What to wear camping (Spring, Summer, Fall and Winter)


What to wear is usually one of the first couple of questions that anyone asks when planning a camping trip. This can also be tricky especially if you are new to camping or even if you are going camping in a season that you have never been camping in.

So what do you wear camping? The answer is it mostly depends on the time of year.  During the summer you obviously would want something that will not be too hot, and during the winter you will need warmer clothing. The two trickiest times of year would be spring a fall as you will need a combination of clothing as temperatures can change dramatically.

Here’s what we will cover to get you camping comfortably.

  • What to wear when camping in the summer.
  • What to wear when camping in the winter
  • What to wear when camping in the spring and fall
  • Related articles

summer camping

What to wear when camping in the summer.

In most climates, there are three things that should be considered when camping in the summer. While each issue presents its own problems they can easily be dealt with if you are prepared.

Clothes

Of course, the first thing you will need to pack is clothes. While at most sites you can simply wear a t-shirt and shorts there are other camping activities that will need to be considered.

Around the camp site clothes

Around the campsite, clothing is one area where you will be most flexible in what you wear. For the most part, you can wear any type of shorts or jeans around the camp. Just be sure if you wear jeans that you will not get too hot.

As for tops, a t-shirt will usually be just fine, but you could even wear a light weight long sleeve shirt if the weather isn’t too hot.

Foot-wear is also pretty flexible. Anything from tennis shoes, boots or even flip-flops will usually suffice.

I have even seen a lot of people walk around their campsite with no foot wear at all. However, I would recommend shoes or boots during set-up for protection and until the site has been checked for stickers, glass, etc.

What to sleep in while summer camping

Not only is this dependent on what shelter you are sleeping in but the location of your camp as well.

If you are sleeping in an RV or some other type of shelter that is climate controlled, you can pretty much sleep in whatever makes you comfortable but if you sleeping area isn’t climate controlled the location of your camp will help determine what to sleep in.

As for other types of shelter that you will be camping in what you where will depend on the climate of the area where you are camping. Also, you will need to consider what kind of covering and bed you will be using.

Always research the area you will be camping at to find out what the night time temperatures are like.

If you are in a climate where the temperature drops dramatically at night, where some thermals or even regular clothes to bed.

If you are in an area where the night temperatures are usually mild, wear a shirt and shorts.

It is always best to be over-prepared. Bring some heavy-duty blankets or a cold-weather sleeping bag as it is much easier to uncover and cool off than it is to warm up.

What to wear hiking during the summer

As with night sleeping, this can vary depending on the area you are camping or hiking in.

If you are hiking in a dry location like the hills in Las Vegas, then you can simply wear a good pair of boots, short and a t-shirt.  Also, don’t forget a good canteen or water backpack as you can easily over heat in this type of environment and water is essential.

If you are hiking in a wooded area, where longer shorts or even pants if the temperature will allow. As far as shirts go, short sleeve is usually fine but if the temperature allows a long sleeve shirt will be better. In both cases the better coverage, the better protection you have against branches or even thorn bushes from coming into contact with your skin.

Quick tip- Always break in your boots!

If you are wearing hiking boots and not shoes, always remember to break in your boots before the trip. If you do not do this, you could end up with severe blisters and/or foot pain.

Accessories to bring while summer camping

Sunblock

While this is not a clothing item for a lot of people, it can be just as important. Some people do not wear sunblock while camping as most locals have plenty of shade to hang out in. However, there are many terrains and activities where sunblock would be highly recommended and should be worn.

We like to camp out at the little Sahara and ride ATVs, and this is a perfect example of a site that sunblock is a must-have. Even in wooded areas, if you are ut at the lake or hiking where sun exposure is more prevalent, sunblock is a must.

A sunburn is just that a burn and if it’s severe, it can put even the toughest person out of commission and make their life miserable.

Sunglasses

If you are in a shaded camp site, then you probably don’t need to worry about this, but if you are in an area where you will have a lot of exposure to the sun, then sunglasses are a must-have. Also, sunglasses are essential in areas with a lot of snow or water. The reflection of the sun is intensified from snow and water and easily damage your eyes with prolonged exposure.

Water container (canteen, water pack, etc.)

