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Packing List : T shirts : Merino wool or synthetic quick dry ?

Salty

Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Planning : Camino Frances - Sept 2022
I have bought both Merino wool and quick dry T- shirts. Both long and short sleeves. Going end of Sept on the Camino Frances.

My research so far shows, that with merino wool items, you can wear them for a few days, they dont smell.

Quick dry items become smelly within a day and needs washing every day. I am thinking I will be very tired after a long days walk, and in no mood to do laundry every day.

I also heard that with pants, some pilgrims, will wash only the crotch area, and not get the whole pants wet, so that it will quickly dry.

Any practical thoughts on this please ?
 
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trecile

Moderator
Staff member
Time of past OR future Camino
PAST - Francés, Norte, Salvador, Portuguese
Quick dry items become smelly within a day and needs washing every day. I am thinking I will be very tired after a long days walk, and in no mood to do laundry every day.
Doing my laundry every day on the Camino is jut part of my daily routine and doesn't take much time.

The important thing is what feels comfortable to you. I wear merino wool, but some people find it uncomfortable. I had a friend who took all merino wool tops and socks on the Camino, then found that she got a rash from them and had to buy new shirts and socks. She had worn them on hikes at home, but not every day, all day. An extreme case, but something to consider.
 

David with new Kit!

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
2019 SJPP to Logroño
2021 Logroño - SDC
Depends how clean or smelly you want to be.

I wear one set and take two other sets of the newer technical clothing and do washing every second day. It dries super fast.

The only time I would wear clothing more than one day is if it was not possible to wash on day two and in two Caminos I've not got there yet, close at times though!!

I do have merino clothing at home, but decided not to bring it with me. Again, it's down to personal preference.
 
Time of past OR future Camino
See signature. Too many to list here.
I used to use SmartWool tees, long sleeve mostly... they were great, but they got holes.

Recently I have started to purchase inexpensive synthetics, like a 2 pack from Amazon that cost $16 from Hanes.

I wash my clothes regularly so no big deal. The washing actually gives me something to do sometimes.

Don't get the white ones, IMO, they show crazy stains all over.
 
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C clearly

Moderator
Staff member
Time of past OR future Camino
Most years since 2012
some pilgrims, will wash only the crotch area, and not get the whole pants wet, so that it will quickly dry.
I hadn't heard of that. The crotch/waist area is the slowest to dry, so it doesn't help much. I would possibly wash only the bottom of the legs, if they get muddy.

I have walking pants which can stay somewhat dirty for walking outside, sitting in the dirt, etc. I wash them once or twice each week (unless there is a particular need). I have evening pants which stay generally clean, so I wash even less often. Keeping those functions separate helps me reduce the laundry demand.
 

Introibo

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances ( March 2015 )
Camino Portugues ( September 2015 )
"Wear them for a few days"? On sailing trips I've gone for up to a week without a change. As long as everyone on the boat holds fast you can get away with it. As soon as someone washes you start to realise how bad the rest smell.
I like to think I'm doing my bit for the environment by cutting down on water and detergent usage
 
Time of past OR future Camino
2012
I’ve posted similarly previously but I find the general obsession with showering and frequent laundering of clothes intriguing.
Mud tends to come off trousers and boots in the next rain shower. Merino wool takes several days before it starts to stink. And as for me, I’d rather have a reasonable amount of space at the bar even if every other customer is wedged in a crowd at either end. Synthetics, they’ll never smell any better than they did after that first wash, no matter how hard you bang them on that rock…

Old Boy Scout tip. In the morning bang your socks against the pole of your “Good Companion” tent. This not only softens the wool and removes the felting before you pull them on again but it also shakes the dew off the canvas
 

Salty

Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Planning : Camino Frances - Sept 2022
"Wear them for a few days"? I like to think I'm doing my bit for the environment by cutting down on water and detergent usage
I am thinking to take 3 sets of clothes, then I need to wash every 2nd day. I know I will be pooped out after a day of walking. Need to conserve energy somehow, that I can late afternoon, enjoy the sights of the town, I am in.

I am taking a big black or white plastic bag, to sit on wet benches and dusty ground. It weights nothing and will come in handy. Will mark it with pen " This side up ." I can see myself, sitting down, often. That will cut down on dirty pants a bit.
 
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2012
OK, confession time. Contrary to my contribution above I’ll usually rinse out my knickers/underpants/ kecks/ drawers/ shorts everyday (Kwik dry merino with some elastic in appropriate places). Same with socks (always carry three pairs in case I need some gloves on a cold morning). Base layer tops (we used to call them T-shirts 😉) wash as necessary. The rest? I’ve been vomited on in Pamplona and taken a face-plant in one of those charming cattle roads in Galicia. Launder as required
 

trecile

Moderator
Staff member
Time of past OR future Camino
PAST - Francés, Norte, Salvador, Portuguese
OK, confession time. Contrary to my contribution above I’ll usually rinse out my knickers/underpants/ kecks/ drawers/ shorts everyday
I'm greatly relieved to hear that. 😂

I always wash at least my underclothes and socks every day. Just part of my Camino routine. I think that it would throw me off to do laundry some days, and not others.
 

Dave2525

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
2014
I'm a strong proponent of merino. In addition to the CF, I've used them on a trek in Nepal and they didn't smell even after several days of usage. When using synthetics at home I found that I had to use a special detergent as they still sometimes smelled even after washing.
 
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domigee

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
2022 CF
I have bought both Merino wool and quick dry T- shirts. Both long and short sleeves. Going end of Sept on the Camino Frances.

My research so far shows, that with merino wool items, you can wear them for a few days, they dont smell.

Quick dry items become smelly within a day and needs washing every day. I am thinking I will be very tired after a long days walk, and in no mood to do laundry every day.

