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Old 11-06-2009, 12:36 AM
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Default Why is cotton "bad"?



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Ok ive heard you guys say that for hiking, backpacking and general outdoors that cotton is really bad. Why? Ive never hiked more than a day and a half at a time and never in the snow so i may be missing on what you guys are saying. Is it because it holds on to sweat and water so much?
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Old 11-06-2009, 12:58 AM
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Because it caused slavery.DUH! No seriously, it holds moisture and will help chill you. TP
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Old 11-06-2009, 01:16 AM
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It makes for pretty good summer wear because it holds moisture, but that's a killer in cold weather.
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Old 11-06-2009, 01:23 AM
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keep in mind, cold doesn't necessarily mean freezing winter...

sometimes all it takes is for the sun to go down.
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Old 11-06-2009, 01:30 AM
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Because cotton holds moisture and loses its insulating properties. Cotton is worse than worthless in cooler weather.

Wool is much better for cold weather because it keeps moisture away from the skin better than cotton. The moisture is suspended in the weave of the material (away from the skin) and can absorb 35-55% of its weight before feeling cold and wet.

Cotton on the other hand is a hydrophilic fabric wich means it easily absorbs moisture , as in sweat from your body to the material itself, and is horrible for wicking it away from the skin. It just lays on you feeling cold and wet. Cotton will become damp even on humid days.

You can use this to your advantage on hot days by constantly keeping your cotton shirt and bandanna wet. This will not only keep you cooler but you'll lose less body water because you aren't sweating as much since your already "wet".
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Old 11-06-2009, 02:10 AM
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Ok.. Put a wet 100 percent cotton shirt on.. then.. go out side in the snow then take it off being naked is better then being soaked with a cotton shirt.. so if you say fell in a lake during winter got stranded had nothing go naked over wearing it.. Cotton has no insulation when wet.. Meaning get it wet and it will cool you off not keep you warm.. do that with wool it will still keep you warm soaking wet it just will be very heavy..
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Old 11-06-2009, 02:11 AM
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As others have said,

Cotton when hot is GOOD

DRY Cotton when cold is OKish BUT

WET Cotton when cold is a death sentence.

See a thread I started here for a bit more info:
http://www.survivalistboards.com/showthread.php?t=79756
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Old 11-06-2009, 10:03 AM
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Thanks, i got all i wanted to know.
Old 11-08-2009, 12:26 AM
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One other thing to keep in mind with cotton in the summer time. If your wear underwear pick some that isn't cotton, it can lead to painful chapping if your not careful
Old 11-08-2009, 09:04 AM
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wool owns. In the finnish military we had a sweater of wool we called pillu. It means ***** because no matter how wet it got, it was always warming^^
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Old 11-08-2009, 09:09 AM
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Ever see the seinfield episode where George had the Yankee's go with cotton jersey's
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Old 11-08-2009, 10:26 AM
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As everyone else said.

Cotton Kills.

And dont be under the illusion that "as long as i keep my coat on i will be fine"- you wont- you sweat more than you think.
I have had to many bad experiences to do with a simple cotton t-shirt.

Jeans also- they are doubaly bad. they restrict movement even more when wet, weigh a ton when dry and even more when wet and take years to dry.
I refuse to take people hiking if they are wearing jeans.
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Old 11-08-2009, 11:18 AM
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We have a saying at work. Cotton Kills. when it gets wet is has no insulation value.
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Old 11-08-2009, 01:54 PM
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So whats the best option for a base layer touching your skin?
Old 11-08-2009, 02:07 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by justin_baker View Post
So whats the best option for a base layer touching your skin?
some sort of synthetc 'wicking' material, it should feel light and when you take it out of the washingmachine it should feel dry.

Go into any decent outdoor shop and look for 'baselayer' stuff.

Helly Hansen do great baselayers.

http://www.hellyhansen.com/products/...ct_type=HH_Dry

synthetic or wool and in some circumstances silk are the fabrics to use.
Be careful though, some synthetic stuff holds water worse than cotton.

Last edited by GENT; 11-08-2009 at 02:26 PM..
Old 11-08-2009, 02:13 PM
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Thanks, i know what to look for now.

Still, i dont have to worry that much as im in northern california and it hardly gets below 50 during the day. I may want to try some backpacking in the sierras and will definitley need to worry about layers then.
Old 11-08-2009, 02:26 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by justin_baker View Post
Thanks, i know what to look for now.

Still, i dont have to worry that much as im in northern california and it hardly gets below 50 during the day. I may want to try some backpacking in the sierras and will definitley need to worry about layers then.
I used to think this "its hot, i don't need to worry", a slight wind will chill you to the bone. and what if you are caught out and have to stay out at night (isn't that what this site is all about; being prepared)
I'm glad i could help.

enjoy your hikes!
Old 11-08-2009, 03:25 PM
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Cotton isn't "Bad" but as with any other materials, you need to know it's benifits and limitations.
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Old 11-08-2009, 08:33 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by justin_baker View Post
So whats the best option for a base layer touching your skin?
Next to your skin, use a very light poly-pro layer. Polypropylene usually comes in varying thickness, and unless I was in Canada when it's 20 below, I always got by with the light weight stuff. The light stuff is better because it'll wick perspiration away from your skin faster and will dry faster than the thicker layers will.

Keep these sayings in mind:
1) cotton kills
2) be 'comfortably cool'
3) dress in layers

Cotton has already been discussed.

Being 'comfortalby cool' means that you never (in cold weather at least) want to work up a sweat, even if you're humping a heavy pack. So you dress in layers: lightweight poly-pro on your skin, outer lightweight layer that dries quickly like rip-stop BDUs. Then throw on a fleece layer to keep your heat in when you're not moving. All the layers should be light-weight and your bodyheat should be able to dry them under 'normal' conditions.

HTH
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Old 11-09-2009, 07:34 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by frankyrizzo View Post
Next to your skin, use a very light poly-pro layer. Polypropylene usually comes in varying thickness, and unless I was in Canada when it's 20 below, I always got by with the light weight stuff. The light stuff is better because it'll wick perspiration away from your skin faster and will dry faster than the thicker layers will.

Keep these sayings in mind:
1) cotton kills
2) be 'comfortably cool'
3) dress in layers

Cotton has already been discussed.

Being 'comfortalby cool' means that you never (in cold weather at least) want to work up a sweat, even if you're humping a heavy pack. So you dress in layers: lightweight poly-pro on your skin, outer lightweight layer that dries quickly like rip-stop BDUs. Then throw on a fleece layer to keep your heat in when you're not moving. All the layers should be light-weight and your bodyheat should be able to dry them under 'normal' conditions.

HTH
What he said!
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