Camping Gear: Clothing

One of the most discussed camping questions is how much clothing one should bring on a camping trip. Many hard-core backcountry campers only pack one change of clothes for their entire trip. Although this rule is practical for backcountry camping, you can take more clothing if camping on vehicle accessible campsites – better known as “car camping”. Most families prefer to pack no more than three days worth of clothes, in addition to what they are wearing, for a seven- to nine-day car camping trip. Most campgrounds have laundry facilities nowadays, and it is much easier to wash a few loads of clothes than pack a lot of extra clothes. My best advice is to use a small gym bag for your clothing, as this will force you to cut down on how much clothing you pack for your trips. 

Another frequently discussed clothing question is what type of clothes one should pack for camping. My first rule is to go with old clothes or clothes that you don’t mind getting ripped, stained or burned. Never take your best clothes or you will be asking for trouble! In terms of fabrics, one point to remember is to avoid cotton in cold wet weather. Cotton is very difficult to dry and loses its ability to keep you warm when wet. Acrylics keep you reasonably warm when wet, dry very quickly, and are not expensive. 

Here are some more clothing tips: 

Hats: Hats with a brim offer the best protection from the sun. Wool hats should be packed when camping in cold weather. 

Jacket/Coat: Always pack a jacket or shell that is water and wind repellent. An inexpensive shell will do. You should not listen to all of the hoopla about the more expensive waterproof shells. The more expensive waterproof shells provide protection from heavy rain; however, you will sweat like crazy in waterproof shells if using them for hiking, canoeing, or biking. 

Pants: You should avoid packing blue jeans on camping trips if cool, wet weather is expected. Jeans take a long time to dry and are very cold when worn wet. Just remember how long it takes to dry jeans in the dryer at home. Usually, the jeans are still damp when everything else is dry. You should look at other fabrics when packing for camping trips. If not sure what to pack, then just think of what dries the quickest in your dryer at home. 

Rain Gear: Waterproof shells for tops and bottoms provide the most protection from the rain. Some campers pack a poncho, which is a giant section of material that drapes over the body with slits for the head, arms, and legs. Ponchos can become awkward if you move around a lot, and rainwater will eventually drip onto your exposed arms and legs. 

Shoes and Boots: Pack at least two pairs on every camping trip. If a shoe breaks, it may be difficult to find a shoe store near the campground. Secondly, if one pair of shoes gets drenched from water, it can take a few days to dry out the shoes properly. For summer camping, a pair of sandals or Crocs is great, with either hiking or running shoes. A good pair of hiking boots should be packed for any other time of year. Rubber boots are excellent for spring camping when the ground is soggy. Consider extra shoelaces as well. 

Sweater: For cold weather camping, wool sweaters should always be packed. Many campers pack sweatshirts for summer camping instead. Sweatshirts are usually a 70/30-cotton/polyester blend. Again, because of the cotton, the sweatshirts can take some time to dry when wet; however, sweatshirts are much more comfortable than wool sweaters in the summer. It is a trade-off between practicality and comfort. 

Thermal Underwear: Thermal underwear should always be packed when camping during the spring, fall, or winter when the temperature is colder. Thermal underwear usually has a blend of fabrics, for example, 60 percent polypropylene, 32 percent wool, and 8 percent nylon. Because of the fabric blend, it won’t itch against the skin and retains its ability to keep the person warm, even when wet. A wool sweater and Gortex shell can be added over the top, and wind and water repellent pants over the bottom, and you will be good to go under almost any three-season weather conditions. 

Winter Clothing: If you are brave enough to go camping in the winter, then pack anything and everything else that you think that you will need, including winter boots, snow pants, gloves, ski jacket, snow suit and so on. 

For more details on camping see The Camp Tripper. The Camp Tripper includes: trip planning, reservations, gear, meals, setting up camp, activities, breaking camp, maintenance of gear and many tips for memorable camping trips in Ontario. The book is very reasonably priced and small enough to fit in the glove compartment of your vehicle. Here are four reasons why you might prefer to order it in e-book (electronic book) format:

  • The e-book price is 37% less
  • No shipping costs, which saves you even more
  • Instant delivery to your computer or hand-held device
  • Eliminates paper and saves trees

This book is currently only available in online bookstores.

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About Patrick Dzieciol

I have authored and published "The Camp Tripper - The Secrets of Successful Family Camping in Ontario" http://bookstore.iuniverse.com/AdvancedSearch/Default.aspx?SearchTerm=9781450226264&image1.x=79&image1.y=17. If you want to get in touch with me, please drop me an email at: tips4camping@hotmail.com.
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