Clothes To Pack For Camping: The Ultimate Guide

Some examples of clothes to pack for camping
Some examples of clothes to pack for camping

Have you ever felt like going camping but felt unsure about what clothes to pack?

Or actually agreed with friends to go on a camping trip and now you have no idea what to bring?

Worry not, we got you.

How Much Clothing Do You Really Need?

We tend to always bring more clothes than we'll need
We tend to always bring more clothes than we’ll need

Always pack less clothes than you think you need.

Every experienced camper knows this and now you’ll know it too: humans always pack way too many clothes and end up not wearing half.

Yes, we’re pretty sure you don’t need those two extra bags.

There are some key items that you cannot miss (and we’ll cover them below) but again, the bottom line is: always pack less clothes than you initially thought of.

No, it’s not going to rain if the weather man only forecasts wind (or even if it does, you’ll be fine) and yes, you’re totally fine if you wear the same jacket (or even favorite shirt) twice.

Camping clothing is that easy.

Things You Can’t Ignore When Packing Clothes for Camping

Some things can really make or break your camping trip
Some things can really make or break your camping trip

While you need to simplify and not overthink on what clothes to pack for your camping experience, you should still give it some thought and avoid missing key things for your camping adventure (that are also useful for outdoor activities in general).

Whether you are going summer camping or facing cold nights, these are the two camping clothes essentials that do not depend on the season:

A set of extra clothes (at least!)

Camping with the same clothes is not OK
Camping with the same clothes is not OK

We shouldn’t even be explaining this, but just throwing it out there in case this is your first camping trip.

No matter how the weather conditions are, you NEED at least one set of extra clothes in your camping clothing arsenal.

Either you are going to sweat or it will start raining and you’ll have wet clothes: it’s just not possible to wear the same clothes.

Keep it simple: 2 extra pairs of socks and underwear, a t shirt, and pants – whatever makes you feel comfortable. Remember: comfort is king in a camping trip.

Hiking boots

Yes, you need those
Yes, you need those

No matter how comfortable you think your sneakers are, trust us: your experience will be much better if you just leave those at home and bring hiking boots.

The best camping sites often times involve long walks in the woods, where you may have mud terrains, and if it rains, the terrain may be slippery. A good pair of hiking boots will solve those 2 issues quite easily (especially if they are waterproof!)

BONUS: Sleeping bag & mat

No, you won’t swing it and try to share a bag with your friend or your partner: you will just ruin everyone’s night.

Sleep is crucial for several things, and camping is not an exception: do you really want to wake up grumpy when you are supposed to be resting and having a relaxing time, away from work?

Just get the sleeping bag.

This wouldn’t be a proper article about your ideal camping trip if we didn’t mention the sleeping mat. Yes, this is the rug that goes underneath the sleeping bag in your tent. And no, it is not irrelevant: we guarantee you that your back will pay a heavy price the next morning if you don’t use any mat.

Don’t be cheap and get both, they’re not too expensive and they work wonders (and they’re great for both summer camping trips and winter camping).

Clothes to Pack for Camping: The Only Checklist You’ll Need

Checklists are a great way you can avoid forgetting things
Checklists are a great way you can avoid forgetting things

Okay, we get it: you’re tired of text and want a rapid checklist that you can briefly look at while packing.

We got you. Below are the clothing items you will need to make your camping trip epic.

Waterproof jacket

You will absolutely need a water resistant jacket (especially if you are winter camping).

Besides being an essential part of your rain gear, even if it doesn’t rain you will still not regret bringing a waterproof jacket: it will be comfy and keep you warm throughout the adventure.

Bonus points if it has extra layers for extra warmth.

Sleeping clothes

Few things are better than a good pijama
Few things are better than a good pijama

If you read the article until now, you know that the sleeping bag and mat are a must.

What we also need to stress is that the sleeping gear would be incomplete without sleeping clothes.

Don’t just bring a random t shirt and think it’s enough: sure, it may work but you will be much better off with separate outfits: some to go into the wilderness, another one for sleeping purposes only. Finally, please wear clothes!

Hiking pants

Please don’t go camping with your Levi jeans.

Again, the name of the game in camping trips is to be comfortable, and that won’t happen no matter how cool you look with your jeans on. You will sweat more in hot weather and will likely feel colder if temperatures drop.

Socks & Underwear

Just bring pairs of socks with you
Just bring pairs of socks with you

We don’t even know what to tell you if you don’t bring these.

Socks will keep your feet warm and underwear… well, you know what underwear is for.

Rucksack

Where else are you going to bring your hygiene and personal things?

Towels

Quick-drying towels are ideal as they reduce their drying time considerably vs. “normal” ones. Super OK to bring the latter, as long as you time your showers accordingly.

Breathable fabrics

This applies to every piece of clothing we talked about.

