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What is the best light towel to take and what do you use for Washing hair, body and clothes?

2020 Camino Guides

Yellowfriend

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Porto- Santiago / Fisterra- Muxia sept 2016
SJPP- Santiago may 2017planninh
I will go with carrying backpack and not sending it, so what is the best towel that also make you good dry and what do I take for Washing hair and body. And clothes. I read about the same soap for all but I doubt about that because when taking so less clothes I like to wash them properly .
Thanks
 

momof34man

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
05/16 Camino Frances, Camino Finesterre, Camino Muxia, 10/18 Cotswolds, 7/2020 - Camino Primitivo
It is probably not going to help much because this is a personal choice. This is what I actually did on my own camino.

I had similar ideas with washing clothes with proper soap etc. In reality, you do not want to carry anything extra. It saves time and money if you just use the same soap for your hair, body and clothing. If you are concerned with getting things washed properly, then splurge every now and then for someone to do your laundry for you. It may be one of those things you have to figure out while you are walking the camino as well. As for a towel, I did not like what I brought. I had a shammy type towel from a sporting goods store. It didn't do a good job of drying me off. I saw some people using a big scarf to dry off as well. The scarf dried out much quicker. I hope that helps.
 

Yellowfriend

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Porto- Santiago / Fisterra- Muxia sept 2016
SJPP- Santiago may 2017planninh
It is probably not going to help much because this is a personal choice. This is what I actually did on my own camino.

I had similar ideas with washing clothes with proper soap etc. In reality, you do not want to carry anything extra. It saves time and money if you just use the same soap for your hair, body and clothing. If you are concerned with getting things washed properly, then splurge every now and then for someone to do your laundry for you. It may be one of those things you have to figure out while you are walking the camino as well. As for a towel, I did not like what I brought. I had a shammy type towel from a sporting goods store. It didn't do a good job of drying me off. I saw some people using a big scarf to dry off as well. The scarf dried out much quicker. I hope that helps.
Thank you!
What kind of soap did you use as multi purpose?
 

Yellowfriend

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Porto- Santiago / Fisterra- Muxia sept 2016
SJPP- Santiago may 2017planninh
Shampoo for washing everything.
A pareo/sarong style fabric for drying/covering everything.

Buen Camino, SY
I have a cotton pareo but that don't dry the body after showering. I read about a hammam towel?
 

momof34man

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
05/16 Camino Frances, Camino Finesterre, Camino Muxia, 10/18 Cotswolds, 7/2020 - Camino Primitivo
Thank you!
What kind of soap did you use as multi purpose?
I used a Lush Shampoo Bar for everything until about half way. Then, I lost my Lush bar. I found a three in one travel soap that I found at a sporting goods store in Spain and used that afterwards.
 
Camino(s) past & future
CF 2006,08,09,11,12(2),13(2),14,16(2),18(2) Aragones 11,12,VDLP 11,13,Lourdes 12,Malaga 16,Port 06
Old worn cotton terry cloth towel ripped in half and Ligget's soap for hair and body. For clothes I buy a cold water wash bar in Spain.
 
Last edited:
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances, 2015
I'm a guy. Plain ol' soap did the trick for me for body, hair and laundry. I used a micro-fiber like shammy for a towel (like a Sham-wow.) It did the job but I didn't like it. On the trail I came across a lost facecloth from the REI store made of a different type of micro-fiber. This was much better.

BTW, to dry your wet clothes wring them with your micro-fiber towel inside. Remove the towel and wring it out and repeat as needed. The micro-fiber sucks up so much.
 
A

Anemone del Camino

Guest
Micro fiber towels sold for camping. Something like this:
https://www.mec.ca/fr/product/5024-431/Serviette-Packtowl-Personal

For showering, as I have very curly hair I must use conditionner, and that is all I use.

Laundry... I used to carry a bit a soap for washing machines but the ones on the Camino these days supply their own. For hand washing, after 5 caminos this is still my favourite:
https://www.mec.ca/fr/product/4015-090/Savon-CampSuds

Other option that has worked well, bit perhpas only available in North America are Tide baggies: https://www.amazon.ca/dp/B000GCS004/?tag=santiagodec0b-20

Third choice is a hard soap like Savon de Marseille, which can also be used for body, but I don't find it cleans cloathes very well if with mud, very dirty...
 

gerardcarey

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CFx2, CPx1
I HATE HATE HATE - those synthetic camping or shammy towels.
They grab at the skin and feel horrid.
I prefer a thin, therefore usually cheap, or an old, cotton towel.
900-1000mm long, 400-500mm wide.
Cut to required length, then hemmed.
Compresses into compact roll.
Shampoo for hair, body, clothes.
I also like a face cloth for a rubdy scrub in the shower.
Small and light, like for babies.
Regards
Gerard
 

Nanc

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (Sept 2016)
SDC/ Finesterre/ Muxia (2016)
my fave was a sports towel- very absorbent pile, light weight, and small- in fact I cut one edge of mineto make it smaller after trialing in at home-
 

Kanga

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Francés x 5, Le Puy x 2, Arles, Tours, Norte, Madrid, Via de la Plata, Portuguese, Primitivo
I'm in the "hate the tiny microfibre sports towel" brigade. I have a very thin cotton sarong that covers me completely and I find works well - useful for all sorts of things and dries very quickly. For drying my hair I use my buff.
 

