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Winter Camino & Washing Clothes?

Robo

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
CF SJPdP to SdC
(May 2015)
CF Sarria to SdC
(May 2016)
CF SJPDP-SdC
(May 2018)
VdlP (2022?)
It's evening here in Sydney.
And I was just out hanging some clothes on the washing line.
Not fun, as it's cold and so the clothes won't dry overnight.
It's a chilly 16C / 31F 61F Winter's day :oops:

It got me thinking.........
As I may do a Winter Camino at some stage.

How do you dry clothes on a Winter Camino?
You can't hang them outside.
I recall doing that as a kid in the UK and the clothes would be frozen solid in the morning!

Hang in front of a heater?

Does it become a problem?
Requiring the carrying of extra 'sets' of clothes?
 
Last edited:
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Sirage

Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Le Puy to Santiago (2005), Porto to Santiago (2007), Vezelay for 200 kms (2009), From Seville, May (2015), Le Puy to Sangüesa (2016), Norte-Primitivo (Sep-Oct 2016)
I would be surprised at the 31 F,
even Melbourne does not get that cold (near the CBD)
 
D

Deleted member 61803

Guest
16 C is closer to 60 F.

31F is close to 0 C.

Do you perhaps have a mismatch?

Tumble dryers have solved the problem for a lot of people in the UK and also seem to be reasonably common in Albergues whilst on pilgrimage, if you pick the right ones.
 

peregrino_tom

Member
Year of past OR future Camino
.
Robo, I think it's an issue not just in winter, but autumn and spring too, when you get a series of rainy days in a row.

Tumble dryers have solved the problem for a lot of people in the UK and also seem to be reasonably common in Albergues whilst on pilgrimage,
IMO (admittedly not in the last two years) albergues try and avoid tumble dryers because they are really slow and energy intensive. With just four or five wet pilgrims the tumble dryer will be going all evening and probably into the night. Well worked-out places I have stayed at have often used spin dryers. These get most of the water out in less than 2 minutes with little electricity - and less queueing. But you do have to put lots of notes up in all languages reminding pilgrims to put in place the container that catches the outflow! Then you hang the clothes up, ideally in a utility room where the heating system is based.. (if it's not a 'summer only' albergue)

Otherwise, years ago when there were more open fires, people put their clothes on rails in front of the fire. Sometimes there are unfriendly exchanges when people move other's clothes to the back, or cram loads of clothes onto a few skinny radiators - and 'accidentally' move other people's things off. All becomes very un-pilgrim-like. The radiators tend to go off by 8 or 9 anyway and 10 hours later everyone wakes up in a cold damp dormitory... happy days!
 

Isca-camigo

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Various ones.
The only items I might wash day to day in a winter Camino are my sock liners and my underwear, my other baselayers are merino wool so can take a good few days of use before I give them a clean, and because I usually have two types of the same outerwear then I can go 7-10 days without washing my outer merino socks and my merino tops. I have two fleece mid layers which wash and dry very quickly even in winter so they can be done every day, I usually roll them in a towel and ring the excess moisture out that way. Trousers I usually have two which are synthetic material and they dry quickly and I take gaiters which protects the trousers.
Off course every now and then I come across an albergue or a place which has washing machines and dryers and I do use them, it is a real treat to have fresh smelling machine cleaned clothing. There is many ways to dry clothes when handwashing them,you will find, chairs near heaters or a fire, or there is a dry windy day outside, or even in cold conditions you can still peg damp clothes onto the back of your backpack and you will get a little bit of drying.
 
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Myra13

New Member
Year of past OR future Camino
CdF 2017+2019; Portugues 2018; VdlP 2020 (delayed😷)
A few years ago I walked two weeks in february-march.
I wear merino, so it didn't need much washing. Except everyday washing underware and socks. Most of the days the underpants dried overnight on a string around my bed, the socks during day on my backback. But I was lucky with the weather, cold and sunny, hardly any rain or snow.
One day it was really warm (shorts and singlet) then I washed some clothes and my towel, and waited it to dry sitting in the sun with a beer and chips!
In the albergues were not many people, so it was not very dampy in the room. Except one night it was crowded, the water pours along the walls!
So maybe an extra pair of socks if they don't dry fast is a good idea.
 

