• Remove ads on the forum by becoming a donating member. More here.

Search 69,459 Camino Questions

Recent Smelly Pilgrim Test

Robo

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Frances 15,16,18
VdlP 23, Invierno 23, Fisterra 23
We often read that Merino clothing does not smell as much with use, compared to other fabrics.

Since my first Camino 9 years ago, I have always worn very lightweight (120 gsm) Merino shirts (by Icebreaker) and found them excellent in warm and cool weather.

But........
I wash my walking shirt every evening. As I don't want to be that smelly Pilgrim!

However....
On a recent 4 day layover in Shanghai I was caught out with the cool weather.
All my clothes were for 10 days in Bangkok. Except for one heavy (280 gsm) long sleeve Merino shirt that I used to wear in the aircraft leaving Australia. (it's cool here right now)

It was very cool in Shanghai!
So my heavy Merino shirt, became my only shirt whilst there :rolleyes:

Each morning I would question if I should wear it again or not.
I would even get Pat to do the sniff test! :oops:

And I ended up wearing it for 4 days without washing it. :eek:

I'm assured by Pat..........I did not smell!

Not quite the sweaty Camino conditions I would normally experience, but interesting nonetheless.

But, please do not use this cool weather test to 'justify' not washing your Merino shirt on Camino! ;)

(It was actually far to hot to wear on the plane, so that gave it a good perspiration hit on Day 1)
 
€2,-/day will present your project to thousands of visitors each day. All interested in the Camino de Santiago.
It's funny that you should post this now. I'm currently on the Camino, but just took a rest day due to a cold. I've been marveling at how fresh my merino clothing has been without a wash - I smell nothing when I give it the sniff test. Then I realized that my sense of smell has gone kaput (but not my sense of taste), so I definitely can't rely on the sniff test right now! 😳
 
A selection of Camino Jewellery
There is a brand in the US that has 100 day challenge for a dress.
It is for a Wool dress. I can't tell if you are allowed to wash it. I have one of this brand I took on the Camino last winter along with wool leggings for evening clothes and also slept in my dress several nights as a nightgown. Thinking about it for next winter when I will be in Italy and Spain for about 3 months. I have two or 3 scarves with weigh very little, so may give that a try to change it up a little.
 
...and ship it to Santiago for storage. You pick it up once in Santiago. Service offered by Casa Ivar (we use DHL for transportation).
We often read that Merino clothing does not smell as much with use, compared to other fabrics.

Since my first Camino 9 years ago, I have always worn very lightweight (120 gsm) Merino shirts (by Icebreaker) and found them excellent in warm and cool weather.

But........
I wash my walking shirt every evening. As I don't want to be that smelly Pilgrim!

However....
On a recent 4 day layover in Shanghai I was caught out with the cool weather.
All my clothes were for 10 days in Bangkok. Except for one heavy (280 gsm) long sleeve Merino shirt that I used to wear in the aircraft leaving Australia. (it's cool here right now)

It was very cool in Shanghai!
So my heavy Merino shirt, became my only shirt whilst there :rolleyes:

Each morning I would question if I should wear it again or not.
I would even get Pat to do the sniff test! :oops:

And I ended up wearing it for 4 days without washing it. :eek:

I'm assured by Pat..........I did not smell!

Not quite the sweaty Camino conditions I would normally experience, but interesting nonetheless.

But, please do not use this cool weather test to 'justify' not washing your Merino shirt on Camino! ;)

(It was actually far to hot to wear on the plane, so that gave it a good perspiration hit on Day 1)
Ever since I got COVID in Aviles, SP in 2022, I seem to have lost my sense of smell for most things, including food, roses, my own deodorant and cologne. Given that, I have no idea how fragrant I may or may not be. I definitely wouldn't risk inflicting my 'essence' on fellow peregrinos with a 2nd or 3rd day unwashed shirt. I read years ago, that the boto fumeiro was used to mask the smell of the unwashed pilgrims gathered in the Cathedral for Mass. There may be some truth in that.
 
