While camping in the backcountry is no black-tie event, seasoned outdoorsmen know all too well that packing the proper clothing can make or break your trip.
We know that packing can be a hassle when you’re just trying to get some R&R. That’s why we’re here to help with our comprehensive guide for men’s outdoor clothing so you can spend less time thinking about what to wear and more time out on the trail!
There’s nothing more important in your outdoor wear than a good pair of underwear. On a long trek into the woods, you want your crown jewels to be secure and supported.
Every climate and season is different, and every man has his preferences! So, ensure you pick a style of underwear that works best for you over long periods of time.
Boxers offer the most breathable and loose-fitting experience. While comfortable, we don’t recommend using boxers if you’re going to be doing more intensive physical activities on your trip.
For an easygoing summer camping trip, however, boxers can be a perfect option for those looking to keep the heat out and the cool breeze coming in. We love these BAMBOO COOL boxers for their light and airy fabric to help keep you comfortable in even the hottest climates.
Briefs are a great option for folks who want to keep cool with a bit of extra support. Briefs take up the least amount of space and are hands down the easiest to pack away and lug around in your backpack.
Their smaller size allows for quicker cleaning and drying if you’re out traveling for an extended amount of time and need to wash your outdoor clothing along the trail.
BAMBOO COOL also offers some fantastic breathable briefs, perfect for more intensive physical activity. With their anti-ride-up design, you won’t have to worry about a poorly timed wedgie the next time you go bouldering.
Are you looking for the coverage of boxers but prefer the stable support of briefs? Boxer briefs offer the best of both worlds when it comes to outdoor clothing.
We are big fans of Rebok’s high performance boxer briefs for their comfortable fit and moisture wicking technology. These guys will stretch with you and keep you sweat-free when making your way up to the next summit.
Compression shorts offer enhanced support and stability for strenuous physical activity by applying gentle pressure to your glutes, hamstrings, and quads. While they may be a bit overkill for day hikers, climbers, and long-distance trail runners will feel right at home in a good pair of compression shorts.
NELEUS makes some high-quality men’s compression shorts that work perfectly both under your outerwear and as stand-alone shorts! The tight side pocket offers a little bit of secure storage for runners on a hot day and can help keep valuable electronics warm and close to your body in freezing temperatures.
We all know that cold has a way of sinking into your bones after enough time outdoors. Long underwear can offer a vital thermal layer to keep you safe and warm.
We like Carhartt’s reliable and comfortable Thermal Base Layer Pants. While you can find heavier long underwear on the market, we find that midweight long underwear offers a nice middle ground so you can be more flexible in selecting your overwear.
There are two primary factors to consider when selecting socks for your outdoor wear: the cut and the fabric.
The cut of the socks themselves is ultimately down to your personal preference or the specific shoe you intend on wearing. On the other hand, fabric is more climate-dependent.
If you’re going to be in deep snow or very cold conditions, wool socks are essential. However, thick cotton can often do the job as well. For all other climates, cotton, modal, and polyester can all be good fabric options.
Low-cut socks reach just above the ankle, allowing for more skin exposure to keep you cool, unlike no-show socks that can have a way of getting caught under your heel on rockier paths.
We wouldn’t recommend anything lower on the ankle than low-cut socks for anywhere outside of the campsite. Even on the shortest of hikes!
Ankle socks cover the ankles, providing more protection and warmth. In the summer these can be useful to avoid those pesky mosquito bites, and in the winter they are an absolute necessity if you plan on wearing boots.
Similarly to compression shorts, compression socks help to boost circulation in your legs and can help alleviate swelling in the ankles after a long, difficult hike.
If you have issues with swelling in your feet and ankles, these are highly recommended and can help support increased blood flow.
Just like your socks, your footwear is entirely dependent on your climate and situation. Consider the following:
Is the ground going to be rainy and wet? Will the terrain be prone to tearing up a softer-shelled shoe? What will keep your feet warm in colder weather?
If you’re traveling to a temperate climate and don’t expect much rain, you will be surprised to discover how versatile your average tennis shoe can be.
Comfortable, simple, and flexible, a tennis shoe can hold up quite well over long hikes and can even be decent for bouldering if they have decent enough foot traction.
Just don’t be upset if your shoe takes a bit of a beating on your trip.
If you’re a hiking or camping enthusiast, a good hiking boot is a worthwhile investment. Oftentimes a tennis shoe can do the job, but won’t provide the same traction and protection that a decent hiking boot can.