HeidiL

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Francés (2004-), Portugués, Madrid, 4/5 Plata, 1/8 Levante, 1/8 Lana, Augusta, hospitalera Grado.
Microfibre for my body, thin wool scarf (square) for my hair, any kind of soap/shampoo/whatever I picked up at the airport hotel and want to use up for washing. And a tiny bottle of good conditioner for my hair on special occasions.

(Bought one of those "all in one" bottles at a sparting goods store, but any liquid soap does the job.)
 

filly

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances, via de la Plata, Sanabres, camino de Levante, Norte, Primitivo, Ingles, Santiago to Muxia and Fisterra, part chemin in France, der Oekumenische Pilgerweg/via Regia, via Tolosana, Aragones, 2017 April/May Lisbon to SdC
A friend who worked in Africa told me of a tried and tested method for washing clothes.

Put them in the shower tray and then shower yourself! You stamp on the clothes, they take advantage of the suds etc and you are halfway there. Another advantage is that you no longer SLIP in the shower tray. (I have fallen once and seen others do so).

I wash my clothes every day and use one product for everything (unless I see soap powder in an Albergue...)
 

Donna Sch

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
VdLP-Sanabres-Fisterra (Summer 2015); Levante-Invierno (Feb/Mar 2019);
England Camino routes ?2024
A microfibre towel the size of a teatowel and a sarong which could be used. Just used ordinary soap for everything. Missed my hair conditioner so every once in a while would buy some.
 

Bradypus

Antediluvian
Camino(s) past & future
Too many and too often!
I also used a light checked cotton sarong - sewn up into a tube. Both as a towel and as covering when changing underwear in company. Dries very fast. For washing clothes and myself I used a big bar of Spanish laundry soap. Luckily I quite like the smell of citronella oil. At the moment my hair is quite short so conditioning was not an issue.
 

Yellowfriend

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Porto- Santiago / Fisterra- Muxia sept 2016
SJPP- Santiago may 2017planninh
Micro fiber towels sold for camping. Something like this:
https://www.mec.ca/fr/product/5024-431/Serviette-Packtowl-Personal

For showering, as I have very curly hair I must use conditionner, and that is all I use.

Laundry... I used to carry a bit a soap for washing machines but the ones on the Camino these days supply their own. For hand washing, after 5 caminos this is still my favourite:
https://www.mec.ca/fr/product/4015-090/Savon-CampSuds

Other option that has worked well, bit perhpas only available in North America are Tide baggies: https://www.amazon.ca/dp/B000GCS004/?tag=santiagodec0b-20

Third choice is a hard soap like Savon de Marseille, which can also be used for body, but I don't find it cleans cloathes very well if with mud, very dirty...
Thank you
Micro fiber towels sold for camping. Something like this:
https://www.mec.ca/fr/product/5024-431/Serviette-Packtowl-Personal

For showering, as I have very curly hair I must use conditionner, and that is all I use.

Laundry... I used to carry a bit a soap for washing machines but the ones on the Camino these days supply their own. For hand washing, after 5 caminos this is still my favourite:
https://www.mec.ca/fr/product/4015-090/Savon-CampSuds

Other option that has worked well, bit perhpas only available in North America are Tide baggies: https://www.amazon.ca/dp/B000GCS004/?tag=santiagodec0b-20

Third choice is a hard soap like Savon de Marseille, which can also be used for body, but I don't find it cleans cloathes very well if with mud, very dirty...
Thank you Donna!
What size of the Campsud you need for about 6 weeks? I saw a different measure size as we have here. What do you take with you?
 

wayfarer

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
SJPP-Santiago-Finistera-Muxia. April/May 2012
Sarria-Santiago Sept. 2013
SJPP - Almost Orrison April 2014
I used a micro fiber towel on the first Camino and hated it, next time round I used two cotton terri cloth nappies sewn together, is lighter than the microfiber towel and that worked a treat. It dried just as fast (or slow) as the microfiber depending on the weather. For washing everything I just used Dove soap.
 

Yellowfriend

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Porto- Santiago / Fisterra- Muxia sept 2016
SJPP- Santiago may 2017planninh
I HATE HATE HATE - those synthetic camping or shammy towels.
They grab at the skin and feel horrid.
I prefer a thin, therefore usually cheap, or an old, cotton towel.
900-1000mm long, 400-500mm wide.
Cut to required length, then hemmed.
Compresses into compact roll.
Shampoo for hair, body, clothes.
I also like a face cloth for a rubdy scrub in the shower.
Small and light, like for babies.
Regards
Gerard
Yes me too , that's why I am looking for Information for a light but dring towel , Thank you
 

t2andreo

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
C/F: 2013, 2014
C/M: 2016
C/P: 2015, 2017
C/I: 2018
Voluntario: 2014 - 2019
Many of my fellow veteran pilgrims will disagree, some strongly, with my towel preference, but it works for me. I continually tried alternative solutions over four Caminos and eventually settled on the best solution FOR ME.

For me, convenience is secondary to volume or price. Weight is a consideration that is considered en masse, all my gear weighed together and packed in the rucksack, pre-departure.

I use a long, narrow, terry-fleeced, microfiber, YOGA TOWEL. This is the type that is pure towel and has no "grippy" dots or stripes on it. The customary use is on top of a yoga mat.

