How to Dry Clothes When Hiking

Drying Clothes While Hiking

A hike is not just a pleasant time in nature. Any abnormal situation can occur on the way. For example, it can rain heavily, the boat overturns, or you have to wade a stream. However, as they say, no one is immune from this because no one can predict the weather for sure. For this reason, it’s important to know how to dry your clothes properly when hiking.

Experienced hikers know many ways to dry wet clothes or shoes quickly and efficiently. The choice of a particular option depends on the natural conditions, the availability of materials at hand, the desired drying rate, as well as what harm your clothes can get. In this article, we’ll show you how to dry clothes when hiking without ruining them.

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Best practices for getting your clothes dry while hiking

If you have become wet, make sure to change into dry clothes as soon as you can. If you start to freeze on wet clothes, it will often be difficult to get the heat up properly again. Also, try to take the first best opportunity to dry your wet clothes. Partly because it can be heavy to carry around in wet clothes, and partly because you will have another drying chance again if you happen to get wet.

Here we suggest some different ways to dry clothes that have become wet on the hike.

1. Dry in the sun and wind

The sun is a powerful source of heat, and it can be used to dry wet clothes and shoes. Drying in the sun is the safest drying method, and you can use it without worrying about the condition of your clothes or even a synthetic jacket.

The only thing to consider is that the sun is constantly moving, and if you are not alert, your clothes can be in the shade. To dry your clothes in the sun, you can either dry with a clothesline or without. Let’s see how you can do them below.

Option 1: With a clothesline

Follow the steps below.

Step 1: Secure a clothesline: Use rope or fishing line to tie a hanger between trees, sturdy sticks, or branches. Twist together two lengths of the fishing line if you have a lot of heavy clothes to dry.

Step 2: Squeeze the wet cloth: Press and turn your wet cloth before hanging them to remove excess water. This will help them dry faster.

Step 3: Wrap your wet clothes over the rope: After twisting, hang each cloth over the rope, leaving some space between them to allow airflow. You can also use some clothespins to hold the clothes in place.

This method is excellent, and in just about half an hour or an hour, your clothes will be completely dry. This will depend on how sunny and windy the weather is. Here, there is no danger of spoiling clothes. The sun heats the fabric rather gently, and the wind helps to blow out the evaporated moisture. In addition, pay attention to the tension on the rope so that your clothes do not touch the ground.

Option 2: Drying without a clothesline

If you don’t have a rope or a clothesline, then you can place your wet cloth on a rock to dry. Just squeeze to remove the excess water and place them on a hot rock or grass in the sun. Let them dry for about an hour and turn them. If you put your cloth on a stone, try to wipe it a bit before putting your clothes down. And if it is windy, use a small stone or a heavy object to hold the clothes. Otherwise, they can blow away.

2. Hang clothes on the back of the backpack

If you’re out walking and can’t stop to hang a clothesline, then use your backpack. Just clip the wet cloths to your backpack for them flutter in the wind. This is an ideal option for smaller items such as socks, underwear, etc. However, you can also dry your shirt using this method. This works especially well in the sunshine, but also on gray weather days.

Dry Clothes with Campfire
Drying clothes with a campfire can be very effective. Just keep a close watch on them!

3. Drying with fire

If there is no sun or a good strong wind, a fire will work great for drying clothes. However, it does not belong to the group of the safest drying methods, or rather, it is the most dangerous. This is because the slightest carelessness or absent-mindedness is enough to burn your clothes completely.

For this reason, this method is recommended when no other options are available. Also, remember that modern hiking outfits are usually made from synthetic materials. And this may cause it to lose its protective properties such as water resistance. Therefore, carefully observe the distance from the fire to the drying place. Lastly, you need to remember the rules for using a fire to dry your clothes.

I. Arrange your clothes downwind when drying over a fire.

II. Placed your clothes at a safe distance from open flames.

III. Do not try to place your clothes on a piece of wood or stone. It is better to hold it in your hands or hang it on improvised ropes.

IV. Try to choose the driest wood for the fire. This will avoid flying sparks.

V. Shape the fire in such a way that it burns as long and hot as possible. Here, you can take three massive logs. Two are stacked parallel to each other, and the third is on top.

Drying while camping overnight over the trail

Drying clothes on the tent.

Also, it is worth mentioning how you can dry your clothes while camping overnight on the trail. Most often, clothes have to be washed and dried when camping. This is due to the fact that it can get wet not only due to exposure to rain or water, but also from sweat during strong physical exertion. The most famous and effective methods are:

1. Campfire

You can try drying by the fire. Exactly so, somewhere on the sidelines, and not almost thrusting things into the fire. It is necessary to put small poles driven into the ground and place clothes on them at such a distance from the fire so that you can feel warmth, but not heat. Otherwise, the clothes may lose their original strength, and synthetic clothes may melt.

The easiest way to check the temperature is by placing your face or hand in the drying zone. If your skin is hot, then the heating is excessive, and it is better to move the clothes away from the fire. And again, strict adherence to all safety precautions is required.

2. Drying using a tarp

A tarp is super versatile tool that should be in the backpack of anyone doing multi-day hiking. Something simple like this tarp from Red Camp can easily fit into any backpack and serve a number a number of functions including helping to dry wet clothes.

This method is similar to the previous one. Not far from the fire, wet clothes and even shoes are hung on a rope. An awning is pulled behind the rope and fire, which will direct hot air onto a wet cloth and help them dry quickly. This method is much safer than the previous one, but still requires constant monitoring of the situation.

3. Drying in a sleeping bag

This is a very harsh way of drying things. Its essence lies in the fact that when you are going to bed, you put your wet clothes in his sleeping bag, and some still manage to put shoes. The warm air emitted by the human body will dry things. When using this method, you will have to forget about a night of comfortable sleep. But there is a hope that wet your wet cloth will be dry enough by morning.

4. Wipe clothes in towels and hang on your tent

Whether it is blankets or towels you have with you, rolling your wet clothes in a towel can quickly absorb most of the moisture from the clothes. This method ensures that your clothes are not completely dry, but it does absorb a lot of water.

To dry using this method, you have to squeeze the cloth to remove the excess water, then put them on a dry towel. Make sure the towel is completely dry. Fold the towel over the clothing and press it down. Let the clothes sit for 20-30 minutes while the towel absorbs the moisture. Finally, tie the rope over your tent and hang the wet clothes on it like a clothesline.

Important tip

Drying clothes is an important process when hiking, so you should not let it go by itself. First of all, you must first unbutton all pockets and unfasten zippers and locks. You also need to monitor the drying process carefully and turn things over as they dry.

Final Thoughts

There are no magical ways to dry your clothes on a hike. As we said at the beginning, the choice of a suitable drying option is influenced by many things. Therefore, in order not to think which is better, consider these three things.

First, choose clothes made from quick-drying fabrics for hiking: polyester or nylon. Second, look for items made from fleece or with fleece lining. And thirdly, modern membrane fabrics have a number of advantages and useful properties. They are water-resistant and dry quickly. Therefore, when shopping for hiking uniforms, look for jackets, trousers, and suits made from these fabrics.

Ryan H

I love hiking and being outdoors with Jen and our two rescue dogs, Chompers and Mia. I also enjoy a good weekend trail run. I'm also really enjoying sharing some of the knowledge we've learned along the way here on Zenful Hiking!

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