camping clothes-comfort and style for the wild elements!


family camping, camping clothes

The right camping clothes for the whole family should include waterproof hiking shoes and kids hiking boots. Camping for us usually means some family hiking and we make sure to bring along some of our hiking essential clothing which includes a hiking shirt (not cotton) and I never camp without my icebreaker merino wool fabric shirts. Depending on where you are camping it can get quite chilly at night and a merino wool base layer will keep you super toasty!

The best camping clothes will keep you comfy, warm and dry.

What you bring should include the kids rain gear , sun protection clothing and layers of warm clothes and water resistant outerwear (waterproof hiking shoes or hiking boots)and include kids rain boots.

You want to have lots of fun while you're camping and not care when the kids camping clothes get dirty.

Hiking Clothes
Base Layer
Mid Layer
Outer Layer

The camping clothes you bring also depends where you are going, what the weather is expected to do and what you plan on doing.

family hiking, hiking clothes

We make sure we are ready for any type of weather regardless of what the forecast calls for.

Wet, cold children do not make for happy little campers let me tell you! And when their clothes do get wet they need to dry as soon as possible. (The kids and the clothes!)

Camping clothes can be broken into three groups:

Base layers (like your underwear),

mid layers (your basic day wear)

and top or outer layers (wind, rain and snow protectors).

I love layering because you can always add or remove to keep you warm or cool you down a bit.

My favourite fabrics for layering include a limited amount of cotton, silk, wool and fleece. We love wool and fleece! These are all lightweight and easy to layer.

We also always pack a little extra just in case.

This checklist is an example of what we would take with us on a typical summer car camping trip.

Just remember to pack enough camping clothes to keep you warm, dry and happy!


Based on the rave reviews from my husband we highly recommend SAXX underwear for men because of how comfortable they are. Made in a huge variety of colours and patterns, they are incredibly soft which feels so nice against the skin and they wash very well making them long lasting, his first pair from two years ago still looks like new.  Buy one pair and I don't think you'll ever go back!


  • Our base layer means packing two sets of pj's for the kids, one light weight and one warmer, thermal or fleecy pair. We also pack a pair of long johns for cooler days and a long sleeved thermal undershirt.

  • Our mid-layers for camping are usually made up of comfy, durable clothes from our regular wardrobes at home. But, I like the "camping or hiking pants", the ones with the zipper along the thigh that you can use as shorts or long pants, they have lots of pockets and zippers.

    We also pack a few cotton t-shirts because they are soft and comfy. Beware of cotton though. It absorbs and holds onto moisture and doesn't dry quickly.

    Silk tops are nice because they are light, comfy and wick moisture away from the body well. But, they are not as durable as cotton.

    Nylon tops and bottoms are also light, comfy and good at wicking away moisture but they do retain rather unpleasant body odours.

    Wool is a great insulator and I personally love the icebreaker merino wool base layer because it's not itchy, wicks well, dries faster than cotton, doesn't retain body odours very much and is durable. Nothing beats merino wool clothing for excellent layering.

    Last but not least is fleece! We love fleece. I think everyone has some fleece in their closets. It is also light weight, dries well and is a terrific insulator. It's super comfy and layers well. We have a variety of fleece pants, fleece tops and fleece jackets. It's also rather inexpensive too. Nice for the whole family!

  • We love shopping at REI and they have a terrific selection of clothing for the whole family.

    We also like to shop online at Alpineer, they have a great selection of some of our favourite top brands of camping gear.


  • Our outer layers when we need them consist of fleece jackets, wool sweaters and rain jackets.

    The wind and rain gear we have is usually a good quality polynylon fabric that is a good rain protector and has some breathability.

    Ultimately Gore-Tex is the best for rain proofness and breathability but it's also very expensive. My Gore-Tex jacket is more than 20 years old and still doesn't leak.

    Look for zippers under the arms that make it more breathable and offer some cooling off even if it's raining out.

    Nylon jackets also can offer this nice feature to avoid the high price of Gore-Tex if you want. Check the seams to see if they are sealed for better water protection too.


  • And we can't stop without a mention about footwear. Running shoes can be the best thing for basic family camping but we also bring along the following:  rain boots!

    Don't forget rain boots!
  • easy slip on shoes for middle of the night trips out of the tent
  • hiking boots for the hikes we usually do while we're camping
  • And speaking of footwear don't forget that regular cotton socks are great but in your hiking boots I highly recommend picking up a pair or two of hiking socks or some nice merino wool socks. I would never hike without them!

    For basic family car camping most of the camping clothes you need are probably already in your closets. Pick up a few little extras to cover all the weather basics and you're good to go!

    Happy trails!


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