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Best T-Shirt for Camino de Santiago – My personal experience

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Every detail matters, as long as you want to enjoy your pilgrimage to the fullest, and avoid any unnecessary injuries. Just as you will always carry your shoes and backpack (and no doubt you did your research, and didn’t buy the first model with colors you liked), you will also wear a t-shirt most of the time. Actually two t-shirts: first one you will walk in, and second one you will wear while not walking, that means once you reach albergue, socialize with other pilgrims, go for dinner, sleep, etc. I’d say that two t-shirts is the minimum you should take on your Camino, though it makes a lot of sense taking three, just to have one in reserve. But what is the best t-shirt for the Camino?

Before we dive into some technical details, let me give you a brief answer: For walking the Camino, you should ideally get some technical t-shirt–that means one from material like elastane or other synthetic material running t-shirts are made from, simply something that dries quickly, keeps sweat out of your body, weights a little, and you can easily wash it in hands (or in a machine) in an albergue daily, knowing that it will be completely dry in few hours, or in the worst case scenario next morning, and you can wear it again.

For social time on the Camino, of basically for the time after walking, I strongly recommend getting a t-shirt from Merino wool, ideally from a reputable brand working with quality sustainable merino, such as Ortovox, Icebreaker, or Devolt. These t-shirts are super comfortable, and some people actually prefer them even for walking the Camino, but for me they represent a perfect choice for “after walking activities”. Let’s dive into some details so you can make your choice. And don’t worry, I will also recommend a specific t-shirts, for both men and women, from brand I know and tested, and that you can easily get from Amazon.

 

Wearing “plastic” on your body the whole day is not a good idea

It may be tempting to take only t-shirts from technical materials on the Camino, since they are comparatively cheap, light, and dry quickly. However, since you walk with a backpack, which pressures on your body, and you sweat at the same time, moisture with plastic makes a perfect combination for all sorts of skin irritation and skin rash. Therefor it is much better if you just walk in a shirt from plastic (synthetic) materials, but as long as you reach the pilgrim hostel and take a shower you wear something more natural, such as t-shirt from Merino wool…

 

Merino t-shirts do not smell and are great for sleeping

You probably do not care much whether you smell a bit while walking–that’s the part of the game after all. In order to feel comfortable among other pilgrims in the hostels, however, I am sure you prefer to have a t-shirt that does not smell. Another point for Merino wool t-shirts, since merino wool has a much greater capacity to absorb moisture. The moisture is bound within the structure, and so is not available to microbes which cause body odor. No need for elaborate science here, quality merino t-shirts simply do not smell, even if you sweat.

This has a couple of advantages: unless your merino gets dirty, you almost do not need to wash it during the Camino, or you can wash it just sporadically, like once a week. And secondly, it just feels better and more comfortable to wear t-shirts that do not smell terribly as soon as they get moist. In my experience, if you’re into minimalist packing, and try to take with you as little as possible, one t-shirt from synthetic technical materials and one quality merino t-shirt is enough for the Camino (when it comes to t-shirts of course :)). You will walk in the synthetic one, and do everything else (including sleeping) in the one from merino wool.

 

Recommended t-shirts from Merino wool for Women

Let me start with my personal hand-picks for women. I hand-picked three t-shirts from Merino wool, all of them beautiful, and all of them from brands I know and wear myself, and can definitely vouch for. Of course, I understand not everyone can afford buying t-shirt or shirts that cost over 70$, hence I tried to come up with an idea for each budget. So here we go:

Product name
METARINO Merino Wool T-Shirt Women Short Sleeve Lightweight Crew Neck Base Layer Tee Shirt Tops for Hiking,Travel,Blue,Small
Merino.tech Merino Wool T Shirt Women – 100% Merino Wool Base Layer Women Short Sleeve Tee + Merino Wool Hiking Socks (X-Small, Black Crewneck)
Icebreaker Merino Women’s 260 Tech Long Sleeve Half Zip, Black, X-Small
METARINO Merino Wool T-Shirt Women Short Sleeve Lightweight Crew Neck Base Layer Tee Shirt Tops for Hiking,Travel,Blue,Small
Merino.tech Merino Wool T Shirt Women - 100% Merino Wool Base Layer Women Short Sleeve Tee + Merino Wool Hiking Socks (X-Small, Black Crewneck)
Icebreaker Merino Women's 260 Tech Long Sleeve Half Zip, Black, X-Small
Price
$27.99
$44.99
$101.23
Best for
Budget option, versatility
Best Price/Quality ratio
TOP Quality
Color options
Blue, Light Grey, Navy
28 color options, and more! Check it out to see yourself.
Black, Navy, Loden, Nightshade
Recommended for
Those on budget
Serious pilgrims
Those who want one t-shirt for all past-time activities
Materials
65% merino wool, 35% polyester
100% Merino wool
100% sustainable merino from New Zealand (the craddle of Merino wool production)
Get it now for the best price
Matej’s note
This t-shirt is actually great for walking as well, because of the material mix!
You’ll get a free merino wool socks worth $21 if you buy this t-shirt.
This is a top class product. Zipped and with long sleeves, it will serve in colder weather. You unzip the top and roll up your sleeves, and it will serve you just great in a warm albergue. Very good looking too! 100% recommended.
Product name
METARINO Merino Wool T-Shirt Women Short Sleeve Lightweight Crew Neck Base Layer Tee Shirt Tops for Hiking,Travel,Blue,Small
METARINO Merino Wool T-Shirt Women Short Sleeve Lightweight Crew Neck Base Layer Tee Shirt Tops for Hiking,Travel,Blue,Small
Price
$27.99
Best for
Budget option, versatility
Color options
Blue, Light Grey, Navy
Recommended for
Those on budget
Materials
65% merino wool, 35% polyester
Get it now for the best price
Matej’s note
This t-shirt is actually great for walking as well, because of the material mix!
Product name
Merino.tech Merino Wool T Shirt Women – 100% Merino Wool Base Layer Women Short Sleeve Tee + Merino Wool Hiking Socks (X-Small, Black Crewneck)
Merino.tech Merino Wool T Shirt Women - 100% Merino Wool Base Layer Women Short Sleeve Tee + Merino Wool Hiking Socks (X-Small, Black Crewneck)
Price
$44.99
Best for
Best Price/Quality ratio
Color options
28 color options, and more! Check it out to see yourself.
Recommended for
Serious pilgrims
Materials
100% Merino wool
Get it now for the best price
Matej’s note
You’ll get a free merino wool socks worth $21 if you buy this t-shirt.
Product name
Icebreaker Merino Women’s 260 Tech Long Sleeve Half Zip, Black, X-Small
Icebreaker Merino Women's 260 Tech Long Sleeve Half Zip, Black, X-Small
Price
$101.23
Best for
TOP Quality
Color options
Black, Navy, Loden, Nightshade
Recommended for
Those who want one t-shirt for all past-time activities
Materials
100% sustainable merino from New Zealand (the craddle of Merino wool production)
Get it now for the best price
Matej’s note
This is a top class product. Zipped and with long sleeves, it will serve in colder weather. You unzip the top and roll up your sleeves, and it will serve you just great in a warm albergue. Very good looking too! 100% recommended.

 

If you find any information on this page incorrect or outdated, or have a suggestion how to improve it for fellow pilgrims, please let us know. Thank you for helping the pilgrim community, and buen Camino ๐Ÿ™‚

Recommended t-shirts from Merino wool for Men

Merino is getting more and more popular across all genres, ages, and nationalities of pilgrims. And I totally love the trend! Check out my three hand-picks for men, including one t-shirt I have in my bag for each Camino de Santiago that I walk. Once again, I tried to come up with a great alternative for each budget.

