summer hiking shirt materials

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summer hiking shirt materials

Postby Sweep77 » Thu 03 Sep, 2020 11:05 am

Hi There,
Just a question regarding all these synthetic hiking shirts around. I have an ExOfficio Air Strip shirt made mainly from nylon. Its supposed to be breathable and great in hot weather, however in hot weather all it does is make the sweat drip down your chest and absorbs nothing from your body which feels horrible. Do any synthetic shirts actually keep you cool and wick moisture in hot weather? I can't find any info testing various materials in hot conditions. To me cotton works best in hot weather as it absorbs your sweat and the wind cools you down as it evaportates. I have a couple merino wool coolite tops from icebreaker but they still are too hot to wear in summer and actually itch somewhat. Does polyester do a better job? Does it just come down to the type of weave? What are peoples experience? I'm really just looking for a top that doesn't make me over heat in summer when hiking. Cheers Ash
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Re: summer hiking shirt materials

Postby Mark F » Thu 03 Sep, 2020 12:30 pm

If you are in a dry environment and unlikely to experience cold and wet conditions I have found cheap long sleeve poly cotton business shirts work well if they are a loose fit. I use my old business shirts. You want them loose fitting so you can roll up the sleeves and allow good air flow around the body. The poly cotton fabric absorbs a bit of moisture which allows some evaporative cooling.
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Re: summer hiking shirt materials

Postby Lamont » Thu 03 Sep, 2020 12:30 pm

It can only wick if it's in contact with your skin. So this is normal in most button up shirts for walking I have found (aka fishing shirts) as they are often quite voluminous. It's the wind/air on your skin that does some/most of the cooling. Wet skin is often cool skin.
I did a review in the gear review section of a shirt that works for me-"A good shirt for keeping (you/r) cool" or something like that if you're interested.
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Re: summer hiking shirt materials

Postby Warin » Thu 03 Sep, 2020 5:40 pm

In hot dry conditions cotton works well. So too should coolmax.

Note that sweet dripping is not good, means your not getting cool from it so you will sweet more. The sweet needs to evaporate from our skin or in-contact with it (through the shirt) so you get the cooling benefit. Absorbing the sweet away from your skin may stop the drips but won't get you cool.
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Re: summer hiking shirt materials

Postby GregG » Thu 03 Sep, 2020 6:50 pm

I have had exactly the same experience as you Sweep77, I have several nylon "outdoor" shirts and in hot humid weather they make me sweat like #$%@. A light pure cotton shirt, or better still linen, works beautifully by evaporating the sweat and making you cool. And yes it needs to be close fitting rather than voluminous. However, I avoid cotton at all costs in cooler or wet conditions. The only thing in favour of nylon shirts is that some of them anti-stink qualities that make them more socially acceptable when you meet other humans on a multi day walk.
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Re: summer hiking shirt materials

Postby slparker » Fri 04 Sep, 2020 3:25 pm

I use a very lightweight nylon/spandex button up shirt or a polyester running style top for summer use.

I agree the more heavy weight close weave nylon is particularly awful to walk in but the lightweight versions are excellent - basically anything you can breathe easily through works for me.

Personally, cotton is an absolute no-no. If it is able to dry, it dries stiff and salt encrusted (chafe city). Usually it won't dry and when the temp cools down in evening or morning you get chilled or have a damp rag to put on.

The whole idea of 'wicking' goes out the window with me - invariably my shirts become super-saturated and it isn't wicking that is an issue - it is drying time.

Whatever synthetic that is air permeable, UV opaque and quick drying makes a good shirt IMO.
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Re: summer hiking shirt materials

Postby Zzoe » Wed 09 Sep, 2020 9:45 am

I can't abide by wearing synthetics next to my skin when I hike. I buy second hand, button down cotton lawn shirts that are so light I can easily
take two and rotate them. Light weight woven cotton (such as lawn) dries very quickly. Denser cottons such as chambrays are more difficult, and forget cotton jersey altogether :shock:

I work with textiles professionally and am deeply skeptical of any claim that a nylon fabric can facilitate body cooling. Rayon yes- absolutely- but nylon is essentially a plastic... I can't shake the idea of what happens when you leave a bowl of salad wrapped with glad wrap in the sun.