Yes, this towel is larger and relatively heavier than other alternatives. Allow me to explain why I chose this:
  • I am a large fellow, with a 105 cm (40") waist. I have hips and a barrel chest. I need a long yoga towel for drying the larger sized ME. This larger-sized towel dries me completely.
  • The yoga towel is long enough for me to completely wrap my lower parts with and have ample material to tuck at the waist. The affords privacy and the ability to partially dress under the towel when in a semi-public shower or toilet situation.
  • The microfiber towel is also perfect to do a "roll and stomp" on hand-washed clothing, to wring out a maximum of water before hanging to dry. I can do this even after taking a shower using the towel to dry myself.
  • The now, "wet" Yoga towel dries very fast. I bought a bright orange towel (brand = Gaiam), with pink piping along the edges (tres chic, non). This way, if I must start out walking with a wet towel, I can easily hang it on the exterior of the rucksack. Here, it does dual service as a bright safety marker when walking along a road. I have used it as a safety panel on several occasions.
  • In a pinch, the towel can serve as a sleeping coverlet if I am cold. The terry-fleeced microfiber also provides insulation. It would also work as a shawl.
  • In an albergue, the towel can also be clothes-pinned or taped between adjoining bunks to form a privacy screen between overly close bunks.
As a general rule, every item I carry MUST have at least two reasonable, not far-fetched uses. The heavier the considered item is, the more uses it must be able to be put to. This is my personal rule-of-thumb. But it serves me well. I am weight-challenged on several fronts. So, I must apply a very rigid rule when considering any piece of gear, clothing, etc.

By my counting, I have identified at least five discrete uses for this towel. In summary, it can be used to dry me, dry clothing, a safety color panel on my rucksack, a coverlet, and a privacy screen. Can you provide more rationale for carrying this item? Be serious now!

As I try to stay in hostals, not albergues, whenever I can, my uses are usually reduced to two, the clothing "roll and stomp," and as a safety panel.

In the end, needs-must, and each person must determine their optimum load. By applying the minimum "two-use rule," I finally managed to get my all-in rucksack load down to about 9-10 kilos, PLUS the extra, personal nutritional supplements and medications I must carry for personal health considerations. Still, getting DOWN to only about 12 kilos is a HUGE improvement for me.

I hope this helps the dialog.
 

jerbear

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino de madrid, camino francis, camino inverino (2012, 2013,2014)
CdM, Francis, San salvador, primativo june 2015 CDM , francis, inverino 2016
Camino madrid, via de Plata. Santiago.
Coast of the dead malpica to muxia
Small micro towel. And the SUN. Oh i ham bald. Lol. I have a chinese wash cloth. Very light. Minimum soap. Kirks castile.
 

Pilar

Active Member
Yes me too , that's why I am looking for Information for a light but dring towel , Thank you
I use a piece of raw silk fabric that I purchased at a local fabric store. I had to hem the ends but that was easy. It is very absorbant, soft, and dries quickly when done
 
M

Mark Lee

Guest
A friend who worked in Africa told me of a tried and tested method for washing clothes.

Put them in the shower tray and then shower yourself! You stamp on the clothes, they take advantage of the suds etc and you are halfway there. Another advantage is that you no longer SLIP in the shower tray. (I have fallen once and seen others do so).

I wash my clothes every day and use one product for everything (unless I see soap powder in an Albergue...)
Stomping on clothes in the shower while they are on the dirty shower floor? That's gross. I could not even imagine doing that. Lot's of germs and fungus on those floors and yes, people do urinate in the shower. Besides, that extends your time in the shower, and if in a busy/full albergue that also extends the time someone has to wait for you to emerge from the shower so they can take theirs, not to mention that additional time burns up hot water.
In a busy albergue, a shower is for washing your body, nothing more. Get in, get out.
 
M

Mark Lee

Guest
I will go with carrying backpack and not sending it, so what is the best towel that also make you good dry and what do I take for Washing hair and body. And clothes. I read about the same soap for all but I doubt about that because when taking so less clothes I like to wash them properly .
Thanks
I always just carry bar soap for washing everything. Myself and my clothes. The clothes I bring are the synthetic, tech type, and they are easy to wash and rinse soap out of. The bar soap seems to do a good job getting them clean and bar soap is easily bought all over the Camino. Now and then at albergues there will be laundry soap available at the laundry washing basins. When that happened I took advantage of it and used that soap. Also nice to occasionally pay to have all your stuff washed and dried at the albergues.
As far as towels go, I always packed the same backpacking towel made of that microfiber material. Worked great for me and the thing dries so quickly. It is big enough to double duty as a mattress or pillow cover as well in the albergues.
 

mcopeland

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances - April-June, 2016
Portuguese Lisbon-Santiago - October, 2017
I'm in the "hate the tiny microfibre sports towel" brigade.
Me too. Used a waffel-weave towel (someone on this forum recommended it). Loved it. It dried as fast as the microfiber one. I also took the microfiber one - it was light enough. I used it for my hair or wringing out wet clothes or even for standing on when getting out of the shower. It was always wet and hard to dry your feet off. Another vote for Ligget's Soap.
 

Jesnat

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances 2017
For me, the afternoon hot shower after a long day's walk was pretty much the highlight of my day! So I took 3 small plastic tubes for shampoo/shower, conditioner and clothes washing liquid. I used the conditioner to shave with so no need for separate shaving cream. Additional weight yes, but refreshing too. You can always top up along the way and split a big bottle with others.
 

