What to Pack for a Desert Adventure in Joshua Tree

You need more clothes than you’d think

Updated 05/04/19
Camping in Joshua Tree
Fashion Me Now

While jetting off to Europe or the Caribbean might be on your summer travel bucket list, the stateside destination of Joshua Tree is perfect for those looking to journey off the beaten path. An under-the-radar desert escape, the small town of Joshua Tree located in southern California is a mecca for avid rock climbers, hikers, and campers alike. While I am none of these things, I couldn't help but accept an invitation to spend a weekend away from Los Angeles with luxury glamping brand Camp'd Out and see what all the fuss was about.

Whether you're comfortable roughing it in the wilderness like a pro or would prefer a more extravagant camping experience, there's a lot you need to pack. In the spring and early months of summer, the desert reaches incredibly high temperatures during the day before dropping significantly after the sun sets. That means you'll need a variety of clothes to accommodate day and night activities, as well as an array of skincare products to protect you from the sun and dry air. Here's everything you need to pack for camping in Joshua Tree.

Getting There

Whether Joshua Tree is a quick road trip away or full day's flight, you can't go wrong with a pair of leggings, a T-shirt, and tennis shoes. The most important thing is having closed-toe shoes on when you arrive in the desert. The landscape is covered in cacti that you can easily step on or brush up against. 

Printed Cotton-jersey T-shirt
Re/Done Printed Cotton-Jersey T-Shirt $95
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Block Paneled Stretch-supplex Leggings
Live the Process Block Paneled Stretch-Supplex Leggings $110
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Pharrell Williams Tennis Hu Primeknit Sneakers
Adidas Originals Pharrell Williams Tennis Hu Primeknit Sneakers $100
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Hiking

Once you've settled into your campsite (or hotel), it's time to explore the scenery and go for a hike. If you're visiting in during the warmer months, you'll definitely want to be in a pair of shorts to beat the heat unless the area you're in is particularly cactus-infested. In that case, you might want to opt for a pair of leggings to protect your legs from scratches or pricks.

You'll also want to invest in a pair of proper hiking boots as the ground in Joshua Tree is full of loose stones and slippery rocks that require shoes with good grip. Be sure to have an insulated water bottle on hand to keep you cool and hydrated while you explore. 

Terradora Pulse Waterproof Hiking Shoe
Keen Terradora Pulse Waterproof Hiking Shoe $145
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Essential shorts
Adidas x Stella McCartney Essential Shorts $66 $53
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S'Well 'London Chimney' Insulated Stainless Steel Water Bottle
S'well Insulated Stainless Steel Water Bottle, London Chimney $49
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Dinner

Half of the fun of camping in Joshua Tree is all of the photo opportunities you'll have. Pack a functional but stylish outfit to wear for dinner around sunset and snap some Instagram-worthy pictures during golden hour. For a desert-chic look, pair a linen jumpsuit with an oversize denim jacket and wide-brimmed fedora. 

Bob Lace-up Linen-blend Jumpsuit
Staud Bob Lace-Up Linen-Blend Jumpsuit $395
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Wells Oversized Embellished Denim Jacket
Sandy Liang Wells Oversized Embellished Denim Jacket $595
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Wesley Fedora
Brixton Wesley Fedora $57
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Fireside

After dinner when the sun has fully set, the evening chill will be in full force. Throw on jeans and a comfy sweater with a pair of boots to keep you warm as you enjoy wine and s'mores by a crackling fire. If you stay outside long enough into the night, you'll be treated to a star-covered sky uninhibited by the usual light pollution of the city.

Open-knit Wool-blend Sweater
See by Chloé Open-Knit Wool-Blend Sweater $375
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Tally Unfamed Hem Skinny Jeans
Hudson Jeans Tally Unfamed Hem Skinny Jeans $195
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Women's Fernbrook Leather Chelsea Booties
Whistles Women's Fernbrook Leather Chelsea Booties $339
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Overnight

Despite the heat of the day, do not underestimate how cold the desert can get at night. Even in a durable tent and sleeping bag, you'll want to bundle up in a soft sweatshirt and joggers. Pro-tip, pack a sleep mask to avoid being woken up as soon as the sun rises (or don't pack one and enjoy a gorgeous desert sunrise over the mountains).

Ingrid Waffle-knit Cotton-blend Hooded Top
Skin Ingrid Waffle-Knit Cotton-Blend Hooded Top $110
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Modern Cotton-blend Jersey Track Pants
Calvin Klein Modern Cotton-Blend Jersey Track Pants $70
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Slip(TM) For Beauty Sleep 'Slipsilk(TM)' Pure Silk Sleep Mask
Slip for Beauty Sleep Pure Silk Sleep Mask $45
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Morning Yoga

Embrace the quiet calm of the morning in Joshua Tree with an early morning yoga session. Bring a yoga mat to lay down on the earth in a clear (cactus-free) area and get in touch with nature as you move through your flow. Pack a pair of breathable leggings and sports bra to wear before the heat of the day fully sets in. 

Stretch Sports Bra
Heroine Sport Stretch Sports Bra $95
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Emory leggings
Varley Emory Leggings $130
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5Mm Yoga Mat
Nike 5Mm Yoga Mat $55
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Skincare

No matter what activities you're doing while camping in Joshua Tree, you'll want to come prepared with a few skincare essentials to help you beat the dry desert air and intense sunlight. Pack a high SPF sunscreen to protect you from the sun's rays during the day. At night, freshen up with toning pads to remove dirt and grime from the day and apply a moisturizing cream to replenish your skin.

Spf 50 Sunscreen Face Cream
Clinique SPF 50 Sunscreen Face Cream $25
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Arcona Triad Toner Pads
Arcona Arcona Triad Toner Pads $10
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Cosmedix Deep Moisture Cream $90
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Camping in Joshua Tree may require more clothes that you'd expect, but even if you're planning on roughing it with the bare minimum, be prepared with closed toed shoes, light activewear for the day, and warm clothing and sleepwear for the night. Last but not least, don't forget sunscreen and moisturizer for your skin and an insulated water bottle to stay hydrated. 

This press trip was paid for by Camp'd Out. Editors opinions are her own.

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