Smart Outdoor Clothing Choices for a Better Experience
Whether you’re planning a summer camping event, a fishing trip, or a fall hunting excursion, an intelligent choice of outdoor clothing can make or break your experience. Plan it correctly, and you’ll likely have a wonderful trip. Fail to bring the right clothing, and you can have an incredibly miserable, if not life-threatening, time.
Does that sound too dramatic? Think back to a time you were under-prepared for time spent in the outdoors. For myself, I once brought mostly light clothing on a spring camping trip. During the day, it was unseasonably hot and I sweated right through my cotton clothing early in the day. However, meteorological predictions being what they are, the temperatures actually went the wrong way of comfortable as the sun retreated behind the trees. It was easily one of the most miserable nights of my life. I shivered uncontrollably, suited up in everything I brought plus my light sleeping bag. Luckily, I lived to hike out the next day and wave my white flag in defeat. Maybe you’ve had similar experiences or the opposite has occurred to you. The point is that smart clothing choices can have a big influence on your experience.
Outdoor clothing choices come in so many styles, weights, and constructions today it can be a little confusing when the time comes for a decision. The information below should help you identify the best clothing for the type of activity you plan to do.
First, let’s start with the most basic and critical component: fabrics. Not all are created equal, but all have a time and place. Below is a rough list of the most common clothing fabrics on the market, and the benefits or drawbacks to each one.
Nylon or Polyester – synthetic, very breathable and moisture-wicking
Rayon – synthetic, dries quickly, and slightly less moisture-wicking than nylon or polyester
Silk – natural, lightweight and good for warm or cold conditions, but not very durable
Wool – natural, insulating even when wet and cool in summer
Cotton – natural, durable, but not very moisture-wicking
This type of outdoor clothing, often made of synthetic, silk, or wool fabrics, helps your body to wick away moisture swiftly. This will keep you cool in the summer and warmer in the winter. When your clothing holds perspiration next to your skin, you lose body heat faster due to conductivity. Imagine sitting in 50 degree air for a few minutes versus in 50 degree water. The water against your skin conducts heat away much faster than just air.
Performance clothing is best used when you’re engaging in any physical activity. You’re likely going to need it at some point on most camping or hiking trips, hunting expeditions, golf outings, or even fishing excursions. Most outdoor clothing is made of performance fabrics, anticipating you’ll be active at some point and then have periods where you need to be motionless but warm.
There’s also casual outdoor clothing that will perform wonderfully for everyday use. Casual clothing is generally of cotton or synthetic construction. It doesn’t always breathe or wick moisture well in strenuous physical activity, but it’s not really made for that. Casual clothing works great if you’re hanging around camp, puttering around the lake, golfing in cooler weather, attending a country music concert, or doing something of a similar nature.
Generally, you’ll find a wider range of designs and styles with casual clothing. While you can still find traditional brown and green camouflage designs on casual clothing, you’ll also find more exciting options. That’s because you’ll more often be wearing it to the bar instead of to the woods. One popular option is what’s called “lifestyle camouflage,” which typically has bolder designs and brighter colors than traditional camo clothing. You can find bright orange to pink to neon colored camouflage designs, giving you an opportunity to express your own attitude and stand out. Wearing lifestyle camouflage boldly proclaims you as the outdoorsman or woman that you are. Wear it with pride.
Now you know how to choose the best outdoor clothing for your next camping, hunting, or fishing excursion. Don’t make the same mistake I did. Choose wisely, and if in doubt, it doesn’t hurt to bring along a slightly warmer or slightly cooler set of clothes.