Camping Clothes – What to Pack For a Camping Trip

Photo of author
Jay Elliott

Chief Camping Officer

Camping Clothes - What to Pack For a Camping Trip

Clothes you should pack for camping

Clothing can significantly affect every camping experience. The appropriate camping clothing can protect you from the brutal elements while also ensuring comfort in participating in outdoor activities, which is why it is essential to plan what clothes to pack carefully.

No matter what the occasion is, packing clothes isn’t always the easiest task. Considering the limitations of camping, it is necessary to prioritize which types of clothing to carry. You would want to pack light while ensuring that you have everything you need. 

But, before everything else, there are many factors to consider, such as weather conditions and climate. Sun exposure and high temperatures are the most challenging aspects of being outside in the summer.

Rainy weather, pests, and the rustic outdoor surroundings are some of the additional factors at play. Hence, it’s safe to say that each season—whether winter or summer—requires a unique set of clothing.

Whether you’re a first-time camper or a seasoned veteran, these ideas will help you plan on what types of clothes to pack for your next camping trip.

Camping clothes for summer

Upper wear

Tank top

Tank tops are one of the best clothing options to wear during the summer. They are renowned as a summertime staple.

Since they don’t have sleeves, they wick sweat away from the body, keeping you fresh and cool despite the scorching heat of the sun. They are also a great choice as a “first” layer of clothing. 


Similar to tank tops, a T-shirt for summer is a no-brainer. Aside from being comfortable, they also drain sweat away from the body, keeping you refreshed and cool.

It is advisable to wear loose, breathable T-shirts during the summer since the loose clothing allows air to travel through the skin and out, allowing for faster evaporation and the removal of excess heat.

Sports bra

For the ladies, it is recommended to wear a sports bra instead of the regular ones. Not only are regular bras uncomfortable, especially if they have wires, but they also won’t dry as quickly as a sports bra.

A wire-free sports bra wicks sweat away from your skin to keep you cool and increase airflow to the skin, keeping you dry fresh.

Bottom wear

Moisture-wicking underwear

Moisture-wicking underwear is the best option for the summer. They are comfortable to wear, are odour-resistant, and do not chaff.

Needless to say, bacteria thrive with moisture. Thus, it is crucial to invest in underwear that prevents moisture from being retained. 


It may be unusual to associate “trousers” with “summer” since the entire purpose is to wear something that prevents heat from being trapped inside the body. However, pants are a great option, especially during the evening, where a swarm of insects and other bugs might ruin your camping experience. 


Shorts are excellent wear for the summer. They are comfortable as compared to trousers and allow you to move freely. They don’t retain heat or moisture, so your legs stay cooler and dryer throughout the day.



Closed shoes are a great option as it adds extra protection. Since nature has its way of bringing about the most unexpected events, there is no doubt that the best kind of shoes to bring during camping are those that are durable, lightweight, fast-drying, and offer maximal protection to your feet. 

Flip flops

The best thing about flip flops is that they allow your feet to breathe. They don’t have any buckles or straps, so you can slide them easily on your feet. They are lightweight and convenient to wear, making them a great footwear option for every camping trip.


Similar to flip flops, sandals are also best worn in tropical climates and during the summer. Because they are breathable, they keep your feet dry.  With sandals, blisters and bad odour can be prevented. 

Other accessories


No matter the season, sunglasses are always an excellent choice. They are not only used for fashion purposes, but they also protect from the sun. Thus, it is recommended to invest in UV protection sunglasses since not all of them have this feature.


During camping, especially in the summer, you will need to bring different types of clothes. Swimsuits are not an exception. You should be prepared for last-minute swimming activities.


May it be a face or body towel, this is extremely important to bring, especially during camping in the summer. This is used for cleaning and drying as it pulls moisture away from the body. You wouldn’t want to remain sweaty or wet, so bringing a towel is important. 


Bandanas, also known as kerchiefs, are used for both fashion and practical uses. They can be used to hold hair back or as a face mask and a scarf.

Camping clothes for winter

Clothing layers

When it comes to camping during the winter, the art of layering will become your best skill to survive the cold. This tried-and-true method will allow you to control your comfort by simply slipping layers on and off, depending on the weather. 

Layering is extremely important. Not only will this prevent hypothermia, but it will also keep you comfortable, safe, and warm throughout the entire camping trip. 

There are three essential layers in clothing for camping in the winter. It’s always a good idea to bring every layer since you can always take any layers off anytime you want, but you won’t be able to put on the layers you did not bring.

Inner layer (keeps the skin dry)

This is the wicking layer, which helps regulate body temperature by pulling moisture away from the skin.

Sweat is absorbed by the next layer of clothes, keeping this base dry. Merino wool is recommended because this absorbs bacteria-causing odor, has anti-static properties, and provides better insulation. 

