Your Guide to the Best List of Summer Camping Essentials

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Summer Camping Outfit BWCA

Summer Camping Check List

Summer is the season when Minnesota comes alive! Whether you love to kayak, camp, golf, or grab a drink on a rooftop patio, Minnesotans embrace the warm summer sunshine as soon as the snow melts. One of the best things to do in Minnesota in the summer is camp. If you love disappearing into the Boundary Waters for a week, or camper vanning for one night at a local state park, it’s a fantastic way to enjoy summer and get outside. Read on for a round-up of 20 items I love to bring on camping trips, or even just day hikes and adventures. Many of these items are made locally and are eco-friendly, and all are durable and stylish!

summer camping outfit
Summer Camping Outfit

1. Merino Cooling Crew Neck

This short sleeve crew neck from Ibex comes in several colors. It’s made from Merino and TENCEL™ which makes for ultimate cooling and comfort during summer hikes and camping. There are no itchy tags, and the back neck tape keeps it from stretching out. 

summer camping outfits essentials
summer camping outfits essentials

2. Dog Accessories

Alpine Sisters has a variety of awesome dog-friendly items for your next outdoor adventure or camping trip. I love the fanny pack which has plenty of space for my phone and dog treats, and also comes with a hole for easy access to poop bags. I also love the reusable food bag, which rolls down and clips shut to keep his food fresh. It also comes with a stainless steel mug to make scooping and measuring easy. Lastly, I love the fleece dog blanket. It’s waterproof and allows our pup to have a soft place to lay down on the dirt ground or inside our tent.

summer camping outfit
summer camping outfits essentials

3. Birkenstock Sandals

I love Birkenstocks and have had many styles over the years. I especially love these because, well purple is my favorite color. I also love the criss-cross design and three buckles, making this extremely comfortable sandal look a little dressier. Also, the cork and latex footbeds make them support comfortable for walking and standing for long periods of time.

summer camping outfits essentials
summer camping outfits essentials

4. Sun Hat

This is my new favorite hat! The UPF 50+ sun rating and brim keep the sun off my face and neck. It’s also compact enough to pack up and bring on trips. It’s breathable and adjustable and has a simple decorative band.

summer camping outfits essentials
Summer Camping Outfit

5. Bottles and Can Coolers

I love the variety of colors and sizes the Iron Flask bottles come in. I have the food jar, which is compact and comes with a foldable metal spoon. I also have a small water bottle, a large jug, and a can cooler, which comes in both standard and slim sizes. The double-wall insulation makes Iron Flask water bottles sweat-free! They keep your drinks cold for up to 24 hours, and hot for up to 12 hours. Be sure to use code “EXPEDITIONKRISTEN10” for a 10% discount.

summer camping outfits essentials
summer camping outfits essentials
summer camping outfits essentials
summer camping outfits essentials

6. Canoes and Paddle Boards

Grey Duck is a local company that makes their canoes locally in St. Paul, Minnesota. They’re beautiful and handcrafted, perfect for a trip to the Boundary Waters or a day fishing on the St. Croix River. They also sell hard and inflatable stand-up paddle boards. I love my inflatable SUP board, which comes with a roller backpack. It’s so easy to throw in my car or even bring on a plane.

summer camping outfits essentials
summer camping outfit

7. Merino Tank

This 100% Merino wool tank from Ibex is moisture-wicking and odor-resistant. Its curved hem makes it easy to tuck into your pants and stay there while stretching, hiking, or climbing trees.

summer camping outfit
Summer Getaway to White Eagle Resort in Northern Minnesota

8. Lightweight Breathable Long Sleeve

This lightweight, breathable, moisture-wicking long-sleeve top from Ibex is perfect for hot and humid weather and will keep you feeling cool and dry. It’s made from a blend of merino and the natural cooling properties of Tencel™, a fiber derived from sustainably grown eucalyptus.

summer camping outfits essentials
summer camping outfit

9. Lightweight Moisture-Wicking Shorts

These lightweight, moisture-wicking, breathable shorts from Ibex are super soft and comfortable. They come with a hidden interior back pocket to stash small essentials. The fabric blends Merino with the natural cooling properties of Tencel™, a fiber derived from sustainably grown eucalyptus.