Last November was a great test for my Merino top (it was like 70% merino and 30% who knows what). I had bought it about 4 years ago and have worn it many times. Almost daily on my caminos. As many of you know it rained like a mother on the Coastal CP and in Galicia last November. Every day it was like swimming to Santiago. I had on my Merino top only with my Altus poncho. You sweat like crazy (or at least I do) when I am wearing my poncho, I would take my top off at the albergue just to let it air dry. If I washed it I doubted it would be dry in the morning. Well to make a long story short, I went over a week like that at one point before a machine wash and it never smelled. One of my all time best buys from the REI outlet store!
 
The company referenced above is called “Wool&” or “Wooland” and they give you a $30 gift certificate if you wear one of their dresses for 30 days straight, or $100 if you make it 100 days. Of course you can wash it as many times as you like. I became a merino wool convert! Their men’s line is called “Wool & Prince” and offers a 30-day challenge as well. I have purchased from both (as a tall lady, I like the longer length on the men’s t-shirts). They wear great, drip dry overnight, and are comfortable.
 
The 2024 Camino guides will be coming out little by little. Here is a collection of the ones that are out so far.
My wife did not join me for Camino Portuguese last fall. I decided to stretch the laundry days by wearing Icebreaker shirts and socks three days in a row without washing. Since I had other merino shirts and socks and was using Jacotrans for backpack transport, I was easily able to hike 7 days without doing laundry. And I might have pressed for four or five days since the merino wool had no odor at all! One of my favorite brands (along with Fjallraven and Simms). I just purchased three short sleeve Icebreaker shirts and retired several cotton shirts. Bob
 
I wouldn't intentionally go without washing my shirts each day. It started to not 'feel' right. Maybe the weave starts to block or something. I was convonced it must smell, but Pat assured me it did not......

As for Merino socks? Those don't feel as comfortable if not washed daily.
 
I've been experimenting with merino's anti-bacterial properties myself. My daily walks with Peg have been too short and slow to make any progress burning up all that spare fuel I've been storing over the winter so I've doing supplemental faster walks in the morning. I've been wearing a long sleeved, 200 gsm, 100% wool t-shirt. There has been a smell when I get back and take it off until the next walk but after airing the shirt out I couldn't detect a smell. I've finally overwhelmed the shirt so it is going to get a washing before the next wearing.

What I'm going to try next is, after the washing and drying, is spraying it with permethrin (for ticks and emerging mosquitoes). It's going to be interesting with not washing the permethrin out, keeping the stink down and fighting the coming summer heat.
 
The one from Galicia (the round) and the one from Castilla & Leon. Individually numbered and made by the same people that make the ones you see on your walk.
There is a brand in the US that has 100 day challenge for a dress.
On my first Camino I brought a shift style merino dress and wore it in the afternoons/evenings while on Camino and then every day for the rest of my holiday. 72 days in total. :D Everything else got washed but the dress did not and was fine lol.

I've googled your 100 day dresses and have bookmarked a few for when I have a better ability to choose.
 
I've been experimenting with merino's anti-bacterial properties myself. My daily walks with Peg have been too short and slow to make any progress burning up all that spare fuel I've been storing over the winter so I've doing supplemental faster walks in the morning. I've been wearing a long sleeved, 200 gsm, 100% wool t-shirt. There has been a smell when I get back and take it off until the next walk but after airing the shirt out I couldn't detect a smell. I've finally overwhelmed the shirt so it is going to get a washing before the next wearing.

What I'm going to try next is, after the washing and drying, is spraying it with permethrin (for ticks and emerging mosquitoes). It's going to be interesting with not washing the permethrin out, keeping the stink down and fighting the coming summer heat.
It will be interesting to see if the bug spray interferes with the antibacterial capabilities of the wool. It was suggested to not even wear deodorant for better antibacterial coverage. Please keep us updated.
 
...and ship it to Santiago for storage. You pick it up once in Santiago. Service offered by Casa Ivar (we use DHL for transportation).
There is a brand in the US that has 100 day challenge for a dress.
Wooland. Great brand. I don't think they insist that the item remain unwashed for the 100 days to meet the challenge! But I agree: merino wool clothing works for almost all conditions, doesn't get clammy or stinky as much as other fibers. Walking the Camino Frances in August, I wore (and still wear) thin merino tee-shirts under my sunshirt; washed it at the end of each walking day and it was dry within hours. Don't wring your socks! Roll them in a towel; they will dry overnight. Cushy merino socks kept my feet (almost) blister-free for six weeks.
 