I also heard that with pants, some pilgrims, will wash only the crotch area, and not get the whole pants wet, so that it will quickly dry.

Any practical thoughts on this please ?
I wash underwear and socks every day.. whatever..l
In Summer I also wash my T-shirt every day but last time (in April - it was cold!) I didn’t have to (I was wearing merino)
Take one of each 😁
As for ‘pants’, take 2 and wash one when it needs to …
Really, don’t overthink it 😉
 
Time of past OR future Camino
Us:Camino Frances, 2015 Me:Catalan/Aragonese, 2019
It's merino for me. I had both a long and short sleeve one. In my late Oct / early Nov camino the mornings were cool and I would put on both determining which went on first by a guess on how warm it would get later. I would do a switch if I was wrong.
 

henrythedog

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
X
I hadn't heard of that. The crotch/waist area is the slowest to dry, so it doesn't help much. I would possibly wash only the bottom of the legs, if they get muddy.

I have walking pants which can stay somewhat dirty for walking outside, sitting in the dirt, etc. I wash them once or twice each week (unless there is a particular need). I have evening pants which stay generally clean, so I wash even less often. Keeping those functions separate helps me reduce the laundry demand.
I suspect we’re in ‘two nations divided by a common language’ territory here with respect to pants.
 
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Anamiri

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
2016, 2017, 2019 Camino Frances
I have bought both Merino wool and quick dry T- shirts. Both long and short sleeves. Going end of Sept on the Camino Frances.

My research so far shows, that with merino wool items, you can wear them for a few days, they dont smell.

Quick dry items become smelly within a day and needs washing every day. I am thinking I will be very tired after a long days walk, and in no mood to do laundry every day.

I also heard that with pants, some pilgrims, will wash only the crotch area, and not get the whole pants wet, so that it will quickly dry.

Any practical thoughts on this please ?
Honestly, doing laundry doesn't take that long, and just becomes part of your daily routine. I wash daily and always wash an entire garment.
I wouldnt worry about it cutting into your exploring time, after all, you dont have much else to do, and some places are so small you can explore the whole place in half an hour or less.
Its hard to understand this now, but you will get fitter, and wont be tired every day, and your routine is sometimes dictated by when things are open (siesta)
 
Time of past OR future Camino
2013, 2015, 2022?
IMHO, if you are too tired at the end of your day to take the 20 minutes to hand wash your socks, undies, and maybe dirty pants, you need to not walk so hard. I’ve encountered those pilgrims who are saving on their laundry bills - memorable, and not in a good way. I washed out my stuff every day, just a normal part of my albergue routine.
 
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mazzarina

Member
Time of past OR future Camino
CF (partial) '05
Primitivo 19
Portugues 22
Merino every time for me: packs smaller than synthetic, better for the planet (no microplastics; less washing), and perfect for the lazy. I wear it winter and summer, washing it once a week or less. I love Icebreaker, esp. if I can get it in the sale!
 
Time of past OR future Camino
2022
Split the difference? Merino t-shirt under, and long-sleeve synthetic as the next layer -- away from skin and sweat? I've decided on this mode myself for this go round the mulberry bush.... I have some very loved merino long sleeves but they simply add too much weight. So 2 light-weight merino T's, and one synthetic long sleeve. Merino underwear and socks though -- no question.
 

Teej41

Member
Time of past OR future Camino
April/May 2018
I have bought both Merino wool and quick dry T- shirts. Both long and short sleeves. Going end of Sept on the Camino Frances.

My research so far shows, that with merino wool items, you can wear them for a few days, they dont smell.

Quick dry items become smelly within a day and needs washing every day. I am thinking I will be very tired after a long days walk, and in no mood to do laundry every day.

I also heard that with pants, some pilgrims, will wash only the crotch area, and not get the whole pants wet, so that it will quickly dry.

Any practical thoughts on this please ?
I had a very light long sleeved merino/polyester blend base layer/t-shirt (Rab Merino 120+). Best of both worlds. Fairly quick drying and extremely light and comfortable. I wore it for at least 30 of the 39 days it took to get to Finisterre. I had a polypropylene baselayer worn on some of the very very very wet days in Galicia and a super dooper synthetic featherweight almost transparent top from Raidlight designed for use for those partaking in the Sahara marathons!!!! which I used only a few times. I used Merino blend socks. Trousers(pants) were a wonderfully lightweight pair made by Rab. I washed base layers, underwear and socks almost everyday, but the trousers/pants only once ! and they were fine. I walked and dined and drank with plenty of other peregrinos/peregrinas so there couldn't have been much problem with body odour. You'll find that it's the rucksacks/backpacks/mochilas that acquire that certain 'well-lived in' smell.
 

lt56ny

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
10/22 Aragones/Frances
I wash a quick dry shirt, underwear and socks every day. Not that long to get them clean and shiny. Just enough to get the stink out. I don't think you need to wash very long to accomplish this.
Mud tends to come off trousers and boots in the next rain shower.
I only wash my pants when I do a laundry, which is about every week or so. Mud and dirt will come off pretty quickly in a rain. I also walk through a little wet grass if it is not too high for about 30 seconds. Not long enough to get my trail runners real wet but to get the dirt off my pants. If it is cold than dirt and mud win the day.
 

aerialobserver

New Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances (Sept/Oct 2018)
Just a note about washing clothes: My local Camino counselor shared the tip of wearing your day's clothes into the after-walk shower to clean both garments and body at the same time. Worked wonderfully.
 
