I come from a camping family. Summer breaks meant stuffing our Volvo station wagon full of gear — tents, sleeping bags, boots — and heading from our home in the Bay Area to somewhere in the mountains of California. Now as an adult, I find myself craving the time spent hiking and even cooking over a camp stove. This summer, I've had the chance to finally slow down and actually get back outside, but with a few caveats from my past routines. As an editor, I now pay more attention to functionality and style, which is to say that yes, I packed beauty products for camping and planned out my ideal backpacking outfits.
I'll admit that in the great outdoors, sometimes you're forced to get a little weird when beauty emergencies arise. The dry mountain air left my skin so parched and flaky on my last trip that I pulled coconut oil packets meant for cooking out of my bear box and used them to moisturize my skin (not my finest moment). And though my sister made endless fun of me, packing my must-carry products in a soft Chanel makeup pouch was in my opinion a genius way to keep them separate and protected as I trudged over literal mountains kicking up dust.
Now that I've returned from my multi-day galavant in the great outdoors, I'm also back to my regular rotation of serums, creams, and masks, but below I'm sharing a few of the key items that were worth the sweat that comes with lugging a 30-pound pack up a mountain.
We only include products that have been independently selected by The Zoe Report's editorial team. However, we may receive a portion of sales if you purchase a product through a link in this article.
Camping Beauty Essentials: Supergoop Unseen Sunscreen
I brought two types of Supergoop sunscreen on my latest backpacking trip. Even with limited space, sunscreen is an absolute essential, especially if you're at high altitudes where burns are a bigger risk. With face sunscreens, I try to apply every few hours while outdoors. With body sunscreens, I tend to apply less frequently, but am sure to re-up in the morning or after a swim.
Camping Beauty Essentials: Susanne Kaufmann Mineral Body Lotion Lotion
If you're not willing to go the coconut oil route as I did, consider a small (and not heavily scented) lotion option to take with you as your skin will likely get ultra dry at high altitude. And if you're planning to log plenty of mileage while hiking, opt for a lotion with CBD to help soothe sore muscles.
Camping Beauty Essentials: Schmidt’s Charcoal + Magnesium Deodorant Stick
If you've wrangled a partner to join you on your travels, you'll definitely want to make sure you have deodorant on hand for hot weather.
Camping Beauty Essentials: Burt's Bees Beeswax Lip Balm
Learn from my mistake: bring lip balm with you. The dry air and changing temperatures outdoors can cause your lips to feel like they're going to tear and tug.
Camping Beauty Essentials: Lisa Says Gah Gah! Scrunchie
Packing for versatility is the key when you're trying to pack light. A baseball cap and sturdy scrunchie will keep your hair off of your neck and the sun out of your face.
Camping Beauty Essentials: Dr. Bronners Pure-Castile Liquid Soap
Instead of a nice warm shower, I spent my time in the wild rinsing off by jumping in the nearest body of water. A small bottle of all-purpose cleaner you can use on your body and hair is key. Opt for a brand that is biodegradable and won't hurt the animals or plants in your vicinity.
Camping Beauty Essentials: Drunk Elephant Lala Retro Whipped Cream
While I had to wait to reunite with my heavy-duty face cream until I was off the trail (I didn't have room to fit it in my pack), I ending my hiking sojourn with the chance to layer on a thick moisturizing mask was a lifesaver and felt so decadent after days spent without it.
Camping Beauty Essentials: Surviveware Biodegradable Rinse Free Shower Wipes
When full-on rinses aren't an option, I can attest that there's nothing so purely blissful as pulling out a cleansing wipe to swipe the dust off of your ankles or the grime off of your face.
Camping Beauty Essentials: Iris Eye Mask
This may seem a little over-the-top, but having recently experienced how bright a full moon can be when you're in the middle of nowhere, having a sleep mask to block out any light that comes through the tent can be the difference between a restful night and one spent tossing and turning.
Camping Beauty Essentials: Prada Cosmetic Case
Whether you choose to put a luxury cosmetic case to good use or prefer to tote a more affordable option, my rule of thumb for a bag when camping or backpacking is that it's small, lightweight, and easy to clean. A small size means I was able to stash my toothbrush, lotion, and wipes away from the food and trash also stored in my bear box overnight. Plus, it kept everything together in one place for easy access.