Clothes - it's not something we typically think about being a synonymous topic with camping.
I've been creating a packing sheet for our big road-trip this week, and it caused me to stop and think about how I default to certain options, and wondered if others did the same!
I used to throw together my oldest and daggiest clothes for camping, but nowadays I find that wearing and packing more items that I love but that are still low maintenance gives me joy, there's something to be said for being comfortable and feeling great at the same time. So with this in mind I decided to compile a list of my go-to camp clothes and brands for our beautiful subtropical Queensland climate and the reasons why below!
Just a note for todays ad-filled world - these are all brands we genuinely use, love and recommend, no advertising here!
1. Linen shirts
I live in linen shirts most of the year anyway, but they really come into their own when camping. Long sleeves worn rolled up to the elbows and a collar to protect from the harsh Aussie sun, they dry quickly if thrown on over togs (swimmers for the non-Qlders), and look great whether creased or not. They can be worn open over a tank or tied at the waist with a skirt or shorts... need I go on? Comfortable and practical.
My pick? Uniqlo release a variety of new colours every season and they wear really well, plus I prefer for my shirts to have no pockets! That said, there are so many brilliant brands bringing out well-crafted linen clothes these days. Two of my favourites include Not Perfect Linen and Elizabeth Suzann.
I feel as though denim really needs no explanation! It's hardy, needs minimal washing if you pick the right shade and super comfortable. Generally shorts or a jacket are my go-tos, but jeans in winter are invaluable when camping. I will add though, that some of my favourite pieces are pairs I've managed to pick up secondhand and cut to a desired length, as well as distress and age to my liking. My current pick is an old dark-indigo Levi's jacket I found for $20, then bleached to a mid-blue and embroidered one quiet Sunday! Well worth trawling the racks at your local op-shops for good quality denim.
3. Easy to wear boots
Dedicated, purpose-bought 'adventure boots' are only a recent addition to my camp-clothes repertoire, having previously just used whatever old boots I had laying about, but safe to say I won't be going back! After a lot of research I went with a pair of classic Rustic Brown Blundstones - the colour ages well, they're waterproof, comfortable and hardy as hell. They pull on and off super easily (laces are a pain) and they don't look daggy if we pop into a town somewhere less rural!
4. One-piece Rashies / Surf-Suits
With our harsh sun it's really hard not to get burnt if you spend a day on the beach, and even if you spend every 2 hours reapplying sunscreen you'll inevitably miss a spot. Enter the one-piece rashie! Something about the chic approach to rashies nowadays distances them from their daggy cousins of our childhood. Often in trendy colour combinations, with panelling details or front zips that allow you to alter your level of sun-safe meets-bond-girl, these suits have keep me burn free on days when the mercury has hit upwards of 38 degrees.
I always take my thongs with me, but it's handy to have a comfortable, durable and dressier option if we visit somewhere nice along the way.
A little while ago I stumbled across a pair of Saltwater Sandals online and after a bit of research I fell a little in love. Originally manufactured in the US from leather boot offcuts during the war, they're now available in a myriad of fun colours and shapes, all bound to be just as comfortable and versatile as their predecessors. Saltwaters mould to the shape of your foot with wear, a process that speeds up when wet, so they’re perfect for wearing to the beach, splashing in the sea or walking about town.
6. A Bloody Good Hat
I do love a good summer hat. Last summer I wore a cheap paper/straw (mens) hat I'd bought at Target almost exclusively, but I really struggle to find general off-the-rack hats that fit my head! Last Christmas I bought Matt a great straw hat from City Beach and it's done well so far (his last one, below, did not fair so well).
Matt and I recently made the investment in getting an Akubra each. I know what you're picturing - western-style hats being worn in droves at a stockyard - but Akubra have a huge variety of hats to suit pretty much every environment and taste. With their Australian heritage and high quality craftsmanship it was a no-brainer for us. Matt went for a classic 'Country' style hat - the Tablelands, and I went for one from their 'Lifestyle' range, the Traveller. Both are based on their famous and popular hat, the versatile Cattleman. It was hard to pick, when you start looking there are so many that can work in both urban and rural environments.
I would also recommend following Akubra on instagram, some of the photos they repost from their community are beautiful.
7. A Raincoat
Yes, a raincoat. Have you ever tried to do any form of travel, setup or outdoor exploration in proper rain? An umbrella limits you and isn't really practical when camping. Raincoats allow you to move around and are in a weird way, very freeing!
I bought a good quality waterproofed canvas raincoat from UK brand Joules before we did our UK trip, and have never looked back! Matt currently has his eyes on a good oilskin style one from the likes of Drizabone or Thomas Cook.
8. A Flannelette Shirt
I can only imagine the laugh at reading this on my list... but - hear me out - they are comfortable and warm, and perhaps my favourite thing to wear with jeans and boots when camping in winter, even at the beach!
9. French Market Basket
Technically not an item of clothing, but these baskets deserve a mention. Practical, hardwearing and pretty, the huge market basket I bought last year has seen many beach trips. I can generally fit snacks, towels, clothes, drinks and some magazines without batting an eyelid. I've even managed to rig the long straps on mine before in such a way so as to wear it like a backpack!
10. Aqua Shoes
Okay some of my friends tease me, but honestly I love my cheap 'reef' shoes. They're great for walking through creeks, rock hopping or waterfall scouring. They give you freedom to not worry about steeping on strange surfaces below the water, as well as providing ample grip in slippery environments!
Mine are a cheap pair of elastic active shoes from Target, but the likes of SurfStitch sell plenty of different brands!
What's on your must-pack list of camp clothes? Love to hear your tried and tested favs!
Brisbane-based lover of travel, off-roading, camping and photography.