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Showering and changing/washing clothes...how often?

janiec

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Portuguese Camino (2018)
#1
I will be walking my first Camino in April. I plan to hike for about 2 weeks from Porto to Santiago. From what I've read, it seems that a lot of people shower and wash their clothes pretty often on the hike. I've been on week-long hikes without any showering and just one change of clothes. For the Camino, I was thinking that it would be much more convenient to not shower and change my clothes regularly, maybe just once or twice in the 2 weeks. Washing clothes every day seems like a huge hassle, and I would be worried that things drying overnight. I know it's ultimately up to preference...but am I crazy (or gross) for thinking this??
 

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DowtyCamino

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
May-July (2014),
May-July (2017)
#2
On Camino (unlike some "wilderness" hikes you will likely sleep in dormatory settings. Your fellow pilgrims will appreciate you showering often! Walking in May/June, the weather was hot and a shower was a welcome sight at the end of the day.
Washing clothes is indeed a hassle - but it quickly becomes part of your routine. Like most pilgrims we brought two changes of clothes, washing one set at the end of each day. Drying clothes was not a problem, but those that have traveled in April may wish to jump in.
 

tomnorth

Active Member
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances: September 24 - October 31 (2015); March/April (2019)
#3
The big difference between hiking and the Camino is that on the Camino you’re in close quarters with many other people, whether dining or sleeping. I can’t imagine how the albergue sleeping quarters would smell if everyone waited two weeks to shower or wash clothes. Out of courtesy to other pilgrims, I think bathing and washing clothes at least every other day makes sense. The Camino is a communal experience, so you need to think in terms of communal standards. What you can tolerate in terms of body odor and cleanliness may not be tolerable to the others you are with.
 

CdnDreamer

Active Member
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2012 & 2015) San Salvador (2018) Primitivo (2018)
#4
You may be sleeping just two feet away from the next person - in a bed that is used every night by someone else. We are trying to keep the albergues clean as well. The routine becomes arrive in the early afternoon, have a shower, wash your clothes and hang them to dry. If you take quick dry clothes they are usually dry in a couple of hours. It really isn't a hassle at all - I just wash them out by hand with a bit of my shampoo and wring them out and hang them up.
 

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MikeJS

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Francis (2011), Norte (2012), VdlP (Apr 2016). Sureste/Invierno (Apr/May 2017).
#6
Why not shower every day? They are freely available in most (all?) accommodations. Similarly, its easy to wash out what you have worn at the end of the day, just try to use quick dry materials.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Northern Way (2017)
#9
No one else showers everyday while hiking. So it is totally acceptable to go multiple days without.

But you will be going into villages and towns, and sitting in bars and restaurants with people who are going about their normal day. You will probably want to be in-town presentable.

I washed t-shirts everyday, but I am a little more lax when it came to bottoms, partly because I was wearing a macabi skirt. It wasn't in close proximity to my skin, so didn't get so sweaty so quickly. Sweaters or other items not against the skin would go a little longer. Usually, I would do a load in a washing machine every week, and try to put as much in that load as possible.
 

Iano

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Astorga to Santiago April 2017
#10
After a hard days walking the chance to get a shower and into some clean clothes is hard to beat. As other people say its just a mater of routine to was your clothes every day. As the saying goes cleanliness is next to godliness.
 

David Tallan

Active Member
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (1989 and 2016), Portugues - central from Oporto (2018 - planned)
#11
My routine was to shower every day after the day's walk and change clothes after every shower. I would be in that change of clothes until the next shower. I had two changes of clothes with me so I didn't necessarily have to wash clothes after every shower. I found that for my son and I, two sets of clothes each made a nice load of laundry for a washing machine. :)

I can see why one would go without on a wilderness hike, where it might be a pain to carry a portable shower and set it up. But I'm not sure why one would want to go without when showering and laundry facilities are waiting for you at your day's destination and you aren't in the wilderness but in crowds of other people.
 

davebugg

DustOff: "When I have your wounded."
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances...
Sept. 2017: SJPdP to Burgos
Sept./Oct. 2018: SJPdP to Santiago de Compostela
#12
I will be walking my first Camino in April. I plan to hike for about 2 weeks from Porto to Santiago. From what I've read, it seems that a lot of people shower and wash their clothes pretty often on the hike. I've been on week-long hikes without any showering and just one change of clothes. For the Camino, I was thinking that it would be much more convenient to not shower and change my clothes regularly, maybe just once or twice in the 2 weeks. Washing clothes every day seems like a huge hassle, and I would be worried that things drying overnight. I know it's ultimately up to preference...but am I crazy (or gross) for thinking this??
1. It looks like you are thinking of taking one set of clothing. You can still walk the Camino with an ultra-light pack -- which I define as under 10 pounds -- with two sets. I take two pairs of running shorts, a Patagonia Lightweight Capilene baselayer bottom, and two tops: a SmartWool Lightweight base layer top, and very lightweight Capilene top. Total weight: 21 ounces. You wash your just worn clothing and wear the second set while the first set dries. If not dry by morning, just put them in your main outside pocket of your pack to continue to dry during the day. Wash, rinse, repeat.

