Camping - What To Wear & What To Take
I was brought up in a methodical household. My father, a former coal miner, was firm and resolute in his lecturing.
My mother, a dinner lady at a local school, had a more reserved tone, but was equally as resilient when it came to enforcing “house rules”.
One of these “rules” stuck with me, and has helped me to become the person I am today.
What is it? Planning.
That’s right, my parents were vocal supporters of the “measure twice, cut once” saying, and instilled this in me from an early age.
They argued that planning was the key to success. And you know what? It is!
I have became known as the “control freak” within my friendship group. Not that I mind... If anything, I embrace it.
My penchant for planning affords me peace of mind. Who’s prepared, protected and packin’? Me, not you!
We’re all avid campers and urban explorers and I can say, hand on heart, that my planning has saved us more times than we’d all care to admit.
Another one of my parent’s iron rules? Knowledge is power.
So, all you keen campers out there, heed my advice…
Dress To Impress
You need to worry about protecting yourself from two things: the elements and the law.
The first one is self-explanatory, but can be executed poorly.
You should always dress for the environment you are going to be in. Ensure you are covered for every extreme or “worst case scenario”.
If you are going somewhere that is mostly sunny, hot and dry, take loose fitting clothing, fabrics that breathe and accessories such as a pair of shades and hat. Remember, even hot places get cold at night, so consider taking warm clothing for this reason.
If you are going somewhere that is mostly cold, snowy and icy, take fleece fabrics for insulation, a thick jacket and then accessories like gloves, a woolly hat, a scarf and possibly shades or goggles.
If you are going somewhere that is prone to rain, take waterproof clothing or a large waterproof coat/anorak.
Regardless of the conditions, I advise you to take a sturdy pair of walking boots and plenty of spare socks. Blisters are the devil, so make sure both fit comfortably.
For locations where the weather can be temperamental or a mixture of all three, it’s better to be safe than sorry. Take clothes that will counter EVERY eventuality.
You can pick up camping clothes for all conditions in quite a few places - without them costing a fortune too! As always, going online is a great place to start. You can search for specific items, check reviews and seek advice from experts.
Ultimately, there’s no excuse for you not to be prepared for the various elements. As well as there being plenty of shops and online sites to buy clothes from, there are plenty of ways you can actually research upcoming weather conditions: TV, newspaper, websites, radio and even word of mouth/social media.
If you have a smartphone, you can download a weather app that updates in real time! So, do your research and plan accordingly.
Secondly, depending on where you’re going, you may need to dress in accordance with laws or religious practices.
Clothing that is acceptable in your home country, may be offensive or even illegal in others. There are quite a few countries that forbid the exposure of a certain amount of skin, so you will need to pack long sleeved shirts, trousers and possibly even a head scarf or shawl.
Understanding and respecting different cultures is a MUST when travelling to other nations, so, in the same way you would look up the weather, look up sensitivities surrounding how to dress.
The Right Tools For The Job
I’ve got a bottle of water, that’s all I need to take, right? Said no experienced camper ever.
You might look the part, but you’ve still a long way to go before braving the wild. It’s time to invest in some camping equipment!
Having the right clothing will mean you’re less likely to fall victim to hypothermia, hyperthermia, frostbite or heat exhaustion, but equally as important is the need to stay hydrated, generate energy and tend to wounds.
Regardless of where you go, the basic provisions you will need to take are: plenty of drinking water/containers to hold water (bottles, canteens and hydration bladders), high-protein energy bars, hydrating powder solutions, first aid kit, matches or lighter, mobile phone (with long-lasting battery) and plenty of spare socks.
If you are going somewhere remote, I’d advise you to take both a smartphone with GPS and a map and compass. Research the area thoroughly before you go - identify key landmarks so you can orientate yourself when you’re out there.
Depending on the climate of the place you’re going, you might need to tailor your load out.
If you are going somewhere that is mostly sunny, hot and dry, take high-SPF sunscreen, lip balm and moisturising lotion.
If you are going somewhere that is mostly cold, snowy and icy, take heat packs and powdered drinks you can warm up - hot chocolate etc.
If you are going somewhere that is prone to rain, take plastic bags or bin liners to line stop things from getting soaked.
Again, it’s all about putting the planning in. As we live in a digital age, it’s almost impossible not to have access to specific information, so look up where you are travelling to online.
If you are taking a smartphone, download a weather app and something that tracks your GPS/location.
Oh, and last but not least, ALWAYS tell someone where you are going and how long you are going for. In case, you know… we’ve all seen 127 Hours!
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