summer camping outfit
summer camping outfits essentials

10. Stretchy Quick-Drying Shorts

These organic cotton, recycled polyester stretch shorts are perfect for hiking and relaxing on hot summer days. They are moisture-wicking abrasion-resistant, and UPF 50+. I also love that I can roll them up or down to make them shorter or longer. That especially comes in handing when I want to cool off in the lake but not get my clothing wet. They also have lots of pockets and an elastic waistband. 

summer camping outfits essentials
summer camping outfit

11. Lightweight Rubber Sandals

The KEEN Women’s Ellecity Backstrap is a summer sandal that is comfortable enough for camping and cute enough for a rooftop patio. The arch support and cushioning of this sandal make for all-day comfort.  The rubber sole allows it to dry quickly if they get wet at the beach or on a boat.

Camping Summer Outfits
What to know about the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness

12. Compact Hammock

A portable hammock is the perfect item to upgrade your camping experience from rugged to luxury. It’s compact and lightweight, and all you need is two trees! I love to use this in my own backyard and at local parks too.

Camping Summer Outfits
summer camping outfits essentials

13. Eco-Friendly Bathing Suits

These are my new favorite bathing suits! Made from recycled nylon fabric that’s been sustainably sourced from Italy, its compression-like nature is due to its composition of super plastics, much of this coming from commercial fishing nets pulled from the ocean as part of coral reef restoration efforts. So why not look cute, feel great, and do something good for the planet all at once?

summer camping outfits essentials
summer camping outfits essentials

14. Stretchy Hiking Pants

These Prana straight-leg pants are versatile and great for hiking, backpacking, and traveling. They’re eco-friendly and made from recycled nylon fabric. They’re also water-resistant, stretchy, and breathable and have a lot of pockets. I love wearing these on both camping trips and long flights.

summer camping outfits essentials
summer camping outfits essentials

15. Solar-Powered Charger

This solar-powered charger is a game changer, especially if you love to go off-grid for stretches of time, like trips into the Boundary Waters. It’s rugged, durable, and water-resistant. It’s seriously perfect for bringing on a camping trip, while camper vanning, or a long day out on the boat.

Summer Camping Outfit
summer camping outfit

16. Tent

The Crua Duo two-person tent has plenty of space for two adults, yet folds down and is super compact and lightweight. This makes it super easy to toss in the back of your car or carry while hiking. It can be assembled in just a few minutes, is water-resistance, breathable, and super durable for the wildest of adventures.

summer camping outfit
Summer Camping Outfit

17. Inflatable Sleeping Pad

This inflatable sleeping pad from Moosejaw is water-resistant. It’s 2.5″ thick to keep you elevated above the cold, hard ground. And did I mention it’s self-inflating? Just open the valve and watch it inflate while you munch on a s’more.

Summer Camping Outfit
summer camping outfit

18. Z Top Sleeping Bag

This versatile sleeping bag has a unique design with a top flap that seals in body heat and eliminates drafts on colder nights. It also allows you to sleep in any position you’d like, even sprawled out and not packed in like a sardine. You can also fold back the top flap or even unzip and remove it on those hot summer nights.

summer camping outfit
Summer Camping Outfit

19. Outdoor Blanket

This blanket is great for staying warm on chilly nights around the bonfire, or in your tent. It can also be used as a lighter option to replace your sleeping bag when you want to be able to kick your legs out or move around more easily in your sleep.

Summer Camping Outfit
summer camping outfits essentials

20. Inflatable Pillow

I am most comfortable sleeping with two pillows, and inflatable pillows allow me to bring what I need on a camping trip without taking up too much room. They inflate with just a few breaths and fit standard pillowcases, which makes it easy to keep them clean. And when deflated they take up barely any space at all.

What to know about the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness

More Summer Camping Ideas

Camping is such a fun way to get outside! Looking for more inspiration? Check out my blog posts on 9 State Parks Along Lake Superior’s North Shore, How to Plan a Trip to the Boundary Waters, A Weekend Camping in Luverne, Minnesota, and A Guide to 20 Must-Do Minnesota Outdoor Adventures.

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