2. As to showering, I get where you're coming from. I have lots of long-distance thru hiking experience. But while the principles of how and what to put in a backpack, and how to deal with things like blisters and other walking stuff are similar to wilderness backpacking and benefit from that experience, you are not backpacking on a trail in the wild. You are walking from one town or village to the next town or village. At the end of the day, you aren't pitching a tent (unless that is what you want to do), you are occupying shared living spaces, or staying in private accomodations. You will be eating breakfast, lunch and dinner surrounded by other pilgrims. Or you will be eating in public places, like bars and restaurants, surrounded by locals and other pilgrims, too.

If you want to visit a museum, attend Mass or simply tour a cathedral or church; if you go shopping or want to take in the sights around town, you are with others who live and work there.

Yes, during your daily walk, clothing gets a bit dusty and dirty, but it's not like on the trail where you can let your clothing get grungy and smelly because doing daily laundry is not convenient (although I keep a clean set of shorts and t-shirt to sleep in). On Camino, it IS convenient to do laundry, to shower, and to take care of personal hygiene.

I would not appreciate a grungy, smelly pilgrim sleeping in a bed near me. The snoring should be the biggest aggravating factor, not someone's lack of hygiene. :)
 

Albertagirl

Veteran Member
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2015); Ch. d'Arles: Oloron Ste Marie to Aragones; Frances (2016); V.d.l.P.; Sanabres (2017)
#13
I will be walking my first Camino in April. I plan to hike for about 2 weeks from Porto to Santiago. From what I've read, it seems that a lot of people shower and wash their clothes pretty often on the hike. I've been on week-long hikes without any showering and just one change of clothes. For the Camino, I was thinking that it would be much more convenient to not shower and change my clothes regularly, maybe just once or twice in the 2 weeks. Washing clothes every day seems like a huge hassle, and I would be worried that things drying overnight. I know it's ultimately up to preference...but am I crazy (or gross) for thinking this??
@janiec
Last summer, I went on an 8 day hike in the Canadian Rockies without spare clothes, except for underwear, socks and whatever outer layers I thought I needed to keep warm and dry. I had to carry tent, sleeping mat, cooking gear and food, as well as clothes, so there just wasn't space, nor need. I did not attempt to bathe in mountain glacier-fed water. I hike alone and usually don't see anyone once I am two days walk away from a road.
Then last fall, I walked the Via de la Plata for 50 days, during almost all of which I stayed in albergues, sharing limited space with other pilgrims. On the Via, I carried one complete change of clothes, plus the usual extras for warmth and dryness and one extra pair of underpants, just in case. As it turns out, one pair of underpants disappeared from a washing line, so I was glad to still have a spare. All of these things, except for trousers, heavy socks, and my evening wear skirt, are very quick drying. I didn't always have clean, dry socks, because the heavy outer layer socks which I wear seldom dried overnight and had to be worn for a second day. It was lovely to shower and change into my clean clothes every day, sometimes a challenge to be able to get my walking trousers laundered. Yes it was sometimes a nuisance, and sometimes I had to put damp clothes in a plastic bag in the morning and hang them up again when I stopped (I don't hang them from my pack).
These are two very different experiences, with different daily habits suitable for each. Just plan and pack for a camino and not for a back country walk. Wear your shirt for a second day if you want. Buen camino.
 

RJM

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
A few times, but soon again I hope....
#14
First and foremost, the Camino de Santiago is not a hike, it is a walk. A long daily walk between towns.
Second, if you decide to stay in albergues, they have showers, sinks, etc. No reason not to bathe, and your fellow pilgrims will thank you for it.
I have never looked upon personal hygiene as inconvenient...:D
 

frida1

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances April 11-May 11 2014
#15
I’ve walked 3 caminos. If I’m hot and sweaty, I want to shower and wash clothes. If it’s been cool and the walk not difficult I may not shower and wash. I often go several days without washing pants if it’s cool. Socks mostly get washed every day, and I would say I don’t go more than 2-3 nights without a shower.
 
#16
Doing laundry daily isn't a big deal - it's 10 minutes out of your day. Like others have said, you can get multiple wearing out of pants/shorts/skirts, so you really only need to wash your base layer shirt, socks, and underwear daily. And sometimes, if it's cold and you haven't really sweated, you can get a couple wearings out of your base layer shirt. Bring quick-dry stuff and you won't have a problem with it drying before the next morning. If it isn't raining, you'll hang your stuff out on the line and it will likely be dry in a couple hours.
 

C clearly

Veteran Member
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2012, 2014, 2015, 2016). Seville-Astorga (Mar 2017). Mozarabe (Apr-May 2018)
#18
Message received! Thank you everyone for weighing in. I'm not an experienced hiker or walker, and I did not mean to offend anyone with the question. I know see that it was crazy!
Not crazy, but when you haven't done something like this, it is hard to imagine how it all works. Different people do things differently, just like they do at home. I do wash underpants and socks pretty much everyday, and my base layer "undershirt" as it gets sweaty. I have a daytime outfit (which can remain a bit dirty as I am walking outdoors) and a night-time outfit (which stays clean for many days since I shower before putting it on). I wash selected items as it seems appropriate.
 

trecile

Veteran Member
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
Aug-Sept(2016) SJPDP-Finisterre, July-Aug(2017) SJPDP-Muxia-Finisterre, July-Aug(2018) El Norte
#19
First and foremost, the Camino de Santiago is not a hike, it is a walk. A long daily walk between towns.
Second, if you decide to stay in albergues, they have showers, sinks, etc. No reason not to bathe, and your fellow pilgrims will thank you for it.
I have never looked upon personal hygiene as inconvenient...:D
Yes, I totally agree with this. It's not a hike or camping trip. It's a journey where walking is your mode of transportation instead of traveling by car, train, bus, etc.
 

