Now that I have a vintage camping trailer, I thought it would be fun to wear some vintage camping clothes. Taking a look back on 1920s to 1950s hiking and camping clothes, I have a choice from long skirts, to knickers, to pants, and even dresses. What decade would you most like to camp in?
Follow the links within for shopping suggestions and more history of each type of clothing. For earlier outdoor outfits read 1900-1910s Hiking, Camping, Sport Clothes for Women
1920s Hiking, Camping Clothes
The sport togs outfit of the 1900s-1910s continued to be worn in the 1920s. Some ladies wore an everyday skirt and blouse pairing, but most women wore togs. Cross-dressing in menswear or men’s inspired clothing was trendy with teenagers and practical for women who took hiking and camping seriously.
In the 1920s, there was a greater variety of shirts and jackets, sweaters, and cardigans to choose from. All inspired by men’s workwear and casual clothing.
Shop women’s breeches/workwear style clothing.
1930s Hiking, Camping Clothes
The sport togs hiking outfit was also worn throughout the 1930s. With a little more variety in styles of breeches, knickers, plus fours (men’s golf pants) as well as long riding jodhpurs, women could choose a unique hiking or camping outfit.
Knit shirts such as the polo shirt replaced many button down shirts, and casual sport jackets replaced the Norfolk style sport coat.
I used the above photo to inspired my 1930s hiking outfit: green felt hat (1950s), scarf (vintage), black polo shirt (1970s), belt, corduroy jodhpurs, and lace up boots.
Shorts were the newest contribution to hiking clothes in the 1930s. Some women simply cut pants and made long walking shorts that looked like knickers/plus fours, pairing them with long socks or boots. Or in the later 1930s, they took long pants and rolled them up to the knee.
Most women, however, purchased sport shorts (or gym shorts) to wear on casual hikes and camping trips. Girls and teens flocked to summer camps where a pair of shorts or a playsuit (romper) was the required uniform.
Long pants and overalls became more common later in the 1930s. These casual outfits turned into appropriate hiking and camping clothes when made of durable denim or heavy cotton twill. Learn more about women’s 1930s pants and overalls styles.
1940s Hiking, Camping Clothes
The biggest trend in hiking and camping clothes in the 1940s were long pants and denim jeans (also overalls). Women took long pants and rolled them up to calf or knee for a trendy new look inspired by the teenager’s fashion trend for wearing men’s jeans. Pairing them with a men’s style button down shirt created the typical hiking, camping, and workwear look for most of the 1940s (and 1950s).
Westernwear, too, was frequently worn for outdoor activities.
1950s Hiking and Camping Clothes
The rolled denim pants of the ’40s were still popular, but now the 1950s introduced cropped capri pants and pedal pushers. Denim was best for rugged hiking and camping, but lighter weight cottons were fine for camping. There was little distinction between “camping clothes” and general casual fashions.
Long sleeve plaid button down shirts, sleeveless cotton shirts, knit T-shirts, and sweaters were all fashionable tops to pair with pants and jeans.
Denim culottes, skirts, dresses, and shorts were also ideal for the outdoors.
Not all camping had to be rustic. Glamping started in the 1950s, when many women still wore dresses while camping. Modern tents, camp stoves, and trailers made camping cleaner, while an abundance of new, paved, trailer parks and campsites literally paved the way to glamorous camping.
The turn of the century saw women taking to the out-of-doors in droves. Their need for sturdy boots was a growing industry. Abercrombie was one such company who is still around today. Their hiking boots were over the calf high with long laces and hooks for maximum flexibility. Paired with tall socks, hiking boots remained unchanged from the 1910s to the 1940s. Shop boots.
Once hiking and camping became less serious and more casual, so did footwear.
Loafers and moccasins were casual shoes worn in the 1940s and 1950s. Shop 1940s shoes and 1950s shoes.
Canvas sport sneakers such as classic Keds or Converse style hi- and lo-top shoes were worn from the 1930s onward, but especially in the 1950s and 1960s. They came in a lot of bright fun colors, with thick rubber soles. Shop sneakers.
What hiking outfits are you planning to wear? If you need help, just ask us!