Change out of your day clothes
At the end of the day, as soon as you reach camp, you need to change out of your hiking clothes and into your camping clothes. This is important because your hiking clothes will most likely be damp and dirty (even smelly) after a long day of hiking.
Changing into warm, dry clothes as soon as you reach camp reduces the risk of catching a chill and avoids the possibility of hypothermia. Using a wicking layer of polypropylene long underwear and a fleece jacket and hat if needed will ensure that you keep dry and warm. For temperatures below freezing, a down jacket is great for keeping warm especially in the evening.
As for your wet hiking clothes, you need to dry them by wringing for several times before you hang them on a clothesline but don’t leave them there until morning or they may get wet and even give out a nasty smell.
Camping Clothes for Sleeping
Wearing layered clothing can help you stay warm in a sleeping bag. A clean layer of polypropylene long underwear keeps you comfortable and warm while protecting your sleeping bag against dirt which in turn extends its longevity.
Since your head will lose heat quicker than any part of your body, wearing a balaclava can really help you keep warm. You may sometimes find that it’s too warm even in sub-zero temperatures.
You could also use a pair of gloves, a hat, a pair of clean socks or two, and extra layers of clothing. You may find that your feet can get cold easily in a sleeping bag so a few layers of socks can be helpful. If you only have two set of clothes, wear your camping clothing at night.
What to do for unexpected cold nights?
Sometimes the temperature could be a lot cooler than expected and you’re not prepared for it especially at night. In this situation you should wear as many layers of clothing as possible including rain gear but make sure your rain gear is dry. The rain gear will keep a lot of heat in and keep you warm as you sleep.
Caring for your clothes at camp
We recommend that you use synthetic fabrics for hiking because the dry very quickly making them easy to clean as well. After you’ve changed out of your hiking clothes and into your camping clothes, wash and rinse out your hiking clothes if you have time. If you don’t have the time, airing the hiking clothes is better than doing nothing.
When washing your hiking clothes, don’t use soap directly in a water source like a river or lake. Use you pot or container instead and dispose the soap waste carefully into the ground.
If you don’t have anything to wash your hiking clothes in then you settle with just a rinse. When you’re done with the cleaning and/or rinsing, hang your hiking clothes to dry on a clothesline tied between two trees. If not, you can also lay them on a rock.