How Do I Choose the Best Camping Wardrobe?

M.C. Huguelet

Choosing the right clothing for a camping trip can be challenging. For maximum comfort, safety, and convenience during your trip, you must select a camping wardrobe consisting of items that are collapsible, that allow a full range of movement, and that have a sufficient amount of storage. Additionally, you should protect yourself from the elements by choosing pieces that are breathable and can be layered if necessary.

Water resistance shorts and shirts are commonly worn by hikers.
Water resistance shorts and shirts are commonly worn by hikers.

When selecting your camping wardrobe, you should aim to choose pieces that are easily collapsible. Such items conserve space, helping to keep your camping luggage neat. Further, they can be easily stowed in a backpack during a hike. Thus, you should opt for thin, lightweight items such as nylon windbreakers over bulky pieces like down vests.

A pocket knife may be useful at a campsite.
A pocket knife may be useful at a campsite.

While camping, you may engage in a number of physical activities, such as hiking, rappelling, or fishing. For maximum comfort during these activities, your camping wardrobe should also allow a full range of bodily movement. Try to choose loose-fitting pieces. Should you prefer tighter items, be sure to pick those which contain a stretchy material, such as elastic, so you can move comfortably.

If during the course of your trip you will be venturing away from your campsite, you may need to bring along small items such as a compass, a map, sunscreen, and a pocket knife. Should you wish to avoid carrying a backpack during these excursions, consider a camping wardrobe which offers small item storage. For instance, pants designed for outdoor wear often feature cargo pockets along the outer portion of their legs. Some vests and shirts have zippered compartments in which small valuables can be stored.

Additionally, you must take care to choose a camping wardrobe that can protect you from the elements. Even on very hot days, you may need to wear full sleeves and long pants to minimize your exposure to the sun and potentially dangerous insects such as ticks. Breathable fabrics such as cotton allow air to circulate over your skin, keeping you cool and comfortable even when your body is fully covered. Conversely, certain synthetic materials are designed to wick moisture away from the skin, helping to prevent your body temperature from dropping on cold days. Outerwear accessories such as hats can also offer protection from both the sun and cold weather conditions.

Finally, keep in mind that the weather can be unpredictable, and that even the hottest day can turn chilly when the sun disappears. Therefore, your camping wardrobe should consist of items that can be easily layered if necessary. Items such as zippered, hooded sweatshirts and vests, for instance, can be quickly put on and removed, allowing you to control your body temperature as the weather changes.

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