Thanks for adding that in Tony, much appreciated. Look for Seeing what items qualify for 2-day shipping is easy—they're flagged with the program logo. How does Wicking Work? It is snug, feels good on the skin, adds a nice bit of warmth, and it performs well when wicking moisture away from your body keeping your skin dry. You are on the trail wearing a wicking base layer.
Wicking fabric helps all this to happen as the fabric make-up encourages the moisture to move along the fabric, the aforementioned capillary action, to the outside where it can spread out and evaporate when it finally reaches the lower humidity on the outer layer. Wicking fabric, means that the fabric has tiny capillaries in it which are large enough to let moisture, like sweat, be pulled away from the skin and out and away.
Wicking fabric is used in all manner of outdoor activities from running to hiking and is used across all seasons but is particularly effective in colder temperatures. It can act as a good insulator, in terms of heat, too. You can check out a full post on layering for winter here but as a quick summary of layering, for hiking in cooler temperatures you have:. On a scale of one to ten for the best functional materials for wicking, with one being bad and ten being good, I would place cotton sitting at one.
Definitely a no-no right next to your skin, and for hiking gear in general, as it absorbs moisture and so keeps it next to your skin. On the good end of the scale at a nine or ten you have synthetic fibers like polyester, polypropylene and natural fibers like merino wool. For base layers I use both ones made from synthetic based fibers as well as ones from merino wool, or a combination of the two to try and get the best of both worlds.
I find base layers and tees made from synthetic fibers easy to clean and they have a very quick drying time. On top of that they are also very lightweight and packable. On the downside, they can hold body odor more than merino wool but for me personally, this has never been a major issue.
It's worth noting that merino wool acts slightly differently than the synthetic fibers in terms of wicking. It can absorb some moisture into it's fibers while still being able to breathe well, while also acting as an excellent heat insulator, holding heat within the fibers at the same time.
Merino wool can also be better in terms of odor as it can fend of bacteria better than synthetic fibers. I got my first merino wool base layers only quite recently as I was previously more than happy with what my synthetic polypropylene ones had to offer. However, after I started using merino wool base layers this winter, I have to say, I am a major fan! The merino base layers feel excellent against the skin, that bit smoother and more comfortable.
It also really does feel that bit more toasty and snug in merino wool than a purely synthetic base layer. In saying all of that though, in terms of merino wool vs. So that's it for today. A short post but hopefully an informative one if you've been wondering what all this talk about 'wicking' is about, and what the best moisture wicking material is! Hopefully it at least gives you an idea of what it is and how it works and what to look for.
If you're planning to do a lot of hiking, or any outdoor activity, all year round, it's good to be familiar with what wicking is. If you need base layers, you should look for gear made from material that has good wicking capabilities e.
I recommend trying a few different base layers and so on out, and see which one suits you best for your needs depending on the activity you need it for. What are your base layers made from, synthetic materials? Do you prefer merino wool? I'd love to hear about it in the comments below. Wow, this is great, I was looking for some literature to solve some assignment I had at hand, now am just concluding. I know this is a little late to the game, but, I look was taught the control losing water, is very important thing.
I know this is what they do in the Saharan desert. What are your thoughts? Hey Parker, thanks for your comment and bringing up an interesting point. As far as wicking goes, cotton does seem to be a poor performer in comparison to other natural and synthetic materials like merino wool, polypropylene, etc. However, in terms of whether good wicking capability in hot places like a desert is a desirable thing for a hiker, you raise an interesting point in that, do you actually want the moisture to wick away in those conditions.
I can only comment mainly from a point of research, as your comment made be want to look into it more, as I have only actually hiked in desert conditions a handful of times, in places like the Sahara and Death Valley. All those hikes were relatively short too, given the heat. Back to your point, from looking into it, it seems that in those types of conditions, like deserts, there is an argument that cotton could be a better material to wear in that, as it retains moisture better, it keeps sweat closer to your body, not letting it wick away as easily, and that then acts as kind of cooling blanket to your core, effectively keeping your core temperature lower.
Thanks for the article. Silk should also be quite comfortable too. However, silk is pleasant on the skin, breathable, warm, and should be quite comfortable, so I can see the logic of using silk sock liners with merino wool socks, so probably worth trying it out. I think a silk mix could be good e.
I need zero heat retention but maximum evaporation for tropical climates. While the choice of fabric and the weave probably still are moisture-wicking in nature, just how less effective will the garment then be? Moreover, can I buy a can of it to re-coat my clothes? For example, I retreat my hiking rain gear usually once, maybe twice if it gets a lot of use, a year.
In terms of having zero heat retention and waterproof capability on the outside, my best guess is similar to your conclusion that you would need the wicking capability of some kind of synthetic material on the inside, which could also help with keeping you cool, combined with a DWR coating on the outside. I could see how you would need a Hydrophobic, water repelling, coating on the outside if you need to keep moisture out though. You can buy products to recoat your cloths, I use reproofing products myself.
The company I use are called Nikwax. I use a range of their products like their wash-in cleaning and reproofing as well as the spray on reproofing.
I also use their products for my hiking boots too. You can maybe check through their product range and see if anything what might work for you. They have a range of products for different types of clothing e. Now, I should add here that I use those products for garments that are already made with breathable and waterproof capabilities.
If I understand your comment correctly, you want to make your own clothes with those capabilities from scratch. That could be a very different matter, and I have never done that. I found this company called Hydrobead — They seem to have some products that can be applied to clothes, not sure how good they might be in terms of breathability though but might work with the right constituent fabric. You could also contact a company like this and ask them for some advice, they might have what you need, or at least be able to point you in the right direction in terms of making your own gear.
I came across this product from a company called Hendlex , it could be worth further investigation or again contacting the company to ask for more information. I saw a show here a lady had used a whicking material to draw moisture away from the hair.
The material was made into a roller for long hair. Supposedly a woman could sleep in it because the material is soft. Could this merino wool serve such a purpose.
What I can tell you is that in terms of hiking gear, merino wool is an excellent choice for a base layer. It is snug, feels good on the skin, adds a nice bit of warmth, and it performs well when wicking moisture away from your body keeping your skin dry. I can also tell you that when I backpack in colder times of year, I also sleep in my merino base layers.
I hope that is of some help to you. Hi, I am after some advice about these types of fabrics. I would like to find a moisture wicking fabric to use as an undershirt at work. The issue I have is that it also needs to be fire retardant — or at least not likely to shrink-wrap to my body if the worst were to happen!
Do you know of any fabrics that can achieve both moisture wicking and a decent level of fire-resistance? It seems to have the same wicking capabilities as standard athletic gear but with the additional element of fire resistance.
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