What to Wear Camping in the Summer: A Guide to Packing Clothes

Heading into the great outdoors for a summer camping trip is one of life's greatest pleasures. But to truly enjoy the experience, dressing right is key. The right camping outfit can make the difference between a trip that's memorable for all the right reasons and one that's, well, not.

In this blog, we'll explore the essentials of what to wear when you're camping in the warm months to keep you comfortable, protected, and ready for adventure. Let's dive right in!

What to Pack for a Summer Camping Trip

Below, we will provide you with simple tips on what to wear when camping in the summer:

1) Lightweight and Breathable Fabrics


friends gathered around campfire talking
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When planning your summer camping outfits, it's crucial to focus on lightweight and breathable fabrics since there is a good chance that you will be sweating a lot. These materials will help keep you comfortable and prevent overheating during hot days. The type of material you choose is a matter of personal preference. Here are some suitable options:

  • Cotton: Cotton is a popular choice for summer camping because it's lightweight and allows your skin to breathe. Opt for loose-fitting cotton shorts, t-shirts, and pants to stay cool.
  • Linen: Linen is another breathable fabric that's perfect for summer camping. Linen clothing is comfortable and dries quickly if you get sweaty or wet.
  • Synthetic Fabrics: Synthetic materials like nylon and polyester are moisture-wicking and ideal for summer camping. They help to keep sweat away from your skin and dry quickly, making them great for hiking and outdoor activities.

2) Consider Layering Up


man with yellow rain jacket hiking with friends
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While summer camping is generally warm, temperatures can fluctuate during the day and night. To prepare for these variations, consider layering up your outfit:

  • Base Layer: To keep sweat off your skin, start with a base layer that wicks away moisture. This could be a lightweight T-shirt or tank top.
  • Mid-Layer: A mid-layer provides insulation if it gets cooler in the evenings. A long-sleeve shirt or a light hoodie is perfect for this purpose.
  • Outer Layer: Your outer layer should be a light jacket or windbreaker. It's handy for protecting you from mosquitoes or even the sun during a sunny hike.

3) Protect Yourself from the Sun


woman putting sunscreen on legs while sitting down on grass
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The summer sun can be intense, and protecting yourself from harmful UV rays is essential. Here's what you need:

  • Wide-Brimmed Hat: A wide-brimmed hat provides shade for your face, neck, and ears. Look for one with UPF (Ultraviolet Protection Factor) for added sun protection.
  • Sunglasses: Invest in UV-blocking sunglasses to protect your eyes from the sun's brightness.
  • Sunscreen: Cover all exposed areas with a broad-spectrum sunscreen with a minimum SPF of 30. Reapply regularly, especially after swimming or sweating.

4) Use Appropriate Footwear


person with hiking shoes sitting on chair
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Choosing the right footwear is crucial for a comfortable camping trip. In the summer, you'll want breathable and sturdy options like the following:

  • Hiking Boots: For hiking or exploring rough terrain, opt for durable and breathable hiking boots with good traction. Make sure they are comfortable and provide ankle support.
  • Sandals: Pack a pair of hard, comfortable, and supportive sandals for relaxing around the campsite or for brisk walks.
  • Socks: Remember to use moisture-wicking socks to avoid blisters and keep your feet dry.

5) Nighttime Necessities


old man with winter clothes sitting in front of camp fire
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Not only during winter camping but also during the summer, temperatures can plummet at night, especially if you're camping in the mountains. Bring a fleece or a light jacket for the evenings around the campfire. If you run cold, consider a beanie and some warm socks to stay cozy in your tent.

6) Don't Forget About Your Rain Gear


friends with different color raincoats enjoying the rain
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Summer weather can be unpredictable, and rain can sneak up on you. Pack a lightweight, waterproof rain jacket or a poncho. It’s easy to carry and can save the day when the clouds roll in. Dry feet are happy feet, so waterproof coverings for your shoes are also a good idea.

7) Carry Clothes With Pockets


happy family helping each other cross river
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When you're out in the woods, having clothes with pockets can be incredibly useful. Cargo pants or a vest with multiple pockets can hold small items like a compass, map, or sunglasses. This keeps your hands free for setting up camp or navigating your trail.

8) Carry Swimwear


man and woman in swim wear on kayak
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If your campsite is by a lake or river, you’ll want to bring a bathing suit. Opt for a quick-drying fabric so you won't be sitting in soggy swimwear all day. A swimsuit can double up as a backup set of clothes.

9) Protect Yourself from Bugs


person spraying bug spray on arm
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Insects can be a real nuisance when you're camping. To keep the bugs at bay, wear light-colored clothes as they attract minimal insects. You can also find clothing treated with permethrin, an insect repellent that can help keep mosquitoes and ticks away. A bug spray is a good backup, and wearing a hat with a net can protect your face and neck in areas with lots of bugs.

What Not to Pack for a Summer Camping Trip

When packing for a summer camping adventure, it's equally important to know what clothing items to leave behind. Here's a list of clothing items that you should consider skipping:

1) Bulky Winter Jackets


happy friends in winter clothes playing with sparklers
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Summer camping is all about staying cool, so leave behind those bulky winter jackets. Opt for lightweight layers that can be easily added or removed as needed.

2) Uncomfortable or New Shoes


person in jungle sitting down and tying hiking shoes
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Don't pack shoes that you haven't worn yet. Uncomfortable footwear can lead to blisters and discomfort on the trails. Stick to tried-and-true, comfortable hiking boots or shoes.

3) Multiple Sets of Jeans


man and woman sitting in front of tent talking and drinking a warm beverage
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Jeans can be heavy, take a long time to dry if they get wet, and can be uncomfortable in hot weather. Instead, opt for lightweight, breathable pants and shorts.

4) Excessive Clothing


duffel bag with camping essentials at the side
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Don't overpack with too many clothing options. Stick to a few versatile pieces that can be mixed and matched to reduce the weight and clutter in your camping gear.

5) Delicate Fabrics


group of friends with camping gear getting ready for a hike
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Avoid packing delicate fabrics that may easily tear or get damaged during outdoor activities. Leave silk, lace, and other delicate materials at home.


Summer camping trips are a great way to connect with nature, and wearing the right camping clothes will help you make the most of your experience. Keep it light, breathable, and ready for all the weather and adventures that come your way. With these clothing tips in hand, you're all set for a summer full of camping memories.

And for all your camping needs for every season, remember to check out Emergency USA! We've got you covered with top-notch emergency camping gear to make your outdoor adventures even safer and more enjoyable. Visit us today to explore our wide range of camping essentials for summer, winter, or fall camping!