Product name
Merino Protect 100% Merino Wool T Shirts for Men Odor Resistance Base Layer Lightweight Hiking Travel T-Shirt Soft Undershirt Black
Merino.tech Merino Wool T-Shirt Mens – 100% Organic Merino Wool Undershirt Lightweight Base Layer + Hiking Wool Socks (Small, Black Ink)
Icebreaker Merino T-Shirts for Men – Black – Small
Merino Protect 100% Merino Wool T Shirts for Men Odor Resistance Base Layer Lightweight Hiking Travel T-Shirt Soft Undershirt Black
Merino.tech Merino Wool T-Shirt Mens - 100% Organic Merino Wool Undershirt Lightweight Base Layer + Hiking Wool Socks (Small, Black Ink)
Icebreaker Merino T-Shirts for Men - Black - Small
Product price
$39.99
$44.99
$72.00
Best for
Budget option, versatility
Quality/Price ratio
TOP Quality
Color options
Grey, Black, Green, Navy, Charocal, Como, Light Green
19 color options, basically any color you can dream of ๐Ÿ™‚
Black, Loden Green
Recommended for
Those on budget
Serious pilgrims
Those who can afford it
Materials
100% merino wool
100% super-fine merino wool
100% Merino wool
Get it now for the best price
Matej’s note
This t-shirt is pretty universal. You can use it on the Camino, and later wear it to work, or for any past-time activity.
At the moment of writing this, you’ll get a pair of merino wool socks (worth $21) for free with your purchase. Hurry up to not miss this great offer!
Seems pretty lightweight, but due to the technology and quality of Merino wool in this t-shirt, you’ll feel comfy in it in both colder and warmer weather. Can be used also as a base layer for your walks on colder days on the Camino (you put some synthetic t-shirt on the top)
Product name
Merino Protect 100% Merino Wool T Shirts for Men Odor Resistance Base Layer Lightweight Hiking Travel T-Shirt Soft Undershirt Black
Merino Protect 100% Merino Wool T Shirts for Men Odor Resistance Base Layer Lightweight Hiking Travel T-Shirt Soft Undershirt Black
Product price
$39.99
Best for
Budget option, versatility
Color options
Grey, Black, Green, Navy, Charocal, Como, Light Green
Recommended for
Those on budget
Materials
100% merino wool
Get it now for the best price
Matej’s note
This t-shirt is pretty universal. You can use it on the Camino, and later wear it to work, or for any past-time activity.
Product name
Merino.tech Merino Wool T-Shirt Mens – 100% Organic Merino Wool Undershirt Lightweight Base Layer + Hiking Wool Socks (Small, Black Ink)
Merino.tech Merino Wool T-Shirt Mens - 100% Organic Merino Wool Undershirt Lightweight Base Layer + Hiking Wool Socks (Small, Black Ink)
Product price
$44.99
Best for
Quality/Price ratio
Color options
19 color options, basically any color you can dream of ๐Ÿ™‚
Recommended for
Serious pilgrims
Materials
100% super-fine merino wool
Get it now for the best price
Matej’s note
At the moment of writing this, you’ll get a pair of merino wool socks (worth $21) for free with your purchase. Hurry up to not miss this great offer!
Product name
Icebreaker Merino T-Shirts for Men – Black – Small
Icebreaker Merino T-Shirts for Men - Black - Small
Product price
$72.00
Best for
TOP Quality
Color options
Black, Loden Green
Recommended for
Those who can afford it
Materials
100% Merino wool
Get it now for the best price
Matej’s note
Seems pretty lightweight, but due to the technology and quality of Merino wool in this t-shirt, you’ll feel comfy in it in both colder and warmer weather. Can be used also as a base layer for your walks on colder days on the Camino (you put some synthetic t-shirt on the top)

* Special tip: When it comes to underwear, nothing beats merino underwear from Icebreaker, for both comfort and feelings. You can check some of their models here.

