Getting dressed for an outdoor adventure comes with some serious gear and clothing items that your usual athleisure assortment might not be cut out for. But don't fret — outdoor enthusiast Evelynn Escobar-Thomas has you covered with her hiking and camping fashion essentials.
Escobar-Thomas founded Hike Clerb in 2017, a Los Angeles-based intersectional women’s hiking group that has since expanded from monthly meetups to serving as a resource and experience hub to help women of color heal in nature. The organization recently launched the Find Your Park Program, which will give away three U.S. National Park annual passes a month through March 2021. Merch, of course, is on the way, too.
With travel plans (especially outside of the United States) on hold due to the global pandemic, vacations and getaways have mostly been happening outdoors, from nearby nature hikes to road tripping to camp at a national park. Escobar-Thomas has noticed an uptick in outdoor adventures, too, which means that social distancing is still as important as ever, along with having as minimal an impact on the environment as possible.
“I go by the leave-no-trace principles, which are just guidelines of how to be a responsible person outdoors and how to take care of those spaces,” she says. “You should be leaving it better than you came in.”
Below, Escobar-Thomas broke down her go-to outfit and must-have items for your next hike or camping trip.
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Hiking Fashion Essential #1: Zip-Off Pants
"I always wear zip-off bottoms, especially in California. It can start out kind of cool in the morning and then heat up during the day and then obviously get cooler at night. So it's just nice to be able to have everything on you and have options. I love a good zip-off pants situation, and you can find those at your local REI. I don't know if they brought them back this year already, but I usually wear these Outdoor Voices cargo zip-offs and also Free People Movement has a good selection of these now, too."
Hiking Fashion Essential #2: Built-In Bra Camis And Oversize Tees
"I love built-in bra camis because you can use them as a sports bra underneath something, or you can just wear it itself if it's too hot. And then I'm always wearing in oversize tee because that's just how I live my life. You'll usually find me in an oversize vintage tee, whether I'm on the trails or not."
Hiking Fashion Essential #3: Hiking Shoes, Sandals, And Socks
"As far as hiking shoes, which are obviously very important, I always wear Nike ACG for easier day hikes that are maybe 6 or 7 miles. For the more extensive hikes, I usually wear Hoka One One. Those are really, really great shoes for actual backpacking and hikes that are more committal.
"With socks, at a basic level, they have to be, for me, at least taller than my hiking shoes to prevent any sort of friction. You do not want to be hiking for 7 miles with a blister, which has happened to me before and it's terrible. I would not recommend it. I don't use any special hiking socks. Although, in the winter I will use wool socks to hike in, but regularly, I personally just love Outdoor Voices socks as an all-around sock.
"And then if it's the summer and I'm backpacking through an environment that has a river or anything like that, I bring hiking sandals. So I usually wear hardcore Tevas or there's Chaco and Hoka even has a water hiking shoe. There are a bunch of options."
Hiking Fashion Essential #4: Bandana And Sun Hat
"I always wear a bandana for sweat and to keep the hair out of my face. I usually bring multiple on any trip that I go on. Also, a sun hat because, especially in California, you're not in the shade most of the time. When it's really intensely hot out, having a hat will for sure be way essential versus just wearing a bandana."
Hiking Fashion Essential #5: Backpack
"With day hikes, you can bring any sort of comfortable backpack or oversized fanny pack if you're not doing anything too intense. But if you are doing an actual long, 8-plus-mile day hike or are backpacking or camping, then you need a proper backpack to hold all your supplies. One that's going to take the weight off of your back and balance it throughout your body. I use a couple of different ones. I have one from REI for actual backpack camping and then I also have a Nike ACG backpack that I use for the more strenuous, longer day hikes. And they all have the over-the-breasts strap and the over-the-waist straps, which are very important as far as distributing weight."
Hiking Fashion Essential #6: Packable Down Jacket (Anything That's Packable, Really)
"One of the things that I really love is just being efficient. I have a lot of packable items, meaning I have a packable down jacket that also turns into a pillow. Using those things that can act as two different items are a major key. Free People has a collection that is all these packable things. They have packable pants, which you can just throw on over your shorts, that are really great. And they're super thin, too. So easy to pack and great when you're cold and may not have brought enough stuff."
Bonus Tip: Hiking Beauty And Wellness Essentials
"Depending on how big the day trip is, I may or may not pack my water pouch, like a Camelbak. If it's just a smaller day hike with friends then I'm just packing a bigger water bottle. GoMacro bars are my favorite bars and I always take them with me when I go hiking.
"I always have my inhaler for obvious reasons and bug spray. Kinfield makes a really great bug spray. Obviously, sunblock. I usually use outdoor organic sunblock. Another essential is body wipes, especially for camping. Those are a must-have. By Humankind also have a lot sustainable items, like mouthwash that are tablets or shampoo and conditioners that are bars. Packing items like that instead of just a bunch of liquids is also super helpful.
"I would also say always keep a little first aid kit on you. It doesn't have to be anything crazy, but you always want to pack that."