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jeanineonthecamino

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances 2021, 2022
I am totally a merino wool t-shirt girl - but I am also picky about brand. Icebreaker holds up better than every other brand I have tried. But they don't hold odor the way other materials do, they are a material that helps insulate when it is cold yet keeps you cooler when it is hot (and yes - I live in the So. Arizona desert - so I have lots of wear time in the heat), and they are pretty fast drying. I have even switched to merino wool underwear and bras for the Camino.

Synthetic and quick dry material isn't a bad choice - but I will always go for merino wool. And yes - Icebreaker is more expensive than other brands - but in my experience it holds up better and lasts a lot longer than the other brands I have tried.
 

Brenda Ryan

New Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Camino (June 2013)
I'm a strong proponent of merino. In addition to the CF, I've used them on a trek in Nepal and they didn't smell even after several days of usage. When using synthetics at home I found that I had to use a special detergent as they still sometimes smelled even after washing.
What detergent did you use that got rid of the smell (with synthetics)?
 

Salty

Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Planning : Camino Frances - Sept 2022
the tip of wearing your day's clothes into the after-walk shower to clean both garments and body at the same time. Worked wonderfully.
How does this work in the shower ? You shower with your clothes on ? Or you mean washing your clothes while the shower tap is running ?

I would have thought to conserve warm water, for the next pilgrim, its not a wise idea to wash laundry in the shower. Or is running out of hot water in the showers not an issue?
 
Time of past OR future Camino
2020 Francés
OK, confession time. Contrary to my contribution above I’ll usually rinse out my knickers/underpants/ kecks/ drawers/ shorts everyday (Kwik dry merino with some elastic in appropriate places). Same with socks (always carry three pairs in case I need some gloves on a cold morning). Base layer tops (we used to call them T-shirts 😉) wash as necessary. The rest? I’ve been vomited on in Pamplona and taken a face-plant in one of those charming cattle roads in Galicia. Launder as required
Think the glove call is a good one. Make them light weight. It’s cool (10°C) every morning through to 10am. I have a pair of “élé men terre”. As for the soxes and jocks decision 3 pairs is plenty. Heaps of opportunities to wash and dry. Most Albergues seem to have washing and drying (if needed) machines. Pair up with a couple of pilgrims and it costs about a euro to wash. We’re midway across the Meseta, has been stunning weather to date. Buen Camino.
 
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KimR

New Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Francés ‘18
Portuguese(costa,cent) ‘19
Norte ‘21
I have bought both Merino wool and quick dry T- shirts. Both long and short sleeves. Going end of Sept on the Camino Frances.

My research so far shows, that with merino wool items, you can wear them for a few days, they dont smell.

Quick dry items become smelly within a day and needs washing every day. I am thinking I will be very tired after a long days walk, and in no mood to do laundry every day.

I also heard that with pants, some pilgrims, will wash only the crotch area, and not get the whole pants wet, so that it will quickly dry.

Any practical thoughts on this please ?
It really depends how long you will be walking. Merino can be worn for several days without washing. Some synthetic clothes tend to ‘bake in’ the smell after a while even with frequent washing. I encountered someone who washed their shirt daily but after a few weeks, you could smell that shirt across an albergue. He couldn’t smell it as he was used to it.
 
Time of past OR future Camino
2020 Francés
How does this work in the shower ? You shower with your clothes on ? Or you mean washing your clothes while the shower tap is running ?

I would have thought to conserve warm water, for the next pilgrim, its not a wise idea to wash laundry in the shower. Or is running out of hot water in the showers not an issue?
Just think long and hard before you wash your clothes in the shower. Who was in it before you? What did they do in the shower (potentially relieved themselves of bodily fluids)? I’d strongly recommend you take a pair of thongs/flip flops/jandles and wear them around the Albergues. When you go out, you’ll need some light weight sandals. Spanish don’t typically wear thongs/flip flops/jandles around town.
 

lt56ny

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
10/22 Aragones/Frances
Just a note about washing clothes: My local Camino counselor shared the tip of wearing your day's clothes into the after-walk shower to clean both garments and body at the same time. Worked wonderfully.
I am guilty of washing my clothes in the shower also. I do know that there are many albergues that frown on this and either tell you or post in bathrooms not to do this.
 

MichelleElynHogan

Veteran Member
I have bought both Merino wool and quick dry T- shirts. Both long and short sleeves. Going end of Sept on the Camino Frances.

My research so far shows, that with merino wool items, you can wear them for a few days, they dont smell.

Quick dry items become smelly within a day and needs washing every day. I am thinking I will be very tired after a long days walk, and in no mood to do laundry every day.

I also heard that with pants, some pilgrims, will wash only the crotch area, and not get the whole pants wet, so that it will quickly dry.

Any practical thoughts on this please ?
Get used to washing a few items each day after walking. I take mine into a shower and clean me and them. Then, I am squeaky clean when hanging out my few things to dry. then it is either a quick nap or off to find supper.
 

trecile

Moderator
Staff member
Time of past OR future Camino
PAST - Francés, Norte, Salvador, Portuguese
I would have thought to conserve warm water, for the next pilgrim, its not a wise idea to wash laundry in the shower. Or is running out of hot water in the showers not an issue?
It is an issue.

Below is my method of washing clothes that works very well, which I have posted before.

I've mentioned my method of using a dry bag as a "portable washing machine" before. IMO definitely preferable to stomping on my clothes on the shower floor.

I use a 12 liter dry bag to wash my clothes in, rather than the albergue laundry sinks. As I'm undressing for my shower and the water is warming up I put half a laundry detergent sheet and water in the bag, then my clothes. Then I fill the bag about 3/4 full with water and close it up. I give it a few shakes and set it aside to soak while I shower and dress. I then shake the bag some more to agitate everything well before rinsing in the laundry sink. The detergent sheets don't create a lot of suds, but get the clothes clean. After wring them out well I roll them up in my towel and twist it. This method gets my clothes cleaner than using the laundry sinks alone in the albergues. I think that the long soaking time is the secret. I even use the dry bag to wash when I'm staying in a room with my own bathroom.