DowtyCamino

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
May-July (2014),
May-July (2017)
#20
There's never a crazy question. What's awesome on this forum is different perspectives, different solutions, and different approaches. In 2014, it was cold, even in May/June. I probably could have gotten by without washing every day. In 2017 it was hot and muggy in May/June. If I could have stopped mid day and taken a shower I just might have. I definitely wanted to take a 2nd or 3rd shower some evenings because the albergues were roasting and it was a way to cool off. I never did...but I thought about it!
 
Camino(s) past & future
SJPdP-SdC (2017)
SdC-Muxia-Fisterra-SdC (2017)
Lisboa-SdC (2018)
#21
Laundering one’s clothes on the Camino is not usually a difficult chore, especially if one uses quick-dry textiles.

Many albergues and some hostels/hotels have a for-pay guest laundry service. Also, searching in Google Maps using search string “laundr” (which captures laundromat, laundry, etc.), and/or the local-language equivalent, will reveal some additional nearby laundry services. And, one can simply inquire of the hospitalero/a to find more.

The vast majority of the many Spanish laundromats that I have used were very clean, modern, and economical.
 

hel&scott

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
2004 St Jean - Santiago, 2008 Seville - Finestere, 2010 Ferrol - Lisbon, 2012 from Cartehenga.
#22
Message received! Thank you everyone for weighing in. I'm not an experienced hiker or walker, and I did not mean to offend anyone with the question. I know see that it was crazy!
On behalf of fellow pilgrims, thankyou. Your adherence to simple daily washing will be much appreciated. Not only will you avoid the nickname Mr Smelly, but you will find it's not that hard and it saves you developing odd rashes (to go with the odd looks).

However, no matter how hard you try after weeks on the road you will develop a certain scent that identifies you as a fellow traveller...
 

Sailor

Donante Vitalicio
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Sin Fin
#23
No issues finding a good shower.No issues finding a place to wash your quick drying clothing. When you get to the albergue in Roncesvalles the staff will wash and dry your clothing for about 3 euros. In other places we just washed all that needed to be washed, hang it outside, and by the time we we left the next morning everything was dry and good to go. Most of the time we stayed in private rooms., with plenty of space to hang our gear to dry overnight. To all caminantes, no pares de caminar, la luz de Dios alumbra su camino.
 

RJM

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
A few times, but soon again I hope....
#25
The very first time I walked the Camino Frances several years ago, it was in the middle of August. Very warm. There were two young pilgrims walking at the same time as I was who would not shower in the albergues. I stayed at the same albergue they did 4-5 times and I must say, those two lads smelled awful to BO. I distinctly remember being able to smell one from across the room. No kidding. They were very nice guys and very polite, but just didn't bathe. One day I was talking to them on the side of the path and they said they wanted to be as close to an original pilgrim as they could be. Well, they definitely duplicated the rank body odor of a medieval pilgrim.
 

Dabo

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances September to October 2017
#26
On Camino (unlike some "wilderness" hikes you will likely sleep in dormatory settings. Your fellow pilgrims will appreciate you showering often! Walking in May/June, the weather was hot and a shower was a welcome sight at the end of the day.
Washing clothes is indeed a hassle - but it quickly becomes part of your routine. Like most pilgrims we brought two changes of clothes, washing one set at the end of each day. Drying clothes was not a problem, but those that have traveled in April may wish to jump in.
I remember smell of awfully stinky feet in bunk atop of me. Also I remember walking into a 50+ room which reeked of body odor. As a courtesy to others please bath, brush your teeth and wash your clothes daily. You’ll rest better, too. Thank you.
 

Anamiri

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances
#27
Its not like you have to do a lot of other stuff that you would normally do when you're on the Camino. Your life contracts a lot, all you focus on is walking, eating, sleeping etc. You get into a routine. The 10 mins a day it takes to be hygienic and pleasant to be around isn't a big deal on a Camino - its not like you have to do housework, mow the lawn etc.
Plus to keep weight down, I only take 2 outfits, and swap them around each day. So keeping them clean is a must. To keep your feet in good order your socks need to be clean and dry as well.
I never had an issue with clothes not drying - hand washed with bar soap.Some albergues had an old fashioned wringer that got more water out of the clothes as well.
I will say that when I got home and washed my socks properly, I was surprised to find they were blue and not grey....
 
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Rick of Rick and Peg

Veteran Member
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances, 2015
#29
On behalf of fellow pilgrims, thankyou. Your adherence to simple daily washing will be much appreciated. Not only will you avoid the nickname Mr Smelly, but you will find it's not that hard and it saves you developing odd rashes (to go with the odd looks).
A little about odd rashes. In boot camp recruits, who sleep in quarters a bit like albergues, have developed a method of ensuring personal hygene on the part of all. Those who got a bit too smelly ended up having a blanket tossed over their head and then escorted, with all the politeness due to someone who didn't care about anyone else, to the showers where bristle brushes used for scrubbing floors ensured that all dirt, sweat and smell got removed.