OTH86

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Francés five times, Madrid two days, Ingles once.
I use a very thin, well used piece of cotton fabric. Extremely lightweight, very fast drying - just shake it in the breeze! It blots most of the water, and I let the rest air dry. Easy peasy!!
 

gittiharre

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF Austria Czech Le Puy Geneva RLS V. Jacobi V. Regia V. Baltica/Scandinavica Porto Muxia
Baby muslin wrap is perfect towel. Light dries you well and dries in seconds. Olive soap for everything.
 

Guidersue

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
September walk
I will go with carrying backpack and not sending it, so what is the best towel that also make you good dry and what do I take for Washing hair and body. And clothes. I read about the same soap for all but I doubt about that because when taking so less clothes I like to wash them properly .
Thanks
I used a liquid multiuse soap for body and hair, it worked well. Bar soap for clothes scrubbing. I wish I had taken an old, worn, cotton towel instead if the hiking microfibre, which I find don't dry as well after use or after washing.
 

Mooncat

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (Fall 2015)
I used a microfiber shammy and it worked ok and dried very quickly. You don't need as big of one as you might think. Different soaps have different properties. Laundry detergents are supposed to solubilize oil and grime to move them out of the fabric. The bathing soap and shampoo I prefer don't strip all the oil from my skin and hair. So....on my Camino, I took a small plastic bottle (8 oz) of biodegradable granular laundry detergent for clothes and gave a sprinkle for each washing. Worked great! I took a bar of soap from home, and a very small bottle (hotel size) of my preferred shampoo. Yes, this extravagance of having 3 soaps probably added bulk and weight equivalent to two decks of cards to my pack. Next time, I would probably take 1/2 a bar of soap instead of a full one. By the way, I also didn't cut my toothbrush in half or rip pages from my guidebook to save weight, as are suggested by some. After the first several days, minuscule additions of weight and bulk were not an issue for many Peregrinos, who took to carrying whole loaves of bread, half bottles of wine, blocks of cheese and sausages, and large chocolate bars in their packs. You will find your comfortable balance after about 3 days. It is a trip to be enjoyed. Buen Camino!
 
W

whariwharangi

Guest
I carried two hand towels. Drying them out was a problem on my late fall camino.

If you don't have another use for it, don't buy special gear such as 'hiking' towels.

You can reduce the amount of moisture the towel has to deal with by wiping your body with your hands to get rid of the bigger drops.

As for soap ... I used a bar of soap to wash body and hair. I don't have much on top but I had a full beard. Sweat isn't like dirt; you could get by just washing without using soap for several days, longer if you use a deodorant (please). On a recent multi-day kayak trip in a desert area there was no fresh water for washing; a quick swim in the ocean was enough. You're a pilgrim and no one expects you to smell like a rose.

Clothing was rinsed by hand at washstands available at most albergues. It doesn't get them really clean but it does allow for use for a couple of days more at least before it gets offensive. You're usually only washing out accumulated sweat. I use this method on ten day hikes.

The problem in late fall was getting it dry; particularly getting mid-weight smartwool socks dry. There was competition for the radiators ... with the resulting loss of heat efficiency and odor.

Most places that had laundry service either involved someone else doing the laundry using soap they had or (particularly in Xunta operated albergues) soap was dispensed as part of the wash cycle. I got by doing laundry once a week.
 
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Smallest_Sparrow

Life is rarely what you expect or believe it to be
Camino(s) past & future
2012: most of some, all of a few, a bit of others
I used a small sea to summit microfiber towel. I used shampoo to wash my clothes but 7-10 days had everything (including sleeping bag) washed (I stayed in hotels if I was spending a rest day sightseeing, usually around ten days each stop). I learned the hard way to specify "no ironing." What I took that worked for me: zip lock bags to wash clothes in with a tiny bit of soap and water. I would never wash my clothes in the shower, as I've said on other threads I keep my shower time to less than 3 minutes, don't want to waste water, and I know what some people do to shower floors. I took a small bottle of leave in conditioner that I put on after I was out of the bathroom, to comb through/detangle. What didn't work for me: I took a small bar of soap in a mesh bag, thinking I would use it to wash my clothes, and it would dry out hanging in the bag. It didn't dry satisfactorily, and someone liberated it as it hung to dry.

What no one has said, but I hope you will do: try out your chosen method for hair, towel, and laundry before you go. I found I didn't mind the microfiber, and how large/small a size worked for me. I thought soap and shampoo "leaves" from REI would be the right combo...I couldn't get my clothes clean, and it turned my hair to straw (luckily I found this out before leaving for Spain). No one has the magic combination, just what works for each of us individually. trial and error done at home is what determines what works best for you. Good luck!
 

Mooncat

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (Fall 2015)
Good point, Sparrow, about trial and error at home. By initially hand washing my clothes at home, I determined what soap would serve best, how much to take, and how long different materials take to dry. There was never a time when I didn't have fresh smelling clothes to change into, though sometimes they were damp. I also tried out the sleeping bag liner and microfiber towel ahead of time. I kept my bar soap in a snap-shut soap container and put it in an exterior pocket in my pack. No problems with that. As with Whariwharangi, my mid-weight socks never dried overnight, so they ended up hanging on the back of my pack during the day. (*Tip: don't leave your clothes hanging out to dry overnight. The morning dew will wet them.) There is no practical reason on the Camino not to use soap for laundry and personal hygiene, so please do. 10-day wilderness treks are an entirely different animal. However, if your preference is not to use soap on the Camino, so be it. Some people you hike with will never notice. Buen Camino!
 

t2andreo

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
C/F: 2013, 2014
C/M: 2016
C/P: 2015, 2017
C/I: 2018
Voluntario: 2014 - 2019
There is no correct or right solution to this issue. Likewise, there is no wrong, dumb, or stupid answer to this issue.

