Showing results for 
Show  only  | Search instead for 
Did you mean: 
Welcome REI Co-op Members!
We're glad you're here. If you can't access the Co-op Members section of the community,
click here for instructions on how to join the section that's just for you.

System for drying wet clothes

Hi everyone,

I am looking to hike the Kungsleden next year from Abisko to Hemavan, but I wanted to address a hiking problem that has almost ruined previous trips. Damp clothes and drying them out. I use a couple heavy duty pack liners to keep the things in my pack dry, as well as separating dry and wet items, but in situations where I’m hiking more remote trails where washing and drying clothes with proper laundry facilities isn’t an option, and rain is frequent, I find that my clothes aren’t drying quickly enough to replace them. I bring spare clothes but I wanted to see if there was a system people are using to dry clothes on the go (preferably not at camp as this limits walking time during the day). Two suggestions I thought of were sealing the dry clothes in a bag with silica gel pouches, but this adds weight, and the silica beads will have to be dried out with the use of a microwave or oven. The other idea was to use a Mylar blanket, opening on the bottom (hanging upside down) with damp clothes hanging on the inside with a hot water bottle to contain the heat and hopefully drain the water out the bottom. This could be hung on the outside of my pack whilst I’m hiking, but I wanted to see if anyone had tried either of these ideas or have a better idea?

Any suggestion would be greatly appreciated

Hope everyone’s keeping safe and well,


Labels (3)
7 Replies

WOW! that looks epic!

I know there's a lot of long distance hiking going on, rain or shine.  If you can't 'walk your clothes dry', you may have to just go with dirty, but dry clothes, until a situation arises where you can wash up.

I would contact the folks that run guided trips there and/or campground/hut staff. Perhaps contact someone who maintained a blog.

Anyway, now I'm curious about re-supply options, the trip truly looks epic.

good luck!


REI Member Since 1979

Absolutely! Can’t figure out whether it will be an epic triumph or failure though haha

That’s a great suggestion! I think a lot of people that do the hike do it dirty but I’m trying to save the ordeal

You should definitely try it! Something I’m massively looking forward to, especially in the current circumstances 



Hi @ElliotBrush, one of the main things that I do when hiking/backpacking through areas that are extremely humid/wet or get frequent rain is to simply wear a "rain suit" / water-proof outer layers. I usually make sure my hiking boots/shoes are water proof, and then wear rain pants (Black Diamond makes some awesome ones that are very stretchy and breathable, so they work great in both warm and cold environments), and a water-proof outer shell (the type of which will vary depending on the expected temp's). I also use a baseball cap-style hat that is made of moisture wicking material (Columbia sells these, not sure who else) which helps keep the rain out of my eyes/off my face and hold the hood of my outer shell on my head. By having this kind of outer layer, I find that the clothes underneath stay very dry (if you wear moisture-wicking / quick dry material clothes, those will also dry out very quickly, even in humid environments).

When hiking on the trail, I also make sure that if the rain lets up for a while, I hang any damp clothes I might have on the outside of my pack so that they can dry as I am on the move.

Lastly, if you find that your clothes (esp. socks!) aren't as dry as you want, but you have no other pairs to wear, you could use talcum powder to prevent rubbing on your skin / blister formation. 

Not sure this answered your question in the way you intended it, but thought I'd at least weigh in my 2 cents!

Superusers do not speak on behalf of REI and may have received
one or more gifts or other benefits from the co-op.

Hi Bryan,

Sorry for the delayed response, I really am thankful for the suggestion. I just purchased some nikwax treatments for my waterproof gear so hopefully that’ll be enough to keep the water off of me or my base layers haha

Luckily, my backpack does have compression straps on the back, so I’m going to buy some lightweight clothes pegs to secure them on to dry

You haven’t just answered my question, you’ve gone above and beyond, and you’ve really helped me out.

Sending you all the best with your future hikes!!

With thanks,



First, kudos for getting to hike such an epic trail! As a complete aside, have you seen the 2017 film, The Ritual? A very different experience on the Kungsleden! But to the laundry...

I hike often in the high Uintas and the Smokeys, both of which are constantly rain-soaked. Not Sweden, true, but wet is wet. 

For wet clothes, we do one of the following three things: Hang them in the tent overnight as we sleep (our body heat gets them "dryish"); Rig a clothesline on our packs (two long sticks, hiking poles, or even tent poles, lashed to either side of our packs, and extending two or three above the pack, with a piece of thin paracord between them) and hang the shirt, pants or socks out to dry as we walk (especially good for windy hikes where the rain is on and off); Or, the old tried and true, wear them dry. I tend to use the clothesline method for socks, in so far as I can stand to hike in just about anything wet (assuming it is not a hypothermia risk), save wet socks (yuck!).

As to dirty clothes, meh, it's the trail, and things are going to get dirty. Even for long hauls (we did nines days in the Uintas, for example), I will only pack two shirts, two pants (both of which convert into shorts), and a set of light, thermal sleeping clothes. I will wear a shirt for three days, wash it, clothesline hang it (if not hang it in camp), and in a short while it is dry enough to wear as a new, clean shirt after the next three days. The same goes for the pants. 

Anyway, enjoy the trail and bring back pictures for the rest of us!

Cheers -


Hey JBG!

Thanks for the reply, apologies for my recent absence to respond. What an ingenious system with the paracord!! The only thing that comes to mind is, in heavily forested areas, do the clothes/paracord snag on any bushes or branches?

I think there is just something about embracing the grime and dirt!

Thanks for the advice!

Keep safe,



Appreciate the other comments and would add that you need to review the material the clothes are made out of.  Some are wicking and dry really fast, others like fleece or heavy cotton take forever.  That should help some as well.  Last thing is if your backpack has a mesh pouch, place wet clothes there.  If you hit a dry spell, it'll help....

Superusers do not speak on behalf of REI and may have received
one or more gifts or other benefits from the co-op.