I think pilgrims are nicer but I might be wrong about that. Anyway, if you avoid showers be sure to avoid ex-sailors too.
 

easygoing

Walking the Camino with my 15 year old self
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
I have walked the Camino Francis 5 times, twice in 2017. (May 2018 and September 2018)
#30
I will be walking my first Camino in April. I plan to hike for about 2 weeks from Porto to Santiago. From what I've read, it seems that a lot of people shower and wash their clothes pretty often on the hike. I've been on week-long hikes without any showering and just one change of clothes. For the Camino, I was thinking that it would be much more convenient to not shower and change my clothes regularly, maybe just once or twice in the 2 weeks. Washing clothes every day seems like a huge hassle, and I would be worried that things drying overnight. I know it's ultimately up to preference...but am I crazy (or gross) for thinking this??
Hi, I too am a long distance hiker and totally understand how you feel.y advice wash you and your clothes when they are dirty. This is my system. I bring one hiking outfit, tank top, shirt and pants and one extra tank top and shorts. When I get to the albergue I may or not shower depending if I sweated that day. But each night I wash my underpants and socks. My tank top too if the day was very hot--do the sniff test. Then about once a week or less I use a washing machine for everything. The clean clothes smell lasts for days. I hand wash the shorts and tank whenever they feel dirty. My husband on the other hand has to wash his hiking tee shirt more often due to salty sweat marks and he does this in the shower. Things do dry quickly in Spain, especially in the dryer. I agree it is important to be aware of body odor and I bring a small cream deodorant.
So if you or your clothes are dirty wash them if not go sight see and enjoy tapas. This is your Camino.
 

Patch

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Leon to Santiago (June 2014)
St Jean to Leon (Sept 2015)
Burgos to Santiago (June 2016)
Porto to Finisterre (June 2017)
#31
On my spring Camino I always take the opportunity to take my annual bath/shower regardless of whether I need it or not!
 

M. Oliver

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
2016
#32
You will have the opportunity to shower every day at an albergue so why wouldn't you? As previously stated n the threads, you are in close proximity to other people in dorm-like settings. Sometimes beds are very close together. Please do shower out of consideration for your fellow pilgrims. If you're bringing heavy cotton garments, no those will not likely dry by themselves overnight. But if you bring thin, lightweight "technical wear", that should dry overnight. Some albergues have dryers too.
 
Camino(s) past & future
August 2017
#33
I will be walking my first Camino in April. I plan to hike for about 2 weeks from Porto to Santiago. From what I've read, it seems that a lot of people shower and wash their clothes pretty often on the hike. I've been on week-long hikes without any showering and just one change of clothes. For the Camino, I was thinking that it would be much more convenient to not shower and change my clothes regularly, maybe just once or twice in the 2 weeks. Washing clothes every day seems like a huge hassle, and I would be worried that things drying overnight. I know it's ultimately up to preference...but am I crazy (or gross) for thinking this??
If it rains you will get wet through and need a shower If it is hot you will sweat like hell and need a shower. Many of us would step into the shower with your clothes on and wash them off your self then wash your self. Rolling your eyes wait till your on the Camino for a week.:).
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
Donating Member
#34
I think that a part of the problem is that we become immune to our own smell! And these high tech clothes, in my experience, get a lot smellier a lot more quickly than natural fibers. There are also different cultural norms about body odor. The US is probably at the top of the "no body smell allowed" list. Other societies are far more accepting, in my experience. So there may be some accommodation needed on both sides.

It can be awkward to say something to someone in cases like that, but I have found that the hospitalero/a may be a great help. I remember some of us trying to figure out how to say something to three particularly pungent pilgrims, and the hospitalera overheard us. She said, leave it to me. She walked into the room where they were resting, pointed at them and said -- "A la ducha o a la calle!" (to the shower or the street you go). She said it with a smile, and it solved the problem. Much easier for her, who will never see them again, to say something!
 

Charles Zammit

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances , St Jean Pied de Port - Finisterra May/ June 2017
Le Puy en Velay - Ales [2018]
#36
Wake . Walk . Wash , Eat , Sleep , Repeat !
Having once been forced to remain in the one set of clothes [ including underwear] and with no possibility of even a sponge wash for twelve days and nights I could not imagine giving up the chance to wash when possible .
 

gittiharre

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF Austria Czech Le Puy Geneva RLS V. Jacobi V. Regia V. Baltica/Scandinavica Porto Muxia
#37
There is absolutely no excuse for neglecting personal hygiene and laundry. It is incredibly disrespectful to fellow pilgrims to stink. I have lost the plot in company of stinking feet, disgusting microfiber towels, extreme under arm stench etc within a few cm of where I am trying to sleep. Please consider others. There are ample facilities for attending to all of the above. All you need is a bar of soap and a bit of planning.
 

gittiharre

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF Austria Czech Le Puy Geneva RLS V. Jacobi V. Regia V. Baltica/Scandinavica Porto Muxia
#39
Most pilgrims just wait until they get to the river in Lavacolla where they splash and frolic and give themselves a good scrubbing.
Haha! Not these days i hope. Good way to cut the numbers perhaps.
 

