non-stink clothes?

4:02 p.m. on November 29, 2003 (EST)
(Guest)

a.k.a. Kate, Kate F

Hi,

I am traveling this summer to the middle east to work on an archaeological dig, and am looking for suggestions of tried-and-tested clothing that has some sort of anti-microbial (and therefore anti-stink) properties. I know some are much better than others. Clothes washing will be a very limited event, and I will be in these threads day after day!

Also, my familiarity with outdoor clothing is limited to my expeditions in the N. Rockies, where I am always layered, regardless of the time of year. In dry, hot areas, are synthetics better or do natural fibres work?

Thanks in advance!

7:47 p.m. on November 30, 2003 (EST)
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First off, there is no such thing as truly non-stink clothing. Given a few days in the hot desert sun, grubbing around in an archaeological dig will have you stinking as bad as everyone else on the dig, and maybe as bad as the natives hired to help out (yeah, yeah, I know, ethnocentric Yankee - except remember that I am actually a dirtbag climber from decades back and can stink as much as anyone else after a few days). So, to begin with, ya gotta resign yourself to stinking, no matter what clothing you take.

That said, this is one place where natural fibers are superior to synthetics. Cotton may not wick as well as Coolmax, but that wet sweat held in the fabric is a blessing when it gets really hot. Cotton breathes better than the synthetics, too. Cotton also does not pick up body odor and hold it as much as synthetics (especially the polys so popular these days for outdoor gear). A big disadvantage is that cotton takes longer to dry when you wash it. Something like Coolmax can be washed by hand (biodegradable soap, please - CampSuds seems to work well) and will dry in the desert air in a couple hours. Cotton is harder to wash completely clean by hand and takes many hours to dry. If you will have a washing machine and dryer handy, cotton will do just fine.

You will find that the flowing robes worn by a lot of the Middle Eastern desert dwellers are actually wool. It works surprisingly well in those conditions. But it is hard to wash without a machine handy.

Note well here that I said "hot dry desert." During part of the year, the "hot dry desert" becomes a cold damp desert, and cotton becomes the same problem that it is anywhere else that it is cold and damp. So you will need a couple sets of clothing if you are there for more than the hot dry season.

September 1, 2014
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