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How To Build The Ultimate Capsule Wardrobe for Outdoor Travel

In BLOG, PACKING TIPS, PLANNING A TRIP by Clelia Mattana1 Comment

There’s no hard and fast rule that holidays should be spent in the utmost comfort. While a lot of tourists travel to relax and be pampered at their destinations of choice, some seek to commune with nature and pursue unique physical challenges on their day out. 

For some, outdoor travel offers a remarkable departure from their typical day in the office, where they spend much of their time inside buildings surrounded by computers.

Of course, others find communing with nature and living closer to the ground fulfilling experiences on their own. Regardless of your reason for pursuing outdoor travel in your free time.

One thing is for sure: you must adequately prepare for the outdoor adventures you seek. This way, you can ensure your safety and relative comfort while you focus on enjoying the adventures offered by your trip.

If you’re looking forward to spending your free days outdoors, then one thing you have to carefully consider during the planning process is the clothes that you need to bring.

While you want to be prepared for any plausible situations you may encounter on the trail, it’s also a must to only bring your essentials.

After all, you have to carry all your things on your back, so you don’t want to be weighed down by unnecessary items. Here are some guidelines to keep in mind when building the ultimate capsule wardrobe for outdoor travel.


Create a Checklist of the Essential Clothes You Need to Bring

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Packing light is a must for outdoor travel. A well-curated wardrobe should help you keep your backpack light while addressing all your possible clothing concerns while in the wild. So, what exactly do you need to bring with you on your journey? Here are some essentials that should make up your outdoor travel wardrobe.

BOTTOMS: At the very least, you should pack two bottoms into your bag to wear while the other is being washed or dried. The type of bottoms you should bring depends on the season. If it’s warm, you can perhaps shift between a pair of walking shorts and brightly colored cotton leggings.

If the temperature drops, wear pants that offer protection against cold and wet environments or bottoms that you can layer for warmth without hampering your movement. 


TOPS: People change tops more frequently, so a minimum of four shirts should make it into your outdoor travel capsule wardrobe. You can go with lightweight, long sleeve shirts that offer protection against the sun in summer or thick ones that can keep you warm when the temperature dips.

Aside from these, it’s also an option to take a tank top, a T-shirt, and a hiking shirt with you. Ideally, you should get pieces with moisture-wicking qualities so you can be more comfortable despite putting a lot of effort into covering ground during your journey. 


JACKETS: Bringing one waterproof jacket should help you get through sudden rain showers during milder weather. Between fall and spring, you might need something thicker, depending on where you plan to go.

It also wouldn’t hurt to bring a fleece jacket that can serve as a mid-layer if the area where you’re planning to stay can get very cold in the evenings.

These pieces, plus extra pairs of socks and underwear, should make up your essential wardrobe for your trip.

Depending on a few other environmental and personal factors, such as the terrain, temperature, and fashion sensibilities, you can add a few more pieces to this basic lineup to ensure you travel in comfort and style. 


Pay Special Attention to Your Footwear Options

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When putting together your wardrobe, pay attention to your footwear options. Your feet will bear the brunt of your journey, so you want to ensure that you have the right footwear to keep your feet in relative comfort and free of injuries.

Get season-appropriate socks that offer support and fit your feet perfectly. If your shoes and socks fit well, you can expect to avoid chafing and skin irritation while basking in the presence of nature. 

Lightweight shoes and sandals designed for the terrain you’ll be traveling on will also help your journey be more bearable.

How many pairs of shoes and socks you should bring depends on a few factors. Some outdoor adventurers only bring the shoes they are wearing on their feet, as they’re not expecting to spend weeks or months outdoors.

Others who will be spending time in the wilderness for longer can opt to bring more pairs for traversing bodies of water and muddy roads or to offer their feet and toes better protection against the elements. 


Consider How You’ll Maintain Your Clothes While Traveling

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People who spend several days and nights on the trail often have few options for washing their clothes.

No one can blame you for wearing sweaty or wrinkled shirts while you’re hiking or trekking, but it’s still essential to maintain good hygiene while you’re far from civilization.

Wearing clean clothes can help you avoid infections if you get injured or wounded. Also, you’ll feel more comfortable admiring nature if your clothes are neither stinky nor itchy. 

If you’re traveling in the summer, you can get away with wearing lightweight clothes that can be washed and dried naturally in a matter of hours.

All you need to pull this off is a clean water source like a river or stream, some biodegradable detergent, and a bucket or other types of water containers. You’ll need the same if you plan to wash thicker clothes in colder seasons.

If you need to dry your clothes on the go, pick thinner pieces you can layer on top of each other for your travel wardrobe. These can be dried more quickly compared to thick shirts and sweaters.

Such a choice can be beneficial if the trail you’re following doesn’t have a lot of rest stops or laundry-equipped lodging options.


Be Prepared for Possible Weather Events While You’re Out

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People who spend a good portion of their time in nature are prepared to be exposed to the elements.

While you should probably be able to tolerate a little rain and sun, you don’t need to subject yourself to situations that will cause you a lot of stress and discomfort.

If you’re expecting it will be quite hot on the days you’ll be trekking or camping, adjust your wardrobe accordingly and bring performance clothing that can provide comfort.

Technical fabrics are designed to dry quickly, wick away moisture, or help maintain the wearer’s body temperature in harsh weather conditions.

Choosing to bring one or more of these items can help you attain a certain level of comfort even if the trek is hotter, colder, wetter, or more humid than you initially anticipated.

With more outdoor travel experience, you’ll have an easier time determining which pieces of clothing should make up your capsule wardrobe.

While starting, you can follow the advice from this list and ensure that you’re neither underdressed nor overdressed for your camping, hiking, trekking, or other outdoor activities. 

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