Camping In Style

Camping In Style

Recently, a very sweet girl told me she was on her way to a school camp & didn’t know what to wear. She said that while her mother always tells her to take practical clothes, she often felt shown-up by the other girls, who were immaculately groomed — even after canoeing! Ahh, the joy of school. But it did prompt me to think that surely there was a way to camp in style. It can’t be all mosquito spray & burned marshmallows, can it?

I think that our dear letter writer’s mother is right in that practical clothes are key. Seriously, anything with a heel will either get ruined or ruin you (picture tripping over a log & mashing your face, for example). However! Practical does not necessarily mean styleless! & stylish does not necessarily mean impractical! This is a key point. You can still look devilishly cool in a pair of flat boots.

Suggested packing list:
A pair of relaxed-fit jeans — & hike them up, please! No one wants to see crack around the campfire, eep!
Flannel shirts. They’re comfortable & stylish & if you think you can wear them ironically, so much the better! Roll up the sleeves & leave the top few buttons undone, too.
A long black maxi-skirt or plain long dress. Obviously not for when you’re doing anything insanely physical, but it will be good for lounging around in the evening, as well as the trip there & back.
Vintage t-shirts. Cool & comfortable — hard to beat! Remember to always buy t-shirts which fit you, meaning they are long enough in the body, the sleeves hit you at the skinniest part of your upper arm & they’re not so tight that onlookers can see the shape & form of your belly-button.
Shorts. Nice ones! Not daggy ones! If it gets chilly, you can chuck a pair of leggings on underneath them.
Racerback singlets. They’re super-sporty & allow you to show a bit of skin without looking like that was your intention. (Sneaky!) Remember to buy a bra with convertible straps to wear with these.
A thick cardigan or faux-fur coat for night time (& cold mornings). When the temperature drops, you don’t want to be the girl who can’t eat dessert because her teeth are chattering.
Big flat boots. I would wear my New Rocks because they’re rugged & easy, but anything with a bit of weight to it will be fab.
Sandals. They’re much classier than jandals/flip-flops/thongs & the best ones have a delicious, French Riviera kind of feel.
A hat of some description. What you wear will depend on your style. I have, for example, a black baseball cap which says ‘Compton’ on the front (loooove it!) as well as a huge sunhat, & both would be good to take on holiday. Use your discretion!
Headscarves. These get a big tick in my book, I am a fairly unabashed fan. After a few days in the wilderness, lovely though it may be, your hair will begin to get a bit stanky. A scarf around your noggin is, in my opinion, the only sane response to a world gone mad.

Put together properly, these items will have you looking magnificent. Really, what you want to do is look effortlessly stylish. A log cabin, or tent, or whatever, is not really the place to bust out your couture, as nice as that would be. A few simple pieces & a necklace or some bracelets will go further than you might first think.

I suspect that the girls who look immaculate after canoeing aren’t paddling with a lot of vigour. That’s okay, though, I used to sit out physical education class every week & I turned out alright. I think, though, that the reason they look good is because they’re looking after their skin & hair. This is not hard to do, you just need a portable routine which you can take camping easily. Even when I was at Burning Man, I would moisturise every morning, apply makeup, & take it off again at night! It doesn’t take long & it makes you feel (& look) about a bazillion times better. (I don’t really go for that au naturel thing…)

What you take for your skin routine will depend on how much time you want to put into it. The girl who wrote to me said she was only going camping for two days, so I would suggest making it as fuss-free as possible. Take some baby wipes (the sort with aloe vera & vitamin e) & moisturiser, as well as foundation, concealer & waterproof mascara. Primer too, if you have it. Use the baby wipes in place of your normal cleanser & toner step, then moisturise, prime & apply foundation. Foundation, concealer & mascara is so easy to do — shouldn’t take more than about 3 minutes — & will make you look fantastic & low fuss. Showing up for a hike with a full red lip & smokey eye is probably a bit much.

Pull your hair back off your face, either into a ponytail or with a scarf. You will look clean & chic, even if you feel like a total grub-monkey. (That’s the official term, in case you were wondering.) You can add a couple of sparkly barrettes if you feel the need, but leave your curling tongs, GHDs, what-have-you, at home! You’re not at the Moulin Rouge, darling!

In closing, have a fabulous time. Take lots of photos, tell ghost stories & roast marshmallows like your life depends on it!

Extra For Experts:
Living It Up At Burning Man (well, it’s camping, innit?!)
The Perfect Roadtrip (you have to get there somehow…)