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What to Wear on a Camping Trip: Camping Clothing

Updated on February 7, 2017

Camping Clothing

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Camping ShirtCamping PantsCamping HatCamping GlovesCamping BootsCamping SocksCamping Backpack
Camping Shirt
Camping Shirt
Camping Pants
Camping Pants
Camping Hat
Camping Hat
Camping Gloves
Camping Gloves
Camping Boots
Camping Boots
Camping Socks
Camping Socks
Camping Backpack
Camping Backpack

Camping Clothing: What to Wear on a Camping Trip

Knowing what to wear when camping can mean the difference between a good time and a horrible, or even unsafe time. Make a checklist to ensure that you have proper camping clothing for your trip. Many variables exist when it comes to camping, because of various geographic locations and seasons.

What to wear when camping is difficult if you are not used to camping, or if you are camping in a climate your are less familiar with. Make sure you have identified the temperature range you will be camping in, and find out if precipitation is expected. This information is essential, but you will also want to find out what the terrain will be like if you are hiking at all. Many of the camping clothing choices are optional, so decide at your own discretion what will work best for your trip and your tastes.

Shirts to Wear Camping

One of the smartest and most comfortable ways to dress is by wearing layers. Layers allow you the flexibility to meet the demands of the temperature, which can easily change while you are camping.  Especially in the Spring and Fall, you might have a warm or hot day followed by a cool or cold night.

Wearing layers makes it easy to take a shirt off or add a shirt when you are cold or hot.  Also, when you camp, sometimes you will get hot while working to set up the campsite or while hiking.  Then your layers of shirts will help the most.

Pants to Wear Camping

The pants you buy for camping can make a huge difference in your comfort and your safety.  If you plan to walk through thick brush or briars, you may want to buy some nylon chaps to go with your pants.  For the average camper, you will likely benefit from pants that can be turned into shorts.  Even if it stays cold, you may want to wear the shorts to bed as opposed to changing in the cold, and having to put on cold pants in the morning.

Thick materials are suggested for cool weather in the spring and fall, and light materials are suggested for summer temperatures above 80 degrees.  One thing to keep in mind is that the temperature in the forest is much cooler than in the sun in the city, so expect it to be a little cooler in the woods in the warm months.

What Kind of Hat to Wear Camping

The type of hat you want to wear is going to depend on whether you are a guy or a girl. If you are a guy, then you will want to wear a camo boonie hat. This will not only look really cool, you will be able to shade your neck from all sides of the sun.

If you are a girl, then something like a pink ball cap will work. Whatever looks cut in the forest and with the other colors you will be wearing will work. Hats are totally optional though, so don't feel like you have to have one.

If you are camping in the winter, then your hat can actually be very important.  If it will be very cold and/or rainy, it would be good to go with a wool hat that can cover your ears a little and will keep your body heat in even if it is wet.

What Socks and Gloves to Wear Camping

When choosing your socks and gloves, think of the most natural materials you can buy.  These include cotton, leather, or wool.  Keep in mind that cotton doesn't keep you warm like wool will when wet. Leather allows some protections form wet environments, but it doesn't breathe.

Sometimes a wool lined leather glove or mitten will work best in very cold weather.  This gives you the best of both worlds and seems to cut any wind chill or wet chill.

There are some synthetic materials such as Goretex that do very well to insulate and keep you dry.  These materials can be awesome at keeping you dry when the rain comes, but you may want to just avoid rain altogether.

What Shoes to Wear Camping

Your feet are one of the most important and easily overlooked clothing pieces.  Your feet will likely have to cross rough terrain, maybe wet, and maybe jagged and sharp.  A good pair of boots can make your camping trip more bearable when it does rain.  Keeping the water from causing blisters is the most important thing the boot can do for you.

Other times, you may want to just wear some old tennis shoes.  If it is summer, and a dry environment where you will be walking on fairly level ground, the tennis walking shoe is tough to beat.  Tennis shoes are usually fine for car camping in State Parks, but less appealing for national park hiking and camping trips.

What Backpack to Wear

Although not necessarily a chothing item, a backpack can be an essential part of the camping outfit.  You may want to wear a backpack because you will be hiking in to your campsite, or maybe you want to wear a water supply on your back.

Backpacks allow you to stay hands free as you carry your gear, and they will keep your gear dry if it does rain on you.  It's important to get one that fits well, so you don't end up with a sore back.  Backpacks with straps that go around your waist seem to balance the weight the best.  A large duffel bag with shoulder straps is a cheap alternative to wearing a backpack that allows you to pack a ton of stuff.

Wear Sunscreen and Bug Repelant

Two things you might not plan on are the wrath of bugs and the sun.  If you haven't been camping in a while, it's easy to forget how badly you can be attacked by mosquitoes or how badly you can be burned by the sun.

Pack some bug repellent to wear and go ahead an wear it if it is tic season.  Tics can carry lyme's disease which is a terrible disease.  No body wants a sunburn or skin cancer either, so rub  your favorite on before hitting the great outdoors.

Accessories to Wear Camping

Below are some other items you might want to wear for safety and comfort reasons. Stay oriented, hydrated, and seeing well by wearing a compass, sunglasses, hydration pack, and a headlight while you are camping.

Most of these items are a convenience, but a compass could save your life if you are lost. The hydration pack could prevent dehydration, and the head light could allow you to see at night.  Headlights come in handy when you have to pee in the middle of the night.  They allow you hands free relief and you can see right where your head points, just be careful not to shine inappropriately just because you turn your head a certain direction.

Wear Bear Spray on your Camping Trip

Some camping trips involve likely encounters with dangerous animals.  You can wear a gun while you are camping, or you can wear some bear spray to help you to be prepared.  If a bear ends up in your camp, there is really nothing you will be able to do to that bear if he decides to attack, unless you have some way of deterring him.

Bear spray is like mace or pepper spray for bears, and it makes a bear want to leave you alone.  Of course, there is probably no guarantee, because animals are unpredictable.  You would probably be better off prepared though.  Find a way to wear the bear spray in a convenient easy to access spot while you are camping, so you are ready to get to it quickly.  A mountain lion, or a bear could surprise your camping trip outfit quickly.

Can You Wear Contacts on a Camping Trip?

You can definitely wear contacts on a camping trip.  A contact case can be packed with your other items, but it is smart to bring along an extra pair of glasses that you can use if you need to pee in the middle of the night.  Some people will wear glasses only when on a camping trip, because they don't want tho hassle of contacts on the camping trip.

It is important that you be able to take your contacts out without the use of a mirror.  Also, you will want to disinfect your contacts and your hands when you do take them out, so figure out a way to clean your hands before handling your contacts while on your camping trip.


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    • profile image


      6 years ago

      My camping attire consists of cowboy boots with 6 inch heels and very short cutoff jeans as hiking shorts. On one winter camping trip, a foot of snow dropped and I had to go outside of the van to pee around 2 AM. The ranger stopped by to check my permit. We took a short walk down to the lake. He was fascinated by my duds, and invited me to stop by the ranger station to have a chat about it.

    • jtrader profile image


      8 years ago

      Very good tips. The wrong clothing can help to make the experience less enjoyable.


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