Walking Lover

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
CdS from Leon to Santiago, June 16, 2016 to June 30, 2016.
#40
I will be walking my first Camino in April. I plan to hike for about 2 weeks from Porto to Santiago. From what I've read, it seems that a lot of people shower and wash their clothes pretty often on the hike. I've been on week-long hikes without any showering and just one change of clothes. For the Camino, I was thinking that it would be much more convenient to not shower and change my clothes regularly, maybe just once or twice in the 2 weeks. Washing clothes every day seems like a huge hassle, and I would be worried that things drying overnight. I know it's ultimately up to preference...but am I crazy (or gross) for thinking this??
How often depends on how much you perspire or how hot it is. I can tolerate a lot of heat, don't "glow" much, so don't need to wash outer clothes every day.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances June/July 2015 with Jam
Starting Camino Frances 11 April 2018 :)
#41
Message received! Thank you everyone for weighing in. I'm not an experienced hiker or walker, and I did not mean to offend anyone with the question. I know see that it was crazy!
Please don't think it a silly question - it's tricky to know what to expect and how fantastic the alburgues are set up - I walked my first camino a couple of years ago with my 16 year old son and aimed to be super prepared. We took a hiking laundry bag which was totally unnecessary and ended up being sent ahead. I always felt having a shower after the walk was amazing - especially for our feet. Good shoes and socks - change of clothes and foot care stuff.... keep it simple - keep your weight of your backpack in check - there is plenty of shops on route - there was even a machine - like for drinks but for medical stuff, like plasters, in one place :) who knew this even existed.
Have a most wonderful Camino :)
 

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Jeff Crawley

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Ingles May 2018 completed - the Very Last Camino of All!
#42
I will be walking my first Camino in April. I plan to hike for about 2 weeks from Porto to Santiago. From what I've read, it seems that a lot of people shower and wash their clothes pretty often on the hike. I've been on week-long hikes without any showering and just one change of clothes. For the Camino, I was thinking that it would be much more convenient to not shower and change my clothes regularly, maybe just once or twice in the 2 weeks. Washing clothes every day seems like a huge hassle, and I would be worried that things drying overnight. I know it's ultimately up to preference...but am I crazy (or gross) for thinking this??
Lid of can ripped off! Worms all over the place!

Half of the fun of any Camino is the communal squatting down alongside the stream bed thrashing your highly expensive alpaca/marino mix hi-tech clothing against the cobbles . . . .

C'mon now, get on board ;)
 

mbates2

New Member
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
(2017)
#43
On Camino (unlike some "wilderness" hikes you will likely sleep in dormatory settings. Your fellow pilgrims will appreciate you showering often! Walking in May/June, the weather was hot and a shower was a welcome sight at the end of the day.
Washing clothes is indeed a hassle - but it quickly becomes part of your routine. Like most pilgrims we brought two changes of clothes, washing one set at the end of each day. Drying clothes was not a problem, but those that have traveled in April may wish to jump in.
Shower daily, wash clothes as needed, every 2 to 3 days.
 
#44
I will be walking my first Camino in April. I plan to hike for about 2 weeks from Porto to Santiago. From what I've read, it seems that a lot of people shower and wash their clothes pretty often on the hike. I've been on week-long hikes without any showering and just one change of clothes. For the Camino, I was thinking that it would be much more convenient to not shower and change my clothes regularly, maybe just once or twice in the 2 weeks. Washing clothes every day seems like a huge hassle, and I would be worried that things drying overnight. I know it's ultimately up to preference...but am I crazy (or gross) for thinking this??
Thanks for informing. I will avoid the Portuguese route in April.
Maggi
 

trecile

Veteran Member
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
Aug-Sept(2016) SJPDP-Finisterre, July-Aug(2017) SJPDP-Muxia-Finisterre, July-Aug(2018) El Norte
#45
While on the Camino washing my clothes daily is part of my routine, and I don't bring enough underwear to skip more than one day.
 

Lydia Gillen

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances 2007/8/9 2011 (C.F 2015)
#46
Welcome to the forum Janiec.
I walked from Valenca to Santiago last autumn and enjoyed it so much that I booked again as soon as I got home. I may even meet you as I will be in Tui 25th april

Buen Camino
 

Mormon

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
August (2016) Camino Frances
#47
Personally I think it depends on the conditions as you find them. I’m walking right now from Lisbon. It’s really cold and rainy. Even my quick dry clothes are not drying over night and a number of the albergues are very cool. Because of the weather I’m not working up much of a sweat as I walk. I’ve been taking my cues from how I feel when I get there. I’ve been showering about every other day and washing clothes as needed or when there’s a washer and dryer, whichever comes first. Also, at least so far, I haven’t had to sleep in any huge dormitories, so that hasn’t been an issue either. Two years ago I walked the Frances in August when it was 90 degrees every day. Then I showered and washed clothes every day. You’ll know what’s right when you get here.
 

NomadBoomer

Member
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (September 2017), Vdlp (April 2018)
#48
Taking a shower and changing into fresh clean clothes is one of the best bits of the day after a long hot walk for me.
Even technical clothes may not dry overnight if wet weather. I pack extra jocks socks. If necessary then I can skip a day laundry by keeping one top for walking and a clean one for the evenings.
 

