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  • Writer's pictureKern River's Edge Team

A quick and easy guide: what to wear when camping

Updated: Sep 19, 2022

Camping can be a fun, stress-reducing, and memorable experience, but it's important to dress appropriately. With the right gear, you can stay protected and comfortable whether you're spending the day hiking or just lying around the campfire. To help you pack appropriately, here’s a quick and easy guide on what to wear when camping.

Shoes that can handle any situation

Camping is a great way to enjoy the outdoors, but it's important to be prepared. One essential item for any camping trip is a good pair of shoes. Footwear that protects your feet from rocks and helps to prevent slipping is essential for exploring hiking trails and climbing over obstacles. Good camping shoes should also be comfortable and breathable, so you can enjoy your time outside without having to worry about your feet.

When choosing shoes for camping, comfort and support are key. Hiking boots are a good option for longer hikes, as they provide good ankle support and protect against rocks and roots. For shorter hikes or walks around the campground, trail running shoes or even tennis shoes may be sufficient.

Keep in mind, it’s important to break in new shoes before taking them on a hike, as blisters can quickly ruin a trip. When choosing shoes, also make sure to consider the weather conditions you’ll be camping in, and select shoes that will provide enough traction for wet or muddy conditions. If you plan to be in and out of the water, river sandals like Chaco or Teva provide protection and traction.

With a little careful planning, you can ensure that your shoes won't be the weak link on your next camping trip.

A sun shirt to keep your skin covered

Sun shirts are essential for anyone who plans on spending a significant amount of time outside, especially when camping.

Not only do they provide protection from the sun's harmful UV rays, but they also help to keep the body cool and comfortable in warm weather. Sun shirts are typically made from lightweight and breathable fabrics, making them ideal for hotter months. They can also be easily packed away when not in use, taking up very little space in a suitcase or backpack.

Whether you're hiking, biking, or just spending time at the campsite, make sure to pack a sun shirt to help keep your skin safe from the sun's harmful rays.

Hats & glasses to ward off the sun’s glare

When spending time outdoors, it is important to take precautions to protect your skin from the sun's harmful rays. One common hazard is sun glare, which can occur when the sun reflects off of water or other surfaces. This can cause temporary blindness and severe burns. To avoid this, always wear hats and sunglasses when camping near water or other reflective surfaces. You may also want to consider applying sunscreen to exposed areas. By taking these simple steps, you can enjoy your time outdoors while keeping your skin safe from the sun's harmful rays.

A light jacket for when the temperature dips

When planning a camping trip, it is important to pack clothing that will be suitable for the range of temperatures that you will likely encounter. During the day, the temperature may be warm, but in the evening and early morning hours, it can quickly become cooler. As a result, it is a good idea to bring layers, such as a light jacket, sweater or down jacket if temps are expected to drop into the 30's or 40's. This will help to keep you comfortable when the temperature dips. In addition, a light jacket can also be used as an extra layer of warmth when sleeping in a tent. By being prepared for the colder temperatures, you can ensure that your camping trip is enjoyable from start to finish.

Clothes that can handle the heat

When planning a camping trip for the summer, it is important to pack the right clothing. Even though the evening and early morning hours can be quite cool, the days can be rather hot. If you don’t pack the right clothing, it can make your trip unbearable.

Breathable and lightweight fabrics are key for keeping comfortable in the heat, while still providing some warmth for when the sun goes down. Clothing made from natural fibers like cotton or linen are typically good choices, as they tend to be more breathable than synthetic materials. You'll also want to avoid dark colors, as they absorb more heat. Instead, opt for light colors that reflect the sun's rays.

Additional tips to keep in mind when planning a camping trip

  1. Always check the weather forecast before heading out. This will help you to know what to expect in terms of temperature and precipitation and will allow you to pack accordingly. It's also important to be prepared for unpredicted changes in the weather; even if the forecast looks clear, always pack a raincoat or an extra layer just in case.

  2. Don't forget the sunscreen, insect repellant, and chapstick. These items are essential for protecting your skin from the sun and from uncomfortable bites.

  3. Make sure to bring a pair of sandals or other open-toed shoes. This will give you a place to rest your feet at the end of a long day hiking or swimming and will help you avoid getting blisters. Sandals are also much easier to put on and remove than hiking boots or tennis shoes are — making them great for walking around the campsite.


Recreating responsibly includes packing trash bags to leave our wild spaces cleaner than you found them. There is a glass ban in the Sequoia National Forest, so remember to use plastic storage containers, ziploc bags, or bota bags for camping gear and kitchen supplies instead of glass. Practice Leave No Trace principles and pack out what you pack in. See more Kern River camping tips.

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