Merino capsule camping wardrobes: casual style, minimal effort

From weekend camping trips to RV living, versatile, stylish merino wool camping outfits are ideal for short trips and long hauls

Whether tent camping for a long weekend or living long-term in an RV, the travel-smart, adventurous woman still wants to look stylish and feel comfortable. Well-curated travel capsule camping wardrobes make all the difference in packing the right amount of clothes for limited space.

Your travel capsule wardrobe expert

I’m Jodie. As a globetrotting mama, I can sidle through Singapore and motorhome across Montana. No matter where we are in the world, my travel wardrobe has to be versatile.. Dresses, tops, and bottoms have to keep me warm when it’s chilly… but also cool me down in hot climes. Plus, while our family of four spends months driving cross-country in a Class C motorhome, my wardrobe space is limited to an overhead shelf and a few packing cubes. I can both make it work… and work it!

Maintaining a versatile, compact, comfy, and stylish travel capsule wardrobe has been no small part of my personal satisfaction with our family’s full-time travels. That’s why, from Cambodia to Colorado, I’ve built my travel capsule wardrobe around merino wool dresses and separates. Now, RVing the USA with my family, I’ve also refined my clothes into camping wardrobes that work for me.

Here’s how.

Hold on. Isn’t wool hot?

Okay, wondering if merino wool is hot is a fair question to start with.

It’s easy to associate wool with thick sweaters, snow on the ground, and rainy seasons in drizzly places like Scotland or Oregon. The world of wool is so much bigger than warmth though. Lighter merino wool creates breathable, comfort-regulating fabric that can cool when it’s hot and warm when it’s chilly.

I’ve worn my Wool& merino wool dresses, tops, and bottoms everywhere. From hot days wandering LEGOLAND Malaysia, to cold mornings on Washington’s Olympic Peninsula, merino is breathable and helps a traveling woman like me regulate temperature and comfort. Wool can be warm, but it doesn’t have to be hot. If anything, merino wool is just right for a travel capsule wardrobe—especially when it comes to camping and RVing.

Wear merino clothes multiple times without smelling bad

You know you wear something one day, and it winds up stinking like crazy? All that bad smell is caused not by your sweat, but by bacteria.

Merino wool’s natural antimicrobial properties combat stinkiness. Even when we travel in hot climates such as Thailand, I can wear my merino clothes multiple times before washing it. In between wears, I lay out or hang my merino clothes to dry and air out. Even overnight, I can pick them up in the morning, and they smell fresh and ready to go.

Can you wear this capsule wardrobe every day?

We happen to be RVing and camping, but the items in these capsule camping wardrobes are great for everyday wear too. These casual merino pieces hold up great for camping, but are just as snazzy for around the house or out and about.

Tent camping capsule wardrobe

Short-term camping trips need a different approach from, say, a multi-week vacation, or vanlifing it long-term in a camper van or motorhome. When a woman is taking an overnight or long weekend camping trip, and tent camping to boot, space is at a premium. But that doesn’t mean you have to go without the right look or being comfortable whether it’s the height of a hot summer day, or that early morning chill while you’re heating water for your favorite morning beverage.

Merino is great for camping wardrobes

When camping in tents or taking a short camping trip, the compact, lightweight nature of merino wool makes it a natural companion for the outdoorsy woman:

  • Modern colors and styles make it easy to mix and match a few pieces for maximum style and comfort
  • Merino’s natural breathable weave makes it easy to layer for comfort without feeling bulky or heavy
  • You can look the way you want to look, without sacrificing functionality

Short camping trip

Whether hiking the trail or chilling around camp, I routinely wear merino wool apparel as my travel capsule wardrobe. For a short camping trip, here’s what I might pack:

Simple and versatile

Just a few pieces of merino wool dresses or separates gives lots of versatility. I usually include a couple of simple accessories too, such as a couple of belts, for easy mixing and matching. For a simple, tent-friendly, compact yet stylish and comfy travel capsule wardrobe, it’s easy to put together a travel capsule wardrobe that’s compact, and doesn’t leave me shivering or sweating.

Long-term RV travel and vanlife vibes

Merino wool doesn’t just make an excellent capsule wardrobe for short outdoors camping trips. If you’re veering into vanlife or wanting to live full-time or travel long-term in an RV, fifth wheel, or motorhome, you can still keep a compact wardrobe while giving yourself more options and accessories.

Merino wool maximizes limited space

No matter your rig, you’ll be traveling with less storage space than you’d have in a house. You might have space for some hanging clothes, but not always. Drawers or cabinets may be your main storage space. That’s the case for our family’s Class C motorhome. While we have a small closet, the only things hanging in there are rain jackets, two day packs, and a broom.

Where do I store my clothes? Anthony and I each have a long, overhead cabinet above the bed. We keep our clothes in packing cubes. Merino wool helps me get more out of our limited space though. Since the fabric is naturally thin, not thick, I can fold or roll it tight, and store my dresses, tops, pants, and accessories in packing cubes.

Simplified packing declutters our RV

For us, packing light isn’t about some minimalist vibe. We like to pack right. The four of us—including our 11-year-old son and 8-year-old daughter—only have but so many square feet. And we share every inch.

Packing enough clothes and accessories, but not too many, goes a long way in helping us maintain our space and keep clutter under control. That smoothes out our overall lifestyle. We spend less time tidying, sorting, cleaning, and decluttering, and more time enjoying where we are—along with each other’s company.

