ever invested in! They dry super quick and hardly take up any space at all in our bags.

  • Bring a spork instead of multiple cutlery sets. Everyone's seen these nifty little spoon-fork combos, and many also have a small serrated section that acts as a knife. For tougher food items or for less awkward butter spreading we use our personal carry knives which is a much lighter and less rattly load for sure.

  • Switch to castile soap. It's made from natural oils, is biodegradable and can go as far as replacing shower gel, shampoo, laundry detergent &washing up liquid! We like the Dr Bronners magic castile soap with citronella oil for a refreshing neutral smell and antibacterial properties. For a camping trip we slice a useful sized piece from the main bar and pop it into a ziplock bag along with a washing up sponge and a microfibre cloth for drying up.

  • Consider your clothes. Microfibre fleece is lighter and packs flatter than wool, the same can be said for polyester canvas trousers instead of cotton and denim... Generally man made fabrics dry much quicker than their natural counterparts which is always handy away from tumble dryers and heating, and can even include protective coatings for water, mosquitoes and UV rays!

  • Don't bring the whole kitchen! Unless you really need it all, we've found that most cook sets can be broken down further to just a couple of components. A kettle only has one purpose, whereas a well chosen pair of nesting pans can be used as frying pans, saucepans, mixing bowls and even eating bowls if you really need to! We don't personally drink many hot drinks so find it better to just heat one mug of water at a time when we each fancy a cuppa. For a more detailed look at reducing weight from the camp kitchen specifically, check out our article here.

  • Bring a bandanna! They have so many uses it speaks for itself: use one as a lightweight head covering to keep the sun off (can be applied wet for additional cooling properties!), they make a good hand towel or flannel, can protect the hand from hot objects, filter debris from water, make a useful food covering to keep the flies off, a carry-bundle for gathering wild foods, you may need to wave a brightly coloured one as a signal flag for help, tie one on for a bandage or sling... you get the idea. That's quite a long list of items now narrowed down to one!

  • Miniaturise. Do you really need the entire bottle of sun lotion or cooking oil for a 3 day trip? Pour only what you'll need into smaller containers, these days you can easily source handy travel sized empty containers for cosmetics and foodstuffs. The same goes for cooking spices and herbs, decant them into smaller bags or lightweight pots. I like to clean and save any useful storage pots we end up with from other things instead of throwing them out - tic tac mint pots and takeaway sauce containers are especially convenient! Needless to say take care with how you pack things to avoid the little white room if travelling through customs! ;)

  • Use the spaces in between. If anything has a gap in it, use it! It may not be lighter but a smaller volume bag is much easier to deal with for sure. 


We hope these tips have helped you, let us know what you think and which you will implement  for your next trip in the comments below!


< Back to Motorcycle tips and guides

< Back to Camping and Hiking Tips

Does anyone have any other tips on packing small and light? We love to hear from you! Please share your tips and experiences with other readers in the comment sections below. Remember to keep to our Community Rules!

For more great content every day & a spot of outdoors related humour, don't forget to like and follow us on Facebook, Pinterest, and now Twitter (@thewakiway) and Instagram (sarah_thewakiway)!

Follow The Waki Way on Pinterest!

About us:

My name is Sarah and in 2011 my husband Ryan and I decided to buy and re-fit an old motor home - we named it Waki and now live in it full time in the UK!

We live neither on or off-grid, rather somewhere in between, and are not the first and I dare say not the last to choose this way of life... read more>> 

A quick note:

You may notice we don't have those annoying 3rd party adverts on our site and articles, you know those ads for diet pills and other ridiculous claims - and you're welcome! If we think that something is useful to our readers then we conduct our research and link to it directly.

To help support the site we instead make use of affiliate links where appropriate; Sarah is a participant in the Amazon EU Associates Programme, an affiliate advertising programme designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees. It doesn't cost you a penny extra to order anything via the links posted on this site and The Waki Way may earn a small referral fee if you do helping towards the costs of running this website - which is most appreciated! Seriously, let us say a massive THANK YOU for your support!


Copyright statement:

The web site design, graphics, text and all other materials contained within this web site are held under copyright by The Waki Way unless stated otherwise. No part of this material may be sold, transmitted, or reproduced without the permission of the copyright holder. The Waki Way encourages 'pinning' and the sharing of ideas and concepts via social media and other Blogs etc but asks that credit remains with The Waki Way where due.


Recommendations, links & advice:

*All prices stated in links are correct at the time of publishing but there may be changes in prices, promotions or discontinuations - linked products are hard to keep track of so we recommend you check the seller for up to date prices and availability. 

The Waki Way shall under no circumstances be liable for any damages, convictions or injury whatsoever – including but not limited to damages arising out of, related to or resulting from your access to, or inability to access, this site, and your reliance on any information or opinions provided herein. 

© 2014. The Waki Way. All Rights Reserved.

Cookie Policy

This site uses cookies to store information on your computer.

Do you accept?