Just think long and hard before you wash your clothes in the shower
I knew some pilgrims who got bleach marks on their clothes from washing them in the shower.
 
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Time of past OR future Camino
See signature. Too many to list here.
I put half a laundry detergent sheet and water in the bag
I should check out these sheets! Last time on the Norte was the first time I ever heard of them. A gentleman from Canada brought them...

In the past, if I was doing laundry "by hand", I'd typically use shampoo or shower gel, acquired along the way for free from the places I have stayed before. The old school way seemed to work well for me... I mean if I am washing by hand it's only a temporary fix, there is always a laundromat in my future...

Thanks for the link!

Edit: just purchased...
 
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lalaone

Member
Time of past OR future Camino
2007
Below is my method of washing clothes that works very well, which I have posted before.

I've mentioned my method of using a dry bag as a "portable washing machine" before. IMO definitely preferable to stomping on my clothes on the shower floor.

"Dry sack" or "dry bag" laundry also worked great for my husband on his Camino Frances this summer. With a mix of Icebreaker merino & some synthetic shirts, it was easy and worked great for all his clothes including shorts, socks, etc. (He learned about the method here on the forum, thank you!)

It helps to practice a few times at home after workouts or practice walks, to be comfortable doing it on the Camino. Instead of laundry detergent sheets you can also use Bronner's Liquid Castile soap, which doubles as body soap and shampoo.
 

jeanineonthecamino

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances 2021, 2022
Personally - I save "washing clothes in the shower" for rare occasions or simply when all I want to wash is underwear. I will get in the shower with underwear on and remove in the shower and wash - but not if I am going to wash ALL of my clothes. Well... unless I am in a private room with a private shower - then I do wash clothes in the shower lol. Just not in a shared bathroom.

It is about multiple things - 1) washing in the shower means you are wasting more water as opposed to a concentrated focus on simply washing your clothes in a sink or in a bucket 2) you are risking using the hot water up before the next pilgrim and 2) depending on when you shower - others may be waiting to get cleaned up. I tend to arrive at albergues and shower before the crowds arrive - but I still pay attention to whether others may be waiting to take a shower - even if I am just showering. Nothing worse than getting to your albergue - making your bed - getting out your clean clothes to change into after your shower - and then having to sit around in your dirty smelly clothes and wait for the shower (lol - in my opinion anyway).

Hand washing is an easy part of your routine. You arrive at the albergue, make your bed, get your clean clothes and hygiene gear out, head to the shower and get clean, then head to the laundry sink which is often outside or maybe there is a room inside where hand washing is permitted. After you hand wash you hang dry and take a nap. It really doesn't take any real effort - it isn't like you are hand washing your entire families clothes. You are hand washing 1-2 outfits at most.

Personally - I do hand wash all of my dirty clothes if I am going to bother handwashing anything - but my focus is on the smelly areas - arm pits and underwear. I give those a good scrub. Everything else gets a great rinse but I may not spend a lot of time on them. Then - 1 or maybe 2 times a week I pay for an actual washing machine to actually clean all of my clothes thoroughly.
 
Time of past OR future Camino
See signature. Too many to list here.
also use Bronner's Liquid Castile soap, which doubles as body soap and shampoo.
Yah, totally done this before too, I love Dr. Bonners!

Thing is, I like to keep weight down. Hence I try to carry just 1-2 oz of liquid soap at any time. That usually saps my bonners pretty quick. So if using liquid soap along the way I try to pick it up in small increments and sometimes I sacrifice quality for convenience.
 
Time of past OR future Camino
cf (2), de la plata, cp. (2003 -2018)
OK, confession time. Contrary to my contribution above I’ll usually rinse out my knickers/underpants/ kecks/ drawers/ shorts everyday (Kwik dry merino with some elastic in appropriate places). Same with socks (always carry three pairs in case I need some gloves on a cold morning). Base layer tops (we used to call them T-shirts 😉) wash as necessary. The rest? I’ve been vomited on in Pamplona and taken a face-plant in one of those charming cattle roads in Galicia. Launder as required
I am intrigued by " face-plant" ' At first I thought this was a complaint of the hirsute but no Its a header into the caca :) I bin there man :)
Samarkand.
 
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K_Lynn

Buen Camino!
Time of past OR future Camino
Frances 2021
I have bought both Merino wool and quick dry T- shirts. Both long and short sleeves. Going end of Sept on the Camino Frances.

My research so far shows, that with merino wool items, you can wear them for a few days, they dont smell.

Quick dry items become smelly within a day and needs washing every day. I am thinking I will be very tired after a long days walk, and in no mood to do laundry every day.

I also heard that with pants, some pilgrims, will wash only the crotch area, and not get the whole pants wet, so that it will quickly dry.

Any practical thoughts on this please ?
People are gross. lol Wash the entire garment.
I brought one ultralight/tech tshirt, one ultralight merino tshirt and one ultralight merino long sleeve. They all dried remarkably quickly. It only takes a few minutes to wash and wring out items and hang them to dry (return about 30 minutes later to flip the items or adjust them so that they dry evenly). Items like socks tend to take longer to dry than tshirts, pin them to the outside of your pack if they're not dry when you go to bed.
 

