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Monday, September 15

A Fashionista's Guide to the Great Outdoors: Vol. I

After reading a recent post by my lovely friends, the AsianCajuns, I decided to make a list of necessities for any fashion lover who wishes to pay a visit to the great outdoors. (This is just an overview of camping and hiking, but I do plan to do a few activity-specific posts in the near future.) Although I do own a few things from REI, I am definitely not one to do my regular shopping there. One must be practical in one's decisions about hiking/camping gear, but one definitely does not have to be drab about it. I mean, let's be honest here, the girl in this picture below looks really cute in her snowboarding gear. I love the green pants and sock hat!
image courtesy of Moosejaw
Among my favorite places to look for outdoor apparel is Moosejaw. Not only are the products of great quality, but the staff also has a good sense of humor. They love their jobs, but they don't take anything too seriously. If for no other reason, you should check out their site just to read the Daily Remark. It is completely random and usually quite funny. Every month the site has a contest in which you either win an item from the site or rewards points. You also accumulate points with every purchase, so after a little while you will have enough points to buy something for free! Also, there is almost always a promotion going on such as free shipping, buy one get one t-shirts, etc. The clothes are practical, but cute, which is important if you as me. It's a great place to start because the merchandise is well priced, and the daily "Lowdown" is always a fantastic deal on last season's something. I mean, let's be honest, when it comes to camping and hiking gear, I'm not too concerned about what is "in" this season.

Some essentials that you definitely don't want to forget: toilet paper (Charmin makes a travel-sized roll), hand sanitizer, facial cleansing cloths (just about every company makes these, and they come in packs as small as 5 cloths), bug repellent (I would use Off w/Deet or Jungle Juice), extra socks (it may rain, your feet may get dirty if you hike, it may be really cold at night), and a sock hat and gloves if the weather will be cool.

Here are some of my favorite products that you may or may not need depending on the type of camping involved. I know most of you are probably not too keen on throwing everything you'll need into a pack and hauling it five or so miles to the campsite. Car camping can be just as fun and doesn't necessarily involve all the work. Either way, there are fun ways to prepare for the adventure!

images courtesy of Moosejaw
Whether you're hiking for the day with the car close by or spending all weekend in the woods sans luxuries, you'll definitely need a pack. The top pack by The Northface is a great choice in that it is a hydration pack. Ok, what does that mean? Basically, it has a built in (but removable) water bottle. Trust me, when you're tromping through the wilderness, it's kind of a pain to have to stop, take off your pack, and search for your water. With this pack, all you have to do is find the mouthpiece attached magnetically to the shoulder strap. Much more convenient. If you're more into carrying everything you'll need on your back for the weekend, the second pack by Arcteryx would be more your speed. You want something large enough to carry your equipment, but light enough that it won't weigh you down. I also love this pack because of the vibrant orange color.

images courtesy of
Another item you will need is a sleeping bag. If this is just a one-time adventure, I'd suggest something from Target that will keep you warm in temperature ranges from about 40-60 degrees. I personally like these two. Also, the price tag here is in the $20 range, so if this isn't an ongoing hobby, I would suggest something like this that is less expensive.

images courtesy of Moosejaw
 For those of you who intend to make this venture repeatedly, I would suggest investing in a decent sleeping bag. Here the prices get a bit higher (around $80 on sale...), but it gets chilly at night, especially in the fall and winter months, so it's worth the extra money. The two bags above are by Marmot and GoLite, respectively. Either one would be a great choice. You want to choose your sleeping bag by the temperature that the tag states. So, a tag that says 30 degrees means that bag will keep you warm in temperatures as low as 30 degrees. The range of fun color options for these sleeping bags also allows you to still maintain your sense of personality.

images courtesy of and Moosejaw
A raincoat is a must. The worst situation possible (bears or other animals with large teeth aside) is being stuck in the rain with no protective covering. You will be miserable, trust me. A coat like this one by Marmot is lightweight and foldable making it great for stuffing into your bag without adding weight to your pack. You won't want something bulky or cumbersome if you are hiking in the rain; all you really need is a thin layer of waterproof material to keep you dry. Plus, the Marmot coats come in a rainbow of colors, from the azalea pink shown above to sunshine yellow and springtime green. The best place to purchase a raincoat like this one is at REI's outlet website or on sale at Moosejaw.

Long sleeved tees and thermals are great for cooler weather. These are some of my favorites from Moosejaw and Urban, respectively. For your base layer, however, you want something that isn't made of cotton. This is really important. Cotton will absorb sweat, making you cold at night. I would suggest either wearing a base layer or taking something to change into after hiking. I like Under Armour, personally, but any company will do (Nike, Adidas, even Target!). Just make sure that the material is dry weave so that you don't end up wet and cold.

For all of you fashionistas who, like the AsianCajuns, are really only one-or-two-times a year campers or hikers, the local Target will have everything you need from sleeping bags to travel size essentials to cute thermals and base layers. If you plan to make a few more ventures into the outdoors throughout the course of the year, I'd try Moosejaw for starters. I own a few long sleeved tees and racing shirts from there that I use on every trip. Practical can be fun and somewhat fashionable. I wouldn't wear my hiking clothes into normal social settings, but I also don't like looking drab for any occasion. Like our model friend on the snowboard (which by the way, they use outdoorsy people in their ads, so this girl probably can snowboard a bit), you can look cute while still being protected from the elements of the outdoors.

copyright Hiking in Stilettos


Anonymous said...

How about I'll be fashionable in my hotel room while I offer you lots of moral support and encoragement on your outdoor adventures!!

Dana (MODAna) said...

LOVE THIS! So original
I backpacked through latin america for 8 months and totally wore my cutest sneakers/sweats
there is a lot to be said for backpacker style
it's truly where boho started, I think - the feather jewelry, the ethnic prints, the unkempt hair

AsianCajuns said...

Thanks for the wonderful advice! Lauren and I survived the weekend, but I definitely did not do it stylishly!

I can't wait to read your activity posts!

Anonymous said...

love the post. we have camelbacks that we have used on all our hiking/camping trips and so we are big fans of hydration packs.

Ashley said...

I agree, Jodi. I would be lost without my hydration pack! I even have a little on that I take running.. much easier than a water bottle.

Kristin Joy said...
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