Around the campsite you will usually have plenty to drink but if you are out hiking or some other activity always wear a canteen or some other product that carries water. During the summer months, this is a must to keep you hydrated and safe.

We like to camp out at the little Sahara and ride ATVs, and this is a perfect example of a site that sunblock is a must-have. Even in wooded areas, if you are ut at the lake or hiking where sun exposure is more prevalent, sunblock is a must.

A sunburn is just that a burn and if it’s severe, it can put even the toughest person out of commission and make their life miserable.

Bug repellent

Bug spray is one of those little things that can be easily overlooked but could make a big difference in your comfort levels while camping.

winter camping

What to Wear for Winter Camping

What to Wear Around the Campsite while camping during the winter

While winter can be bitterly cold and will require you to wear more than you usually would, chances are that you will have a campfire going around the site. In that case, you can wear less than you usually would.

  • Never wear plain cotton material. It is too light, and it does not trap body heat. Instead, wear wool clothing, especially on your extremities. Wool socks and hats keep you warmer than cotton could.
  • Thermal shirts are also excellent for holding body heat. They are usually tight to keep any air from getting in or out. They are excellent for those people who do not want to add too much bulk by wearing a thick sweater. Most thermal shirts are made of polyester or nylon.
  • You should still wear a jacket or coat until you get too hot while around the fire. It does not have to be super thick but stay away from something too thin or light. I would recommend a coat lined with an insulating material like sherpa or faux fur. These materials do not weigh you down, but they still protect you from the elements sufficiently.
  • Wear a good pair of boots. Boots are sturdy and will keep out any snow on the ground while keeping your feet and ankles completely covered and sheltered. Be sure to wear your wool socks underneath for maximum comfort. Without socks, your feet may still get cold.

What to Wear While Sleeping while winter camping

Having the advantage of being in a tent and sleeping bag means that you have more heat in the air than you do outside. This means that you can shuck off some of those layers for comfort while you sleep. However, you should not feel too comfortable getting down to your bare minimum pajamas. You still need more protection than you would at home, particularly in snowy climates.

  • Thermal underwear is moisture-wicking and holds in your body heat. It is made of the same polyester or nylon you would find in your around-the-campsite thermal gear. You will not get too sweaty, but you won’t get cold, either.
  • Wear socks. Depending on how hot you normally get while sleeping, these could either be cotton or wool. The choice is really yours to make because you know your body best.
  • Fuzzy and warm pajamas are comfortable to lounge in, and they keep you warm. They are like portable blankets, even! That or other long pajamas will do fine to protect you from the cold.
  • Your head is the source of most of your body heat. Trap it in by wearing a cap or hat if the night is still quite chilly despite everything else you are wearing. Your tent will protect you from a lot of the weather conditions, but it will not be able to completely keep out the cold.

What to Wear While Hiking

The most important thing to remember when preparing for a hike in the cold is to wear layers. The most basic system consists of three layers: inner (thin and moisture-wicking), middle (warm sweater or jacket), and outer (your protective clothes to shield you from the elements.) You need to follow this guide if you really want to keep from freezing and ruining your experience. The added benefit to the layers is that when you get too hot, you can take one off provided that it is safe to do so. If you were horribly cold one second and suddenly hot the other, do not take off your clothing. This is a sign that you are suffering from hypothermia and you need to get back to camp as quickly as possible.  Let’s go into the three layers and talk about what you should wear for each.

  • As was mentioned before, the innermost layer of your clothing should be thin and moisture-wicking while still keeping you warm. Thermal underwear or other clothing items with the same properties prevent sweat from permeating your other layers and compromising their abilities. Sweat freezes in cold enough climates. The fir will be tight, but that is ideal.
  • Your middle layer can be a sweater, a jacket, or any other thick and warm clothing you have. This just adds a bit of insulation between the inner and outer layers. I would still suggest that you use a material like wool or sherpa if you have it. Flannel is also a good insulator. Cotton is too light, and so is linen, denim, or rayon. Those are the biggest fabrics you should avoid. If you need pants for a middle layer, tighter sweatpants will fare much better than jeans.
  • Your outermost layer of clothing is meant to protect your body from wind, snow, and any other obstacles. The best thing to choose for this is a snowboarding suit. After all, these athletes use them for the same properties you need while hiking. This is usually the only layer of real pants that you need, but you can choose something for the middle layer if you feel that you need it.
  • You need a hat to protect your head from the cold. Just like when you are sleeping, most of your body heat seeps through the scalp and escapes. A hat or cap made of wool or something lined with faux fur is ideal. If the windchill is dangerous in the area you plan to hike, something like a ski mask will help you more because it adds a barrier between most of your face and the elements.
  • Thick socks and boots will give you warmth, traction, and protection from snow or freezing water.

