Although deciding what clothing to take camping and hiking might seem to be simple and common sense, being prepared or not will make the difference between enjoyable or miserable. Let’s break it down by seasons.
Spring / Summer:
For a trip in spring you need to plan for a wide range of temperature, it might be very hot, or very cool. The morning and evening can be chilly with very warm temperatures during the day.
Spring / summer:
- Long sleeve shirts and pants: great for hiking. Long sleeves will prevent you from mosquito bites and getting all scratched up from bushes. Cargo pants won’t get caught up or snagged while you’re going through dense vegetation, the material is thin and will keep you cool. (I actually prefer leggings if I know I won’t be going through brushes; they’re very comfortable)
- Shorts: for warm weather or if you’re hiking though clear areas.
- T – shirts / tank tops: for warm weather (I always take a couple during spring and summer)
- sweatshirt: The evenings can be chilly, especially in the mountains.
- Socks: several pairs. One pair for each day and 1-2 pairs extra. You might step into water. Socks made for hiking are great, invest in a few pairs (not too expensive) and they last a long time.
- Hiking boots are a must as they have good traction. You will see the difference when you’re walking u hill on a rocky area. They don’t have to be very expensive. Even now I only have 2 pairs, one with high tops for winter and one with low, for all other seasons.
- Baseball hat and / or sunglasses for protection from the sun.
- Sleeping: at least a couple of layers on top and one pair of long, comfortable pants. Nights are still cold.
Fall / winter
- You will need several layers of clothing.
- Long sleeve shirts and pants: choose thicker shirts and instead of cargo pants choose thicker materials, for example sweatpants. One pair of thermal pants and a thermal shirt will make all the difference in the winter.
- short sleeve shirts: I still take a couple for additional layers.
- Sweatshirts: at least a couple. This is what you will be wearing all the time, with a couple of shirts under. I take sweatshirts that are a size bigger, so I can have several layers under and still be comfortable.
- Thick jacket: I have one thick jacket for hunting / camping in the fall / winter / spring. It’s actually a man’s jacket, with lots of pockets, a hoodie, waterproof outer layer and it’s very warm. $30 at Walmart (Mossy Oak) In the winter pack a scarf, gloves, facemask.
- Sleeping: 3-4 layers on top, thermal pants and long pants. Very thick socks. It’s easier to take layers off than sleep uncomfortably. Even with the heater, it won’t be too warm. Your tent loses a lot of heat through the material, but it’s ok because you do want the air to circulate. The only exception is if you have a good quality Down sleeping bag. Those are great and you might be able to sleep in just 1-2 layers. I would still take extra just in case. There’s nothing worse than shivering all night.
- hiking boots: you might choose one with higher top, even up past your ankle, but really any hiking boots will do.
If you are driving to your destination and not backpacking, err on the safe side and pack a couple of extra items.
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