It’s not the end of the world if you can’t get breathable fabrics for every single thing and you’ll definitely enjoy camping trips without these, but they can make your life much easier: you will sweat less and your body will remain cooler in hot temperatures.

Camping gear

This is an article about clothes so we won’t dive on this, but besides what we mentioned above, bring a tent (duh) and tent footprints.

Summer & Spring Clothes

If you're camping in the summer, you're not bringing warm jackets... right?
If you’re camping in the summer, you’re not bringing warm jackets… right?

We’ve talked about the right clothes to go camping comfortably, but let’s drill down further if your outdoor trip is in the summer/spring.

In general, you want to opt for loose clothing since anything that is too tight will make you sweat excessively (and no one enjoys sweaty camping clothes, right?!), but check what we have for you:

Headwear

Do yourself a favor and wear either a lightweight hat or a visor.

These will offer your eyes and head some sun protection, and will make your experience much better since you won’t need to squint every time there is more clarity or you’re trying to enjoy a view against the sun.

Bathing suit

It’s probable that you will find water in your outdoor adventure, so better be prepared: you don’t want to be the guy going to the river in his underwear. You’re not 14 anymore.

Winter & Autumn Clothes

And you're not bringing only t-shirts if it's snowing, we hope...
And you’re not bringing only t-shirts if it’s snowing, we hope…

What if the weather man says it will rain or predicts cold weather?

Then you should obviously still go for your trip!

Pay special attention to the below when you pack clothes and you will be more than fine.

Layers

Investing in layers is a must do if you enjoy camping in colder climates, as wearing multiple layers is much more effective than wearing a thick single clothing item.

Outer layers, middle layers and base layers are all fair game.

Socks

Never neglect your feet.

If it’s really cold, no matter how many water resistant jackets you wear, you will still feel cold in your feet (and you need perfect the next day if you are going hiking!). To stay warm bring thick socks and don’t bring spare ones in case you get a pair wet.

What You Should Not Bring

Some things are better off away from the tent
Some things are better off away from the tent

We’ve covered pretty much everything on camping clothing at this point.

Except the things you should NOT bring.

Without further ado:

Flip flops

Even though you can use them inside your tent or in the shower, they are not practical at all: they offer little protection to your feet and you won’t be able to go on walks with them. Bottom line? Just get sandals.

White clothes

Yes, you may think that we are exaggerating, and maybe we are), but the truth is that white clothes don’t go hand in hand with camping. The dirt on them will be way more noticeable, so if you can, stick to other tones.

Expensive clothes and jewellery

You never know what will happen
You never know what will happen

You may lose your new $4,000 Cartier bracelet or fall and rip your $1,000 Canada Goose jacket, so why risk it?

Just leave all the expensive stuff at home (you really won’t need it) and go with cheaper things. Is it really worth the stress to bring fancy items just for some photos? Trust us, it’s not.

Strong perfume

You CAN bring perfume but you should not ABUSE it.

It’s great to smell nice but it’s not great if the smell is intense enough to attract animals – you don’t want them circling your tent when you’re trying to sleep.

Again, it’s totally fine to bring perfume, but there’s no need to wear it too much. Like all things in life: moderation is key.

A television

Bringing a television (or a computer, iPad, etc) will completely ruin the vibe of your trip
Bringing a television (or a computer, iPad, etc) will completely ruin the vibe of your trip

No matter how tempting it may be to watch The Sopranos while in a tent, it’s ultimately not worth it.

When you go camping, you are supposed to be disconnected from the rest of the world, otherwise you won’t relax.

Camping provides moments, alone and with family, that are just not possible to get while in the city, or stressed about work.

It’s your chance to deepen your ties and to engage in self-reflections about yourself, what you’ve done and what you want out of life.

If you bring a computer to “entertain” you, then you might as well just not go outdoors. It will keep you plugged to the routine and you won’t be fully enjoying being outside.

If you still think bringing a TV or a computer is a good idea, we would recommend just staying home. It won’t be worth it.

Final Thoughts

We’ve covered everything about what camping clothes in this article, but if we had to summarize our thoughts, it would be: use common sense. Please:

  1. Don’t bring too much stuff (humans tend to exaggerate on the amount of clothes they think they will need)

  2. Adapt your choices to the weather forecast (don’t wear multiple layers if the forecast points towards 20+ degrees Celsius)

  3. Pack separate outfits (do NOT wear the same clothes every day)

Frequently Asked Questions

For a car camping trip – is the advice above also good?

Absolutely. We will write a more extensive article about car camping & car camping clothes, but what we wrote above about is also applicable.

Which specific type of jeans is the best for camping?

As long as you’re not wearing denim jeans, you will be fine. Simply put: sweat pants for sleep and cargo pants for your hiking.

Is wearing boots really needed?

Yes. Stop overthinking and just get a set of waterproof boots. These should be part of your clothes to pack for camping and will make your experience 10x more enjoyable.

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