Clothes for Camping

Clothes for Camping
Any experienced camper or backpacker will tell you that one of the key rules to remember when packing for an overnight camping trip is to bring more clothes than you think you'll need. Temperatures can drop unexpectedly--particularly at higher elevations--and body temperature drops overnight while you sleep. You also can't predict whether rain, snow or other unfortunate circumstances will require special attire or soak the ones you're currently wearing. It's much more comfortable--not to mention safer--to go camping with plenty of clothes to keep you warm. Even knowing this, it's still important to pack wisely and remember the essentials.


Even in the summer months, there are many places where the temperature can drop significantly at night. A deceptive location where this happens is in the deserts of the southwestern United States. Because of minimal cloud cover, the heat is free to escape to higher altitudes at night, leaving the camper colder than they'd expect given the day's heat. Since you can never be entirely sure what to expect when camping, it's wise to have a parka or coat along with you in the event of a cold front or storm.

Long Underwear

Long underwear keeps you warm, but a big benefit of wearing this clothing is the comfort it provides by wicking sweat away from your skin. This keeps your skin dry and lowers your risk of getting the chills as your sweat cools your body to unsafe levels.

Proper Shoes

Know what kind of terrain you will be dealing with--if you're going hiking, bring sturdy shoes or boots to get the job done. Many inexperienced campers choose footwear as if they're going to the beach. When it comes time to walk a mile or do the laborious tasks of chopping wood or setting up the tent, they'll suffer from foot discomfort that can lead to blisters and sore spots.


Windbreaker pants are a great option for the outdoors, but jeans and canvas pants also work well too. You can bring shorts for the day, but again, packing clothes for camping is all about preparing for the coldest and least comfortable weather. It's easy to strip layers off, but you can't add layers if you don't bring them along. No matter how hot it is, have a pair of pants--they'll also provide some protective relief if you're suffering from an onslaught of mosquitoes or other bugs.


Bring multiple pairs of socks so you can layer your feet at night and keep your feet and footwear fresh during the day. This will keep you warm while minimizing your risk of a foot fungus.


As much as 60 percent of your body's heat can escape through your head, but what can be more concerning--particularly during the summer--is the sun's harsh effect on your head and skin. Without proper head coverings, you could get sunburned or suffer from accelerated dehydration due to the sun's rays that can lead to heatstroke.

An Extra Change of Clothes

Suppose you slip into the stream while fishing and soak your clothes. If you've packed an extra set, you're a quick trip to the campground from being dry and comfortable again. But if you didn't bring the extra shirt and other clothes, you'll have to wait it out while the sun and heat dry you, spending a few hours damp and musty as a result.

Article Written By Jonathan Croswell

Jonathan Croswell has spent more than five years writing and editing for a number of newspapers and online publications, including the "Omaha World-Herald" and "New York Newsday." Croswell received a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from the University of Nebraska and is currently pursuing a Master's of Health and Exercise Science at Portland State University.

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