Rick Davidson

New Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Francis, April/May (2019)
Wool and synthetics both have their place in my walking gear. My stuff usually gets washed every 5-7 days or so. Walking shorts maybe a bit less frequently. Walking in June…mostly moderate weather…we used laundromats twice and also rinsed out tops a few times. I think a key issue is changing out of your hiking clothes at the end of your day’s walk. Hang them up, including socks and let them air out and dry out. I have never seen any point is washing every day. For me a more important washing issue is to take a shower on arrival at accommodation and before you lie down on your mattress…sheets…bag liner, etc and to not put your rucksack on your mattress or bedding.
 

trecile

Moderator
Staff member
Time of past OR future Camino
PAST - Francés, Norte, Salvador, Portuguese
I weighed the detergent sheets that I brought one year - enough for hand washing every day for 45 days, and it was less than 2 oz/55 gm, and of course weighed less every day.
 

C clearly

Moderator
Staff member
Time of past OR future Camino
Most years since 2012
I would have thought to conserve warm water, for the next pilgrim, its not a wise idea to wash laundry in the shower. Or is running out of hot water in the showers not an issue?
You are absolutely right to question this.

What I really do not understand, is how people actually do this routine. Do you stand under the shower fully clothed, do a once-over with soap over your clothes, then struggle to remove the wet clothes by rolling and pulling them up over your head or down your legs, and let them drop on the floor of the shower for stomping in the slime, and then wash your armpits, etc., again since washing through the clothes wouldn't have been so effective?

I cannot imagine that this routine is much faster, uses less hot water, or is more effective than doing those functions separately. Not to mention the likelihood of injury.
 
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See signature. Too many to list here.
You are absolutely right to question this.

What I really do not understand, is how people actually do this routine. Do you stand under the shower fully clothed, do a once-over with soap over your clothes, then struggle to remove the wet clothes by rolling and pulling them up over your head or down your legs, and let them drop on the floor of the shower for stomping in the slime, and then wash your armpits, etc., again since washing through the clothes wouldn't have been so effective?

I cannot imagine that this routine is much faster, uses less hot water, or is more effective than doing those functions separately. Not to mention the likelihood of injury.
I have done this before. Sometimes you just gotta do what you gotta do.

Clothes off, Press the button. Water comes down. Press that button repeatedly. Yah there's a timed button, usually, that limits me from going crazy with water. Pour soap over my body and into the clothes and watch it drain below. Walk on the clothes, pick them up and scrub them as there is no water coming out now as the "button" has rescinded. Scrub some more, then press the button again and rinse.
 
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Salty

Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Planning : Camino Frances - Sept 2022
I am adding laundry sheets to my packing list. One laundry sheet, cut in 4 pieces. Light weight and available here in Canada at Canadian Tire and in stock !
 

Mito

Member
Time of past OR future Camino
CF (2011, 2013, 2018) Roncesvalles-Astorga
CLeP (2013) Le Puy-?
GUD (2019) Dovre-Trondheim
I pack super light and walk in the cooler months. I swear by wool and (confession here) wash it about every 10 days on the Camino -- if that. It depends on your body chemistry, but I have found (and, yes, have asked candid friends) that it takes a very long time for wool to begin to smell --- for me. Layering Is key. I have 1 pr of hiking pants, wool long johns, and my rain pants. For my top: a silk cami for very cold days, thin wool t-shirt, wool long-sleeved undershirt, button-down sun shirt, synthetic (or wool ) thin sweater, down sweater, and rain jacket. On a cold day, I wear it all and my pack is almost empty! Warm days I wear the hiking pants, the cami, and the sun shirt. Wash day I wear the rain pants around -- or my wool long johns as leggings. I have quick-dry undies (3 pr) and wash daily. I also bathe daily LOL. I have 3 pr wool socks which I try to wash every few days (often change to dry mid-day). I bring a light cotton t-shirt and dry light silk long johns for sleeping and wearing out and about. I hate the feel of synthetics and I've tried!! I find them sweaty and unbreathable when warm. Wool IMHO is the most versatile for shoulder months. It breathes and stays warm even when damp. It's cool enough for all but really hot weather. In the heat: cotton is fantastic. Yes, it gets sweaty and wet, so it's not for cooler temps, but then I'm wearing AC!! BTW, I'm a 60-something small woman and keeping the pack weight down is paramount to me.
 

trecile

Moderator
Staff member
Time of past OR future Camino
PAST - Francés, Norte, Salvador, Portuguese
I am adding laundry sheets to my packing list. One laundry sheet, cut in 4 pieces. Light weight and available here in Canada at Canadian Tire and in stock !
The sheets that I buy come perforated to tear into two strips. One strip is supposed to be enough for a normal load of wash in a washing machine, two for a large or heavily soiled load.
I use half of a strip, which is a quarter of the entire sheet to do my washing on the Camino.

These strips don't make a lot of suds, but get your clothes clean. It's a benefit that there are not a lot of suds to rinse out.
 
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Brenda Ryan

New Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Camino (June 2013)
I'm a strong proponent of merino. In addition to the CF, I've used them on a trek in Nepal and they didn't smell even after several days of usage. When using synthetics at home I found that I had to use a special detergent as they still sometimes smelled even after washing.
Name of special detergent, please😁
 

LesR

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances 2017, 2018; Camino Portuguese 2019
I have bought both Merino wool and quick dry T- shirts. Both long and short sleeves. Going end of Sept on the Camino Frances.

My research so far shows, that with merino wool items, you can wear them for a few days, they dont smell.

Quick dry items become smelly within a day and needs washing every day. I am thinking I will be very tired after a long days walk, and in no mood to do laundry every day.

I also heard that with pants, some pilgrims, will wash only the crotch area, and not get the whole pants wet, so that it will quickly dry.

Any practical thoughts on this please ?
My tuppence worth? merino every time... light weight, dry readily, and do not carry eau de pilgrim nearly as well as synthetics, and are for more comfortable. Lend themselves very well to layering.