Without doubt the best fibre I've found for hiking is alpaca. Not for shirts, but for socks, gloves, beanies and jumpers. Extremely light, water resistant, and almost incapable of absorbing any smell. I have a daggy, hand knitted alpaca jumper my Mum bought from a market in Peru: it is the garment I would never hike without.
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Re: summer hiking shirt materials

Postby Moondog55 » Wed 09 Sep, 2020 10:20 am

In summer I only wear a shirt for sun protection, for decades I walked bare chested, and it depends now on local conditions. I have a couple of old cotton/linen blend shirts that work very well in dry conditions, ditto for large loose poly/cotton blends but I also have an old PaddyMade Tech-Sun long sleeved top made from Coolmax that works very well and dries quickly. Lightest of all are the new Patagonia Everyday Capilene long johns tops. Pretty much anything that is comfortable will work in summer for me. Polyester basketball/sports mesh shirts should work almost as well as the Coolmax. I really miss my old original first generation TechSun made from mesh that did double duty as a winter midlayer. I've got a couple of cheap fishing shirts that work OK but not as well as the other solutions, they are cheap tho when bought on clearance
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Re: summer hiking shirt materials

Postby commando » Thu 10 Sep, 2020 4:03 am

The Nato ex-Army original fabric shirt is 50/50 polyester cotton, the replicas are 65/35 polyester cotton,
these suit me for long sleeves and a turn up collar to stop sunburn. They may be hotter than a business
type shirt but durability is more important for me. Shirts that can be unbuttoned when hot are a better option
than a non opening type t-shirt design irrespective of fabric characteristics. So its material composition and
design to be taken into account.
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Re: summer hiking shirt materials

Postby Walk_fat boy_walk » Thu 10 Sep, 2020 3:13 pm

Wouldn't wear an army shirt (new or old) for hiking. And not because it's dpcu... just not comfortable!
On-topic, synthetic breathable is the go for me, notwithstanding its relative flimsiness and lack of protection in the presence of scrub and the like. I do have some heavier duty scrub shirts but i tend to go with the lighter synthetics regardless and just cop the risk of a tear or the odd scratch.
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Re: summer hiking shirt materials

Postby slparker » Fri 11 Sep, 2020 8:44 am

Yeah not sure what Commando means by 'NATO ex-army shirt'.
The DPCU shirts are (or were) a cotton poly blend but aren't 'NATO' but Auscam.
I thought he might of meant the 'poly' dress shirts that used to be all polyester but are now poly-cotton, but again not called NATO. But all have a NATO stock number.

Perhaps he means the new digital camouflage uniform? I'm out of the army now so not sure what they're called.

Anyway, the DPCU shirt wouldn't be my first choice for hot weather but it is quite comfortable when worn, faded and thin.
I just couldn't bear to be 'tacticool' in the bush.
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Re: summer hiking shirt materials

Postby commando » Fri 11 Sep, 2020 1:52 pm

They are not for everyone, but will last more than one day...
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Re: summer hiking shirt materials

Postby Moondog55 » Fri 11 Sep, 2020 4:36 pm

Dutch Army
Middle 80's pattern
Ve are too soon old und too late schmart
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Re: summer hiking shirt materials

Postby rcaffin » Mon 14 Sep, 2020 8:58 pm

Buttons?
How quaint.

I make 'smocks' out of Taslan nylon for both of us. Taslan uses an 'air-textured' fibre, is tough and does NOT stick to your skin. These tops typically last us for 10-20 years each. Been to Europe many times.

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Re: summer hiking shirt materials

Postby Baka Dasai » Mon 14 Sep, 2020 9:51 pm

Not strictly about the shirt material, but my trick in summer is to wear a long sleeve shirt for sun protection, but only do up the top two or three buttons. That usually provides enough sun protection (it might not if your belly sticks out), and it gives heaps of extra airflow. If it's outside of sunburn hours I sometimes unbutton the shirt completely.
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Re: summer hiking shirt materials

Postby crollsurf » Mon 14 Sep, 2020 10:23 pm

I like my Columbia Silver Ridge which is Polyester. Draws sweat away very well so not clammy. At times I've touched the outside of the shirt and it has been soaking wet! Comfortable but you're not always aware of how much you've been sweating.

I also like walking with a pair of fingerless, weigh nothing fishing gloves I picked up from Anaconda to avoid using Sunscreen.

But even with all that and a broad brim hat, you're still going to need Sunscreen around water or Spring snow.

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