The Basics: What to Wear

Choosing your clothing wisely for a camping trip is crucial as it will determine how comfortable you will feel during your stay. Remember, looking good is not as important as feeling good. Check the local weather forecast before you pack, as it can help you decide on what to bring and what to leave at home. Here are some clothing recommendations:

Hats: A suitable hat is needed regardless of the season as it will keep you warm and protect you from the sun. In cooler temperature, bring a toque or something warm for your head because it's where a large percentage of heat loss occurs. In rainy weather, a sturdy waterproof hat, or hood on your jacket will keep you from getting wet. Finally, a hat with a large brim will shield you from potential sunburns.

Man in rain gear in the rain. Bring rain gear
© Parks Canada

Rainwear: Include a waterproof rain jacket and pants. Whether the forecast calls for wet weather or not, it is a good idea to pack a rain jacket just in case. It can also be used as an outer layer to break the wind in cooler temperatures. Waterproof footwear is also recommended as it will keep your feet dry and comfortable.

Shirts: Make sure to pack a variety of short-sleeved and long-sleeved shirts, as well as lighter and heavier shirts. This will allow you to layer up while camping and keep you cool or warm depending on the temperature. Long-sleeves can also protect you from pests such as ticks and mosquitoes. Where possible, bring shirts made with fabrics that dry quickly such as nylon or polyester rather than cotton. They will dry more quickly and help wick moisture away from the skin when wet.

Pants and shorts: Make sure to pack both shorts and long pants. These will keep you cool or warm depending on the temperature. Long pants can also protect you from pests such as ticks and mosquitoes and poisonous plants such as poison ivy. Again, where possible, bring clothing made with fabrics that dry quickly such as nylon and polyester rather than cotton. They will dry more quickly and help wick moisture away from the skin when wet.

If you wear clothing other than pants and shorts, then consider bringing a variety of different weight clothing. Lighter fabrics will breather better and allow air through keeping you cooler in warmer temperatures. Light colours reflect the sun. Wearing lighter coloured clothing on hot, sunny days will also help keep you cooler. Heavier fabrics will help keep you warmer in cooler temperatures at night.

Man and child reading in their campsite Dress for comfort!
© Parks Canada

Socks: Extra socks are always a good idea when you're camping. Make sure to change your socks whenever they get wet and at night before crawling into bed if you wear socks to bed.

Footwear: It’s essential to have quality footwear, suitable for activities that you will be doing. Although sandals are great to wear around the water and when it is warm, make sure that you bring a closed-toe shoe as well to help protect your feet on rocky terrain and around the campfire.

Remember, it's generally cooler near water and at higher elevations so keep that in mind while you're packing. If you're unsure of what to bring, then pack a variety of clothing so that you can layer – that way you can remove garments when you’re hot and add it when you're cold.