Synthetic Materials: good or bad?

SiCK cada

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I've been trying to figure out what clothes would be best to pack to keep cool when its hot. I've read many articles from multiple different sources (REI, Bustle, and various other hiking and traveling related blogs) about the best clothes to wear for hiking and traveling and such in hot weather.

Problem is... every source seems to say something different.

Many sources say that synthetic materials, such as nylon and polyester, are ideal for hiking in hot weather. They site that those materials are good for "wicking away sweat".
(Hot-Weather Hiking Tips - https://www.rei.com/learn/expert-advice/hot-weather-hiking.html)

But from my personal experience, synthetic fabrics fucking SUCK. anytime I wear that bullshit "moisture wicking" underwear or shirts, I feel like the sweat just sticks to my body. it just stays on my skin and doesn't get absorbed or dried off by my "athletic" shirts or underwear.

and so I tried to look into it on my own and see of maybe I'm full of shit, but there's quora discussions and articles written by other sources
(Sweat a Lot? 5 Fabrics to Avoid When the Weather Gets Warm - https://www.bustle.com/articles/17873-sweat-a-lot-5-fabrics-to-avoid-when-the-weather-gets-warm Is Nylon Breathable? (Is Nylon Good For Hot Weather) - https://sewingiscool.com/is-nylon-breathable-hot-weather/)

and while these seem less reliable than REI, which seems to be some sort of god in the hiking world, they make good points and back up my previous experience with synthetic fabrics.

So mostly I'm confused. Why are there so many things advertised as "moisture wicking" and why do these things get the label of "good to prevent chaffing" when it seems that a lot of people have the opposite experience?

And don't even get me STARTED on the light colors vs dark colors to keep cool debate I will have a fucking fit.
 

DreeMort143

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From my experience it depends on the material, what you're doing, and the fit

If it's skintight or really lose I've had it where it makes me freeze when I want to be warm and make me sweat my balls off when I'd like to be cool

You need it where there's some air between you and the clothes, in my experience at least. So make sure the fit is good for you. Make sure the material is decent too, though I'm not sure what it is. Cheap shit is.. shit. Again though, not sure of the ratio/brands that are good.
 

SiCK cada

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From my experience it depends on the material, what you're doing, and the fit

If it's skintight or really lose I've had it where it makes me freeze when I want to be warm and make me sweat my balls off when I'd like to be cool

You need it where there's some air between you and the clothes, in my experience at least. So make sure the fit is good for you. Make sure the material is decent too, though I'm not sure what it is. Cheap shit is.. shit. Again though, not sure of the ratio/brands that are good.
ah ya know? that makes sense. I'm gonna look into reviews of various brands and ratios and such to see if there's any themes there. thank you!
 
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ali

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To be honest, i never figured this out either. I don't think that i sweat a lot (at least not in a way that stinks) but every time i wear anything synthetic it stinks almost immediately. It's great that synthetics dry super-fast, but i'd rather not be washing all of my clothes every day when i travel, just underwear and socks is enough of a pain.

I have bought some fancier clothes over the years but i've always ended up feeling awkward in them, or they tore up way too fast to be worth the money i spent. I keep coming back to a plain old pair of jeans and a handful of cotton tanks. They're super heavy when wet and take ages to dry, but at least i'm comfortable in them. I also have a pair of cargo/work shorts that are a polyester/cotton blend for when i know i'm going to be hiking in very hot and humid weather. The bigger size helps them to breathe better than sport/activewear, i think, plus you can stash more stuff in the pockets. I might try getting some work pants when my current jeans wear through, but it's tough to find a cut that fits me well so it's always tempting to just re-buy the same pair.

Of course every single "pro" hiker website disagrees with this theory of wearing regular clothes when you're out and about. I wonder if it's just me that's weird, or if the way i travel is just a bit more laid-back than these sporty, outdoorsy types. I think the calculus might be different when whatever you're wearing is literally all of the clothes that you own, it's not like you have a car or a house with another dozen outfits for different occasions.

The biggest problem i found with traveling in regular clothes is if you are somewhere hot in the daytime and cold at night, and you have a pack on all day, then your top will get soaked, which is fine, but as soon as the sun goes down you're freezing. Better to try get wherever you're going before the sun goes down, i reckon.
 

julianface

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If you want cheap comfortable synthetic pants look for polyester pyjama pants. Hiked and camped in my stupid shark pyjama pants all over the place from warm to cold they are amazing. They just aren't marketed towards roughing it and they'll be less durable but super comfortable. But some rain pants over top and you're golden
 
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seabeer

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Synthetics, wool are typically prime choice. Cotton is good in hot weather, but it tends to absorb moisture.

I always hike in lightweight long sleeved wool. Not only does it provide sun protection, but it is the best balance of keeping wet enough when you sweat to keep you cool and drying fast enough so you don't have to put on wet cloths. It also has a benefit of being antibacterial.
 

SiCK cada

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Synthetics, wool are typically prime choice. Cotton is good in hot weather, but it tends to absorb moisture.

I always hike in lightweight long sleeved wool. Not only does it provide sun protection, but it is the best balance of keeping wet enough when you sweat to keep you cool and drying fast enough so you don't have to put on wet cloths. It also has a benefit of being antibacterial.
I've heard a lot of good things about wool! especially merino wool.
 

ali

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As an update to my comment from a year ago... Since then i wore through my jeans and bought a pair of cotton/polyester work pants to replace them. They're actually baggy chef pants. Sometimes they're annoyingly baggy (the legs get snagged), but the bagginess also makes them a bit cooler when it's hot out and there is a breeze. It's also really useful to be able to roll them up into shorts when you need to wade into some water. Anyway, they are lighter and dry faster than jeans, so i think cotton/polyester is a viable option now for pants. For tops i'm still bearish on synthetics - they stink too much. Better merino wool or just cotton if it's dry out. I do now have a synthetic puffy for when it's very cold out, but i don't use it while i'm actively hiking or biking, i just put it on at camp like a wearable sleeping bag.
 

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