You wouldn’t wear hiking boots to go tap dancing. You wouldn’t put on a winter hat for a day at the beach. And flip-flops have no business being on your feet in 3’-deep snow. It’s important to dress according to your surroundings and the weather for many reasons, especially when camping in the great outdoors.
Poison ivy lurks in the woods. Mosquitoes are everywhere. Uneven terrain can make even the most sure-footed hiker stumble. To protect yourself from the elements and from unnecessary injury, make sure you have the right clothes packed for your location and activities. Don’t just throw T-shirts and shorts in your bag and call it good. You’ll be kicking yourself later when the temperature drops to 20° and you’re shivering in your cotton T-shirt, cargo shorts, and flip-flops. In the mountains, days can start out frosty, become sunny and warm in the afternoon, and then plummet into freezing temps again at night. Dressing in layers is a good rule of thumb when camping. This will keep you warm when it’s chilly and allow you to peel them like an onion once the sun comes out and heats things up.
Keep in mind too that camping in the great outdoors isn’t like strolling through your backyard. Who knows what you’ll rub up against when walking through tall grass and bushes. Under the thick ground cover there are often unseen rocks and stumps just waiting to be tripped over. Enter the woods expecting to encounter the unexpected. Long pants provide a barrier between your skin and ticks, poisonous plants, prickers, and other woodsy party poopers. Hefty hiking boots give your feet and ankles protection from injury if you stumble.
A little preparation and planning when packing can go a long way toward having a hypothermia-and injury-free camping trip. And you’ll look like you know what you’re doing (and isn’t that half the battle?).
Here are some of our recommendations of must-have camping apparel. Stay dry and warm my friend!
Columbia Men’s Meeker Peak Short-Sleeve Crew Shirt This quick-drying T-shirt contains Omni-Wick moisture management to quickly wick sweat away to help you stay dry.
Men’s Buck Naked Performance Underwear for Men & Women This performance underwear wicks sweat better than cotton underwear, they stay put for comfort, and they’re even treated to fight odors! They dry quickly when hung up (if you dare!) which makes them perfect for camping.
REI Sahara Roll-Up Pants for Women Perfect for varying temps, these pants adjust to 2 shorter lengths so long pants can become capri’s. They have a UPF 50+ sun-protection rating and the stretchy fabric wicks moisture and dries fast.
Mountain Hardware Canyon Shorts for Men These hiking shorts feature a UPF 50 sun-protection rating and a water-repelling DWR finish, perfect for long days of outdoor adventure.
Cabela’s Men’s Long-Sleeve Camp Shirt with Insect Defense System™ This ultra lightweight, polyester, quick-drying shirt has an innovative No Fly Zone™ built right in to keep pesky bugs of all kinds at a distance. It is treated with permethrin, a natural bug repellent, and has a UPF rating of 50.
Outdoor Research Helios Sun Hat This hat will protect your head from the sun and will help keep it dry when you’re working up a sweat. It is made with UPF 50+ SolarShield fabric and features a Coolmax headband for wicking moisture. And if you drop it in the water, no worries! It floats!
Vasque Inhaler GTX Hiking Boots for Women These boots are made with Gore-Tex to allow your foot to breathe while still keeping it dry with a waterproof barrier. They provide great traction on uneven terrain.
Super-wool Hiker GX Merino Wool Hiking Socks These mostly wool socks offer amazing softness and warmth that you’ll appreciate when temps drop. They offer support where you need it and feature an air-vent system to release heat and moisture.
Rocky® Men’s Thermal 2pc Set Long John Underwear Featuring a waffle-knit design, this long underwear set is lightweight but very effective at retaining body heat to keep you warm.
Camping PJs Nestle into your sleeping bag in a warm and comfortable pair of PJs. Don’t wear anything too big and bulky though, as this will make it hard for your sleeping bag to retain your body heat.
Eddie Bauer Women’s MicroTherm StormDown Field Vest Invest in a vest! This lightweight, moisture-resistant vest retains its warmth even when wet, keeping you comfortable when it’s chilly outside.
Columbia Men’s Stormweather Gloves Pack these burly gloves and you’ll have warm, dry hands thanks to the Omni-Heat and Outdry technology these gloves are made of.
Frogg Toggs Ultra-Lite Men’s Rain Suit If you get caught in a downpour, you’ll be glad you have this lightweight rain suit ready at a moment’s notice.
Aleader Women’s Mesh Slip On Water Shoes These breathable and durable water shoes will help keep your feet dry and comfortable in wet conditions.
The North Face TKA 100 Microfleece Gloves for Women These gloves offer unparalleled softness and warmth in chilly conditions.
Sherpa Adventure Gear Renzing Hat Keep your noggin warm with this wool hat that features a built-in microfleece earband. These hats are hand-knitted in Nepal by a women’s knitting co-op.
Havaianas flip-flops To avoid any nasty foot fungi flare-ups, bring flip-flops along and wear them in the campground shower. They come in all colors and cost as little as $2/pair during the summer months.