Wild Camping Underwear, Base Layers and Socks
Or thermals, and they used to be called.
These are an absolute must for any kind of wild camp below around 10C. They’re generally longsleeved (or legged), warm and made of material that quickly wicks away moisture from your skin. They’ll keep you substantially warmer in your sleeping bag, and potentially make the difference between an enjoyable wild camp and an appauling one.
Couple things to look out for with base layers. Firstly, go for the anti-odour, anti-bacterial ones if you’re not going out alone. It’s just friendlier, especially if you’re a guy and you’re heading out with a girl.
Second, there are a lot of techno-termals out there. These are made from materials with special properties like super-absorbancy, thermal balancing, or deflecting bullets. They can also add a zero to the end of the price. Without a doubt these are absolutely gucci to use – they feel lovely and give you that tucked-in tummy control feeling. But until you’ve got all of the rest of your kit bought, consider them a luxury.
Until then, go for lightweight, basic termals. Make sure they fit and cover most of you. And that’s about it.
There’s nothing so glorious as a dry, warm sock when you’re feet are cold and wet. This is wear you should really push the boat out. Life can never get so terrible, situations so horrible, sh*t so stuck in the fan, that a good pair of socks won’t get you out. So what to look for?
Firstly, it’s got to be wool, 100% wool if possible. Second, look for ones that are shaped for the foot. These have separate heels, toes, and mid-line strapping. Make sure than go a good distance up your calf, and grip all the way up. And make sure you have at least two dry pairs with you at any one time.
The climbing brands haven’t been able to put too much of a premium on the humble sock yet, so even top of the range ones are worth it. Also consider layering up. A thin sock inside a thicker sock, if you’re footwear is big enough, gives protection against blisters but allowing the two to rub up and down against each other. This stops the movement going into the top layers of your skin, where it effectively tries to sleu off the top layer.
If you’re really going the whole way, 1000 mile socks can be great. These are two socks in one. Pretty much exactly the same as wearing two pairs of socks, only quicker to put on.
Yes, you need some. Go for support, thin and anti-odour if you can. Lycra can be very good as it can’t get saturated, and so won’t feel wet right next to your skin.
Be practical here. You probably won’t need a spare pair – depends how classy you are.