Posted by Brian Hughes on 2/27/2011
When people think about
purchasing and packing up their camping gear, clothing may not be something they
take into consideration. Won’t any old outfit do? The answer to that question is
generally “no.” Weather and climate can be the biggest influence on how
successful your camping trip is, and for that reason, it is important to dress
accordingly. When camping, clothing shouldn’t be thought of as an accessory, but
as an important part of your gear instead.
That’s not to say that
all clothing that is suitable for camping is unattractive. Over the years,
camping apparel has changed so much. Not only is the technology better than ever
for protecting you from the elements, but it is also much more attractive
compared to what your parents may have worn. However, more choices can mean more
confusion. Here are some things to keep in mind when choosing the right camping
apparel for protection and comfort.
Water is probably the
most aggravating of the unexpected elements you will face when you are camping.
If it’s cold outside, wet clothing can be very dangerous. As a matter of fact,
since people began developing apparel made specifically for camping, finding
ways to make it waterproof has been a top priority.
Fortunately, there are
new materials on the market that keep moisture out. They are: microporous
laminates, microporous coatings, and monolithic membranes. All three of these
products prevent moisture from settling on your skin, keeping you dry,
comfortable, and keeping your body temperature at healthy levels. Any good
camping apparel will be made out of one of these.
Another debate that has
been on the minds of camping apparel retailers over the years is nylon versus
polyester. Nylon has always been the more popular material for outdoor wear
because it’s strong enough to withstand wear and tear while being light and
breathable. Polyester, however, has risen in popularity in more recent years.
Polyester is more water resistant than nylon, and it keeps the camper warmer. If
you can’t decide between the two, nylon is generally going to be the better
choice, but if you have to (or want to) choose polyester, make sure it is a
newer type of the material.
Next to moisture,
temperature is probably the second most important element you need to be
prepared for. As mentioned, getting too hot or too cold can ruin your camping
trip, and quite possibly your health. You will need clothing that is going to
keep you warm, especially in the wintertime. Keep in mind, however, that even in
the spring and summer, campers can experience cool nights.
Coupling nylon or
polyester with the microporous technology does wonders for keeping you warm, but
in colder climates, it is always best to have a little more protection. The
question now is what material will you keep you both warm and dry?
Down has always been
recommended for extreme temperatures because it is also very comfortable and
light, but once it gets wet, down can be hard to get dry. Synthetic materials
can be a little heavier, but they may keep the moisture away from your skin.
Fleece is always a good option for keeping warm and has become quite popular
over the last decade or so. Even when it gets wet, fleece will keep you dry.
Just remember, when
choosing clothing, always take your personal plans into consideration. Are you
going to a campsite where temperatures could dip below what your body is used
to? Does the local weather forecast call for rain? It is always best to be
cautious and prepared for anything that might come your way, than to be left out
in the cold…literally.