Gumba

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2022
Rob, we walked our winter caminos as a family of 4 so it was more than justifiable to use a washing machine and dryer every 2-3 days (full load). Other days we just washed underwear and base layers and hung them over a heater in our room (we often had a 4 bed room!). I remember in the albergue at Rocesvalles there were a lot of clothes drying on the heaters (heated towel rails in the bathroom). Modesty be damned!!!! We stayed in some hotels along the way - as I am thinking you will too so that made things easier to hang up - especially with the use of the hotel hair dryer. Most places had washing machines. A few places had fires with clothes hanging in front. Some places did the washing for you at a very reasonable price. We really didnt find it an issue, but as I said, I was able to do a full load in a machine.
 
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Year of past OR future Camino
2019
When walking the Ingles and the Portugues in winter I have taken to using the lavanderias (Automats) you find in most towns and cities along the way. They have driers usually and not too expensive. I always washed and hung out my clothes on other routes but I was walking those in warmer weather. I find you don't need heat as much as you do wind to dry stuff. If it still wasn't dry by the end of the day, I would hang it on my bunk and my heat would be enough to partially dry things, except socks which I often had hanging off my backpack during the day!
 
D

Deleted member 61803

Guest
Peregrino_Tom, as can be seen from the subsequent postings, all it takes us a wee bit of planning. I carry a couple of nylon washing bags, weight less than 3 ozs (35 gr), I can then share machines with others and lend bags to those that don't carry them. Using quick dry base layers is always beneficial, they dry in cool tumbler air very quickly. If all else fails then you can always buy socks and underwear en route very easily, I suppose, never had the need myself as there were always plenty of washers and tumblers on my planned route. Maybe there is a justification in carrying one of those ultra light travelling hair dryers in winter? ( can't justify it myself as have no hair left 😁)
 

Anhalter

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2019 CF
Some albergues did have an indoor option for hanging clothes, but they were few.
I'd take another pair of briefs and socks, bringing the total to 4 pairs each and adding less than100g to my pack, so i only need to wash every 3 days and then go for a dryer or be lucky with the weather or the albergue...
 
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Kanga

Moderator
Staff member
Year of past OR future Camino
Francés x 5, Le Puy x 2, Arles, Tours, Norte, Madrid, Via de la Plata, Portuguese, Primitivo
For starters over the years I've got pretty good at wringing things out really well. Wrapping things tightly in a microfibre towel and them jumping on it - one of the few reasons to take a microfibre towel instead of the cotton muslin I'd take mid-summer. And then, with luck, I usually have a bottom bunk. If things sre not dry when I go to bed I string them above myself attached to the bottom of the bunk above. Rising body heat usually seems to dry them. My stuff is mostly merino too, which is still warm even when wet, so on odd occasions I've donned a slightly damp top. On the body it dries very quickly.
 

kelleymac

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
March/April 2015, Late April 2016, Sept/Oct 2017, April 2019.
I walked with my son, so we washed clothes in one load in the washing machine and in a dryer (if available). A few times we included another pilgrim's clothes as well. Most places open in the winter had a dryer and/or a spinner and drying rack, sometimes in a drying room. Sometimes we washed our clothes in a sink, wrung them out, and then laid them on a towel, rolled it all up, put pressure on it, (for the towel to absorb the water), then unrolled the towel, and hung up the clothes over the shower curtain bar, or preferably on a radiator. I have also used hotel blow dryers to finish drying my socks.
 

Faye Walker

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
CF 2014, CF 2018, CP 2019 from Coimbra
I found on my CP in mid-November that many albergue had dryers in them, so we’d get together and use those.
And on days when the small number of walkers we were amounted to a few needing to do laundry without having such in our albergue, we would go in together on a round of wash and dry at the local lavanderia.
A good system was worked out in which one pilgrim would watch the laundry and the others would shop for supper fixings. When the shoppers would return, everyone would sort through the clean pile to find their stuff.
This did not happen all the time… TBH I think I saw so few from Coimbra to the border that it was not possible, but it happened a few times between Tui and Santiago.
 

evanscl

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Oct 2016
It can be an issue but there is usually enough of a dry day every few days, or an occasional radiator or room heater at accom ( careful not to leave it on covered!) Walking the VF in cooler months i have been known to dry socks with an oven on low and the door open😬, or hot plates on low with a string of socks on a line above 😮. This is after rolling in a towel and wringing. Not recommended though as they need supervision and its a dodgy way of doing it, but desperate measures occasionally needed. Or some safety pins and hang your drying off your pack. Most ultra thin merino or other base layers will dry overnight on a hanger with free airflow around them. For the rest they can be grubby until the next place with a washer and dryer, theres no need for super hygiene levels, making do is all part of the story and you then really appreciate facilities when you get some.
 

t2andreo

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2022
My preferred method for dealing with this is to hand wash, wring out as best I can, then do the "Roll and Stomp" using any available towel, as discussed above. Usually this is the damp microfiber towel I just used to dry myself after my shower.