As another poster has indicated, ALDI ones are good...
 

LesR

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances 2017, 2018; Camino Portuguese 2019
I use my itty bitty bottle of shampoo for everything....body wash and laundry.
Head'n'shoulders shampoo shifted dirt that laundry soap hadn't when I used shampoo to wash clothes after my laundry soap ran out...
 
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Herndon

Self Proclaimed Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
France 2016
Portuguese 2017(Porto to Santiago)
Ingles 2017
Portuguese 2019(Lisbon to Porto)
I have tried them both and hands down, Merino is my favorite, ....I like Smartwool, but as pointed out already they are susceptible to getting holes...the last round I bought weren't 100% wool, so not sure if that would make a difference in the durability...I know a lot of the minimal purists say two sets of everything, and keep it at that....I go big and have three sets of socks, underwear and merino T's....and even though I don't have to, I usually wash everyday...there is an old cavalry saying, "The horse, the saddle, the man...."....Take care of your feet, wash your clothes and your body, then eat and drink....ok, sometimes I might have a cerveza first.... :cool:
 

Lindsay53

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Frances 2019
Portugues 2022
Just a note about washing clothes: My local Camino counselor shared the tip of wearing your day's clothes into the after-walk shower to clean both garments and body at the same time. Worked wonderfully.
Not a good idea. There is limited hot water in most albergues and it is very inconsiderate to use it in this way. Use the machines or hand wash in the sink provided.
 

Bogong

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
First, March 2014
I have bought both Merino wool and quick dry T- shirts. Both long and short sleeves. Going end of Sept on the Camino Frances.

My research so far shows, that with merino wool items, you can wear them for a few days, they dont smell.

Quick dry items become smelly within a day and needs washing every day. I am thinking I will be very tired after a long days walk, and in no mood to do laundry every day.

I also heard that with pants, some pilgrims, will wash only the crotch area, and not get the whole pants wet, so that it will quickly dry.

Any practical thoughts on this please ?
There should be quite a lot on this topic in earlier posts over some years. In a nutshell, forget the quick dry purported”wick” stuf. It’s basically a con. Some of it is quite expensive. What you’ll find is it’s generally a mix of a synthetic with cotton eg 85% polyester, 15% cotton is what I found in a specialist wilderness equipment store at an horrendous price. Some time later I found stuff to practically the same spec in a clothing store at a fraction of the price. Now if you can remember back to the late 1960’s they marketed drip dry non-iron business shirts to this spec as well so what you’re getting now is a revival of this old technology, with flash advertising, to try to
make a killing. If you wash and hang these things out, unlike cotton, the wet gravitates to the bottom. So the top will feel dry but the bottom will be even more sogging wet than when you started. This has been a real problem for me trying to dry things out overnight for the next day. I’d try to hang them
out next to my bunk so that whenever I stirred I could wrong a bit more out of the bottom.so I’ve gone right off this stuff (after a while also it develops smells you can’t eradicate). There are some very fine and light merino products around and I would see it as exceptional for them to cause rash problems . Also I have had acquaintances with rash problems from synthetics too. And the old adage “no matter how cold and wet it is, wool will always keep you warm and dry” still has merit

De Colores

Bogong
 
Time of past OR future Camino
Have completed through Agosta
I have bought both Merino wool and quick dry T- shirts. Both long and short sleeves. Going end of Sept on the Camino Frances.

My research so far shows, that with merino wool items, you can wear them for a few days, they dont smell.

Quick dry items become smelly within a day and needs washing every day. I am thinking I will be very tired after a long days walk, and in no mood to do laundry every day.

I also heard that with pants, some pilgrims, will wash only the crotch area, and not get the whole pants wet, so that it will quickly dry.

Any practical thoughts on this please ?
I am sold on Arctryx short or long sleeve. Dry fast. More so than merino and they also don’t hold a smell until a few days. Remember when it rains it is difficult to wash and dry every day. It’s fine.
 

Ricardo Moretti

Camino Frances x 2: Apr./May 2018 & Apr./May 2019
Time of past OR future Camino
Two Camino Frances:
April-May 2018
April-May 2019
I have bought both Merino wool and quick dry T- shirts. Both long and short sleeves. Going end of Sept on the Camino Frances.

My research so far shows, that with merino wool items, you can wear them for a few days, they dont smell.

Quick dry items become smelly within a day and needs washing every day. I am thinking I will be very tired after a long days walk, and in no mood to do laundry every day.

I also heard that with pants, some pilgrims, will wash only the crotch area, and not get the whole pants wet, so that it will quickly dry.

Any practical thoughts on this please ?
You are overthinking this. Don't worry. There are several laundromats along the Way and you can also hand wash your clothing in a sink. Wool or synthetics do not really matter. What matters more is that you have a layer system. 2 long sleeve, 1 short sleeve, 2 to 3 pants (one detachable), 3 pairs of wool socks, underwear, raingear, fleece, jacket...Quickdry is the most important
 
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2ndCaminho

New Member
Time of past OR future Camino
2018
I have bought both Merino wool and quick dry T- shirts. Both long and short sleeves. Going end of Sept on the Camino Frances.

My research so far shows, that with merino wool items, you can wear them for a few days, they dont smell.

Quick dry items become smelly within a day and needs washing every day. I am thinking I will be very tired after a long days walk, and in no mood to do laundry every day.

I also heard that with pants, some pilgrims, will wash only the crotch area, and not get the whole pants wet, so that it will quickly dry.

Any practical thoughts on this please ?
merino every time!
 