Middle layer (helps in staying warm)

This layer has insulating characteristics that protect you from the cold.  It retains body heat, keeping you warm throughout the day. Wool and fleece fabric is recommended for the middle layer because they are breathable, maintain warmth when wet, and are versatile. 

Outer layer/shell layer (protects from snow, wind, rain)

The outer layer is the protective layer that shields you from external weather influences such as wind, rain, snow, etc.

This layer is typically lightweight and waterproof, which keeps the elements out while letting moisture and heat from the body escape, preventing overheating.

Upper wear

Inner layer clothes

Thermal underwear

Thermal underwear, also known as long underwear or long johns, is a two-piece underwear design with long legs and sleeves that is typically worn as a base layer in cold weather. 

Base layer shirt

This is the first layer of clothing worn during cold seasons, e.g., winter. It essentially acts as a “second skin,” which works by absorbing and eliminating perspiration, also called ‘wicking.’

Middle layer clothes

Merino wool sleeves

This is a natural fiber that is grown by Merino sheep for an entire year.  It is one of the world’s most delicate, lightweight, and soft wools.

This type of wool is highly insulating and helps to eliminate odor-causing bacteria by absorbing moisture and keeping you dry.

Fleece jacket

Fleece is a synthetic insulating fabric manufactured from polyester or other synthetic fibers. Because of their lightweight and antiperspirant properties, they are incredibly comfortable to wear and allow moisture to evaporate.

The best advantage of fleece material is that it effectively traps and maintains body heat. 


In some parts of Australia, a sweater is also known as a windcheater. Their most useful feature is their ability to provide warmth. They are available in a variety of temperature levels, from a light cardigan to a thick turtleneck for winter days.


Vest jackets are designed to be worn under a jacket, turtle neck, or even a T-shirt to provide an extra layer of warmth in cold weather. It was necessary to have a warm layer of clothing to shield your belly and chest from the cold back in the day. As a result, vest jackets were created.


A jacket is used either as a fashion statement or a protective layer of clothing. They are typically thought of as winter clothing. Due to their material, jackets provide good insulation and are usually fastened in front. 

Outer layer clothes

Winter, wind, and water-repellent jacket

Investing in a good quality outer layer is extremely important since this is the first line of defense against weather elements. You would want something that can withstand harsh weather conditions such as wind, water, and snow.

If possible, invest in heated jackets as they are a highly useful outer layer when camping in frigid temperatures. They are similar to heated blankets in that they provide warmth.

Depending on the jacket and power supply, a heated jacket can increase body heat by 10 watts or more. They are best worn under another layer of the jacket to retain their heat. However, unlike others, they require recharging of batteries, so having alternate clothing is a good idea in case activity levels or weather conditions change. 

Bottom wear

Snow pants

Snow pants are designed to offer a water-resistant and insulating barrier between your body and the snow. They keep you dry and comfortable whether you’re out in the snow or just outside in the cold. 

Windproof and waterproof pants

As the name implies, this type of material offers protection from water and wind. They are highly breathable and are a great option to wear during cold seasons. 


In cold weather, a pair of thick winter boots is one of the most significant investments you can make. They are lightweight, packable, and comfortable. They are thick enough to keep your feet warm as well as protect them from the elements.

Boot’s liner

Boot liners improve warmth, comfort, and the ski lift of your boots. The liners mold nicely into the boots, providing excellent fit and function.


Socks add an extra layer of protection to keep the feet warm. They are essential because they not only absorb moisture and protect the feet from bacteria and fungi, but they also prevent shoes from rubbing against the barefoot, which can cause blisters. 


These shoes distribute a person’s weight while walking through deep snow, preventing them from sinking too far into the snow with each stride. With a snowshoe setup, one can walk over a variety of snowy terrain typically not accessible with skis or snowboard while wearing a waterproof boot.

Other accessories

Winter Gloves

Since our hands are primarily involved in everything that we do, keeping them warm is a crucial step to consider. Otherwise, you would risk catastrophic injuries like frostbite. When the weather begins to become cold, your hands are the first places on the body to become affected.

Your fingers become numb, and that will be difficult for you. Even when the temperature lowers, the correct pair of winter gloves can ensure that you retain heat and keep your hands dry.

Wool caps

Wool caps are widely used as a fashion accessory, but they are extremely useful in keeping your head warm during winter. Since they are made from wool, they have insulating properties in them and wicks moisture away.


A scarf is one of the most versatile accessories and is widely beneficial in cold weather. They are wrapped around the neck for safety and comfort, and they can also be used to shield your nose and ears, which are not covered by a jacket collar.

Nighttime Camping Clothes

Your sleeping clothes depend on the weather, which is why it is essential to check the weather forecast before traveling to ensure that you brought the appropriate attire. 

