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Discussion Starter #1
Since reading on this board, it has become apparent that cotton, which was once breathable and cool and wonderful, is now the devil. I told my dh, "Apparently cotton is now the devil." Next thing I know, I see a display for UnderArmor and it reads, "Cotton is the enemy." See....

So, I am trying to buy layers for all of us. And I am thinking, "Is cotton totally bad, like in all layers?" DO some of you know from field testing that cotton will kill you as some have said here? Well, I mean you must be alive, but was it that dreadful or is it all a campaign by UA and similar synthetic clothing makers to get you to buy their clothes?

If it is really so bad, is it to be avoided altogether or is it okay to get a base layer like UA and synthetic or silk long underwear and then get t-shirts and longsleeved shirts that are blends like 50/50 cotton/poly?

Any help would be appreciated.
 

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trois pour cent
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Cotton is wonderful in hot climates.
Cotton can hasten your death in cold climates.
It holds moisture against your skin. Great while I'm at my home in Louisiana as it hastens cooling.
Terrible when I'm in Alaska as it hastens cooling. :)
I've lived in both places so I am speaking from experience.

Can't do without it down south in the summer.
Wouldn't wear it up north in the winter.

Just depends on your circumstance.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
cotten being bad for you is all news to me. where did you hear this at?
I'd have to hunt around on the board here, but on several discussions about socks (which I started a thread about) and layering clothes etc it was FULLY stated that it would kill you. Not exaggerating. Dunno if the writers were.

If I bump into the comments I'll quote or link here.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Cotton is wonderful in hot climates.
Cotton can hasten your death in cold climates.
It holds moisture against your skin. Great while I'm at my home in Louisiana as it hastens cooling.
Terrible when I'm in Alaska as it hastens cooling. :)
I've lived in both places so I am speaking from experience.

Can't do without it down south in the summer.
Wouldn't wear it up north in the winter.

Just depends on your circumstance.
Do you avoid it 100% in the cold or do you buy/wear blends?
 

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Discussion Starter #8
I avoid it 100% in the cold.
I use synthetics or wool instead.
No 50/50 tees? Wow. This is gonna be expensive. I keep hitting Sierra Trading Company for cheap silk long underwear etc. I'm gonna have to work at this.

What does your layering consist of typically for say 22 degree weather?
 

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trois pour cent
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I dress differently depending on the activity as well as the temperature. What is your planned activity? Is this for bug out in an outdoor situation?

I wear patagonia as an under layer. Comes in varied weights. I like to layer so I may wear heavy base or may wear a light base and add middle layer of synthetic fleece. I like to be able to peel off layers if I heat up. You always want to avoid sweating in the cold if you can.

Over it I wear nylon/lycra or polyester or some blend thereof if I am hiking and a gore-tex jacket. It's pricy but to me it's worth it. I tend to heat up fast when I exercise and I need the breathability.

If I am working outdoors and need something sturdier, I like my Carhartts. They are more like a canvas. Their coveralls are fantastic but are only suitable for really cold weather. Still need the synthetic base layer.

I've never really liked the silk. It's a pretty thin layer for real cold. The only time I've worn it was at work indoors.

I've gotten wet while playing outdoors in the cold with jeans and patagonia base layer beneath. I still stayed fairly warm but the cotton will not dry and it wets the base layer. Since the base layer is synthetic, it still insulates but not as well as it would if that wet cotton was not laying against it.

If you are on a budget, put the money into a good synthetic or wool base layer and good jacket. I would start there.

Good wool socks are important. Also, make sure the boots can accommodate the thick socks. If the socks make the boots too tight you will loose circulation and will be quick to frost bite.

Also, good hat and gloves.
 

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Sic semper tyrannis
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I buy my winter boots and shoes about 1 size too large. I stand on concrete all day long, and aside from the extra padding that helps reduce fatigue, concrete will sap the warmth right out of your feet, even through boots.

2 Pairs of socks or 1 pair of booties (not cotton) and a pair of wool socks over them.
 

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Cotton could be used for pants and jackets, preferably in a 35/65% mix with polyester. Next to skin? If you´re not going to sweat or if it is uninportant if you do. For playing in the yard in summer, yes. For skiing, no. Cotton sucks(literally), never dries and could kill you in an extreme situation.
 

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Happiness is 2 at low 8
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"Cotton Kills" is what happens when you're in cold weather and your activity makes you sweat. The cotton soaks up and holds the sweat. The moisture, in conjunction with the cold, can create hypothermia which in turn can kill you. This is why hunters, hikers, campers, etc who are active in cold weather take a change of undershirt, socks, skivvies etc with them. After the hard work they'll strip down & change into dry clothes before getting cold.

Similarly if you're wearing denim in cold weather, take care not to get your trousers wet. If you do, you'll suffer a long time with the cold. As mentioned wool pants, socks & shirts are the way to go in cold weather. I haven't had any experience with the hightech fabrics, but lots with wool...

Here in Florida, except for a few days in the winter, "Cotton Rules". It keeps me cool all summer long and most of the rest of the year.