Plus, I always know where my clothes are, and it’s easy for me to lay out exactly what I want to wear each day. That makes living in an RV more fun, and it helps me be ready for whatever we want to do that day—and for whatever the day has in store for us!

Seamless adaptation to changing weather and temperature

Merino wool got my attention for a capsule wardrobe not only because it’s comfy and compact. I can wear my merino wool clothes in pretty much any conditions, and be comfortable.

After all, there is no constant but changing weather! We’ve been in hot, sunny summer days, and we’ve felt the temperature plunge as a thunderstorm rolled in. No matter the time of day or what the weather brings, I can put together the right outfit to keep me comfy. Plus, when the weather changes, my breathable merino wool clothes help me adapt. I don’t overheat, but I don’t get chilly either.

Merino wool adapts to body exertion too

Scientifically, I’ll be first to say that as far as chemistry and physics go, merino wool doesn’t necessarily “adapt.” However, wool is a breathable fiber, and that trait is especially beneficial to me.

As an above-the-knee (ATK) amputee, I wear a prosthetic leg that has a computerized knee. While this makes a huge difference in my mobility, my body often has to do about double the exertion of a person with two biological legs.

In other words, I can be quick to sweat.

When I wear my merino wool clothes though, I still sweat, but the wool wicks away the moisture fast. This makes a huge difference in how I feel when out and about with my family. Whether we are romping on a mountain in Idaho, hiking in British Columbia, or strolling to a night market in Thailand, I stay much cooler.

Wool’s wicking and breathability have another crucial benefit too.

No-stink fiber for multiple wears between washes

One of the awesome things about merino wool is supposed to be not only that it’s breathable, but that you can wear it multiple times between washes. 

I was really, really skeptical about this, by the way.

However, my day-to-day experience wearing merino wool clothes camping and traveling has born it out. The day’s adventures can have me sweat through one of my merino dresses. At night as Anthony and I get ready for bed, I hang my wool dress to air out overnight.

And when I check it the next day?

No stink. The fabric has dried, and is ready to wear again.

Packing cubes make the most of limited tent or RV space

When we travel all over the world, Anthony and I each have a carryon backpack. Inside, you’ll find our clothes packing into breathable, compressible packing cubes. When we pack up in the RV, we simply unpack our packing cubes and put them into our respective cabinets. We especially like this 4-pack from Amazon Basics:

  • Mesh fabric helps with airflow to keep your clothes fresher
  • Zipper closures close up each cube securely and without worrying about your stuff busting out
  • Additional compression zipper packs down each cube tighter, so it takes up less space in our backpacks or in the RV cabinet

These packing cubes help us further make the most out of our limited space:

Get these packing cubes at Amazon

A merino travel capsule wardrobe offers all-season ease and convenience for van life enthusiasts and RVers

Since we RV, access to laundry facilities varies. (I can also hand-wash and air dry my merino wool wardrobe, but that’s not something I typically do.)

Our family of four typically does laundry about once every week or two. I can space out how often I launder my merino travel clothes. That doesn’t only mean less laundry and less time on that chore. It means less wear and tear. My merino apparel lasts longer. I not only get more out of my travel wardrobe, but my fashion budget. As a mom and entrepreneur, stretching our dollars matters a lot, so I look for a sweet spot of style, durability, and price.

More wear and less laundry is just one example of the greater ease and convenience a merino wool gives me during our family’s cross-country RV travels:

  • Merino wool apparel can work as base, main, and/or outer layers for all-season wear
  • Stylish cuts and colors make it easy to build a right-for-me wardrobe of dresses, tops, and bottoms
  • Instead of needing lots of storage space, it’s easy to roll and pack my merino apparel in packing cubes
  • I stay comfortable even during exertion, and I can wear my merino clothes multiple times between washes

You can build your own right-for-you merino wool travel capsule wardrobe

With over a year of full-time global travels, I know what I need out of a wardrobe that can work abroad and in our family’s motorhome. It’s much easier to embrace adventure, wanderlust, and even relaxing around camp when I know that getting dressed isn’t a tedious chore. Instead, my merino travel wardrobe helps me get more out of every day on the road with my family.

Choosing merino wool dresses and separates as the foundation of my travel capsule wardrobe has been my sweet spot of practicality, versatility, stylishness, comfort, and budget.

So many options are available for merino wool apparel. My preference has been Wool&. Their extensive lines of merino clothes have given me lots of options that work well with our RVing lifestyle and make great camping wardrobes.

Get started with Jodie’s camping wardrobes and more

You can build your own right-for-you merino wool travel capsule camping wardrobes too. Get started here to shop:

Wool& Amalya Button-Front Dress

Wool& Camellia Tank Dress

Wool& Hilltop Wool Fleece Jacket

Wool& Aspen Merino Wool Sweatshirt

Wool& Axis Midweight Merino Wool Leggings

Eddie Bauer Women’s Guide Pro Pants

Wool& Poppy Tank Top

Wool& Reversible Summer Midi Dress

Waypoint Goods World Map Travel Scarf

Also see

All Wool& Dresses

New Wool& arrivals

Wool& Best Sellers

All Eddie Bauer apparel

About the author
Learners and Makers
We are the St. Clair Family: Anthony, Jodie, Connor, and Aster. As Learners and Makers, our family of four slows down, connects, and enjoys the world and each other's company. We have been traveling full time since 2022.

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