What NOT to Wear Camping

95295036As a Park Ranger, I’ve seen some pret­ty hilar­i­ous and gag-wor­thy getups dur­ing my tenure. As com­mon sense dic­tates, when you ven­ture to a pub­lic park or camp­ground to recre­ate, you should think func­tion­al­ly and prac­ti­cal­ly. How­ev­er, many peo­ple just, well…don’t get it. To be clear, this is not to make fun of anyone’s finan­cial sit­u­a­tion, body type, or sense of style. Okay, maybe their sense of style just a lit­tle bit. At any rate, here’s a list of out­door fash­ion no-nos. 

Socks with san­dals
We’ll begin with an obvi­ous one. San­dals are great for let­ting your feet breathe on hot days when you’re loung­ing around. Socks are great for keep­ing your feet warm and com­fort­able. The two don’t mix. If you want to wear socks to keep your feet warm or to hide your funky lookin’ toe­nails, invest in a pair of sneak­ers or boots to go over them.

Attire fea­tur­ing drugs or alco­hol
Lis­ten, what you do in your own time is your busi­ness. If you want to catch the atten­tion of the ranger or secu­ri­ty guard at the camp­ground you’re vis­it­ing, the quick­est way to do so is to wear clothes with drug or alco­hol pic­tures, logos, or insignia plas­tered all over it. It’s basi­cal­ly a minia­ture blink­ing bill­board that reads “Keep an eye on me! I have bad habits and I’m proud of them!” 


Poor­ly fit­ting swimwear
This goes for men and women of all shapes and sizes. Whether you’re skin­ny or rotund, petite or volup­tuous, please keep your camp­mates’ men­tal pic­ture album in mind by ton­ing down the amount of exposed skin. You should be proud of what you look like and own every minute of it, but there’s a time and place for said own­ing. That place is not in a pub­lic camp­ground, so cov­er up your busi­ness. This nat­u­ral­ly brings us to… 

Yes it hap­pens, and fair­ly often. For pete’s sake folks, keep your pants on. It’s a camp­ground and you’re in the great out­doors, but it’s not like you’re liv­ing alone in a hut in the mid­dle of the woods like some wild ani­mal. Feel­ing all free and breezy is great but there are places for that, includ­ing nud­ist colonies and your own damn house. 

Too much
Now that we’ve thor­ough­ly exam­ined the prin­ci­ple behind cov­er­ing your nether-regions, let’s go in a dif­fer­ent direc­tion. Many peo­ple (usu­al­ly the inex­pe­ri­enced) show up with a laugh­able amount of unnec­es­sary gear as seen in this episode of Port­landia (below). As afore­men­tioned, always take into account where you’re going and what you will be doing there. For instance, if it’s August and you’re going some­where where it nev­er gets below 75 at night, you’re not going to need that huge, bulky North Face par­ka you’ve been wear­ing all day for the sole pur­pose of let­ting every­one around you know how much you spent on gear. 

We’re get­ting into seman­tics here, delin­eat­ing between san­dals and “flip-flops.” San­dals will work for camp­ing as long as they are secure­ly attached to your feet and assum­ing you’re not going to be doing any hard­core hik­ing or climb­ing in them. “Flip-flops,” how­ev­er are a whole dif­fer­ent ani­mal. They pro­vide you with a ½ inch of rub­ber, plas­tic, or cork to pro­tect your soles from the ground, bugs, thorns, and crit­ters. They break eas­i­ly, get lost eas­i­ly, and just aren’t very con­ducive for camp­ing. Again, sneak­ers, boots, or my per­son­al favorite Vibram toe-shoes are the way to go.