To make camping a comfortable experience, the most important thing to remember is (1) stay warm, (2) eat well, (3) stay hydrated. We’re going to work one #1.
Staying warm can be expensive (which sucks), so I’ve split up the list into budget picks and top picks. Keep in mind, a lot of this gear can be repurposed for other sports.
SOCKS - Warm up the toesies
Budget- Pearl Izumi Wool Socks
The Best- SmartWool socks
The Pearl Izumi will keep your warm at an excellent price, but the SmartWool will provide you that legit Merino wool, sweat wicking protection. If I were short on cash, I wouldn’t upgrade the socks. Make sure you buy 2 pairs in case you have to layer them on your foot for additional warmth.
The Best- Marmot Ouray
Having a warm sleeping bag is so important. There’s nothing worse than waking up cold in the middle of the night and not being able to sleep. if anything, you should be able to retreat to your tent for warmth. I really like the budget picks- they do the job, but the materials feel a bit synthetic-y. The Marmot Ouray feels like you’re sleeping in the best cozy cocoon ever. It’s also a 0 degree bag for those of you that get super cold (me). I freaking love this thing. If I were on a budget, I would get the budget picks.
Super Comfy- REI Camp Bed - SO COMFY.
Lighter Weight, but still really comfy- ThermaRest Pro Lite- Holy smokes. This is sleeping beauty’s fit for real.
Gotta make sure that you’re separating yourself from the cold ground. A sleeping pad also really makes a difference in the quality of sleep. A crap sleeping bag means crap sleep, which means a crap camping trip. They’re expensive, but I would highly recommend investing in a sleeping pad. Added bonus, you can use it as a mini air mattress for guests at your place- it may even be more comfortable than your guest bed. If I were on a budget, I would forgo the expensive sleeping may and go for the REI, which is plenty comfy.
If you’ve been following along on Insta-stories, you know how I’ve been touting layering. You gotta have a warm base layer, a insulating mid layer, and a hard shell.
The Nike thermal is great, but it has a very synthetic feel & it’s also kind of bulky. The SmartWool is by far the best of the 3 and Helly Hansen is great if you prefer synthetics. The non-budget picks are much lighter and keep you much warmer.
- Budget- The North Face PimaLoft and/or The North Face windbreaker
- The Best - a high-fill down jacket, like this one.
PimaLoft is great, but down is for sure the best pick. Pay attention to the fill of your jacket when buying down. I own a 500 full that keeps me toasty. This guy is definitely worth investing in. I would also highly consider a windbreaker type fleece so you have the option to not look Ike the Michelin man.
Windbreaker / Hard Shell
The Gore Tex will be a lot more breathable, but if you get super cold (like me) the Columbia will work better at locking in the heat. If I were on a budget, I would forgo the Gore Tex.
This is the same layering idea as the top: base, insulator, hard shell.
- Fleece Pants- Gap
- Peal Izumi Windproof pants or similar
I like to bring along a Merino wool hat like this one to keep my ears warm.
If you like this article, you may like these other camping articles:
- Camping Packing List for Newbies
- Group Gear Packing List for Camping
- How to Plan a Spontaneous Camping Trip to Yosemite