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Listen, just because you’re going to be roughing it for a few days or nights sleeping on the ground and peeing god knows where, it doesn’t mean you can’t look good while you’re at it.
The most important thing to consider when shopping and packing for camping outfits is practicality. You don’t want to stick out like a sore thumb wearing a pair of wedges around the campfire, and you’re going to get dirty.
But, there are tons of stylish—and still functional—items for the cute campers of the world. Camping clothes for women have really evolved over the decades, and they’re not all 50 shades of brown.
Things to know before you go (shopping)
What’s the weather going to be?
Dressing for cold weather is a-whole-nother story, but even if it’ll be warm, be prepared for surprises. Mother Nature’s got her own plans, and you need to make sure you’re ready for anything, and that includes rain, snow, wind, and water.
When it doubt, layer it out
If you’re going on a day hike, toss in a light jacket, just in case. You might end up being out longer than expected, weather at the summit might be different from down at camp, or any other number of factors might call for an extra layer. If you’re car camping, don’t skimp. Bring extra clothes and figure out what you’ll need and use once you get there.
Footwear is your (best) friend
A proper pair of hiking boots is one of the best investments you can make. Make sure yours fit comfortably and are designed for the type of hiking you’ll be doing. No sense in wearing heavy duty waterproof boots for an easy, short, flat walk in the woods, and you definitely don’t want too little support if you’ll be carrying heavy loads, walking on uneven ground or boulders, water crossing, etc.
The most important thing to know about hiking boots or outdoor footwear in general is that you must break them in before you go on your big adventure. Hiking boots will be stiff the first few times you wear them, and you may notice some hot spots or get blisters. It doesn’t mean they’re no good for you. It just means you need to break them in a bit. Let this happen on your neighborhood trails when you’re close to home and can cut the mission short if needed. Don’t wait until you’re on an epic day hike and holding up the group reapplying some Moleskin.
What to wear on a camping trip
There are a few staple outfits to consider when camping. It’s really that simple. Feel free to get super stylish with your choices, but in terms of practicality, here’s what you need to consider.
Whether you’re going hiking or lounging in a hammock, your daytime outfit will consist of something like:
- Yoga pants, hiking pants or shorts
- Moisture wicking tank top or t-shirt (or the example below is a breathable wool, which is great as an extra layer of warmth)
- Long sleeve base layer, if needed
- Breathable socks, undies, and sports bra
- Hiking boots, hiking or trail running shoes, sandals/flip flops, etc.
After a long, successful day outside, you’ll want to change into something comfy and cozy for dinner ’round the firepit. I usually put my pajamas on as the bottom layer, so when it’s bedtime, I just peel off some clothes and hop on in. Your evening attire may look something like this:
- Boy shorts (if it’s warm, that’s all I sleep in) with sweatpants or joggers
- Tank top (for bedtime) with long sleeve shirt, hoodie or light jacket over top (fleece is great for sleeping in)
- Comfy slip-ons like Toms, Tevas, Crocs, etc. (these shoes will stay outside your tent all night in case you have to pee, so make sure they’re easy to get in and out of; if it’s cold, I’ll wear comfy boots with knee-high socks or Uggs)
It can be chilly in the morning when it’s time to climb out of your tent and start the day, so I like to bring a few extra layers, such as:
- Long-sleeve base layers (if it will be cold during the day, you will use these a lot)
- Fleece/puffer jacket (despite looking like serious winter gear, puffers are surprisingly versatile and great in freezing cold or mildly cool temps)
- Vest (with pockets—so handy when you’re camping)
- Beanie (also helps cover bedhead til you’re ready to deal with it)
All the other camping essentials
- Socks (1 pair per day, plus 1-2 extras just in case they get wet or what have you)
- Undies (same rule)
- Hat and sunglasses
- Bandana (these always come in handy)
- Rain gear (I can’t stress this enough—you do not went to get stuck in the rain and have all your regular clothes get wet)
- Daypack (small backpack to take on hikes, etc.)
- Dry shampoo
- Chapstick with SPF
- Bug spray
- Face, hand, and booty wipes (and good, ol’ fashioned TP JIC)
Pro tip: ladies, do yourself a favor and paint your nails before you go camping. Not only does it strengthen the nail, which will help keep them strong out in the wilderness, but it hides the dirt. You’ll be a much happier camper, trust me!
Check out this complete camping checklist, which breaks down even more things in the toiletry department, plus camp gear, kitchen essentials, etc. Download and print the PDF to make sure you’re ready for your next big camping adventure!