Robo

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Frances 2015,
2016, 2018
VdlP 2023
I’ve posted similarly previously but I find the general obsession with showering and frequent laundering of clothes intriguing.
Mud tends to come off trousers and boots in the next rain shower. Merino wool takes several days before it starts to stink. And as for me, I’d rather have a reasonable amount of space at the bar even if every other customer is wedged in a crowd at either end. Synthetics, they’ll never smell any better than they did after that first wash, no matter how hard you bang them on that rock…

Old Boy Scout tip. In the morning bang your socks against the pole of your “Good Companion” tent. This not only softens the wool and removes the felting before you pull them on again but it also shakes the dew off the canvas

I thought you were going to tell an old Army trick!
Throw your socks against the wall.
If they don't stick, they're still good to go :oops::oops:

Personally, I wash myself every day as well as my shirt, socks, underwear.
My hiking pants maybe every other day.

It is not hard to stay clean on the Camino.
Daily laundry just takes a few minutes.
You feel fresher and those around you will appreciate it ;);)
 

Robo

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Frances 2015,
2016, 2018
VdlP 2023
You are overthinking this. Don't worry. There are several laundromats along the Way and you can also hand wash your clothing in a sink. Wool or synthetics do not really matter. What matters more is that you have a layer system. 2 long sleeve, 1 short sleeve, 2 to 3 pants (one detachable), 3 pairs of wool socks, underwear, raingear, fleece, jacket...Quickdry is the most important

It will all be fine @Salty ;) ;) ;)
 

Robo

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Frances 2015,
2016, 2018
VdlP 2023
How does this work in the shower ? You shower with your clothes on ? Or you mean washing your clothes while the shower tap is running ?

I would have thought to conserve warm water, for the next pilgrim, its not a wise idea to wash laundry in the shower. Or is running out of hot water in the showers not an issue?

Not good to do laundry in the shower. As you say, it wastes hot water and ties up the showers for those waiting.

99% of albergues provide some kind of washing facilities, if only a tap and basins 'out the back'.
If you're lucky they have washing machines. You can share a load with someone else!
 
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CarolamS

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
2019
I used this product last year https://seatosummit.com/products/pocket-wilderness-wash. Convenient, light, no waste. I don't remember whether I bought it through Amazon, MEC or Breathe Outdoors.
I use the exact same thing from LifeVenture. 14g for 50 fabric wash leaves in a little plastic box. I also use a dry bag as my 'washing machine'. So easy to squish the items through the bag then leave to soak while showering. 2 quick rinses and done. It has always cleaned my socks, t shirt and underwear perfectly acceptably. For walking I have 2 Arc'teryx Quadra long sleeved T shirts, very light and breathable polyester, never found them to smell. (They are expensive!) For the evening/sleeping I have a light merino LS t shirt. This won't need washing too often nor my hiking trousers, possibly by machine once a week along with my light PJ trousers. No sweat 😉
 
Time of past OR future Camino
Portuguez Coastal Litoral 5/22, Ingles 8/22
I love my merino, I bought some undies and a T-shirt from Woolx and am very pleased with the lack of body odor, the ease of washing and quickness of drying. Plus I felt less "swampy" than in my synthetic duds. I do my wash every day on the Camino, it's a meditation and ritual for me. My trick is to wring everything out in my towel after I dry myself so the clothing is less drippy.
 

K_Lynn

Buen Camino!
Time of past OR future Camino
Frances 2021
I love my merino, I bought some undies and a T-shirt from Woolx and am very pleased with the lack of body odor, the ease of washing and quickness of drying. Plus I felt less "swampy" than in my synthetic duds. I do my wash every day on the Camino, it's a meditation and ritual for me. My trick is to wring everything out in my towel after I dry myself so the clothing is less drippy.
Step on the towel to squash the water out!
 
Time of past OR future Camino
See signature. Too many to list here.
There should be quite a lot on this topic in earlier posts over some years. In a nutshell, forget the quick dry purported”wick” stuf. It’s basically a con
Not my experience.

But I really love the random post about "de colores". Yah growing up in SoCal, as an Anglo, that song was pumped into my brain for years (grade 1-3).

Point is... whatever floats a boat. There are multiple ways to skin a cat. Buen Camino.
 
Time of past OR future Camino
2020 Francés
You are overthinking this. Don't worry. There are several laundromats along the Way and you can also hand wash your clothing in a sink. Wool or synthetics do not really matter. What matters more is that you have a layer system. 2 long sleeve, 1 short sleeve, 2 to 3 pants (one detachable), 3 pairs of wool socks, underwear, raingear, fleece, jacket...Quickdry is the most important
Just about every albergue has washing machines and drying machines these days.

What ever you choose please don’t wash your clothes in the shower, or the bathroom sink.

Not withstanding what some of our learned members may suggest. It is not really appreciated in the Albergues.
 

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Time of past OR future Camino
2022
I am totally a merino wool t-shirt girl - but I am also picky about brand. Icebreaker holds up better than every other brand I have tried. But they don't hold odor the way other materials do, they are a material that helps insulate when it is cold yet keeps you cooler when it is hot (and yes - I live in the So. Arizona desert - so I have lots of wear time in the heat), and they are pretty fast drying. I have even switched to merino wool underwear and bras for the Camino.

Synthetic and quick dry material isn't a bad choice - but I will always go for merino wool. And yes - Icebreaker is more expensive than other brands - but in my experience it holds up better and lasts a lot longer than the other brands I have tried.

Just to add to this: I now find Smartwool to be equal to Icebreaker for durability… and frequently better — probably because they are now owned by the same parent company that also owns: Timberland and Vans, among many other outdoor brands.

Icebreaker bras run a little small (for those considering them). A 34 C is a *large* apparently…

Smartwool underwear has a more comfortable fit for *me* and have been more durable over the demands of hiking than my icebreakers.