Thornley

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances [08 ]Portuguese [09 ]Le Puy[10] Norte[ 11] Madrid [12] Figeac - Pamplona [13] Mont Saint Michel - Bordeaux / St Palais - Pamplona [14] Moissac -Burgos [15] , Norte to Oviedo and then Primitivo [16]
Le Puy to Moissac and Dax to Santo Domingo
#49
I will be walking my first Camino in April. I plan to hike for about 2 weeks from Porto to Santiago. From what I've read, it seems that a lot of people shower and wash their clothes pretty often on the hike
The Camino Frances is a lot harder than Portuguese , thats maybe why they wash every day
 
Camino(s) past & future
Via de la Plata
#50
I will be walking my first Camino in April. I plan to hike for about 2 weeks from Porto to Santiago. From what I've read, it seems that a lot of people shower and wash their clothes pretty often on the hike. I've been on week-long hikes without any showering and just one change of clothes. For the Camino, I was thinking that it would be much more convenient to not shower and change my clothes regularly, maybe just once or twice in the 2 weeks. Washing clothes every day seems like a huge hassle, and I would be worried that things drying overnight. I know it's ultimately up to preference...but am I crazy (or gross) for thinking this??
you better shower every day and change and wash your clothes everyday other wise no one will come near you.
 

JabbaPapa

"True Pilgrim"
Camino(s) past & future
100 characters or fewer : see signature details
#51
Message received! Thank you everyone for weighing in. I'm not an experienced hiker or walker, and I did not mean to offend anyone with the question. I know see that it was crazy!
It does actually vary somewhat from person to person -- personally, on the Camino, a daily shower is mandatory, as is washing at least one t-shirt (often two) and one pair of socks and keeping the underwear clean. But there's a minority among us who can get by for longer, from perspiring less than average -- but even they need to do it about every other day.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Via de la Plata
#52
You're kidding, right?
yes, I couldn't believe it either. I traveled one Camino with two guys in mid-twenties. One of them ended up with a bad rash from not washing his clothes, he would turn his boxer inside out. he eventually paid for his lack of uncleanliness he could barely walk until I suggested he get Nivea cream and apply it to the affected area and within a few days all was well again. yes, shower and washing of clothes on the Camino.
 

nomadpeah

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF 2015, (CF 2018)
#53
I will be walking my first Camino in April. I plan to hike for about 2 weeks from Porto to Santiago. From what I've read, it seems that a lot of people shower and wash their clothes pretty often on the hike. I've been on week-long hikes without any showering and just one change of clothes. For the Camino, I was thinking that it would be much more convenient to not shower and change my clothes regularly, maybe just once or twice in the 2 weeks. Washing clothes every day seems like a huge hassle, and I would be worried that things drying overnight. I know it's ultimately up to preference...but am I crazy (or gross) for thinking this??
@janiec One thought I have not seen mentioned (apologies if I missed it) is how restorative a hot shower, however quick, can be after walking all day. No matter how tired I was or how tough the distance may have been, the hot shower and fresh clothing felt like a magic reset button. The afternoon vino helped, too ;).

All the best to you and Buen Camino!
NP
 

gittiharre

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF Austria Czech Le Puy Geneva RLS V. Jacobi V. Regia V. Baltica/Scandinavica Porto Muxia
#54
Shower daily, wash clothes as needed, every 2 to 3 days.
Do wash your undies and socks and towels. I put them in the dryer ( haha on safety pins outside of pack if not dry overnight) Never had a problem. Being exposed to stinking microfibre towels draped over neighbouring bunks, at the same time as refusing to leave just a small tilt of window open in the middle of summer, sent me insane! We are cold, they bleated, sleeping bags, extra blankets on hand, a washing line in a drying room, sow why not hang your towels there??? Who would steal them??? Yuk...I just had a silk liner to sleep in. What the F.... I had a total meltdown. Grabbed my mattress and threw it down the stairs after unsuccessful mediation attempts and slept in the entrance way. I was classified as a mad woman and the talk of the pilgrim community for days to come....Hospitalero said it wasn't a hotel. Exactly my point! That is why you are considerate to others and don't stench the place out and allow some air into a room with 20 people, so we can breathe.....Other peoples' stench is insufferable frankly and there is no need for it.
 

Robo

Veteran Member
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF SJPdP to SdC
(May 2015)
Alone.
------------------------------
CF Sarria to SdC
(May 2016)
with my wife Pat.
------------------------------
CF SJPDP-SdC
(Apr/May 2018)
together again :-)
#55
I will be walking my first Camino in April. I plan to hike for about 2 weeks from Porto to Santiago. From what I've read, it seems that a lot of people shower and wash their clothes pretty often on the hike. I've been on week-long hikes without any showering and just one change of clothes. For the Camino, I was thinking that it would be much more convenient to not shower and change my clothes regularly, maybe just once or twice in the 2 weeks. Washing clothes every day seems like a huge hassle, and I would be worried that things drying overnight. I know it's ultimately up to preference...but am I crazy (or gross) for thinking this??
Can you please walk downwind of any other Pilgrims :rolleyes::rolleyes:
 
Camino(s) past & future
future
#56
Just a little tangent here...so everyone seems to take their shower upon checking into an albergue...how long is that wait??? Do you take a number or stand in line or what exactly to get into the shower?
 