Then, I string the elastic clothes line with spring clips, I always carry with me when traveling anywhere for any reason.

If in a bottom albergue bunk, I string the line and hang the clothes away from any wall - preventing condensation from keeping things wet. But I have hung clothing to dry as a a sort of curtain to my bunk. At 68, I do not do top bunks - I would opt to sleep on the floor to avoid this.

If I am in a private room, I hang a hiking pole suspended over the heater using long rubber bands, intended to keep bin liners on trashcans, and large plastic "S" hooks from the Dollar Store. The heat register is usually under the window. Even if not exuding heat then, most places send a blast a 0500 or 0530 to warn things up for the rising people. Few places leave the heat on all night in my experience. This is my preferred method.

Never place clothing or footwear, especially if containing synthetic material, directly on any heat source. Synthetics have a lower combustion point and can start a fire - or cause a release of fumes that can kill you or others.

I have placed hiking boots upside down, filled with crumpled paper, over radiators when I arrived with sodden boots. But, the boots were always hung by a shoelace, some inches over the radiator to prevent direct contact with the heat source. Think of roasting marshmallows over a campfire...

In six Caminos, I only had one night where the albergue room was so damp that I could not get my clothes to dry - Larrasoana on the Camino Frances. 'Nuff said about that municipal.

Hope this helps.

Tom
 
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Lunchmeat337

Submariner
Year of past OR future Camino
2015, Camino Frances, May
2017, Camino Frances, May
2018, Camino Portuguese, May
It's evening here in Sydney.
And I was just out hanging some clothes on the washing line.
Not fun, as it's cold and so the clothes won't dry overnight.
It's a chilly 16C/31F Winter's day :oops:

It got me thinking.........
As I may do a Winter Camino at some stage.

How do you dry clothes on a Winter Camino?
You can't hang them outside.
I recall doing that as a kid in the UK and the clothes would be frozen solid in the morning!

Hang in front of a heater?

Does it become a problem?
Requiring the carrying of extra 'sets' of clothes?
The clothes never get dirty in the winter so you only need one outfit and never have to wash them.
 
Year of past OR future Camino
CF- Finisterre-Muxia 03/17; Camino SK 10/17; Norte 03/18; Ingles 11/18; Augusta 03/19
It's evening here in Sydney.
And I was just out hanging some clothes on the washing line.
Not fun, as it's cold and so the clothes won't dry overnight.
It's a chilly 16C/31F Winter's day :oops:

It got me thinking.........
As I may do a Winter Camino at some stage.

How do you dry clothes on a Winter Camino?
You can't hang them outside.
I recall doing that as a kid in the UK and the clothes would be frozen solid in the morning!

Hang in front of a heater?

Does it become a problem?
Requiring the carrying of extra 'sets' of clothes?
For a Canadian 16C is summer 😂 PS I have only walked “winter” caminos in Spain and was more wet/damp than truly cold. Most albergues that are open have electric or gas heaters or fireplaces…..I’ve burned 3 pairs of socks that way. If no way to dry clothes, I just didn’t wash that day.
 
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Robo

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
CF SJPdP to SdC
(May 2015)
CF Sarria to SdC
(May 2016)
CF SJPDP-SdC
(May 2018)
VdlP (2022?)
Robo, I think it's an issue not just in winter, but autumn and spring too, when you get a series of rainy days in a row.


IMO (admittedly not in the last two years) albergues try and avoid tumble dryers because they are really slow and energy intensive. With just four or five wet pilgrims the tumble dryer will be going all evening and probably into the night. Well worked-out places I have stayed at have often used spin dryers. These get most of the water out in less than 2 minutes with little electricity - and less queueing. But you do have to put lots of notes up in all languages reminding pilgrims to put in place the container that catches the outflow! Then you hang the clothes up, ideally in a utility room where the heating system is based.. (if it's not a 'summer only' albergue)

Otherwise, years ago when there were more open fires, people put their clothes on rails in front of the fire. Sometimes there are unfriendly exchanges when people move other's clothes to the back, or cram loads of clothes onto a few skinny radiators - and 'accidentally' move other people's things off. All becomes very un-pilgrim-like. The radiators tend to go off by 8 or 9 anyway and 10 hours later everyone wakes up in a cold damp dormitory... happy days!