I submit that the "best" solution is the one that works best for YOU.

When having to shower in an albergue or shared shower situation, I usually go into the shower in the boxer shorts, socks and polo shirt that requires washing. I wash these items, on me, as though they were an outer skin. Then, once rinsed, I remove the garments, rinse again and wring them by hand as best I can. I then hang them off the shower floor as mentioned above (it is icky), then proceed to finish showering me.

After my shower, I towel off with my über-long yoga towel, then put on a clean pair of boxer shorts. Alternatively, I will wrap the long towel around me until I can slip on clean boxer shorts underneath.

The damp yoga towel is then used to create a roll of the wrung out polo-shirt, boxer shorts, and socks I just washed and rinsed in the shower. Having rolled these items into a tube, I then place the roll on a hard floor and walk on it in bare feet to wring maximum water from the garments.

Once unrolled, the damp, washed clothes are hung on a line to dry. The towel is hung on the line to dry, suspended horizontally between bunks to create a privacy screen while drying, or affixed to the outside of my rucksack the next morning to complete drying, or some combination of this, depending on the dry state of the yoga towel.

I hope this helps clarify.
 

Nonnieto9

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
2016
I will go with carrying backpack and not sending it, so what is the best towel that also make you good dry and what do I take for Washing hair and body. And clothes. I read about the same soap for all but I doubt about that because when taking so less clothes I like to wash them properly .
Thanks
Good point, Sparrow, about trial and error at home. By initially hand washing my clothes at home, I determined what soap would serve best, how much to take, and how long different materials take to dry. There was never a time when I didn't have fresh smelling clothes to change into, though sometimes they were damp. I also tried out the sleeping bag liner and microfiber towel ahead of time. I kept my bar soap in a snap-shut soap container and put it in an exterior pocket in my pack. No problems with that. As with Whariwharangi, my mid-weight socks never dried overnight, so they ended up hanging on the back of my pack during the day. (*Tip: don't leave your clothes hanging out to dry overnight. The morning dew will wet them.) There is no practical reason on the Camino not to use soap for laundry and personal hygiene, so please do. 10-day wilderness treks are an entirely different animal. However, if your preference is not to use soap on the Camino, so be it. Some people you hike with will never notice. Buen Camino!
I will go with carrying backpack and not sending it, so what is the best towel that also make you good dry and what do I take for Washing hair and body. And clothes. I read about the same soap for all but I doubt about that because when taking so less clothes I like to wash them properly .
Thanks
The ONE item I loved the most in my pack was my Turkish towel. The size of a beach towels, but as light as. A camp towel...and ALWAYS the FIRST towel dry. I also used it as a cover up to the John and it could be used as a curtain on a lower bunk. I used it a lot as a top sheet/blanket in warmer alberques. It's what I use at home too...get one and try it. Seriously!
 

JFG

Doing Caminos since 2003. Holy Cow!
Camino(s) past & future
Frances, Portugues, Norte, Ignacio, Salvador, Tunnel, Ingles, and more...
Shampoo for washing everything.
A pareo/sarong style fabric for drying/covering everything.

Buen Camino, SY

Many, many choices. After 10+ caminos my wife and I prefer silk for the towels as they are light, absorbent, and quick to dry.

Look for homemade soap for all washing needs. We make soap that has specific oils for conditioning hair as well as raw silk for the same purpose. Clay in the soap can be useful for shaving with it. Im sure you can find some excellent choices.
 

C clearly

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2012, 2014, 2015, 2016), VDLP (2017), Mozarabe (2018), Vasco/Bayona (2019)
  • 2 or 3 small (hotel-size) bars of regular bath soap (very easy to forget and lose one) to wash everything
  • 25-cm-square cotton face cloth to dry my skin
  • 40 x 60 cm microfiber towel for my hair and rolling up laundry
The towels are small enough that they can ride on the outside of my backpack to get a good airing and dry.
 

Yellowfriend

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Porto- Santiago / Fisterra- Muxia sept 2016
SJPP- Santiago may 2017planninh
I used a small sea to summit microfiber towel. I used shampoo to wash my clothes but 7-10 days had everything (including sleeping bag) washed (I stayed in hotels if I was spending a rest day sightseeing, usually around ten days each stop). I learned the hard way to specify "no ironing." What I took that worked for me: zip lock bags to wash clothes in with a tiny bit of soap and water. I would never wash my clothes in the shower, as I've said on other threads I keep my shower time to less than 3 minutes, don't want to waste water, and I know what some people do to shower floors. I took a small bottle of leave in conditioner that I put on after I was out of the bathroom, to comb through/detangle. What didn't work for me: I took a small bar of soap in a mesh bag, thinking I would use it to wash my clothes, and it would dry out hanging in the bag. It didn't dry satisfactorily, and someone liberated it as it hung to dry.

