Out in The Woods

Clothing and Shelter

What Do We Really Need 


“All good things are wild and free”

- Henry David Thoreau 


What do we really need? In the second chapter of Walden, “Economy” Thoreau writes about how we don’t need things that we won’t use everyday. Thoreau says that we don’t need big houses and expensive things, and all we need is small house and cheap clothes. He challenges us to think, Do we need a big houses and expensive clothing? Thoreau talks about how as kid it didn’t matter where we were sleeping or spending time, and that we all just wanted to be out in our tree houses and exploring caves. How we would rather be up in the trees and not spending time inside of a big fancy house. He also talks about how we have this “primitive ancestor” still in us. We all just want to be outside exploring the unknowns of the world. People would rather have an adventure like camping, than sleeping in their bed. 

Who does not remember the interest with which, when young, he looked at shelving rocks, or any approach to a cave? It was the natural yearning of that portion, any portion of our most primitive ancestor which still survived in us. (Thoreau, Walden)


Many people don’t know what is really need to survive. Thoreau talks about two of the necessities of life, clothing and shelter. Many people think many of its of clothing and multiple pairs of shoes are a nessicary in life, Thoreau writes that we need few clothing, and it doesn’t have to be expensive. How all clothings I practically the same except for the brand on the clothes. Their could be a 30 Dollar shirt and a 500 dollar shirt, and they do the same exact thing. “Of two patterns which differ only by a few threads more or less of a particular color, the one will be sold readily, the other lie on the shelf.” This is happening a lot today, many people are buying expensive clothing, when they could buy many more shirts with that money. I personally think it is very dumb and I do not understand why people are buying all that stuff. He also talks about how people are spending way to much money on houses. How we only really need a bed, toilet and a little kitchen. He also talks about how how, people don’t really know what a house is even more, “Most men appear never to have considered what a house is.” But now a days people have extra bedrooms and storage rooms. How we only need what we will use everyday. I know if did the same thing that Thoreau did and made a house with only the things I need, my house would be much smaller than it is now.  


Overall I think Thoreau is right, people are spending to much money on shelter and clothings. I think people should spend less money on that stuff and save up for an experiance like a trip because you will remember a trip, not a old shirt.