Allan
 

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I can remember using jeans treated with scotchguard to ski in. Cotton is best in over 45deg weather. It rules as birdman says down south where we have high humidity cause it doesn't trap in the sweat like man made materials, but it does stay damp when you sweat unless you are in a dry climate.

You can also make char cloth from it.
 

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I generally wear cotton blends close to my skin and go more wool or synthetic the farther the layer is away from me. I work maintenance and I am in and out of the cold all day sometimes for long stretches and this has worked well for me. The sweat from my tee shirt and underwear seem to be drawn away by the outer layers, a lite sweat seems to help me keep from overheating to quickly while not freezing when I end up standing around. Sweating is unavoidable for me because of being in a building with women who love to crank the heat and having to work often fast and hard outdoors. My personal opinion is that under armor is over hyped people have lived in the cold without it for thousands of years.
 

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I'd have to hunt around on the board here, but on several discussions about socks (which I started a thread about) and layering clothes etc it was FULLY stated that it would kill you. Not exaggerating. Dunno if the writers were.

If I bump into the comments I'll quote or link here.
Cotton never killed anyone but hypothermia has, and cotton is a bad choice for cold environments where hypothermia is a possibility. And it doesn't have to be freezing temperatures to be a possibility either. The combination of wind and being wet can lead to hypothermia even in warmer climates.
 

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The problem with hypothermia is that it creeps up on you. Unless you know what to look for, you can get hypothermic in the wrong conditions without realizing it.

If you are in the great outdoors, you can't get into safe conditions easily. You are also probably tired and are concentrating on that condition, not the shivering or the sluggishness that you attribute to the activity.

Believe me, it will render you ineffective in a big hurry. By ineffective, I mean you can't think or do anything well, at all.

And it is cumulative.

So, you need the clothes to protect you without you having to concentrate on them. It's not safe to think you will recognize hypothermia so the disadvantages of cotton can be overcome before you are in trouble.

"If I start to get cold, I'll just take off the cotton." Wrong.

Don't rely on beating the cotton before it beats you.

Don't go cheap. Buy synthetic and/or wool. Keep is simple and safe.
 

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depends what kind of cold. I wore cotton through many years of Alberta winters. I've been outside at -54 F in Ft McMurray. Cotton was fine.

The reason is that the relative humidity averages around 12%, everything dries quickly. Snow disappears off the ground through sublimation, directly to vapour, even well below freezing.

Here in NJ its nowhere near as cold as far as 'degrees', but it feels a lot worse, and sweat built up hiking will freeze you when you stop moving. So cotton is bad here.

Get out in your own climate, and find out how it is.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
I dress differently depending on the activity as well as the temperature. What is your planned activity? Is this for bug out in an outdoor situation?
BOBs for 7. Five kids and trying to figure out layers and one set of all layers or two.

I wear patagonia as an under layer. Comes in varied weights. I like to layer so I may wear heavy base or may wear a light base and add middle layer of synthetic fleece. I like to be able to peel off layers if I heat up. You always want to avoid sweating in the cold if you can.
Is the patagonia a long john or like under armour?

Over it I wear nylon/lycra or polyester or some blend thereof if I am hiking and a gore-tex jacket. It's pricy but to me it's worth it. I tend to heat up fast when I exercise and I need the breathability.
Dare I ask which gore-tex jacket? Are they always noisy? I bought a Carhartts from Sierra Trading Post and it was LOUD & stiff. Is that typical?

If I am working outdoors and need something sturdier, I like my Carhartts. They are more like a canvas. Their coveralls are fantastic but are only suitable for really cold weather. Still need the synthetic base layer.
Carhartts pants? I was looking at them at Wal*Mart the other night. They are rugged! Do you wash them a dozen times or do they never soften up?

I've never really liked the silk. It's a pretty thin layer for real cold. The only time I've worn it was at work indoors.
I just bought some on sale. Like panty hose.

I've gotten wet while playing outdoors in the cold with jeans and patagonia base layer beneath. I still stayed fairly warm but the cotton will not dry and it wets the base layer. Since the base layer is synthetic, it still insulates but not as well as it would if that wet cotton was not laying against it.

If you are on a budget, put the money into a good synthetic or wool base layer and good jacket. I would start there.
Working on that. Mostly via eBay and STP seconds. Will have to hit thrift stores.

Good wool socks are important. Also, make sure the boots can accommodate the thick socks. If the socks make the boots too tight you will loose circulation and will be quick to frost bite.

Also, good hat and gloves.
We just bought some boots--Merrell's and Columbia--for my daughter and myself. Both went back cuz we bought our normal size and they were way too tight with wool socks on.

Thanks for all your help.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
I buy my winter boots and shoes about 1 size too large. I stand on concrete all day long, and aside from the extra padding that helps reduce fatigue, concrete will sap the warmth right out of your feet, even through boots.
Half size or Full size larger? Like from 6 to 7 or from 6.5 to 7?

2 Pairs of socks or 1 pair of booties (not cotton) and a pair of wool socks over them.
Thx
 
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