What no one has said, but I hope you will do: try out your chosen method for hair, towel, and laundry before you go. I found I didn't mind the microfiber, and how large/small a size worked for me. I thought soap and shampoo "leaves" from REI would be the right combo...I couldn't get my clothes clean, and it turned my hair to straw (luckily I found this out before leaving for Spain). No one has the magic combination, just what works for each of us individually. trial and error done at home is what determines what works best for you. Good luck!
Thank you! I Will try at home what works, Very good tip!!!!:):):):)
 

Yellowfriend

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Porto- Santiago / Fisterra- Muxia sept 2016
SJPP- Santiago may 2017planninh
The ONE item I loved the most in my pack was my Turkish towel. The size of a beach towels, but as light as. A camp towel...and ALWAYS the FIRST towel dry. I also used it as a cover up to the John and it could be used as a curtain on a lower bunk. I used it a lot as a top sheet/blanket in warmer alberques. It's what I use at home too...get one and try it. Seriously![/QUOTE
Thank you! Do you mean a hammam towel? Can I look it up online?
Thanks
 

Jeff Crawley

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Contemplating yet another "final" Camino
but 2019?
Jeff's Camino Clothes Mangle.
Wipe dust/dirt off of your hiking pole (I usually unscrew and just use the bottom section)
Drape wet clothing over pole so it falls evenly on both sides
Grasp two hanging ends of clothing in left hand
Hold pole in right hand and twist/wring clothes
(or vice versa if you're a southpaw)
Notice how much water has just landed all over your feet
Keep twisting until flow stops

Repeat with next item of clothing.

You'll be amazed how much water you can wring out - makes air drying clothes that much faster.

Yes you'll get creases and small amount of stretching but you can always get your valet to press them . . .

If you haven't got a pole and are staying somewhere "posh" (ie has hangers in the closet) you can use the cross bar of the hanger but twist it by the bar. If you use the "shoulders" you can rip the hanger apart - really you can :oops:
 
M

Mark Lee

Guest
There is no correct or right solution to this issue. Likewise, there is no wrong, dumb, or stupid answer to this issue.

I submit that the "best" solution is the one that works best for YOU.

When having to shower in an albergue or shared shower situation, I usually go into the shower in the boxer shorts, socks and polo shirt that requires washing. I wash these items, on me, as though they were an outer skin. Then, once rinsed, I remove the garments, rinse again and wring them by hand as best I can. I then hang them off the shower floor as mentioned above (it is icky), then proceed to finish showering me.

After my shower, I towel off with my über-long yoga towel, then put on a clean pair of boxer shorts. Alternatively, I will wrap the long towel around me until I can slip on clean boxer shorts underneath.

The damp yoga towel is then used to create a roll of the wrung out polo-shirt, boxer shorts, and socks I just washed and rinsed in the shower. Having rolled these items into a tube, I then place the roll on a hard floor and walk on it in bare feet to wring maximum water from the garments.

Once unrolled, the damp, washed clothes are hung on a line to dry. The towel is hung on the line to dry, suspended horizontally between bunks to create a privacy screen while drying, or affixed to the outside of my rucksack the next morning to complete drying, or some combination of this, depending on the dry state of the yoga towel.

I hope this helps clarify.
Not poking at you or anything, but that reminds me of an old saying we used to joke about, in reference to showering with your clothes on, ha ha.
 

rucsack

New Member
I will go with carrying backpack and not sending it, so what is the best towel that also make you good dry and what do I take for Washing hair and body. And clothes. I read about the same soap for all but I doubt about that because when taking so less clothes I like to wash them properly .
Thanks
I will go with carrying backpack and not sending it, so what is the best towel that also make you good dry and what do I take for Washing hair and body. And clothes. I read about the same soap for all but I doubt about that because when taking so less clothes I like to wash them properly .
Thanks
I use a large silk scarve .It's very light , effective , and dries quickly .Also very good for using as a scarve .I found Dr.Bonners liquid soap the best option for washing hair , body , face and clothes. It's highly concentrated so light to carry .
 

tomnorth

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances: September 24 - October 31 (2015)
I will go with carrying backpack and not sending it, so what is the best towel that also make you good dry and what do I take for Washing hair and body. And clothes. I read about the same soap for all but I doubt about that because when taking so less clothes I like to wash them properly .
Thanks
I used Dr Bronners soap for everything. I used an ultralight towel and washcloth from REI. They are great...dry super fast and are incredibly absorbent.
 

Smallest_Sparrow

Life is rarely what you expect or believe it to be
Camino(s) past & future
2012: most of some, all of a few, a bit of others
Thank you. Is the a name plus shampoo or do you mean all kinds of shampoo? :)
while I cannot say for sure, I believe he means plus as "in addition to" not as a brand name.
rinse clothes well if you have problems with laundry detergents with fragrance

Drape wet clothing over pole so it falls evenly on both sides
Grasp two hanging ends of clothing in left hand
Hold pole in right hand and twist/wring clothes
(or vice versa if you're a southpaw)
Notice how much water has just landed all over your feet
Keep twisting until flow stops
:eek:
I must stop visiting the forum this late in the day
 

Yellowfriend

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Porto- Santiago / Fisterra- Muxia sept 2016
SJPP- Santiago may 2017planninh
Hallo,
Does anyone know how I can order Campsuds (the all in one soap) order from Holland? I cannot find a site, Amazon.com doesn't ship it to Holland. Thanks!
 