Dear Spouse and Boy child tell me that the men’s icebreaker underwear with the U-shaped seam is superior for hiking than the single seam up the back. And we all swear by merino tights and so forth.
 

LavanyaLea

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Frances (May/June 2022)
Merino each time for me! Up until this summer I’ve only worn them for fleece and thermal layers… until friends from Finland bought a dozen merino items on sale from bargain online shop and sent them to me (one of them was coming for a visit). So I was responsible to check the orders came through right, and wow…. The T-shirts were so soft and felt so nice to touch! So what did I do? I bought a tshirt and a vest, of course! From the same shop.

I wore the vest on a lot of summer hiking trips when temp was over 30C… i had been sweating, my hair was wet, and yet the moment we sat down in a pub (outdoors but with a parasol for shade), within a few minutes my merino vest was dry, completely!

I airdried it at home and wore it several times as it’s true, it doesn’t smell! I would hand wash merino items though, they’re ever so delicate. My oldest fleece has a couple of holes on the elbow areas… and then when my friend arrived to pick up his orders, we went for a hike and my doggie’s paws also tore tiny holes 😨 so I spent the next day stitching all my merinos.

I have not gone as far as replacing my underwear with merino but the next time they’re too worn out and in need of replacement, I’ll buy merino underwear too!

I used the sea2summit pocket wash but were not impressed as the detergent leaves hardly produced any foam… my Camino buddy used Dr Beckman travel wash and I ended up using hers more! So that’s what I’ll be bringing next week.
 
Time of past OR future Camino
2023
My oldest fleece has a couple of holes on the elbow areas… and then when my friend arrived to pick up his orders, we went for a hike and my doggie’s paws also tore tiny holes 😨 so I spent the next day stitching all my merinos.
Most sheep are shorn once a year, usually in late Winter or early Spring so that the growers get the longest fibres that fetch the best prices.

However the sheep often also get their rear ends shorn at other times so that they are less susceptible to fly strike. The wool from this shear are called Crutchings or Dags and the fibres are much shorter.

The crutchings from Merino sheep are still Merino wool but this wool is much cheaper to buy because of the much shorter fibre length. The shorter length is less desirable because it comes apart easier and forms holes easier.

It is possible that your really cheap Merino wool garments are made from this cheaper, shorter fibre wool.

Another interesting anecdote about Merino wool is that washing it with liquid soap is generally better for it than washing it with powdered soap. The powdered soap tends to cling to the wool strands and will weaken them with time.
 
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MichaelC

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
May 2023: Via Francigena, Lucca to Rome
At home I use synthetics for biking or the gym - but once they get a smell it never goes away. It’s usually a musty smell too, more than body odor. I’ll splurge on a set of merino t shirts before my next camino.
 
Time of past OR future Camino
LePuy07, CF 08, Arles17, Via Regia '18,
All synthetics are not the same. Check the lables. Polyester and polypropylene breed happy smell producing organisms; Nylon doesn't. Nylon is not hospitable for smells, is extremely durable and dries quickly, and is not expensive. I take a thin merino sweater for warmth, layered over a shirt, and have never washed it on hikes. I take two nylon Columbia sw long sleeve shirts (note that I am sun avoidant and don't like sun screen). One is for backup and I don't need to wash it, since it's worn only for evenings. The day shirt, nylon underwear (2 total, one pair for evenings) and merino wool/nylon socks (two pair hiking and one thin merino liner total) get washed daily. The day nylon pants are rarely washed and backup nylon evening pants aren't washed either. The nylon clothing dries quickly and can even be worn damp because body heat will quickly dry it. Wool socks dry slowly get pinned to the back of the pack to finish drying the next day. Safety pin the toes to a line so they will drain and the toes will dry first. I'm impressed by how much water can be sqeezed out after being hung for a while. I carry a half a bar of Dr. Bronner's soap for everything, and mainly soap directly only the parts that need it, like arm pits! I admit that while washing clothes is not a peak experience, I do rellish the routine of the end of a fine day of hiking.
 
Time of past OR future Camino
Frances 2019
Primitivo Sep 2022 (planned)
For me it is always wool. All of my walking underwear, all of my tshirts and even the mid layer and scarf. Sometimes even a woollen beanie. Never regretted switching to wool long time ago. I do the washing as required. So I can easily go for a weak without washing if I have some spares for the innermost layer in my backpack. I usually never washed any outer layer on a longer walk. Sometimes I would brush the bottom ends of my trousers legs or remove some dirt with water and a towel if it starts looking ugly because of mud stains.
 

jeanineonthecamino

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances 2021, 2022
Just to add to this: I now find Smartwool to be equal to Icebreaker for durability… and frequently better — probably because they are now owned by the same parent company that also owns: Timberland and Vans, among many other outdoor brands.

Icebreaker bras run a little small (for those considering them). A 34 C is a *large* apparently…

Smartwool underwear has a more comfortable fit for *me* and have been more durable over the demands of hiking than my icebreakers.

Dear Spouse and Boy child tell me that the men’s icebreaker underwear with the U-shaped seam is superior for hiking than the single seam up the back. And we all swear by merino tights and so forth.
Sadly I still don't find Smartwool to be equal in durability - but I do think they are improving. Still have to give Smartwool some gentle care - which is something I don't want to do while hiking long distances.

And perhaps it is those who are a bit more "well endowed" who have issues with Icebreaker bra sizing. I am unfortunately not... and found my Icebreaker bra fits perfectly. I can imagine others would find this to be an issue though. That said - this summer - I did something that I usually would never do. I hiked without a bra most of the time and loved it! Only wore the bra when going out somewhere nicer or to visit cathedrals. What freedom! LOL. Again - I am only an "A" cup - so easier for me than someone who is a C or D+
 
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