As you’ve likely heard, recent travel restrictions have combined with the lifestyle limitations of lockdown to create an unheralded boom in outdoor travel. Campgrounds around the country are packed to allowable capacity, while sales and rentals of all camping-related gear are skyrocketing.
Outdoor industry leaders as well as environmental preservationists are trying to figure out how this exponential growth will impact the integrity of our shared outdoor spaces. Meanwhile, though, we at The Manual have already grasped the implications on a personal level: the boom in outdoor travel this year means you’re a lot more likely to run into somebody you know. No matter what form your camping trip takes — driving an RV to your state’s showpiece, backpacking along the coast, or posting up at your favorite KOA for a week— odds are good that you’ll cross paths with, for instance, your crush, your client, your boss (or someone you wish were your boss). Someone, in other words, whom you’d rather didn’t see you in a sweat-stained souvenir tee and cargo pants that haven’t been laundered since you followed Dave Matthews on tour.
With that in mind, we advise you to upgrade your camping wardrobe. Outdoor lovers tend to prioritize their resources on gear, while completely overlooking the gear they wear on their back. And we get it—bumming around in your ancient college fleece and gym shorts for a weekend is part of the charm of
That’s why we’ve curated a shortlist of our tried-and-tested “camping couture.” Our recommendations are built with the outdoors in mind, offering the perfect symbiosis of comfort and style, along with some added functionality that makes a big difference when you’re roughing it.
So as you pack up for your outdoor adventure, leave the sweat-stained t-shirts in the hamper, and get out there looking like a grown-ass adult. You’ll be surprised by how good it feels.
If you’d described the California Cowboy shirt for us, we’d probably have scoffed at it. Lined pockets for stashing a cold beer? Terry cloth lining for a built-in towel? It sounded so crazy, we had to try it for ourselves … and now we’re obsessed. The short-sleeved version is the perfect thing to throw on after a morning surf session or a plunge into a cold lake, while the long-sleeved shirt with its plaid exterior and thermal lining gives you ultimate camp style and offers an extra layer of skin-soft warmth without the bulk of an actual base layer. Both models feature more ingenious compartments than a Winnebago, with all the iconic style of an Airstream.
The holy trifecta of camp wear is style, comfort, and functionality. We’ve yet to find a brand like Duer that offers all three in ample measure. This Canadian outfitter’s line of basics are tough as nails, with jeans, tees, shorts, and joggers that stand up to temperamental weather and the myriad indignities involved in roughing it, while still holding their shape for effortless casual style. You’ll want to spend the entire day in the Duer Live-Free Adventure Pant, an innovative pant-jogger hybrid that features DWR water resistance, zippered cargo pockets, and — man, do we love this — adjustable ankle cuffs for the most versatile fit we’ve ever seen.
The undisputed leader in sustainable casual apparel, UBB is a one-stop shop for camping style. The brand’s catalog of well-built basics are as much at home in the wild as they are for supply runs into town. We are big fans of the SoftHemp line of tees and tanks, which offer breathable comfort during the day and base-layer warmth when the sun goes down. Their Camp Shorts are truly worthy of the name, with a relaxed feel that belies their slim-fit profile. And don’t forget the must-have bucket hat to keep you protected from sun, bugs, and the unexpected downpour.
Mornings in the wild beg for soft, cozy layers that you can sink into — no blanket on shoulders required. Deso Supply Co.’s hoodies have all the technical specs you want from your outdoor gear — warm fleece, funnel necks, anatomical seams and binding — but mercifully skip the blinding colors and fabric textures that make your camping crew look like a band of retired Muppets. We’re partial to the Wooly Zip hoodie, made with super lightweight fleece that prevents bulk, a tailored slim fit that takes up minimal room between your tee and jacket, and a scuba-style hood for zipped-up protection when the temperature takes a dip.
Real talk: Sometimes the greatest attraction of camping is the opportunity for 24-hour sweatpants without shame. We salute you, leisure lovers … while also humbly suggesting that the more committed you are to pure comfort, the more likely it is that your sweatpants could use an upgrade. We highly recommend you upgrade to the Vuori Ponto Legging. Your girlfriend will love the straight-leg fit that makes these modern sweatpants perfectly presentable outside the house. The real score, however, is trading in the traditional sweatpant fleece for this light, buttery-soft performance fabric that won’t bag out and puts an end to perspiration down under.
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