Camping is far from a fashion event, but just because you are surrounded by mud and mosquitoes doesn’t mean you shouldn’t pay attention to what you are wearing. As a matter of fact, it is a reason plus to pay extra attention to what you buy. Camping requires outdoor clothing that will protect your exposed skin from sunburns and the annoying bugs and mosquitoes. Here are the best features and fabrics you should look for when shopping for outdoor clothing to ensure an enjoyable camping experience.
Good insulation is crucial for maintaining a proper body temperature. And although clothing doesn’t really generate heat, if the pieces you wear have good insulation properties, they will successfully hold the heat that your body produces and keep you warm.
When camping, any fabric that touches your skin should be able to pull moisture (sweat) away from you and move it to the fabric’s outer surface, where it can quickly dry. This way, outdoor clothing that has wicking properties will let you break a sweat without feeling clammy or chilled and help you stay comfortable.
Waterproof and Windproof
These are among the most important features of outdoor clothing as they will keep you protected when it is windy and your body’s heat is easily lost. It is important to mention that not all jackets labelled water- and wind-resistant will totally block rain and wind – many of them will only offer a moderate weather protection.
Clothing that features an ultraviolet protection factor (UPF) rating will help protect your skin against the sun’s damaging UV rays. Don’t be fooled by a cloudy sky, the sun can still find its way through them and you could get sunburns without even realising.
In the past, clothes made out of wool used to be very itchy, but luckily, today’s wool clothing is not. The most important kind is Merino wool, which has fine fibres that make it soft, moisture-wicking, breathable, quick to dry, and not prone to retaining odours.
Aside from being more affordable than wool fabrics, polyester excels at wicking sweat and drying fast. The main problem with this fabric is that it tends to smell funky. Many manufacturers address this problem with an antimicrobial treatment to neutralise the odour-causing bacteria. Polyester jackets are often combined with special laminates or coatings with the purpose to protect you from wind and rain.
Silk and Cotton
Due to their poor wicking ability, silk and cotton aren’t recommended for camping. Instead, consider clothing made from treated silk which performs better due to the fact that it is has been chemically modified to enhance wicking. If you don’t mind feeling sticky and clammy go ahead, but mind you – once the temperatures go down, having cotton right next to your skin is a recipe for hypothermia.