When looking for a good hiking boot, keep an eye out for a comfortable moisture wicking sole and good traction. Waterproofing can be a great bonus as well in case you get caught in some muddy, messy weather.
We find that the Oboz Bridger Mid Waterproof Hiking Boot covers all of our bases for a reliable and comfortable hiking boot.
Looking for something that will do the job of getting in and out of the canoe but can still hold up on a long land hike? Water shoes are most definitely a worthy investment.
Products like DOUSSPRT Men’s water shoes can be a game changer when it comes to hiking through wetlands, crossing streams, and moving in and out of lakes with your canoe.
Comfortable and breathable, these shoes will dry quickly when out of the water, allowing you to stay comfortable on the trail after dismounting your watercraft. The best part? No soggy socks!
The importance of a reliable snow boot in below-freezing winter conditions cannot be overstated.
It’s vital to remember that a vast amount of your body heat is preserved in your head and feet. Therefore, a properly insulated snow boot can be a major safeguard in protecting your body from hypothermia. (Or your toes from frostbite!)
Moreover, winter weather can create slick and slushy conditions. So good traction and waterproofing are absolute musts when considering a good winter boot.
We find Oboz’s Bridger 8” Insulated Waterproof Boots to be comfortable, warm, and properly protective for those long winter hikes. Fitted with wool-topped footbeds and sturdy winter rubber outsoles, you won’t need to reinvest in a new pair of boots for quite some time.
While it may be tempting to let temperature determine what you wear, remember that there are several factors at play regarding pants.
Consider factors like heavy brush, mosquitos and flies, poisonous plants, flexibility, and breathability.
That being said, it can never hurt to be prepared for several different circumstances!
It should come as no surprise that shorts are your best choice if you intend on camping during the summer months. That being said shorts are only recommended if the temperature absolutely demands it.
Just make sure to wear sunblock and bug spray!
Resilient, comfortable, and easy to clean, jeans are easily one of the most versatile fabrics around.
Jeans do have their downsides as outdoor clothing, though. In humid or rainy conditions, jeans tend to absorb moisture quickly and can take a long time to dry. For the same reason, they are far from ideal in wintery conditions and tend to preserve body heat very poorly.
If you expect to be hiking through heavy brush or a mosquito-dense area during the warmer months, sweatpants can be an excellent choice. Airy, lightweight, and maneuverable, sweatpants are a versatile option for outdoor wear.
While sweatpants aren’t necessarily ideal for hiking in the winter months, they can make for an effective, comfortable layer under snow pants. (They also make for a great set of warm pajama pants!)
Why debate between wearing long pants or shorts when you can have two for the price of one? REI’s Co-op Sahara Convertible Pants are the definition of efficient outdoor clothing.
Naturally, the main appeal of these pants is that they can be unzipped into shorts and zipped back into long pants at your convenience. In case the added convenience isn’t enough for you, the Co-op Sahara Convertible Pants are built to be breathable, water resistant, fast drying, and provide a UPF of 50+ for those hot summer days.
What you wear as a top is perhaps the most flexible of all of the layers discussed in this article. With proper UV and insect protection, anything goes!
Sleeveless shirts can be great for outdoor wear during hot summer days and can make for a solid undershirt when layered with warmer clothing during the winter.
Just make sure to apply some sunscreen on your shoulders before baking out in the sun!
Short-sleeved shirts are most folks’ go-to when it comes to warm-weather outdoor activities. Simple and comfortable, it’s hard to go wrong with a short-sleeved shirt!
Of course, a little style out on the trail can’t hurt. We’re big fans of Sota Clothing’s t-shirts for their sleek graphic designs and soft, 100% cotton fiber builds.
When talking about outdoor clothing, no top is more versatile than a good ol’ long-sleeved shirt. Roll the sleeves up when it’s hot, roll them down when it’s cold. It doesn’t get easier than that!
While there are a lot of high-quality wool flannels out there, we love Patagonia’s Long Sleeve Midweight Fjord Flannel Shirt for its durability and soft cotton build. As good as these look, you might wear them out and about on the town too!
A comfortable piece of overwear that is easy to throw on and take off as temperatures fluctuate and you go in and out of physical activity can be a game changer.
With a layer underneath, you can even get away with using the same piece of overwear for several days at a time. So you want to make sure it’s a piece of outdoor clothing that you really love!
Hoodies have two major advantages. Not only do they have a built-in hood, which is great for protecting your ears and head from cold temperatures, but they often come with big front pockets to warm up your icy hands!