– These Merino sheep look super comfortable out there, and you will feel super comfy wearing materials from their wool on the Camino!

 

Technical t-shirts have one big plus–they dry quickly

The biggest downside of merino wool t-shirts (or t-shirts from cotton that are also popular for past time on the Camino) is that it takes a lot of time for them to dry. If you walk in such a t-shirt and the day is cloudy, and you wash your t-shirt in the afternoon, the chances are high it just won’t be dry by the morning. Of course, you can use a dryer in an albergue, but not all places have them (and also it is risky using drier for wool, unless it has a “sensitive” drying program), and if you wash just a pair of clothes it is neither economical nor ecological using a dryer.

T-shirts from technical synthetic materials like polyester, elastane, nylon, etc do not share this weakness. You can easily squeeze most of the water from them after washing, and they are typically dry within a few hours. They will dry even inside in an albergue, so if it rains outside you can just hang it over your bed and wear it in the morning for the walk. That’s why even though I love Merino wool t-shirts and would recommend it 100% for past-walk activities in the albergue/city, for walk perhaps a t-shirt from technical (synthetic) materials is still better…

 

How many t-shirts do you need for the Camino?

It depends a lot on your preferences, and whether you are focused on packing light or not. You may not believe me, but in 2021 I met on a Camino a Spanish guy called Ignacio, who had 14 t-shirts with him, most of them cotton, for two weeks of walking. He didn’t like to wash stuff, so he simply put the dirty t-shirt on the bottom of his backpack and wore a clean one on the next day. I didn’t believe him so we made a bet, and he showed me all 14 t-shirts (and I had to buy him a beer).

Anyway, I told you this story just to demonstrate my point that different pilgrims take different number of t-shirts on the Camino. For an average pilgrim though, someone who plans to wash stuff along the way, I’d recommend three t-shirts:

  • One primarily for walking (technical material).
  • One primarily for time in the albergues and towns (merino wool).
  • One for an emergency use should you soak in the rain or forget one of your other shirts in an albergue. It doesn’t matter much what material this last one will be from, because you generally won’t use it much (it is for emergency use), but should you need it you will have it.

 

T-shirts with Camino motives and other t-shirts that demonstrate what you do in Spain

Some pilgrims prefer to buy their t-shirt in Spain, and they opt for one with some Camino motive–be it a big yellow arrow on a blue background, portrait of Saint James with his famous walking stick, map of the Camino, or simply an inscription “Camino de Santiago” or some quote related to walking.

While such t-shirts are nice, and no doubt a good souvenir to take home, I would not recommend walking in them. They are made from cheap materials and lot of chemicals, and you won’t feel particularly comfortable walking in them. What’s more, with some of these t-shirts it is really hard “washing the smell away“, which means that once they smell bad they will smell bad, even if you wash them. In my opinion, you should either wait and buy such a t-shirt only in Santiago de Compostela, or buy it from some quality Camino de Santiago t-shirts shop, like the one we run since 2024 :). You can check it out here.

Of course, quality t-shirts do not cost 15 euros like those you can get in the souvenir shops in Santiago (and that fall apart after two washes), but you can still get them for affordable price, especially if you’re from US, where we offer free shipping.

– A nice female Camino t-shirt I bought for friend once I reached Santiago. The design is undoubtedly nice, but the quality is poor and it isn’t a good shirt for walking…

 

Final thoughts on best t-shirt for Camino de Santiago

Different people enjoy wearing different materials. Someone sweats a lot, and someone barely sweats. Some pilgrims like to feel warm while walking, and some would prefer walking with no t-shirt at all (which isn’t a great idea). What I try to say here is that something like a generally best t-shirt for the camino does not exist. But I tried to outline some general guidelines, following my personal experience, as well as experience of other pilgrims I met on the Camino. I hope it helps you make a good decision, and wish you a wonderful experience in Spain!

Matej

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