Cold seasons

To get a good night’s sleep, wearing multiple layers is a great way to combat the cold. Make use of the three-layer system even while going to sleep. If you feel warm, you can quickly shed off a layer to keep you comfortable.

Most people prefer to wear a T-shirt and a pair of thermal underwear (long johns). On really chilly evenings, a light jacket and long leggings are recommended. If you still feel cold, it’s because you are not layering enough, so you can opt to put on more layers to keep you warm and comfortable. 

Warm seasons

To avoid unnecessary sweating, a shirt, pajama, or shorts will suffice if you’re camping in a region with mild nighttime temps. It’s best to wear light, quick-drying, and breathable clothing in the summer to ensure maximal comfort without compromising your sleep.

Other essentials for camping

Nature can either be your best friend or your most formidable foe. Even though you started with a bright, sunny day, these factors are unpredictable, and things might suddenly change.

It’s crucial to be prepared for the unexpected, which is why you’ll need to bring these extra camping necessities to keep you safe and sheltered from harsh elements.

Rain jacket and pants

Rain jackets are made from waterproof or water-resistant fabrics that protect you from rain and snow. 


Gloves are extremely important in providing thermal insulation to keep your hands warm and protecting them from injuries. This would allow you to move them more freely and comfortably without having to feel numb from the cold. 

Cap or Beanie

Beanies are not only used to hide a bad hair day. They are also used to keep your head warm when it’s freezing outside, preventing hypothermia and frostbite. 

Picking the best camping clothes

During camping, you would want to wear clothes that can do double or triple duty since you want to pack light while ensuring that you bring the appropriate attire.

It is important to carefully consider the kind of clothing fabrics you should invest in, as they play a huge factor in determining whether you’ll have a comfortable or dreadful experience. 

In selecting the best camping clothing, these are some of the features that they must have:


They are quick-drying and comfortable to wear. Because of the fiber combination, it is breathable, tear-resistant, soft, and light. 

Light color 

The most probable disadvantage of light colors is that when they stain, it becomes more visible than dark colors.  They are, nonetheless, really comfortable and soft to wear.

It is important to remember that dark-colored clothing absorbs light, whereas light-colored clothing reflects it. In dark colors, the clothes become hotter under the sun’s heat, and in turn, you would, too, as more heat is absorbed. But in light-colored clothing, you would feel cooler since the heat is being reflected.

Moisture-wicking fabric

These fabrics keep you dry when you are sweating. It can also help you stay cool in the hot summer months. 


It is preferable to wear clothing that feels light and loose to remain comfortable, allowing you to move more freely without any extra weight. 


These are useful for wicking sweat away from the skin. If your clothes draw moisture away from your skin and into the air as quickly as possible, you’ll feel warmer and more comfortable.


Clothes should not only allow sweat to escape, but they should also allow air to enter, keeping you refreshed throughout your camping trip.

Amount of clothes to bring

The amount of clothes to bring is entirely dependent on how long you would stay outdoors.  If you’re simply going camping for a day, taking a few pairs of clothes would suffice. But if you are staying for a couple of days, it is only understandable also to have a couple of clothes to change into.

You should only bring the necessary clothing apparel applicable to the weather condition in your camping location to save space and reduce baggage weight. Keep your head, hands, body, and feet protected.

If you’re going camping in the winter, a jacket and a warm blanket should be on top of your list. It is also best to bring extra sets of clothes with you to prepare for unexpected events that can happen outdoors. 

Storing your camping clothes

It is important to keep your things organized before, during, and after camping. This will make it convenient for you to locate them when needed, and it would also save you time packing your gear for your next camping trip.

In storing your clothes, it is important to place them in clean and dry storage to prevent mold and mildew, as well as foul odors from building up. 

  • Portable drawers– used for easy access and keeping your gear sorted out into different categories.
  • Shelves– to save more space and keep your clothing organized. There are many different ways to utilize a camping shelf, so get creative. 
  • Bags– these are easier to carry around wherever you go and are convenient. 

Washing camping clothes

If you plan to go camping for an extended period, you might as well consider how you’re going to wash your clothes. At some point, you will need clean clothes to wear, and there’s nothing worse than realizing you don’t have any.

Considering the lack of laundry facilities in most campgrounds, here are some tips on how to wash your clothes during a camping trip.

Use detergent and soap that are safe for the environment.

Observe a Leave-No-Trace manner during camping. Use biodegradable soaps and detergents with lesser packaging and chemicals to preserve the environment.  

Hand washing

Not every location has an accessible laundry facility for washing your clothes. The best, and probably the only option possible, is to wash your clothes by hand in a nearby stream or river. 

Portable laundry system/ Wash Bag

In today’s technology, you can opt to buy a portable washing machine or a wash bag that makes the job easier. They can be carried by hand and consume very little water, making them ideal for travel and the environment.