Based out of the great state of Minnesota, we can’t help but represent our home state with Sota’s super comfy and stylish pre-shrunken hoodies.
Warm, maneuverable, and versatile, a fleece can be perfect for a cool west coast evening on the beach, or a frigid night on the mountain.
Maybe the most iconic producer of fleeces, Patagonia produces exceptionally high quality products with lightweight, moisture-wicking materials. The Patagonia Micro D Fleece Pullover is a classic if you’re looking for a high-quality product from an unbeatable brand.
They don’t call it sweater weather for nothing! Camping is no fashion show, and any old sweater is ideal for your collection of outdoor clothing.
While overwear can keep you warm and protected from cold temperatures, it can’t go as far as protecting you from other elements like wind, rain, and snow.
We recommend investing in a high-quality piece of outerwear that can last years in your collection of outdoor clothing.
Running jackets and windbreakers are lighter and more comfortable than heavier rain jackets. While they likely won’t hold up in pouring rain or snow, they can be a great option for keeping you dry in high-humidity climates like the Pacific Northwest where drizzling rain is inevitable.
REI produces an exceptional quality Co-op Swiftland H20 Running Jacket built specifically to ventilate heat while providing solid water resistance for long humid treks. If you’re a big runner, this jacket is also fantastic for long runs on rainy spring days.
Packing for a high-altitude camping trip can be difficult. Camp can get pretty toasty on summer days while hiking up the ridgeline can be cold, windy, and chilling. That’s why it’s nice to have something that can break up the wind while protecting against unpredictable mountain rainfall.
A solid product like REI’s Co-op Trailmade Soft-Shell Anorak makes for a light and easy fit in your daypack while providing quality ventilation and protection from wind as you make your way up the slopes into cooler breezes.
There’s nothing worse than dealing with pouring rain on your camping trip.
Patagonia’s Granite Crest Jacket is an investment worth making to make those rainy days a little less miserable. With three layers of waterproofing, watertight pocket zippers, and a laminated visor, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a better rain jacket on the market.
And best of all? This well-designed jacket folds up and packs right into its own chest pocket, meaning you’ll have more space to pack some more dry socks!
Having high-quality outdoor clothing is critical in freezing temperatures and winter conditions. As a rule of thumb, you should seek out products that have exceptional insulation and waterproofing.
While there are a lot of well-insulated products out there, make sure to take maneuverability into consideration. A puffy jacket may be warm, but it can greatly inhibit your range of motion.
Insulated Winter Jacket
Every dedicated outdoorsman should have a solid winter jacket in their outdoor clothing collection, and Columbia’s Last Tracks Insulated Jacket somehow manages to check all of the boxes!
Breathable, well insulated, and lightweight, you can’t go wrong with this solid investment. The jacket is so maneuverable, in fact, that it remains consistently popular with skiers and snowboarders alike. Snow Pants
If you’re heading into a region with particularly heavy snow accumulation, snow pants can be a lifesaver. There’s no bigger threat of hypothermia than cold, soaked through pants.
A good pair of snow pants like REI’s Co-op Powderbound Insulated Bib Snow Pants can help keep the heat in and the snow out. With quality insulation and a brilliantly designed ventilation system, your body temperature will be well-regulated, preventing you from getting too hot or too cold out in the elements.
Winter gloves can be a tricky piece of your outdoor clothing collection.
For one, they have a way of getting quickly torn apart by brush, branches, and ice, leaving your hands vulnerable to frostbite. Moreover, they tend to be clunky and awkward, making it difficult to do more precise tasks like putting in tent stakes or opening a frozen car door handle!
REI’s Co-op Guide Insulated Gloves are made with high-quality reinforced leather for free movement and enhanced durability. The cleverly designed synthetic fleece lining will keep your digits warm without all of the clunky puffiness of your average winter glove.
Plus, they come with a soft suede nose wipe patch for when you get the sniffles out in the cold!
As mentioned previously, there are two primary body parts out of which heat escapes: your feet and your head. So, if a hood isn’t your style, a well-made hat with protection for your ears is vital.
If you’re in the market for something effective and stylish enough to wear back in town, Carhartt makes a great beanie for a very affordable price.
We hope our comprehensive guide for men’s outdoor clothing helped to streamline your search for high-quality, protective, and comfortable outdoor gear that will stand up to the test of time.
If you checked out this article to prepare for your first camping trip, check out our article on Camping for Beginners: How to Set Up a Tent and Stay Comfortable for all the tips and tricks you’ll need your first time around the campgrounds.