This article was brought to you by our friends at Ethnotek, the makers of everyday backpacks that are versatile enough for a capsule wardrobe. 

While many of us dream of being full-time campers or rocking the digital nomad lifestyle, the fact is that most of us spend more time at the office than the mountains.

When you’re trying to squeeze trails and campgrounds into the evenings and weekends, clothing that pulls double duty can save you precious hours. Simplifying your wardrobe is one way to save time and create a more seamless transition from the office to the outdoors, which means more sunsets, more hikes, more fresh air, and more camping.

What is a Capsule Wardrobe?

The term “capsule wardrobe” was coined in the 1970’s, but we’ve seen a resurgence of the concept crop up around the minimalist and vanlife movements. People are looking for ways to own less and experience more.

A capsule wardrobe is made up of a few essentials that are timeless, like slacks and skirts, and can be accessorized with stylish and timely additions. It’s a simple approach to style that allows you to cut down on pieces while making your outfit decisions easier, as most items can mix and match. A capsule wardrobe for someone who’s itching to get outdoors might also mean significant overlap between your work and play gear.

If you’re looking to minimize your closet into a capsule wardrobe that supports your outdoor lifestyle, focus on smartly tailored clothes in moisture-wicking fabrics, stylish but rugged shoes, and a handsome pack that has room for your laptop as well as your trekking poles.

Stylish Camping Apparel That Works For The Rest of Your Life, Too

These pieces of camping apparel and accessories will not only streamline your path from city streets to wild trails, they’ll cut down on how much stuff you have to buy in general. That’s not only good for your pocket book, but for the environment as well. Even if you aren’t living the vanlife, simplifying your wardrobe and your life can free up the time and mental energy for more things you enjoy — like camping!


Ethnotek’s laptop backpacks with waist and chest straps blend features for commuting and camping. We love their Raja 30 Liter Backpack for long weekends or business trips when you’re hoping to slip away for a little time in nature.

If you’re looking for a way to stash your running shoes on the way to the office, their 13-liter everyday backpack can fit your work and post-work-activity essentials.

Ethnotek also offers smaller pieces that are helpful for staying organized. The Padu Dopp Kit is a surprisingly generous toiletry bag that could also easily be used to store chargers for your electronics, your jewelry and watch, and your pens and sunscreen for later.

Their variety of textiles and designs also allow you to customize your pack to match your style with handmade thread fabrics from partner artisans.

Topo Designs

Topo’s founders grew up out West in Wyoming and Colorado, where’s it’s not only the norm to head outside as soon as the day’s work is done, but where work and the outdoors are often synonymous. Roanline stocks several of their pieces for men and women that work as well in the great outdoors as running around downtown.

The shirt dress from Topo Designs produces is tailored enough for weekend events, but rugged enough to transition seamlessly to your favorite state park. Perfect in warmer weather as a stand-alone piece, the Topo Designs shirt dress can easily be layered in the winter for year-round utility.  For men, Topo Designs Climb shorts are made from a stretch chino that is plenty sleek for after-work happy hours, but boasts nice features like a built-in belt that will be just as comfy at the crag as in your cubicle.


Whether you are enjoying a craft beer at your favorite downtown watering hole or from a crowler at your favorite campsite, Vivobarefoot’s minimalist shoes, like the Porto Rocker High Tyre, are right at home. They’re made from hand-stitched, supple leather on the upper with an upcycled rubber sole. Like all of Vivobarefoot’s shoes, their minimalist cut is designed to enhance your foot’s natural strike pattern on concrete or the off the beaten path.

For something a little more formal but still forest-floor ready, the Hand-cut Lisbon is a unisex dress shoe style made from vegetable tanned Sacheto calf leather. Best of all, there’s no need to carry an extra pair of sneakers or hiking boots in your bag when you slip these on Friday morning. Isn’t it great to have footwear that not only goes from day to night, but from the front door of your apartment to the front door of your favorite cabin?


PrAna has established itself as a go-to for women who want a feminine, functional wardrobe that doesn’t stand out as outdoor-only. Their pretty, casual dresses are dressy enough for dinner on the town and comfortable enough for roasting marshmallows by the campfire.

Their Paulina dress is made from a sustainable cotton/hemp blend to keep you cool and comfortable. The Aliki Shirt Dress, too, is breezy enough for the board room or reading a book by the lake. Paired with leggings, boots, and a jacket, you can take this outfit just about anywhere. Mix it up with a few scarf options for added warmth and variety.

If slacks are more your thing, Prana’s Stretch Zion fabric is used in a lot of their pant and short styles, so you can find the cut that works best for your body and still enjoy SPF-infused clothes that are wrinkle resistant, quick drying, and UPF 50+.


If you want to stay warm and water-resistant, you know to stay away from cotton. But what if you want outerwear that’s a little more classic in cut than the puffers and synthetic fabrics we see in so many outdoor-ready jackets, coats, and fleeces?

That’s where Pendelton camping apparel comes in, with their tried-and-true lines of woolen wear that are pretty but tough enough to go outside. The Signature Paul Bunyan Coat is made of wool, acrylic and polyester and has a relaxed fit that you can easily move around in.

If that’s too heavy for your climate, try the Wool Zip Hoodie, made of 100% pure virgin wool. You can be confident that both will repel moisture and keep you cozy. No one will tease you, either, for showing up to brunch looking like you’re ready to summit a bucket-list peak.

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