Tincatinker

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Lots ;0)
For all you urine-phobics out there here are a couple of thoughts: urine is generally sterile when it leaves the body and though slightly acidic, ph 6.5 -7 in the morning, is more likely to be alkaline, ph 7.5+, by evening shower time. This makes it an excellent bleaching agent, encourages foaming in most standard produced soaps, and as any tanner will tell you helps to preserve suppleness in hides - think of that leather like skin on the soles of your feet. And if the previous occupant of the cubicle to you did have a teensy tinkle, the usual 300-400ml, then the 35l they used to get the trail-dust out of their hair will have more than flushed that away compared to the 13l of an average toilet flush.

I carry a small cotton flannel (face-cloth) - great for scrubbing the skin, and then wrung-out and used to dry myself (by the way useless on hair but I don't have a lot :D) by the time I've finished my rub-down I'm dry enough to dress. Note: this does not work well in high humidity - but then neither does anything else..
 
M

Mark Lee

Guest
For all you urine-phobics out there here are a couple of thoughts: urine is generally sterile when it leaves the body and though slightly acidic, ph 6.5 -7 in the morning, is more likely to be alkaline, ph 7.5+, by evening shower time. This makes it an excellent bleaching agent, encourages foaming in most standard produced soaps, and as any tanner will tell you helps to preserve suppleness in hides - think of that leather like skin on the soles of your feet. And if the previous occupant of the cubicle to you did have a teensy tinkle, the usual 300-400ml, then the 35l they used to get the trail-dust out of their hair will have more than flushed that away compared to the 13l of an average toilet flush.

I carry a small cotton flannel (face-cloth) - great for scrubbing the skin, and then wrung-out and used to dry myself (by the way useless on hair but I don't have a lot :D) by the time I've finished my rub-down I'm dry enough to dress. Note: this does not work well in high humidity - but then neither does anything else..
Umm, ok. o_O
Thanks for the info, but I'll stick to peeing in the toilets and and wearing flip flops in the shower, as well as not sloshing around my clothing on the floors of public showers.
 

Tincatinker

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Lots ;0)
Mark, if its any comfort (probably won't be) the Human Papiloma virus (Verrucas) doesn't like Alkaline environments but will really enjoy the slightly acidic and protein rich environment of your rubber flip-flops. Hey: life is a sexually-transmitted terminal disease: who are we to fight it ;)
 

trecile

Camino Addict
Camino(s) past & future
Francés (2016 & 2017), Norte (2018), Francés-Salvador-Norte (2019), Portuguese (2019)
I didn't bother wearing flip flops in the shower, and had no ill effects over 5 weeks.
 
M

Mark Lee

Guest
Mark, if its any comfort (probably won't be) the Human Papiloma virus (Verrucas) doesn't like Alkaline environments but will really enjoy the slightly acidic and protein rich environment of your rubber flip-flops. Hey: life is a sexually-transmitted terminal disease: who are we to fight it ;)
Yeah, them flip-flops worn on Caminos sure do see a lot of publicly shared floors (ugh). I always buy cheap ones, and they get bagged and ride in an outside pack pocket when not worn, and meet their end in a bin in Santiago.
My main concern is the old athletes foot fungus. It ain't no fun when not on the Camino. I imagine if you got it whilst already dealing with blisters on your feet, that would definitely double the suck factor.
 

HenkSlb

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Caminho Portuguese [April 2016]
Via de la Plata/Sanabres [March, April 2017]
@Yellowfriend : as a one time chemistry student I know that there is quite a difference between soap for the body and shampoo. The chemical difference between shampoo and modern detergents is not that large, so it is absolutely no problem to use the shampoo, that makes your hair nice and clean, for the hand washing of your clothes. Better not use soap for that purpose--our grandmothers used it, yes, but now we know better.
And for members from the USA, your washing machines are not the same as the European machines. Yours are laid out to work with a lot of foam and the machines in Europe hate foam. So better not use your detergents, like Tide and other brands--which are not for sale usually in Europe.
 

Yellowfriend

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Porto- Santiago / Fisterra- Muxia sept 2016
SJPP- Santiago may 2017planninh
@Yellowfriend : as a one time chemistry student I know that there is quite a difference between soap for the body and shampoo. The chemical difference between shampoo and modern detergents is not that large, so it is absolutely no problem to use the shampoo, that makes your hair nice and clean, for the hand washing of your clothes. Better not use soap for that purpose--our grandmothers used it, yes, but now we know better.
And for members from the USA, your washing machines are not the same as the European machines. Yours are laid out to work with a lot of foam and the machines in Europe hate foam. So better not use your detergents, like Tide and other brands--which are not for sale usually in Europe.
So i can better use my shampoo for washing clothes? It is completely new for me this difference between washing machines ; )
 

Arn

Veteran Member
I'm in the "hate the tiny microfibre sports towel" brigade. I have a very thin cotton sarong that covers me completely and I find works well - useful for all sorts of things and dries very quickly. For drying my hair I use my buff.
I can picture it now...Kanga showering...wet hair et al and running rapidly "in the buff" for the perfect dry. Apologize for the lack of decorum.
 

trecile

Camino Addict
Camino(s) past & future
Francés (2016 & 2017), Norte (2018), Francés-Salvador-Norte (2019), Portuguese (2019)
@Yellowfriend : as a one time chemistry student I know that there is quite a difference between soap for the body and shampoo. The chemical difference between shampoo and modern detergents is not that large, so it is absolutely no problem to use the shampoo, that makes your hair nice and clean, for the hand washing of your clothes. Better not use soap for that purpose--our grandmothers used it, yes, but now we know better.
And for members from the USA, your washing machines are not the same as the European machines. Yours are laid out to work with a lot of foam and the machines in Europe hate foam. So better not use your detergents, like Tide and other brands--which are not for sale usually in Europe.
Actually a lot of North Americans now have high efficiency front load washing machines, similar or in many cases identical to those used in Europe, Asia, etc.
And this conversation about using the same soap for washing hair, body and clothing does not apply to the detergent used in washing machines, just the soap used when hand washing clothes. I found that the laundry detergent was included in the cost of using the machine in most places. In fact, some of the machines automatically dispense the detergent.
 

