Think back to when you were a kid and your mom would urge you to wear a rain jacket while you ride your bike around the block. Despite your protests, you took the jacket. 20 minutes later you are thankful for your mom’s request because you are dry and the other kids on the block are cold and wet.
Just like a lack of planning could take the fun out of being outside when you were a kid, there is nothing that can take away the joy of hiking or camping like being unprepared for the weather.
So how can you properly plan for camping and hiking in a way that is practical and does not cause overpacking or a lot more weight? The answer: layers. With the proper layering you will be ready for any weather without having to break you back with the weight of your clothes.
Here are 5 things to pack that will prep you for all kinds of weather:
- A good outer layer - This includes a rain jacket or windbreaker. Check the weather before you go, and if rain is on the radar, prepare properly for it. If there is not a cloud in sight, a windbreaker is a good way to add outer layer that is not too overbearing, but gets the job done.
Best part about both these layers- they're light! They won't add much extra weight and most can roll up tight and not require too much space in your pack. Patagonia and The North Face are two great brands to keep in mind when searching for outer layers.
- Extra pair of socks - Simples as it may seem, soaking through a pair of socks and not having a spare will make walking miserable. Try packing one pair of thermal socks and one pair of sport socks, this will prepare you for the afternoon sun and the evening chill.
- The right pair of shoes - We've all been there before, the terrible blisters that are on your feet because we didn't wear the right shoes for the occasion. For hiking and camping it is crucial to wear hiking shoes or sneakers that fit the climate and situation of your trip.
Tip: bring along a pair of water shoes if you think you’ll be swimming/ wading through rivers or lakes.
- A warm hat - Heat escapes through your head and wearing a thermal beanie is a easy way to keep warm when the sun goes down. Not only that, but wearing a hat with a bill during the day will protect your face and neck from sun rays. Here is a great thermal beanie!
- Synthetic starting layers - When it comes to the basic clothes that you wear under your jacket, you'll want to avoid everything cotton. Cotton is heavier and is poor at regulating temperature. Synthetic clothes are breathable and keep in the warmth. You’ll want to wear a wicking short sleeve shirt synthetic shirt or a long sleeve synthetic shirt. For guys, synthetic boxers are a great option.
In conclusion, packing the right layers will allow you to be ready for any weather and enjoy every part of your hike or camping trip. No need to pack that oversized coat in case it gets cold, layer right and you’ll be warm in the evenings and cool in the afternoon sun. You’ll never be sorry that you packed these 5 layers, but you will be sorry if you don't have them when you’re in need.
If you plan on camping out you will need some good lighting, read this on headlamps vs flashlights