Reminds me of my Army Days in the 70s.
We had a 'Drying Room'. A small room with rails for hanging clothes that was always really hot.
 
Year of past OR future Camino
Frances (14), Portuguese (15), Le Puy (17), Ingles (17), VDLP (18), Lana (18), Madrid (19) + more
In cold, unheated albergues I didn't attempt to wash my clothes because they would never dry. I wasn't getting sweaty during the frigid walking so the "stink factor" was kept to a minimum. Many of these unheated albergues also did not have hot water, so I didn't even wash myself!

It was nice every so often to stay in budget lodging with heating so I could soak myself (and my clothes) in a hot bathtub. :p

I have fond memories of that magical word during a December/January/February Camino....
calefacción
 
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Evita

New Member
Year of past OR future Camino
camino frances start SJPP 15. may 2018
It's evening here in Sydney.
And I was just out hanging some clothes on the washing line.
Not fun, as it's cold and so the clothes won't dry overnight.
It's a chilly 16C / 31F 61F Winter's day :oops:

It got me thinking.........
As I may do a Winter Camino at some stage.

How do you dry clothes on a Winter Camino?
You can't hang them outside.
I recall doing that as a kid in the UK and the clothes would be frozen solid in the morning!

Hang in front of a heater?

Does it become a problem?
Requiring the carrying of extra 'sets' of clothes?
ha ha dont complain.. its summer in Iceland and we are getting 6-10 degree celcius…
 

Kanga

Moderator
Staff member
Year of past OR future Camino
Francés x 5, Le Puy x 2, Arles, Tours, Norte, Madrid, Via de la Plata, Portuguese, Primitivo
Wooden stove? Single use perhaps! 🤔
Wood burning stove! Or should that be burning wood stove? You kids, you don't remember when everyone had one. Either that or one that burned coke. As in coal, not cola!

I have come across some ingenious solutions in albergues. Apart from the standard dryers, very useful are the super fast centrifugal spinners that leave clothes almost touch dry. I don't think I've come across an albergue with a "hot room" like that described by @Robo in his army days, or found in many ski lodges. But there was an albergue in Los Arcos (I think) that had an old fashioned drying cupboard - so a cupboard that backed onto a hot water system or similar. No good for soaking wet clothes, but great to finish things off.

And really luxurious are the rooms with multiple flexible hoses that push out hot air, for drying boots and shoes. I've seen those in a couple of albergues. I can't find a photo, but I'm sure someone will have one.
 
D

Deleted member 61803

Guest
Wood burning stove! Or should that be burning wood stove? You kids, you don't remember when everyone had one.
Kanga, many thanks for the compliment, but I truly believe I could give you quite a few years and still be older.

Currently I have two wood burning stoves in my house, both made of steel.
 
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Year of past OR future Camino
Frances x5, Portuguese VdlP12, Sanabres, Aragones, Norte,Salvador,Primitivo, VdlP 17,Madrid18Norte
Wood burning stove! Or should that be burning wood stove? You kids, you don't remember when everyone had one. Either that or one that burned coke. As in coal, not cola!

I have come across some ingenious solutions in albergues. Apart from the standard dryers, very useful are the super fast centrifugal spinners that leave clothes almost touch dry. I don't think I've come across an albergue with a "hot room" like that described by @Robo in his army days, or found in many ski lodges. But there was an albergue in Los Arcos (I think) that had an old fashioned drying cupboard - so a cupboard that backed onto a hot water system or similar. No good for soaking wet clothes, but great to finish things off.

And really luxurious are the rooms with multiple flexible hoses that push out hot air, for drying boots and shoes. I've seen those in a couple of albergues. I can't find a photo, but I'm sure someone will have one.
Albergue Cantabrica in Fonsagrada has one of those warming racks for boots.
 

Darby67

Enólogo caminando
Year of past OR future Camino
2018 CF Jan-Feb
2019 CF Jan-Mar
January starts is all I’ve done. Clothes drier which seems to get more expensive as you go west. Sometimes using the radiator is helpful for things lIke drying a pair of socks. No worries about combustion as has been mentioned, they do not get nearly hot enough for that. The only shoe drying closet that I came across was in Triacastela
 

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