C clearly

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2012, 2014, 2015, 2016), VDLP (2017), Mozarabe (2018), Vasco/Bayona (2019)
The chemical difference between shampoo and modern detergents is not that large, so it is absolutely no problem to use the shampoo, that makes your hair nice and clean, for the hand washing of your clothes. Better not use soap for that purpose--our grandmothers used it, yes, but now we know better.
I'm curious about why it is better not to use soap for the hair or for clothes.
 

HenkSlb

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Caminho Portuguese [April 2016]
Via de la Plata/Sanabres [March, April 2017]
I'm curious about why it is better not to use soap for the hair or for clothes.
Shampoo (a sulfonate) is a friendly detergent that leaves some tallow on the hair so it is not unmanageable after washing and drying. Bathing soap (a carbonate salt of sodium) is harsher on the hair--it usually makes the hair feel brittle after drying. Detergents for washing machines are also sulfonates--soft detergents of this type can be used for washing the hair of sheep, which we usually call wool. And can be used for human hair too. So if you want to travel easy, just use shampoo for all your washing and clean the whole caboodle more thoroughly when you are home again. A few drops of shampoo go a long way.
 

joeboybollo

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Sarria-Santiago (Sept.2014)
Inglese-(Sept.2015)
For all you urine-phobics out there here are a couple of thoughts: urine is generally sterile when it leaves the body and though slightly acidic, ph 6.5 -7 in the morning, is more likely to be alkaline, ph 7.5+, by evening shower time. This makes it an excellent bleaching agent, encourages foaming in most standard produced soaps, and as any tanner will tell you helps to preserve suppleness in hides - think of that leather like skin on the soles of your feet. And if the previous occupant of the cubicle to you did have a teensy tinkle, the usual 300-400ml, then the 35l they used to get the trail-dust out of their hair will have more than flushed that away compared to the 13l of an average toilet flush.

I carry a small cotton flannel (face-cloth) - great for scrubbing the skin, and then wrung-out and used to dry myself (by the way useless on hair but I don't have a lot :D) by the time I've finished my rub-down I'm dry enough to dress. Note: this does not work well in high humidity - but then neither does anything else..
Tinca,I am mightily impressed by all these facts and figures. Oh yes,To pee or not to pee that is the question.
 

Kanga

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Francés x 5, Le Puy x 2, Arles, Tours, Norte, Madrid, Via de la Plata, Portuguese, Primitivo
For all you urine-phobics out there here are a couple of thoughts: urine is generally sterile when it leaves the body and though slightly acidic, ph 6.5 -7 in the morning, is more likely to be alkaline, ph 7.5+, by evening shower time. This makes it an excellent bleaching agent, encourages foaming in most standard produced soaps, and as any tanner will tell you helps to preserve suppleness in hides - think of that leather like skin on the soles of your feet. And if the previous occupant of the cubicle to you did have a teensy tinkle, the usual 300-400ml, then the 35l they used to get the trail-dust out of their hair will have more than flushed that away compared to the 13l of an average toilet flush.
@Tincatinker how did I miss this post? I can go back to stamping on my clothes in the shower. Also useful information in case we are both dying of thirst on the meseta, I promise to share.
 

Jan de Kaper

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Future 2017
It is probably not going to help much because this is a personal choice. This is what I actually did on my own camino.

I had similar ideas with washing clothes with proper soap etc. In reality, you do not want to carry anything extra. It saves time and money if you just use the same soap for your hair, body and clothing. If you are concerned with getting things washed properly, then splurge every now and then for someone to do your laundry for you. It may be one of those things you have to figure out while you are walking the camino as well. As for a towel, I did not like what I brought. I had a shammy type towel from a sporting goods store. It didn't do a good job of drying me off. I saw some people using a big scarf to dry off as well. The scarf dried out much quicker. I hope that helps.
I have got a RUBYTEC Outdoor towel !
 

Smallest_Sparrow

Life is rarely what you expect or believe it to be
Camino(s) past & future
2012: most of some, all of a few, a bit of others
But haven't tried it yet after taking a shower.
Will do so !
I'm glad your gear list is nearing completion.:)
I'm also glad you pulled this thread away from the side discussion of what goes on in showerso_O
 
Camino(s) past & future
2013 Camino Frances SJPP / 2014 Camino Portugues / 2015 Camino Ingles / 2015 Hospitalero Training
2016 (fall) Camino Sanabre / Hospitalero?
I admit I haven't read all of the entries in this column, knowing I agree with some, here is my late input. I use Dr. Bonner's Soap, a "large synthetic, fast drying, camping towel" let me explain. Being a senior citizen it is seldom that find a lower bunk and when found it would be the nearest to the door and the best lit, as all light are focused on my bed. I use my "large towel" to block the light as it dries indoors. I tuck it under the upper mattress. This shield also works for the wild headlamps common to albergues and I get much needed sleep.
Ultreya......... Willy/Utah/USA
 

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