If you enjoy hiking, you probably understand the inconvenience of having wet clothes on the trail. Fortunately, there are plenty of ways how to dry clothes when hiking.
Not only are wet clothes uncomfortable and heavy, but they also take up valuable space in your backpack. With the proper knowledge and creativity, drying your clothes on the trail doesn’t have to be a chore.
Hiking through the wilderness under the beautiful daylight is a great adventure, but if the weather is unpredictable or the heat index soars, and in just one day your clothes can be drenched in sweat or soaked up from heavy rainfall.
In this post, we will provide some tips and tricks for how to dry clothes when hiking so that you can enjoy your adventure without worrying about soggy clothing weighing you down. Let’s get started!
Why You Shouldn’t Wear Wet Clothes?
Everyone will agree that wearing wet clothes is an extremely uncomfortable feeling. Aside from this icky scenario, here are some of the reasons why you should not wear wet clothes.
Frequent wearing of sweaty clothes for long periods can lead to different skin problems. Damp clothes encourage the formation of fungus that causes ringworms, acne, calluses, itching, and rashes. It also worsens eczema which can lead to bacterial infection.
According to a World Health Organization report, garments that are overstretched, wet, or worn out may lose some of their protective properties. And when this happens, there’s an increased UV exposure that can lead to sunburn.
Clothes Won’t Dry Up Quickly
Clothes tend to dry faster when there is more air circulation. Hanging them instead of wearing them until they dry up is faster since air can freely pass through the clothes.
If winter hiking is your thing, it’s better to keep yourself dry at all times because “cold and wet” can lead to a serious condition like hypothermia. Hypothermia happens when you’re exposed to extreme cold, and wet clothes can aggravate the condition.
How To Dry Clothes When Hiking
So your clothes are wet from sweating after a day’s hike or hiking through the woods in the rain. Here are the best hacks on how to dry clothes when hiking.
Bring Quick Drying Clothes
Before you head out to the trails, make sure you wear and bring extra clothing that is made of quick-drying materials. Hiking clothes made of materials such as nylon, polyester, or merino wool dries up much faster than other fabric types.
Protect Your Clothing from Wet Conditions
One tip on how to dry clothes when hiking is to prevent your clothes from getting wet in the first place. Prevention is a lot better than cure, it’s better to pack your clothes inside an airtight plastic bag before you stuff them inside your backpacks.
Add another layer of protection and put rain covers on your bags to prevent them from getting wet when it rains.
Use Body Heat
Body heat is an option if you want to dry some of your clothing. Placing some pieces of your clothing such as damp socks and gloves near your body helps to dry them out at a much faster rate.
Bring Hand Warmers
Aside from keeping your hands warm while hiking in cold weather, you can also toss them inside your damp hiking boots to help in drying them out.
Hang Your Clothes
If you decided to set up a camp, tie a cord or a rope across your tent and hang your clothes up to dry. You can also drape over your pack, or hang them on a tree branch near you.
The key to drying your clothes faster is to spread them as much as possible.
Dry Them Under The Sunlight
If you get lucky and the sun finally shows up, tie a clothesline between trees and be sure to put your wet clothes under direct sunlight. Flip them occasionally so that all parts of your clothes will dry out under the sun. You can also do the same when it’s windy but be sure that you secure them with some clips to prevent them from falling off.
Lay Your Clothes on Warm Rocks
In case you didn’t bring a rope or clothesline, rocks that are exposed under the sun work too. Wipe off the dirt from the rocks first and lay your clothes on these warm rocks and make sure that you spread your clothes apart from each other.
Set Up A Campfire
Start a campfire a few feet away from your tent, hang your clothes near the fire but not too close because you don’t want to burn your clothes. Make sure to check on your clothes every now and then and flip them over to dry out all parts of your clothes.
Wrap Them In Dry Towel & Blankets
Dry, thick towels and blankets absorb moisture pretty well so wrapping your wet clothes is one of the most effective way on how to dry clothes when hiking. This technique is very helpful especially when you’re in a hurry and you don’t have time to dry your clothes under the sun.
Remember not to put too many clothes inside as it will not be that effective, just wrap a few pieces at a time.
Iron Them Out
If you have portable irons with you when hiking then you can also use them in drying your clothes. Remember not to iron your wet clothes directly as it might damage your clothes, instead, put a towel on top, and then you can begin to iron your clothes.
It will not totally dry up so hang them again if you can.
Put Them Inside A Sleeping Bag
Putting them inside a sleeping bag also helps to dry them faster. But before you stuff, a few insides make sure you’ve removed excess moisture or air dry them first.
Hang Them On Your BackPack
After changing into dry clothes, you can hang your wet clothes on your waterproof backpack as you hike through the trails. As you walk, the air that passes through your wet clothes will help in drying them out.
Wring Moisture Out
Wring as much moisture out of your clothing as possible to help them dry up faster. Always wring out your clothes before you hang them or do the other techniques we’ve mentioned in this list.
How do you keep clothes dry when backpacking?
When backpacking, keeping your clothes dry can be a challenge, especially when the weather is unpredictable. However, there are a few ways to ensure that your clothes stay dry:
- Use a waterproof backpack: This will ensure that your clothes stay dry even if you get caught in a sudden downpour.
- Use compression sacks: They not only help you save space but also keep the contents dry. You can also use dry bags if you have them.
- Choose the right clothing: Opt for quick-drying, moisture-wicking clothes.
- Pack rain gear: Always carry a rain jacket and rain pants, regardless of the weather forecast.
- Use a tent: If you’re camping, make sure you set up your tent in a dry area, preferably on higher ground. This will keep your tent and clothes dry.
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