I try not to wash clothes on Camino. Wastes valuable drinking time and, curiously, there’s always space at the bar…

On this current trip in Italy all the merino stuff has been fine with a cold water rinse and a drip dry by morning. Nobody’s complained so far, not even when visiting the Riace Bronzes in Reggio di Calabria where you wait in an airlock for 5 minutes before being admitted to the presences.

I’ve been so impressed by Marks & Spencers’ products I may not burn them when I get home
 
Very light, comfortable and compressible poncho. Specially designed for protection against water for any activity.

Our Atmospheric H30 poncho offers lightness and waterproofness. Easily compressible and made with our Waterproof fabric, its heat-sealed interior seams guarantee its waterproofness. Includes carrying bag.

€60,-
I am new to the world of Merino wool , the price tag has been my main stay away issue but a few months ago I bought some socks from Darn Tough and Danish Endurance. I have been very blessed with feet that survived the military and forty years of walking and generally I’ve not had issues with smelly shoes or feet but in part I attribute this to take the boots off throughout the day and airing the feet as we were forced to do in the service. Good practice that has paid a returning dividend.

With that success in mind I opted to buy my first shirt from Merino.tech on Amazon. Now this may be TMI but I think it is warranted, so here it is. I have had a life time problem with sweat that can on some occasions smell of ammonia; think cat pee. I’ve tried everything from diets, to hydration etc but it just doesn’t change the fact that on some days it turns out this way. So I was curious how this shirt would react. I wore it three days on hikes that left me well soaked and I never washed it…I was by myself with no harm done to any innocent souls J The result was no smell. I was impressed. I asked for a second opinion, my lovely wife who has an incredible sense of smell and aversion to scents and she agreed. I am sold on the idea that merino wool is quite the valuable investment.



Now on a side note regarding this Merino.tech long sleeve shirt I am a bit disappointed. On the fourth wearing I noticed a hole the size of a dime on the right upper arm. I am fairly certain it did not come this way and in the three walks I did not have any knowing encounters with brush or what not since my arm had no abrasion. Because of it’s location I though perhaps it was my pack but I have shirts that are fifteen years old and they are not frayed no less looking like a bullet pierced so I am perplexed and a bit concerned about the durability . I’ll include the link for your own consideration if you are looking to make a purchase.

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07WVQMVSS?psc=1&ref=ppx_yo2ov_dt_b_product_details
 
I am new to the world of Merino wool , the price tag has been my main stay away issue but a few months ago I bought some socks from Darn Tough and Danish Endurance. I have been very blessed with feet that survived the military and forty years of walking and generally I’ve not had issues with smelly shoes or feet but in part I attribute this to take the boots off throughout the day and airing the feet as we were forced to do in the service. Good practice that has paid a returning dividend.

With that success in mind I opted to buy my first shirt from Merino.tech on Amazon. Now this may be TMI but I think it is warranted, so here it is. I have had a life time problem with sweat that can on some occasions smell of ammonia; think cat pee. I’ve tried everything from diets, to hydration etc but it just doesn’t change the fact that on some days it turns out this way. So I was curious how this shirt would react. I wore it three days on hikes that left me well soaked and I never washed it…I was by myself with no harm done to any innocent souls J The result was no smell. I was impressed. I asked for a second opinion, my lovely wife who has an incredible sense of smell and aversion to scents and she agreed. I am sold on the idea that merino wool is quite the valuable investment.



Now on a side note regarding this Merino.tech long sleeve shirt I am a bit disappointed. On the fourth wearing I noticed a hole the size of a dime on the right upper arm. I am fairly certain it did not come this way and in the three walks I did not have any knowing encounters with brush or what not since my arm had no abrasion. Because of it’s location I though perhaps it was my pack but I have shirts that are fifteen years old and they are not frayed no less looking like a bullet pierced so I am perplexed and a bit concerned about the durability . I’ll include the link for your own consideration if you are looking to make a purchase.

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07WVQMVSS?psc=1&ref=ppx_yo2ov_dt_b_product_details
Some Merino will certainly get holes in it. Some brands and blends worse than others. It is one of the drawbacks that the wool fibers in the finer knit shirts and garments. I have used several brands and while some shirts, tights, dresses have lasted years, others succumb after only short wear. I especially get get little holes around where my backpack belt clips in the front. It probably catches the material and causes it to fail sooner.