Accessories to Wear for winter camping

Depending on the weather conditions, there are several options for accessorizing your outfits for any situation. Use them as needed, and you won’t have to worry about hypothermia.

 

  • Mittens or convertible gloves keep your fingers toasty and safe. Frostbite is never fun, and neither is having numb and useless appendages. Wearing either of these options helps your fingers function properly. Wear them while hiking to protect your hands and shield yourself from weather and regular hiking obstacles like thorns. If you are camping in arctic temperatures, I would recommend wearing them while sleeping, too.
  • Scarves of varying thicknesses and materials will help you out in any scenario. This is especially true for hiking. This is when you will be needing the most protection, so avoid exposing any part of yourself to the freezing wind or snow. If it is cold enough, a scarf can make all the difference on your hike.
  • Earmuffs protect one of the most vulnerable parts of your body from freezing and hurting. They are convenient and comfortable, and they can even be worn over hats. They are a small packing item, but they are nearly just as important as anything else.
  • Do not count your sunglasses out just yet. Even though it’s winter, the sun will likely still be out. The shade is a comfort, and wearing them allows you to continue to see with perfect clarity instead of squinting. Plus, they will shield your eyes from the wind, and you will not have to worry about them tearing up and obstructing your vision.
  • Wristbands are a simple way to keep your blood warm. Your wrists play a big part in heating and cooling your body. The veins are shallow and more susceptible to temperature than other parts of the circulatory system. Covering them with wristbands will prevent your blood from cooling down.

spring camping

What to Wear for Spring Camping

Camping during springtime is quite a bit easier than doing so during the winter. The temperature starts to rise without being too hot, and in turn, you can pack a little lighter. Follow this guide to stay dry, warm, and happy.

What to Wear Around the Campsite for spring camping

While temperatures are indeed rising, spring can bring unpredictable weather, and you may still be chilly some days. Keep this in mind while packing and consider bringing some of these clothing items.

  • You will need a light jacket to wear on windier and milder days, especially at night. Even though you may have a fire going, the heat from it may not be warm enough to protect you entirely. If you do get a little warm, though, you can always take it off.
  • Wear close-toed shoes. It is not likely hot enough to warrant donning your sandals or flip flops just yet. Sneakers and boots are ideal. Avoid wearing flats unless it is an unusually warm night as they do not provide much more insulation than open-toed shoes.
  • This is the time where you can wear your cotton socks. Wool is not needed unless you plan to camp somewhere fairly cold in the spring. Cotton will be warm but breathable, so you do not begin to sweat.
  • Mid-sleeve length shirts are warm and comfortable for spring days. Your shoulders will not be cold, and you won’t be too hot. Short sleeves are okay paired with jackets, but if you go without one, have some longer sleeves ready to wear.
  • Comfortable and moderately warm pants will be sufficient for wearing around your campsite. Denim is not a good protector against cold, but warmer temperatures are fine for this material. If you prefer sweatpants or leggings, you should be able to wear these comfortably as well!

What to Wear While Sleeping during spring camping

Spring nights are significantly cooler than days. You should be fine with the heat from your tent and sleeping bag, but it never hurts to add some extra warmth.

  • Thermal underwear adds some heat if you don’t want to wear much more than that. Many types are also moisture-wicking to keep the sweat off of you if that is a common problem while you sleep.
  • Socks of considerable warmth ranging from thick cotton to wool make your toes toasty and your body overall because heat escapes from the extremities. If your base temperature is higher, though, you may want to forego these unless you will be sleeping in milder climates.
  • Pajama sets are ideal for those who want to feel snugger. Pick one made of a thick enough and comfortable enough fabric for the environment you will be sleeping in. Cotton is fine as long as your sleeping bag is warm enough for you.

