cotton clothing in jungle

9:06 a.m. on August 17, 2004 (EDT)

this may be a long shot here..... but i'm taking a trip out into the SA amazon. they advise cotton clothing. does anyone know why this is?? i had believed that my coolmaxesque trekking wear would be appropriate because 1. it keeps me cool and 2. it drys quickly, all factors important in the jungle. but i also figure that there must be some reason why they indicate cotton. any enlightenment??

6:43 p.m. on August 17, 2004 (EDT)
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I am not sure why they would not mention Coolmax and similar fabrics. However, cotton has been the traditional jungle, desert, and other hot location fabric for hundreds of years (literally, maybe even thousands). The problem with cotton getting wet and losing its insulation value plus holding lots of water is not relevant in hot climates. In fact, in desert (hot+dry) climates, holding the water is an advantage, because it provides cooling from the evaporation. So the question is, who are "they" (presumably your guides or the travel service), and have you asked them why?

One thing is that even the newest synthetics still tend to hold odors. The most recent ones with the various bactericides are better, but cotton does tend to hold off the odors a bit longer than synth. Another thing is that a lot of synth is pretty delicate - it doesn't take well to being just thrown into the washer and hot dryer (or, as is found in many jungle destinations, being beaten on a rock and left out in full sunlight). Maybe that laundry service that is part of your luxo safari is - hand it to the local natives, who take it to the river bank, pound it to death on the rocks (while fighting off the crocs and piranha), then hang it in the sun, before ironing it with an iron heated over direct fire and no temperature control (hey, I spent a year in Central America, and that's what our maids did).

Well, I'm just guessing. I will note that in really hot, humid conditions, I do find cotton tee-shirts more comfortable than my Coolmax tees.

10:20 a.m. on August 18, 2004 (EDT)
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1,261 forum posts
ain't nuthing worse than...

constantly soggy cotton underdrawers.

Inherent with humid weather

12:22 p.m. on August 18, 2004 (EDT)

Re: ain't nuthing worse than...

I've spent a ton of time in the Guyanese Amazon (just 150 km from the equator!) and I can positivly say take cotten or poly-cotten blends. Its so bloody hot there that the drying and heat issues are simply not relavent. We typicly had tempratures around 45 C in the shade and well over 60 C in direct sunlight. Synthetics if you take them SHOULD NOT be much hevier then silkweight and should have an open weave to try and catch whatever breases there are (stuff like Mountain Hardwear is just way too densly knit and therefore WAY to warm). Personly I find light to mid weight Cotten is just way more breathable, drurable (lots of stuff to tear it in the jungle, and streamside handwashing is preaty rough), has less of the 'he's a foriner, is whereing expensive clothing, therefore lets rob him' apeal, and is WAY cheaper then any of the good synsetics. If your worried about keeping warm pack a light windshell and 100 weight fleace, but if the condishions your going into are anything like Guyana it'll be overkill.

8:41 p.m. on August 18, 2004 (EDT)
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Mike -

"Well over" 60C seems a bit much, since the highest temperatures on record are in desert areas, and lower than that. Humid (jungle) areas feel really hot (and HI can get that high), but 50C is more like the record high for jungle areas.

Anyway, you are right about cotton in high humidity high heat situations.

7:50 a.m. on August 19, 2004 (EDT)

Re: 60C???

Ya, this was on a stump in direct sunlight in a clearing with one of those old school alcohol classroom thermomoters. And just off the equator in the dry season. The only reson I mention it was b/c our shelter was a tin roofed shack in the same condishions. High yes, undalivable under those condishions, no.

12:29 a.m. on August 20, 2004 (EDT)

Cotton is the only way to go. Any synthethic is way too hot.


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