Packing the right camping clothes is important. You don’t want to pack more than you need, but you don’t want leave anything important at home, either!
First I'll help you decide how to pack, and then I'll talk about what to pack.
There are three schools of thought on how to pack for a camping trip with kids:
This strategy makes sense if you have a big RV with lots of clothes storage space.
Bring along lots of changes of clothing for each child - more than you think you’ll need. When clothes get wet or dirty, just trade them for a fresh set.
If storage space is limited and you stay at a full-service campground with a laundromat, this strategy might be for you.
Pack just a few changes of clothing, and plan to do laundry every few days.
Don't forget to bring along the laundry soap. A laundry basket will come in handy, too.
If you don’t mind hanging laundry on the clothesline, you can save money - and time spent in the laundry room - by hanging laundry on your clothesline. Of course, you’ll need a sturdy clothesline, somewhere to hang it, and and lots of clothespins.
If you have limited storage space and if you're not excited about the idea of spending part of your valuable vacation in the laundry room, there is another option:
This is the strategy I use.
Make sure that every item you pack is going to be worn.
Pack clothing that can stand up to rough use.
Choose items that can be worn for different purposes.
When something gets too dirty, wash it out and hang it to dry.
By choosing clothes that layer well, you can avoid packing bulky items - and still be prepared for any temperature.
If you are camping in fall or spring, you might encounter unexpectedly cool days. This photo was taken on an Easter camping trip. It was chilly!
Having lots of layers will let you be comfortable at any temperature.
Here are the layers you need:
By swapping around those layers, you'll be ready for anything.
Cotton takes a long time to dry. If you need to rinse out an item of clothing, you don't want it to be cotton.
Synthetic clothing dries quickly.
Fleece jackets and pants are cozy!
Another advantage of synthetics: they pack small. A warm fleece sweater is much smaller than a wool sweater of comparable warmth.
Blue jeans take up a lot of space, and they take forever to dry if they get wet.
Of course, if you child wears nothing but jeans, you'll probably need to bring a pair anyway. These guidelines are just .... guidelines!
Use these lists as a starting point. Modify them to suit your destination and season.
The secret to packing for a baby is to pack lots! That's easy, because none of it takes much room.
You might want to pack each outfit in a zipped plastic bag so you can just grab it and go, rather than having to search in the bottom of a duffle bag for tiny little socks.
Before we go camping, I scour the thrift stores for good quality synthetic clothing. That way, if (or when!) the clothes get trashed from too much rough play, no one minds.
... to bring a laundry bag!
Now that you know my thoughts on how to choose and pack camping clothes, click here for more information about outdoor clothing gear.
Before you head out on your next camping trip, be sure to visit The Camping Family home page. There's lots of helpful information there!