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it's a sensitive area - underwear (05)

WARNING: The mention of private parts is unavoidable.

Photo: Not my bra

We all need underwear. Some comments are for everyone and other comments are specific to biological differences, all will be made clear.

What is underwear?

On a man, it’s underpants and an undershirt/t-shirt.

On a woman, it’s knickers, bra and an undershirt/t-shirt.

For everyone: you will be walking for about 5 / 6 hours a day for 35 days.

Underwear on a long-distance hike is a purely functional bit of clothing. It has many tasks and none are connected with looking sexy.

1 You will generate heat and sweat. You have to get sweat away from the body, it does make for an uncomfortable time. Don't have underwear that makes this worse.

2 Walking will mean your arms swinging and your legs rubbing against each other. The two main areas of friction are between the legs/thighs and the inside of your upper arm, both areas are prone to friction burns. Not funny, not at all.

3. Depending on the biology and body type bits will move. Body bits have to be held more firmly on long hikes. Swinging, bouncing, joggling and other words, to be avoided.

The all-inclusive section


Washing clothes on the Camino is relatively easy, there are machines in almost every major Albergue. The problem is the machines have limited settings and automatically pump detergent in as the wash cycle starts. My suggestion would be pack clothing which can be put into the machine in one wash. All darks, all the same temperature, all can be thrown into the tumble drier.

Sure, if you want to take something special, it’s your choice but be aware, just because washing facilities exist, you might be tenth in line and not able to use them. The machine might be broken. And the cost … €3 a wash plus €2 for the drier, you don’t want to be paying that twice because you decided to bring whites, darks, and something silky with lace for that special occasion.

T shirt / vest / undershirt

It’s your choice what you choose to wear on your top but you don’t have to spend a fortune on technical gear. The Camino is a long walk but it is not a high-level mountain hike. I wore cheap lightweight t-shirts, they worked. Suggestion --- take darks.

On the left is a cheap off the shelf non branded cotton t-shirt - cost £7

On the right is an expensive technical sweat dah dah dah t-shirt - cost £30

I use the expensive one on my big long distance in the mountains hikes and the other one I would use on the Camino.

Those with bollocks

If you have them, they will try to swing. They also have the painful habit of getting into the wrong place when you bend over and then you have that cold sweat crushed sensation. Buy pants that hold your man bits together. You might also need to consider, as I did, a long leg on the pants. This extends down the leg and protects the thighs when they are constantly crossing each other as you walk. I ended up with very painful friction burns and did an excellent John Wayne impression hobbling into Burgos. I was lucky to get my hands on 4 pairs of “Under Armour” pants. Tight, stretchy, all the same size and colour, and four thousand kilometres later, I still have three pairs left. See TOP photo

Those with boobies - I have no experience of wearing a bra, so I took advice.

This one has to be blunt. Boobies will try and move so they have to be held as still as possible, buy a couple of correctly fitting sports bras. You are especially looking for a bra which provides the right amount of support and has as flat a shoulder strap as possible. This is the area where your backpack straps will be rubbing, you do not need any lumps or seems under those straps. See TOP photo

I met a girl who admitted to wearing paper knickers, she carried 80 pairs in her pack. She wore one for the day and one for the night and then binned them. I am not an expert on women's underwear but I am guessing comfort is important. This worked for her, maybe you want a thong or sports pants, so long as it works for you.

In summary. Buy inexpensive, sensible, same wash clothing and make sure it does the job.

Next blog, the backpack


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