Robo

Veteran Member
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF SJPdP to SdC
(May 2015)
Alone.
------------------------------
CF Sarria to SdC
(May 2016)
with my wife Pat.
------------------------------
CF SJPDP-SdC
(Apr/May 2018)
together again :-)
#57
No one else showers everyday while hiking. So it is totally acceptable to go multiple days without.
Ahem...... I would beg to differ.
In shared accommodation? :eek:
 

VNwalking

Veteran Member
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
Francés (2014, 2015)
St Olav/Francés (2016)
Baztanés/Francés (2017)
Ingles (July 2018)
#58
No one else showers everyday while hiking. So it is totally acceptable to go multiple days without.
Other peoples' stench is insufferable frankly and there is no need for it.
Ahem...... I would beg to differ.
In shared accommodation? :eek:
I'm with @gitteharre and @Robo on this one. Don't assume everyone appreciates your aroma.:eek:;)
Sp please think of others and kindly shower every day. I have to say this especially applies to peregrinos and somewhat less to peregrinas. But still.
There's a very nice Spanish soap that some folks even buy to take home that you can get at any tienda...so showering can be a joy, rather than a chore.
Capture.PNG

"A la ducha o a la calle!"
Hahahahahahaaa! I'll have to try that on the next gang of smelly guys I get stuck with.:cool:
 

trecile

Veteran Member
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
Aug-Sept(2016) SJPDP-Finisterre, July-Aug(2017) SJPDP-Muxia-Finisterre, July-Aug(2018) El Norte
#59
Just a little tangent here...so everyone seems to take their shower upon checking into an albergue...how long is that wait??? Do you take a number or stand in line or what exactly to get into the shower?
In over 60 days on two Caminos I can only think of about a half a dozen times that I had to wait for a shower. People are arriving at different times throughout the afternoon, and not everyone showers immediately upon arrival.
 

MikeyC

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF - September 2016
CF - April May 2017
Shikoku - October 2017
Kumano Kodo - October 2017
#60
I would think that salt on the skin from sweating if not washed off daily may also contribute to chafing. Prevention is better than cure!
 
Camino(s) past & future
Northern Way (2017)
#61
Ahem...... I would beg to differ.
In shared accommodation? :eek:
Nope. While hiking in the wilderness (perhaps backpacking would have been a better word). With a tent. Where there are no showers :)

I've spent lots of time camping in places without showers, and the closest thing to bathing is a glacier fed lake. Showering wasn't really possible, and as we were not sleeping in confined spaces, not a problem. Maybe a quick dip in a lake or stream, regular washing of hands, and clearning face with a face cloth in the morning.
 

Anniesantiago

Veteran Member
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
Nearly every year since 2006, often walking more than one route. 2018 will be Camino #14.
#62
I apologize if this sounds rude, but for me, this post is a perfect example of overthinking the Camino.

Just go.
If you stink, shower.
If your clothes are dirty, wash them.
You don't need a schedule.
 

Thornley

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances [08 ]Portuguese [09 ]Le Puy[10] Norte[ 11] Madrid [12] Figeac - Pamplona [13] Mont Saint Michel - Bordeaux / St Palais - Pamplona [14] Moissac -Burgos [15] , Norte to Oviedo and then Primitivo [16]
Le Puy to Moissac and Dax to Santo Domingo
#63
The over complication to common sense
 

Kurt5280

Crazy Enough To Try It Again!
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances SJPDP & Finisterre & Muxia 9/15 - Future: Camino del Norte 8/18 (All Mountain Bike)
#64
I showered and washed my clothes every day because I was soaking in sweat from the inside out...besides you change to your clean clothes every night and why would want them to stink too...once I checked into a small hotel with a full bathtub and sleep in the bathtub almost all night...regardless of showering and washing clothes...after two weeks on the Camino my body got the most undescribable smell that I just could not wash off...Buen Camino.
 

Albertinho

ninguém disse que era fácil
Camino(s) past & future
2013 Lisboa - Santiago
2014 Ferrol -Santiago
2015 Porto -Santiago
2018 Porto -Valença
#66
I will be walking my first Camino in April. I plan to hike for about 2 weeks from Porto to Santiago. From what I've read, it seems that a lot of people shower and wash their clothes pretty often on the hike. I've been on week-long hikes without any showering and just one change of clothes. For the Camino, I was thinking that it would be much more convenient to not shower and change my clothes regularly, maybe just once or twice in the 2 weeks. Washing clothes every day seems like a huge hassle, and I would be worried that things drying overnight. I know it's ultimately up to preference...but am I crazy (or gross) for thinking this??
When I look back at the pictures I still smell the guy who dried his smelly hemd and socks next to my fresh washed cloths in an albergue. Jagggg
As soon as I arrive at my next place to sleep, I take a shower and wash my cloths.
To my standard equipment in my backpack belong a thin rope to hang out the washed cloths and some pegs. Standard procedure every day again.
Bom camino
 
Last edited:

JohnMcM

Veteran Member
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
Some, and with luck, some more.
#67
I will be walking my first Camino in April. I plan to hike for about 2 weeks from Porto to Santiago. From what I've read, it seems that a lot of people shower and wash their clothes pretty often on the hike. I've been on week-long hikes without any showering and just one change of clothes. For the Camino, I was thinking that it would be much more convenient to not shower and change my clothes regularly, maybe just once or twice in the 2 weeks. Washing clothes every day seems like a huge hassle, and I would be worried that things drying overnight. I know it's ultimately up to preference...but am I crazy (or gross) for thinking this??
I laughed a lot reading the replies you have had.
My tuppence worth is simple.
As often as you can please thank you.

