Wicking Material

7:00 p.m. on June 21, 2010 (EDT)
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Hey I have often just worn a simple running synthetic tshirt and was just wondering what others used and recommended while backpacking or just dayhiking. I have heard great things about some materials and was curious about what others thought or know...im not sure what is best when.

I'm looking mostly for a summer shirt that I can wear to keep cool but if it worked for colder evenings that would be nice too.

10:08 p.m. on June 21, 2010 (EDT)
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There are so many synthetic materials out now that it is hard to recommend just one. Actually many are variations of polyester and polypropylene with coatings and special weaves. I suspect your running T-shirt is made from one of these, most likely polyester, maybe with some lycra to provide stretch and durability.

One reasonably good fabric is CoolMax - it wicks well and dries the sweat off fairly quickly. Of course, if the weather is 90/90 like much of the East Coast and the Deep South at this time of year, there is no fabric that will wick sweat away (90% humidity makes for slow drying even at 90+ degrees).

Cotton works reasonably well during the day in 90-120 deg weather in low humidity conditions like we have in the Western US deserts. But since it holds water well and tends to collapse the fibers, if you have a cool night (and Southwestern deserts can go from 100+ in the day to the 50s quickly after sundown), cotton will leave you feeling very cold - a miserable feeling after a hot day in the sun.

Best thing is to have a change of clothes after activity during the hot daytime, to wear in the cool of evening.

1:17 a.m. on June 22, 2010 (EDT)
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i live in washington and do pretty much all of my hiking in the Pacific Northwest so i dont have to deal with the extremes as bad and I keep dry with a shell layer. Im mostly dealing with temperatures of 70-95 with mid range humidity. Ill have to look into coolmax, and im definatly not expecting the shirt to do everything just looking at what others have experienced to work better than others. 8)

8:46 a.m. on June 22, 2010 (EDT)
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Synthetic runnnig shorts and $10 Hawaiian shirts are my secret weapons. Sweat evaporates quickly and they are so “stylish.” I learned this tip back in the 1970s from some gonzo climbers that used to spider up the walls of the sports complex at the University of Colorado in Boulder.

3:22 p.m. on June 22, 2010 (EDT)
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Hi Tulley,

I was for a short while really into the wicking type synthetic materials but have found myself going back to the more natural fibers. Not that I have any problem with synthetic fibers other than odor control. Unfortuately I am one of these gals that can smell like a man (no offense guys) especially if wearing synthetic fibers and sweating big time. I am not offended by my own funk most hiking days but sharing a small tent with someone else can be an issue (unless I leave my travelling clothes outside the tent to scare off anything that comes sniffing around)! Personally I am heading back to thin cotton in warm weather and taking a dry set of clothing along for when it cools down at night. I take the lightest stuff I can find to pack and since I'm only sitting around or perhaps sleeping in it I am not concerned with what the material is. In winter I don't let myself sweat, I will remove layers well before that happens so material is not really a concern although I must admit that I purchased a few wool sweaters last winter and really enjoyed the warmth they provided sitting around camp under my down jacket. Try different things to see what works for you. I like to try stuff first from second hand stores and then if the material works for me I will purchase it elsewhere when the price is right!


4:07 p.m. on June 23, 2010 (EDT)
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for summer, i have been happy with the lightest-weight capilene t-shirts that patagonia sells. they wick moisture well, and even if you completely drench them with sweat, they don't feel particularly sticky or clammy and dry quickly. certain weaves of their t-shirts tend to create some chafing, by the way.

i have tried a few kinds of under armour, and none seem to perform quite as well in terms of wicking or how quickly they dry.

i find wool too warm for a summer shirt, even if lightweight, but thin merino wool t-shirts could be an option for cooler locations.

8:22 p.m. on June 27, 2010 (EDT)
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I like Capilene too.

Also, Outdoor Research makes several tees, zip tees, and long-sleeve quarter zips that are 88% polyester and 12% Merino wool (they call it Dri-Release fabric). I find they work very well in reducing the stink factor, without having to wear a 100% wool tee, if that's not your thing.

Here are the tees:

women's https://www.trailspace.com/gear/outdoor-research/essence-tee/

men's: https://www.trailspace.com/gear/outdoor-research/sequence-tee/

9:37 p.m. on June 27, 2010 (EDT)
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I have had good luck with ExOfficio clothing they have a full line of clothing I have a long sleeve shirt that is very breathable with mesh panels that have Velcro closures, drys quickly and it keeps the bugs at bay. I roll the sleeves up until the bugs get bad or I get chilly. It works very well for me and you can normaly pick up that brand very reasonabey priced at Sierra Trading Post

9:44 p.m. on June 27, 2010 (EDT)
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Dont forget about thin lighweight wool shirts. I have some of Smartwools offering and love them compared to synthetics. Although I own far more synthetics

July 20, 2018
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