As 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.
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.