Know Your Location
Before even beginning packing, my favorite thing to do is research. What kind of weather should you expect? Research the area to know if the location is prone to snow, rain, or extreme heat. Weather can be unpredictable (even in the summer) so depending on altitude and season, layering is vital to being outdoors. At any moment, the temperature can go from chilly, to warm, to hot, to cold to freezing, but be prepared and all will go well.
It's all about comfort and layering. Firstly, you might be driving for a while to get there, and moving around a lot when you arrive, so be as comfortable as possible. Choose lightweight tops and stretchy bottoms. Relaxed silhouettes are going to be your best friend in this setting.
You will be encircled by dust, dirt, or mud, so focus on choosing adventure-ready clothes. You never know what you’ll find when you're surrounded by nature. You will get dirty. Don't bring your favorite J. Crew Collection Cashmere Waffle Leggings. Leave those beauties at home. Rather, bring still comfortable and cute leggings, but ones you won't mind to rock climb in and get a bit dirty.
If you're going to be doing a bit of hiking, like we are, the most important thing to bring are boots. Something that's sturdy enough to climb rocks with, comfortable to walk in all day, and perfectly safe for getting dirty and dusty. Also, good socks make a big difference, so pack a couple pairs that are thick and, if possible, made from wool. My brothers have thermal socks, so I will be borrowing those.
Mix And Match
Since you'd need to pack as light as possible, only fitting everything in a small duffle bag may be a challenge, especially for a girl. Find items that can be mixed and matched; packing will be simpler and lighter. Try to keep your pack down to 1-2 items per category; meaning one legging, one short sleeve, one long sleeve, one pant, etc., especially if you’re only there for a weekend. It can also make it easier to pair things together if you follow a common and neutral color palette.
Be Low Maintenance
Unless you’re 'glamping,' and you’re welcomed to real showers, you won’t be able to freshen up the way you’re normally used to. Keep your hair tamed by wearing bandanas or cute hats. Put it up in a high bun or a simple-to-care-for braid. If you can't go more than two days without washing your hair, try out a dry shampoo to alleviate the build-up-feel. Bring deodorant, hand sanitizer, nice smelling lotions, and light perfume to stay smelling fresh during the trip.
As for make-up, be ready to go au naturel or keep it light with some mascara and tinted chap-stick. For those who are acne prone (like me) this might be a challenge and a really uncomfortable, self-conscious weekend. Bring a face towel and extra water bottles for your acne wash to clean your face with in the morning and night. Wear lots of sunscreen to prevent marks appearing on your skin, bring a primer with green undertones to reduce redness, and light concealer to cover up the problem areas. Still simple, but well protected. You won't be as self-conscious or be deemed as a beauty diva either on your nature-driven trip.
If you’re anything like me, you don’t like seeing dirt in your nails. Unfortunately when you’re outside setting up your tent, making food or building a fire, your nails will tend to collect a little grime from being active in the great outdoors. What I like to do is right before the trip I paint my nails a dark color so that you won't be able to see what's going on under my nails. This always helps me feel ladylike, even considering the circumstances.
You're going to see some beautiful scenery with awesome people you love; you'll want to capture every moment of it without relying too much on your cell phone. I bring my camera with me wherever I go no matter what anyway, so bringing it to a camping trip is like a no-brainer. Just be very careful while you're there. Keep your eye on it so it won't get lost, and be careful it doesn't drop anywhere.
Hopefully the next time someone invites you on a trip to the wild for the weekend, you can say yes with absolute certainty and be prepared for an awesome time. Explore the world where animals run freely, the air is clean and the view around you is incredibly photogenic. The best and absolute most important part about going camping is the people you go with. Make some good memories, have great conversations and make this an experience that will be worth story-telling. Be safe and have fun.
Photograph from Tumblr