What to Wear While Hiking during the spring

You can still layer up while you hit the trails without being bogged down by bulk and unnecessary items. You can wear as little as two layers in the spring and be fine.

  • Keep a light jacket or coat handy at all times. If the wind picks up or you get back as the sun is going down, you may need it. It is better to be overprepared for any situation you encounter than to be underprepared. If it gets hot and you work up a sweat, take it off and tie it around your waist! It does not have to be a hassle to carry.
  • Moisture-wicking clothes are also important during this season, but they are worn more for comfort than protection. When you hike, you will get sweaty at some point. We’re all human; it happens. When it does, these shirts/underwear sets will keep you from feeling icky by making you feel dry.
  • If you can find some moisture-wicking socks, wear them as well. Sweaty feet are gross, and the discomfort will put a damper on your hiking adventure. If sweat does not bother you, just wear cotton instead; it is breathable and light enough to at least minimize the moisture. Just remember to wear socks in the first place, no matter the material. Without them, your shoes will stink and get ruined.
  • Hiking boots are always the best for the job no matter what season it is. They protect your feet from thorns, sharp objects, and rocks while being warm and having enough traction to safely get you over the slippery ground. These will hold up when the spring rain falls, as it frequently tends to do.
  • The rest of the outfit is up to you when it comes to the fabric you want to wear. Y9ou have thermal and moisture-wicking layers already, so it is your choice as to whether you want more warmth or cooler fabrics. Quick reminder: cotton = cool, wool = warm.

Accessories to Wear for spring camping

The unpredictability of the weather during spring gives you a lot of accessories to pack. Consider your destination’s climate and weather patterns to help you get a better idea of what you should bring with you.

  • Sunglasses are an essential item. Spring is sunny when it is not storming, and your eyes need protection from the potentially harmful rays of the sun. Blue-eyed people tend to be more sensitive to the light, so keep that in mind if you fit into that category.
  • Light scarves will really help you be more comfortable on colder days. There is no need to go all out and get a thick wool piece. Thin and gauzy materials will still work well enough. Scarves also add a bit of fashion to any look, if that helps you make your decision!
  • Don your favorite wide-brimmed hat or baseball cap to shade your eyes and your scalp from the sun. You can still get a sunburn no matter what the air feels like. If the sun is out, your body needs to be shielded from it. Sunburns hurt; prevent them with something as simple as a hat, and you will look good while staying safe.
  • Spring can bring about a lot of rain showers and storms. In that case, you need to prepare yourself to keep dry when the sky isn’t. Ponchos and raincoats come in all sorts of cute designs while being practical and standing up to the weather.

fall camping

What to Wear for Fall Camping

What to Wear Around the Campsite during fall camping

Autumn is the time when the weather starts to cool back off, and the later in the season it is, the colder it gets. When you are camping during these months, you need some insulation from cold nights but still, have some breathability for the middle of the afternoon.

  • Wear a jacket or coat, depending on how cold it is. It is better to bring both than be too cold or too hot. The campfire may warm you up enough for the time being, but there is always a good chance that you will need it both day and night.
  • Thermal underwear is yet again a good idea while being outside enjoying what Mother Nature has to offer. If you are camping in somewhere typically hot like southern Florida, you may not need it. However, anywhere you go in northern states will be cold enough to warrant wearing it even while just lounging around.
  • Shirts with long sleeves keep your arms warm even when you are not wearing a jacket. Layering one underneath is a great idea because it balances out the temperature and keeps your body comfortable.
  • Close-toed shoes will hold your body heat into a considerable degree, unlike sandals and flats. Sneakers and boots are great for the job, and they are useful for any physical labor or activities you will be doing as they generally have more traction on the soles than open-toed shoes.
  • Long pants or leggings are ideal for the autumn temperatures both day and night. That being said, denim jeans do not keep the cold out, so bear that in mind when you pack. Corduroy is much more suited for autumn than denim. If you insist on bringing jeans, wear something warm underneath.
  • Socks you wear should be thicker and warmer than cotton. Cotton is more suited for the months of April-September because the overall climate is warmer. Whatever material you pick, be sure that you can still comfortably fit into your shoes. The added bulk of the socks can make a surprising and maybe unpleasant difference.
  • You can wear overalls and coveralls with thermal underwear and a shirt with long sleeves underneath if that is more suited to your style. They are warm, you can pack less than you would with many pairs of pants, and they usually have lots of room in the pockets for collecting cool things you find or carrying your phone to leave your hands free.

