I’m Just back from a big trip with my friends up in New York’s Pharaoh Lakes Wilderness, so now it’s time to unpack my camping and backpacking gear and start washing everything.
I have invested a lot in high performance synthetic and wool clothing, and when washing expensive hiking clothing, I am really careful to keep its functionality. This gear must be both warm and breathable, and must wick moisture away from my skin so that I stay dry and comfortable. I find that washing this type of gear with regular detergents reduces its performance. In particular, I find that after washing a nice synthetic shirt with regular detergents, the garment will start to feel clammy when I wear it.
Washing Expensive Hiking Clothing
Since this gear is expensive, I like to keep it fresh and get as much use out of it as possible. That’s why I don’t mind paying a premium to wash it with very small amounts of specialty detergents. A cap ful of Base Wash or Wool Wash from Nikwax is all it takes to wash a medium-sized load.
Even if you don’t use these expensive detergents, make sure to take care of these cloths by using regular detergents very sparingly. Synthetics should be washed on warm and then dried on delicate. Woolens should be washed on cold and then hung out to dry. Never run woolens through the drier or they’ll start to really degrade.
Protection from Lyme Disease
One last note: With the increased prevalence of lime disease carrying ticks and bloodborn pathogens carried by mosquitoes, you can never been too careful. For this reason, I wash all of my outdoor clothing with a small amount of Sawyer Permethrin Spray. Permethrin is a contact insecticide that can be applied to clothing and other gear to help repel and kill insects. Make sure to keep Permethrin out of your eyes or mouth, and never spray it directly on the skin.
What special care do you take when washing your camping cloths?