How To Dress Properly For Your Next Camping Trip


Every activity has a dress code. If you’re into baking as a hobby, you need your apron and your head covering. Should you be a jogger, then you’ve got your running shoes, comfortable earbuds for music and a lightweight water bottle. If you’re a camping enthusiast, you’ll have a look too.

The aim isn’t just to show off your brand name gear and that cool parka you just bought (even though this is okay if that’s what you want to do), but to keep you protected in all weather, all temperatures, and all terrains.

Camping Clothes: How To Dress Properly For Your Next Camping Trip

Photo, Scott Goodwill.

Shoes for Camping

Starting from the bottom up, your shoes are incredibly important on a camping trip. You won’t be walking around on paved, dry streets and your feet will have to be properly supported and waterproofed. Pick the best shoes for camping with these things in mind: they should be sturdy, with defined, slip-resistant soles; you want shoes that will protect and uphold your ankle and instep.

When you are away from the campsite hiking, do not wear open shoes, slippers, sandals, and the like. You’ll be going over some uneven terrain and they can cause you to trip, possibly sprain your ankle. They are fine for wear at the campsite though.

You may be treading through the water during a hike, make sure your shoes are water-resistant enough to keep the majority of that out.

Invest in multiple shoes for camping as you don’t want to wear a damp pair of shoes two days in a row. Hiking shoes are best; whilst a good pair of running shoes that can lace-up is also an option.

Camping Clothes for Winter/Autumn

Your clothes are the meat of the matter. If you’re new to camping, it’s likely that you packed too few clothes. Camping can be a dirty activity and there are usually no laundry facilities.

If you don’t bring enough clothes, you’ll be stuck wearing dirty ones for days. You’ll certainly want to dress according to the weather. In the colder months of the year, layers are your friend. The layer closest to your skin should be moisture-wicking and allow sweat to evaporate quickly.

In cold weather, wetness kept close to the body will make you feel even chillier. Wear thick socks to insulate your feet. Pack a hat to wear to insulate your head. It should fit closely.

The layer of clothes above this provides your actual insulation and should be fleece or synthetic material, which also allows moisture to leave the body easily. The outermost layer should be your thickest yet, like that parka we spoke about earlier. You will want at least one rain set, both pants, and a jacket to keep you dry if it rains or snows.

Camping Clothes: How To Dress Properly For Your Next Camping Trip

Photo, onX Offroad.

Camping Clothes for Summer/Spring

If you’re camping at this time of the year, you need to take into account the variance in temperature between daytime and nighttime, because it can be as much as 30 degrees. During the day, you’ll want to stick to natural fabrics like cotton and linen.

These fabrics are lightweight and also absorb sweat and don’t heat up when the temperatures do. Polyester is also a good choice, particularly cotton-polyester blends. You’ll want to stick to lighter, pastel shades. Dark colours tend to absorb heat. You don’t want that in the summer.

Headwear and eyewear to protect those parts of your body from the sun is also a good idea. Shorts will be tempting in the hot weather, but you don’t want your legs exposed to insect life or poisonous plants.

Cargo pants are a good option here. They are lightweight and let moisture evaporate quickly so that your legs aren’t clammy. Plus, they have all these cool pockets to help you hold stuff. Complete your summer wear by packing a bathing suit.

At night, you’ll want to apply the same principle of layering as you would in winter. The trick is your winter clothing may not be exactly right as they would be too thick. Packing a pair of thinner hoodies to wear one over the other with insulated PJ bottoms with long underwear might be a good idea. If it’s too hot, you can always remove layers. It’s better to walk in too many clothes than be cold at night.

Camping Clothing: How To Dress Properly For Your Next Camping Trip

Photo, Dung Anh.

What Not to Wear When Camping

The advice here would be incomplete without a list of camping clothes that won’t work on a camping trip.

Expensive designer clothes and jewellery are out on a camping trip. It’s likely they won’t stand up to an activity like camping. You’ll ruin them, potentially lose the jewellery and be out of pocket for the cost.

Don’t wear perfumes or strong scents: It irritates wild animals and may prompt them to attack. That’s the attention you don’t want.

Avoid denim where you can: Denim jeans do not offer much protection against nighttime temperatures and hold moisture, which means they’ll make you cold.

Don’t wear clothes featuring obscenities, messages about drugs, and the like: It may prove offensive to those sharing the camping ground with you and can get you in trouble with the ground’s management.

Avoid white clothes: Camping is messy. White clothing is a beacon for messes. Stick to light and pastel shades as suggested earlier.

Do not wear clothes that are too tight, or too loose as your body function could be impaired. Loose clothing also has a way of catching on to things.

Do not sit naked in your campsite area, especially if you are at a public campsite; this is not so much a ‘what not to wear’ as a ‘what not to do’. Unless it is expressly permitted, or you are in a nudist colony, this is also likely to offend others. Common sense should prevail. Would you want to see someone naked on your camping trip?

Flip flops are also a big no-no: They are less sturdy than sandals and offer little to no protection to the feet once outside. Wear them only in your tent or in the shower.

You now have your official dress code for all your camping clothes. Let it be a guide for keeping you safe and comfortable on your trip.


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