What to Wear While Sleeping during fall camping

The clothes you pack for sleeping in autumn will be very similar to what you pack during the winter. While there is no need to wear tons of layers, you will need to bundle up more than you would during spring.

  • I cannot stress to you enough how versatile and good thermal underwear is for every occasion. Whether you wear that and not much more or you layer up, you will be significantly warmer and more comfortable than you would be without it. If you do not already have some, buying them would be a great investment as you can use them for multiple seasons.
  • The pajamas you choose to wear should be long and cover all of your limbs. Even if they are made of thinner materials, the simple barrier between the skin and the air will help you. I would still advise against cotton or linen, but the choice relies upon the factors of your environment and whether you sweat at night or not.
  • Wool socks are again lifesavers. That or something that wicks moisture away like polyester for the people with night sweats is perfect. It all depends on how warm you need to be in addition to the temperature inside of your sleeping bag.

What to Wear While Hiking during the spring

HIking during autumn is a wonderful experience. Just observing the colors on the leaves is fun! That is, unless you are miserable and cold. Then nothing is fun. It is important to focus on warmth while hiking during the colder months. You will use the layering system as you would during the winter, though you probably don’t need to go to such extreme lengths.

  • Again, thermal clothing is best for layering up. This should be what you put on first; putting it on in the middle layer really achieves nothing unless your thermal wear is a coat. This could also have moisture-wicking properties to protect you against rain and keep you from sweating through everything else.
  • Shirts with long sleeves are a good idea when putting together your hiking outfit. These and stretchy, comfy pants that allow you to move freely will only aid you on your hike both with physical activity and the weather.
  • Bring a heavier jacket along for the hike. You might eventually sweat, but hiking usually involves going in different directions, some of them facing the chilly wind. If it rains, a heavy jacket will keep you dry for longer as well. Since you can’t just run back to your tent, this is especially useful. Just like any other time, you can take it off when you get hot because you will have other layers on underneath.
  • Socks and boots are the best choices for footwear. They protect you, keep you warm, and help you get over those tricky, steep hills better than sandals would.

Accessories to wear for spring camping

Some accessories that you can pack will prove useful for all ranges of temperatures and weather conditions. They also add a lot of style to your outfits. You don’t have to be drab; these examples provide both functionality and versatility.

  • Hats of any kind do several things to make you comfortable and happy on your autumn camping trip. They protect your scalp, prevent heat from escaping, and add flair to any outfit you choose. There are warm hats like beanies and fur-lined caps for weather protection. There are wide-brimmed hats, baseball caps, and visors to protect your eyes and head from the sun. Some hats like berets are just for style, but it can’t hurt to pack one!
  • Sunglasses are useful because the sun never goes away no matter what season it is unless you live in Alaska. These provide eye protection, prevent wind from making you tear up, and can go with any outfit.
  • Scarves keep your neck warm and in turn keep your blood warm, keeping your body temperature balanced. They come in all sorts of materials and thicknesses depending on what you think you may need.
  • Gloves are a good option for anyone camping in a colder climate. Your hands leech heat from your body like your head and feet do. Gloves prevent them from doing so, and they still leave your fingers free to perform any task that needs doing, unlike mittens. There are some you can buy that even allow you to use your touchscreen phone with no issues!

Legwarmers may be old school, but they do what they say they will. They were a fashion choice of many in the 80s. If you are going for that retro chic look, get a pair of cute legwarmers and show them off over your

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Rickie Arms

Hi, I'm Rickie Arms, owner of Glampingorcamping.com. I am so invested in writing the best and most informative articles for you that I went out and bought a travel trailer just so I could write about it for you. I spend just about all of my off time both camping and glamping so I can share everything I have learned and will learn with you. I have spent my whole life camping and over the last 10 years, I have spent a large amount of time checking out glamping experiences with my wife and kids as well. Thank you for coming by and we hope to see you back here getting great information in the future. Rick Arms-

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