How To Dry Clothes Fast

There is nothing quite as invigorating as getting into the great outdoors and exploring. But if you’re on a camping trip and enjoying everything that nature has to offer, you’ll often find yourself with damp, soggy clothes. That’s OK, it’s part of the territory, but you don’t want to wear wet clothes any longer than you need to. Not only is it uncomfortable but it can be bad for your health. 

Of course, when you’re outdoors, and don’t have the creature comforts of home such as a tumble dryer, you have to come up with more innovative ways of getting your gear dry. In this guide, we’ll be helping to spark your creativity and showing you ways you might not have thought of for drying clothes fast. 

Why You Shouldn’t Wear Wet Clothes

Do you ever remember your mother telling you after walking home in the rain to get those wet clothes off before you catch your death? Yeah, us too! While that might be the rantings of mothers all over the world, they’re not far wrong. 

Wearing wet clothes is not good for your health and should be avoided at all costs. For starters, wearing wet clothes means that the garments will be tighter on you and this can interrupt your circulation, which we all know isn’t a good thing. 

Moreover, there is a heightened risk of catching hypothermia when wearing wet clothing. This is because water attracts heat and this includes your body heat. As this wicks it away from you, your body temperature drops and in the worst cases, hypothermia could follow. 

It is, however, important to keep in mind that it is not possible to catch a cold, flu or pneumonia from wearing wet clothes. These conditions are caused by a virus, although symptoms may be exacerbated if your body temperature drops while you already have the condition. 

Ways To Dry Wet Clothes When Camping Or Hiking

If you’re out on an adventure, you shouldn’t have to let wet clothes hold you back. It’s a good idea to pack some essentials in your camping gear to make sure that you have several options when it comes to drying your clothes. And it doesn’t take us to remind you of the importance of taking spare clothing, even if you’re only out for a hike for a few hours. 

Make Use Of Your Campfire

Having a campfire is something that can benefit you in several ways. Not only is it somewhere to cook and something to help you keep warm as evening sets in, it’s also ideal for drying your clothes. 

Do keep in mind that drying your clothes too close to your campfire could be hazardous. You’ll need to keep them a couple of metres away at least but the heat will still reach them and speed up the drying process. Not doing this could cause the flames to catch the clothing, setting them on fire.

CHECK OUT OUR CAMPING FIREPITS ARTICLE

Apply Heat With A Hairdryer

When you’re camping, it’s likely that you’ve taken a few of your appliances from home and one thing a lot of people pack is their hairdryer. This can come in useful for damp clothing although it isn’t such a great method for clothes that are dripping wet, so do keep this in mind. 

The best way to use a hairdryer for damp clothes is to lay the clothes on a flat surface, protected by a towel. You can then turn on the hairdryer and direct the heat at the garment, making sure to keep it moving slowly and consistently to avoid overheating any one part of the garment. . This can be time consuming depending on how damp the item is and the size of the garment but it’s certainly an efficient method that will remove all traces of moisture.

Best 12v Hair Dryers – Best For Car, Caravans, Campers & Motorhomes

Apply Heat With An Iron 

If your clothes are a little damp then you might be able to use your travel iron to dry them off so that they are good enough to wear. Do not apply the heat directly to the garments when they are wet as this could damage them. Instead, you will need to take a dry towel and place this over the top of the clothes before ironing. 

This is not one of the best ways to dry your clothes fast but it is ideal if you have no other method. 

Hanging Lines

One of the most effective and traditional ways of getting your clothes to dry off quickly is by hanging them on a line. When you are camping, there are several portable clothes lines on the market that can provide a great place for you to dry your things. 

If the weather is hot then hanging your clothes on a line is one of the quickest ways to get the job done. I have personally done this on a bright, sunny day and within an hour, sometimes, the clothes are dry and ready to wear again. 

It’s also a great method if there is a slight breeze as this will aid the drying process. However, if the weather is overcast and cool, simply placing the hanging line near your campfire should be enough to do the trick. 

If you do not have a clothes line, then don’t despair, you likely have other equipment that can double up as a hanging line. For example, a lot of people stick their trekking poles into the ground and use these to hang the garments on, allowing the sun and breeze to do the rest. Even if you don’t have trekking poles, a large rock near to your camp is a great place to lay your clothes out and let the sun work its magic. 

See our Best Travel Clothesline article

Hand Warmers

Those hand warmers that you use to keep your mitts toasty in colder weather could become invaluable when it comes to drying your clothes when camping. You see, they give off a lot of heat and while they’re small, simply placing them among some damp garments will speed up the drying process by a considerable amount. 

A HANDY LITTLE THING

Portable Washing Machine, 2-in-1 Mini Washing Machine and Spin Dryer with Dehydrating Tube, Holds up to 2 kg, Hand Cranked Non-Electric Top for Camping, Travel, Caravans

If you are looking for something handy these are great for washing and drying, it is manual so does not require power just hand spinning! It may not fit large items or get clothes completely dry but will certainly get rid of allot of excess water and great for cleaning clothes too.

Make Sure The Clothes Aren’t Soaking

It’s no good attempting any of the methods for drying clothing quickly that we are discussing if the clothes are dripping wet. It’ll take far too much time for all of the excess water to drip away and then the clothing will need to go from damp to dry. 

For this reason, it is best practice to fully wring out as much water as you possibly can before trying to dry the clothes further. You can do this by simply folding the item and twisting it tightly in your hands. Do be mindful of how you stretch the fabric as this can permanently change its shape and ruin your garment so be firm but not rough. 

You can also use a towel to help in the removal of excess water. This is especially good if you have a lot of items to get dry. All you need to do is get a clean, dry towel and lay it out flat. Then pop the garments onto it before rolling it up and giving it a good squeeze to get out any additional moisture. Not only will you benefit from the pressure you apply but the towel will also absorb a lot of the water. 

Additionally, and if the clothes are really soaked through, you could wrap them in the dry towel, place it on the floor and stomp all over it. Yes, your towel is going to get dirty but that isn’t the end of the world and will be far less detrimental to you than wearing wet clothes would be. 

Once you have done this, you can then use any of the techniques we have discussed in this guide to dry them off completely. 

Conclusion

Wearing wet clothes is not good for you but when you are out camping or adventuring, it’s highly likely that you’ll end up getting a little soggy. But that doesn’t mean that you should put up with damp gear. There are plenty of ways to dry your clothes quickly, especially if the weather is good. 

But with everything we have learned in this guide, it still cannot be reiterated enough that, when camping or doing any outdoor activity, it is imperative to take spare clothing with you.

Sign up our mailing list to claim your FREE Ultimate Camping Checklist PDF