Cotton in the heat, polyester in the cold?

Discussion in 'Equipment' started by ADVWannabee, Aug 1, 2011.

  1. ADVWannabee

    ADVWannabee Been here awhile

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    I saw a thread here recently discussing mesh vs. vented jackets. Some said the vented jackets were better in hot weather because the mesh breathed too well thus drying you out too quickly. With vented jackets, you sweat more and are slower to dry thus keeping you cooler. This got me to thinking that maybe there is something to this.

    I made a trip to Ohio a little over a week ago and it was mid-90's temp wise and very humid. I wore light weight polyester t-shirts in an effort to stay cool. I eventually removed my jacket (Tourmaster Transition Series II, non-mesh) as it was extremely hot. I even wet my t-shirt but I swear it dried in minutes. I wondered then if cotton would be a better choice as it would hold much more water and dry more slowly.

    On the flip side, polyester would seem the better choice in cool weather to wick the sweat away from you and dry quickly.

    So what do you hot weather riders wear; mesh or not? Cotton or poly? Other?
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  2. perterra

    perterra -. --- .--. .

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    Mesh with a T shirt, if I'm stuck for a long ride I wear a wet vest and recharge it after an hour or so. Vented just does not flow enough for me.
    #2
  3. Wuwei

    Wuwei Long timer

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    Poly definitely stays drier, which I suppose means it is cooling you faster because of all the evaporation going on. In practice, I'm not sure I feel a difference in temperature, but there is a definite difference in dryness. The main problem I have with poly, and I do wear it, is I have never found any that doesn't stink. Same problem with poly socks. Cotton and wool are much better at controlling odor.
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  4. Grainbelt

    Grainbelt marginal adventurer Super Moderator

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  5. veriest1

    veriest1 Minimalist Gear Hoarder

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    Cotton kills but only in cool weather. When it's hot you want it's water retention abilities because it will keep you cool longer.

    I/O Bio is just as good as Icebreaker and Smartwool. I think the quality is better than Icebreaker actually. Wool is also warm when wet and doesn't hold odor. So despite the fact it won't dry quite as fast as synthetics it's a better performance fabric overall than synthetics. This is true to the point where water proof shoes aren't even needed when hiking and at about 50 degrees in the rain I'm not wanting for waterproof boots riding the 1150gs (wearing perforated "touring" boots).

    If I could only have one shirt it'd be wool. Since it doesn't dry as fast wetting it down in hot weather is more effective than synthetics. But ideally I'll have a second shirt(cotton) to change into when it gets blazing hot.
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  6. hrolf

    hrolf neophyte

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  7. bretedge

    bretedge Do Epic Shit

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    I second the suggestion for Icebreaker wool. It's the shiz-nit. I've been using it for hiking and backpacking for a couple years and it's amazing stuff. Never really stinks, either.
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  8. a2ronm

    a2ronm Ti-6Al-4V

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    Under Armor Compression Heat Gear - long sleeve. The full body contact moves moisture keeping you cooler. Walk into an airconditioned room and you will feel cold when you are wearing it.

    By far this kept me cooler in the high heat and high humidity crossing the US South last summer than anything else - you just have to tolerate the weird looks you get from folks seeing you wearing long sleeves in summer.

    Also packs small, washes easy, dries quick.

    I crossed the US last summer with a vented jacket, as soon as I got home I ordered a full mesh (Olympia Bushwacker) been wearing it since. The partial airflow from a vented jacket just doesn't move enough air to keep you cool (evaporation) and dry. You have to watch out for dehydration in high heat either wayas you will be sweating under either a vented or mesh jacket, wet clothes are not going to help dehydration, and if you quit sweating you could die!
    #8
  9. eddyturn

    eddyturn Wannabe

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    Well then the question would be long sleeve or short sleeve?
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  10. veriest1

    veriest1 Minimalist Gear Hoarder

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    I have an i/o bio long sleeve zip and a short sleeve 150 ice breaker. I've been wearing the latter in the summer since I have a jacket over it anyway to block sun.

    Shoulder seasons and winter I like the long sleeve zip because it has thumbholes to hold the speeds under gloves and I can always roll the sleeves up. If I could only have one then I'd keep the long sleeve. I'd consider the hooded version too if I had Been able to get it on sale.

    Backcountry.com often has sales on these and that helps a lot.
    #10