How To Choose Car Camping Clothes-Panergy

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How To Choose Car Camping Clothes-Panergy

The Weather And Climate

The weather and climate are some of the biggest pieces of information that are going to help me decide what to pack.

I look at the expected temperature highs and lows, the cloud cover and UV index, the wind, and if any thunderstorms are expected to roll in.

All of this information is important to consider.

I’ll make sure I pack hats and gloves if the temperature is expected to be cold enough to need them.

Lastly, will there be ticks and mosquitos in the area that you’re going to? If so, you might want to consider additional protective clothing.

Amanda hanging out in a hammock while car camping.


You get to camp and it’s hot and sunny. Then in the afternoon, some clouds roll in and it gets windy and cold.

Now what?

How will I be able to adapt to unexpected or changing weather conditions? That’s a question I’m always asking myself.


You have to be prepared for the weather forecast to be wrong and that’s where your layers come in.

Having layers available allows you to add on or take off clothes as you get hot and cold.

In general, you have base layers, mid-layers, and outer layers:

  • Base layers are the items of clothing that are in direct contact with your skin.

  • Mid-layers are all about adding warmth. A fleece and lightweight down jacket are great examples of mid-layers.

  • Outer layers are going to be your wind and rain protection.

You can stack mid-layers as it gets colder and take them off as you get hot.

Even if it's not forecasted to rain, I always pack my rain gear. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been camping expecting it to be full sun and we get rain.

I always pack all three of these different types of layers when I go camping so I can easily adapt to changing conditions.

Moisture-wicking Clothing

In general, I try to avoid cotton clothing when I go camping.

Cotton holds onto moisture, so it keeps you feeling sweaty in hot temperatures and cold and wet if the weather cools down.

Instead, clothes made out of polyester, nylon, and merino wool are all great options for camping clothes.

These materials dry fast and move sweat off the skin.

When you see the term “moisture-wicking” in the clothing description, that means that the fabric is designed to pull sweat away from the body to the surface of the fabric so it can evaporate faster. That’s what you want!

How Much Clothing Should You Take?

Great question. Unfortunately, there’s no clear-cut answer because, yes you guessed it, how much depends on things like the weather, climate, and time of year.

Since I’m driving my vehicle up to a campsite (hence “car” camping), I typically have some extra room and I'm not shy about bringing extra layers in the car.

I would rather you pack too many layers than be miserably cold and wet on a camping trip.

Amanda cooking over a campfire while car camping.


The next thing I think about is: am I okay with these clothes getting dirty, ripped, or burnt with a hole from a campfire spark?

Camp clothing is going to get roughed up, dirty, stinky, stained, and ripped.

For this reason, I don't wear my nice down jacket while I'm sitting around a campfire. A tiny little spark or ember from a crackling fire will burn a hole through a jacket like that so fast.

For jackets, Nick and I both have this Carharrt jacket and I absolutely love it! It's a canvas material and so it's super durable, warm, and I don't really worry about a small spark ruining this jacket.

It's a great all-around jacket to have for car camping.

For pants, I definitely wear yoga or workout leggings camping, but they get roughed up pretty quick, so I wouldn’t wear your favorite pair.

You can also look into more durable leggings like the Carharrt “utility” legging that I show in the video below.

Sleeping Clothes

During the day at camp, you're going to be outside getting dirty, sweating, cooking, eating, sitting around a campfire, getting toasted marshmallows all over your hands, and just having fun outdoors.

No matter what the day throws at me, I want to be able to get into my tent to sleep in DRY CLEAN clothes and socks.

I always make sure I pack clothes and layers for the day's activities, and then a set of clothes to sleep in only.

I do not cook in my sleeping clothes and I do not eat in my sleeping clothes.

I will use the same pair of pajamas for multiple nights, I just take them off first thing in the morning so they’re clean and dry for the following nights.

Again, what you pack for pajamas will depend on the temperature at night, your sleeping bag, and your sleeping pad.



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