Buen(pong-free) Camino
 

Robo

Veteran Member
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF SJPdP to SdC
(May 2015)
Alone.
------------------------------
CF Sarria to SdC
(May 2016)
with my wife Pat.
------------------------------
CF SJPDP-SdC
(Apr/May 2018)
together again :-)
#68
Gee. Not sure I want to try Albergues after reading this thread! :eek::eek::eek:
Yuk.........
 

trecile

Veteran Member
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
Aug-Sept(2016) SJPDP-Finisterre, July-Aug(2017) SJPDP-Muxia-Finisterre, July-Aug(2018) El Norte
#70
I have to say that over two Caminos from SJPDP to Finisterre I haven't run into any particularly malodorous pilgrims in albergues.
 

Kanga

Moderator
Staff member
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
Francés x 5, Le Puy x 2, Arles, Tours, Norte, Madrid, Via de la Plata.
#71
Albergues experiences range from the luxury 5 star wonderful to the flophouse. And those who share with you from delightful people, clean, polite and the best company ever, to mean inconsiderate people.

I'm not sure that the advent of washing services along the camino is such a good thing. It used to be that most pilgrims washed their clothes daily by hand, a small amount each time, but daily. It was a standard ritual at the end of the day's walk, and quite a companionable time. Now people seem to save up their clothes in order to put everything in a washing machine at one time. Which possibly means they are re-wearing dirty clothes. Not that I've noticed any real difference, the only really smelly ones I recall have been cyclists, in their lycra.
 

Kurt5280

Crazy Enough To Try It Again!
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances SJPDP & Finisterre & Muxia 9/15 - Future: Camino del Norte 8/18 (All Mountain Bike)
#72
only really smelly ones I recall have been cyclists, in their lycra
Have to agree on the cyclist stink...most cyclist don't wash their lycra cycling pants daily...so the cycling pants begin to smell like a men's locker room...I have two pairs of cycling pants which I wash and wear on alternating days...other than the cyclists...some Europeans have a higher tolerance for body odor than Americans and don't wash jackets and outer-clothes as frequently...I have fallen asleep to be awoken my a stinky jacket hanging down from the top bunk near my nose...or stinky shoes put under the lower bunk near my head...(always get a top bunk if possible)...otherwise...if you grew up in a large family you won't even notice most of the things Pilgrims complain about on the Camino...however...it embarrasses me admit but the only "inconsiderate" Pilgrims I remember from my Camino were all Americans...please remember we are all welcomed guests in Spain...and we should learn and respect the diversity of cultures even if it is really annoying.
 

Anamiri

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances
#73
Re the cyclists odour - I have a theory that over time, that smell is locked into the Lycra fabric, and no amount of washing can release it......
 

Robo

Veteran Member
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF SJPdP to SdC
(May 2015)
Alone.
------------------------------
CF Sarria to SdC
(May 2016)
with my wife Pat.
------------------------------
CF SJPDP-SdC
(Apr/May 2018)
together again :-)
#74
Can we somehow 'micro chip' the cyclists. That way we'll know where they are staying :p:p
 
#75
My no shower no washing clothes, shave men only, wash teeth. An Albergue will open at 1300 hours. Pilgrims arrive over next 6 hours so never a queue for shower. Morning can be a problem but I usually wash my teeth at first fonte I come to. Cleanenes next to godeness
 

Paladina

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Cycled caminos francés, Finisterre, primitivo & del norte (2017); VdlP/Sanabres, ingles et al (2018)
#76
Can we somehow 'micro chip' the cyclists. That way we'll know where they are staying :p:p
Oh dear, here we go again - an innocuous question about personal hygiene provokes an indiscriminate assault on cyclists. They are not a separate species, and they don’t all wear Lycra; most are no more malodorous than the general run of long-distance walkers. Just as walkers will wash their socks daily for the sake of their feet, so prudent cyclists will launder their nether garments at least as often because to do otherwise would be a veritable pain in the ass.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2018)
#77
I took a shower in Roncesvalles after a cold frightening 8-1/2 hour sojourn across the Pyrenees. It was snowing and blowing when I got in. The shower was cold and I got a very bad chill. Always test the water. I shower every couple of days. It is cold and I don’t want another chill. Even if the shower is hot the cold air and wet hair will grant me a chilll. I have had to spend 2-3 hours under my sleeping bag to fully warm up. I totally get where the OP is coming from.
 

MichaelC

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
August 2017: Le Puy to Santiago
July 2019: Cammino di Assisi (La Verna to Assisi)
#78
I met a hostelero who was doing a return-Camino from Fisterre back to Germany. I told him how I liked walking in the late afternoons, but that it was hard because there was never enough sun left to do laundry and have it dry. His advice was to stop mid-day, wash clothes in a stream or fountain, and hang them up to dry while he took a siesta.

There's always someone who does it better, yeah? It was a cool idea, but I never tried it.

I also say him give a strong lecture to a stinky guest who arrived late and immediately lay in bed. Most of the lecture revolved around the responsibilities we have towards each other and our hosts while living communally. It was the only out-and-out conflict I ever saw in close to 3 months. Of course, the guy was also one of the only truly stinky people I encountered, and there were rumors that he was more of a vagrant than a pilgrim.
 
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