I usually buy Merino garments when they are on sale. I've had good luck with Wool&, Unbound Merino, and to some degree Icebreaker. I also have a lot of Ibex brand clothing and their t-shirts have tended to fail me the most since I wear those t-shirts the most although I have several other Ibex garments which have been fine. Usually I just keep wearing them for hiking or walking the Camino anyway and try to preserve my hole free evening clothes.

There are several YouTube videos on repair ideas for holes in Merino, but frankly, I am not that crafty. My husband has two Woolrich brand polo shirts he's worn for more than 12 years now with a stronger blend of wool and polyester. They still look nice enough for church and never stink despite the fact he has worn them on multiple Caminos. I wish I could find more, but sadly I think the company must have realized that they'd sell more shirts if they didn't make them so well that people never needed more...
 
Get a spanish phone number with Airalo. eSim, so no physical SIM card. Easy to use app to add more funds if needed.
Some Merino will certainly get holes in it. Some brands and blends worse than others. It is one of the drawbacks that the wool fibers in the finer knit shirts and garments. I have used several brands and while some shirts, tights, dresses have lasted years, others succumb after only short wear. I especially get get little holes around where my backpack belt clips in the front. It probably catches the material and causes it to fail sooner.

I usually buy Merino garments when they are on sale. I've had good luck with Wool&, Unbound Merino, and to some degree Icebreaker. I also have a lot of Ibex brand clothing and their t-shirts have tended to fail me the most since I wear those t-shirts the most although I have several other Ibex garments which have been fine. Usually I just keep wearing them for hiking or walking the Camino anyway and try to preserve my hole free evening clothes.

There are several YouTube videos on repair ideas for holes in Merino, but frankly, I am not that crafty. My husband has two Woolrich brand polo shirts he's worn for more than 12 years now with a stronger blend of wool and polyester. They still look nice enough for church and never stink despite the fact he has worn them on multiple Caminos. I wish I could find more, but sadly I think the company must have realized that they'd sell more shirts if they didn't make them so well that people never needed more...
My blessed wife mended it, how it will hold is the question. I hesitate to buy a second one because I intended to use these on my upcoming Camino in August and I don't want them to disintegrate half way along.
 
I bought a couple of Merino tees for my last Camino and, despite the fact that one developed holes after its first wash, was sold on them for their anti-odour properties. I got a couple of merino blend tees from Decathlon for the trip I'm on now and they've done fine.
 
My blessed wife mended it, how it will hold is the question. I hesitate to buy a second one because I intended to use these on my upcoming Camino in August and I don't want them to disintegrate half way along.
As I mentioned, I wear a holey well-used one for daytime walking and then have a nicer outfit in the evening. You can always tell the new pilgrims when they join the pilgrimage as their gear is always clean and bright. Their shoes are clean and their shirts don't have that grayed after handwashing color and look. I have sometimes used a bit of tape on the Camino or a self adhesive repair patch at home.
 
Get a spanish phone number with Airalo. eSim, so no physical SIM card. Easy to use app to add more funds if needed.

Most read last week in this forum

I have read I think every single thread here but I am afraid that the backpacks that I have access to here in Europe are not that common in the UK and North America and vice versa, so here I am...
Greetings! In preparation for my first Camino ever this coming August, I bought a pair of Hokas back in January. I’ve been using them for short walks so as break them in. I would take them off as...
Buenas tardes amigos and fellow perigrinos. My wife and I are set to walk Norte from Santander to SdC onwards to Muxia and Finisterre leaving Toronto on Sep 26. We are both big fans of merino wool...
In preparation for our first Camino in spring/summer or fall 2025, my wife and I have been "testing" different gear - particularly shirts - for our trek. We understand and acknowledge weight...
Some of you may be aware of this but it was new to me. While sorting out a problem one of my brothers had with his mobile phone I came upon this feature - it may come in handy in some...

❓How to ask a question

How to post a new question on the Camino Forum.

Similar threads

Forum Rules

Forum Rules

Camino Updates on YouTube

Camino Conversations

Most downloaded Resources

This site is run by Ivar at

in Santiago de Compostela.
This site participates in the Amazon Affiliate program, designed to provide a means for Ivar to earn fees by linking to Amazon
Official Camino Passport (Credential) | 2024 Camino Guides
Back
Top