Sep 13, 2013 at 9:44 am #1307603
@bolsterLocale: Between Jacinto & Gorgonio
On the trail/in camp, I prefer to wear a short sleeve tee shirt as a "base base" layer, pretty much at all times, regardless of whatever else I'm wearing on top. I tend to hike warm areas (so calif, arizona). I've been wearing these thin polyester shirts found at walmart (Starter Dri-Star), and I like them (very thin, which I like) except they really retain odor. I even carry and use deodorant, but these shirts just plain stink after a day's activity. I have to carry two, and wash one out each night. "Camp-washing" the underarms with limited water and soap helps a little, but cuts into my water stash, and gets the shirt far from clean.
Keeping in mind that I want this base layer to be thin and light, dries fast and doesn't retain water, what are my options for this foundational undergarment, that reduce odor? Or is my system "as good as it gets"? Are there some synthetic fabrics that are lower odor retention? What is "microbial treatment," and anyone had good experiences with? Wool seems too hot for my use but…maybe?Sep 13, 2013 at 10:22 am #2024541
Lightweight wool is actually pretty cool. I really like my Patagonia wool t-shirt, and it does well in the heat.
I practically lived in my Capilene 2 long sleeve shirt for two weeks (was able to rinse it in streams a few times) this summer, and it really didn't smell that bad.Sep 13, 2013 at 11:25 am #2024558
@rinconLocale: Desert Southwest
I hike in much the same conditions as do you. I use a light weight merino wool T-shirt. I am currently using a light Icebreaker shirt although I have also had good luck with Smartwool products. Non-stinky and relatively cool.Sep 13, 2013 at 11:39 am #2024564
@justin_bakerLocale: Santa Rosa, CA
Have you tried hiking in a cotton t-shirt?
In the dry california heat I don't find them getting uncomfortably sweaty.
They retain your body moisture and you dehydrate less.
There are lots of synthetic shirts out there with anti-microbial treatments that are supposed to work well.Sep 13, 2013 at 2:54 pm #2024611
As far as pure stink control and over the overall life of a garment, wool and linen are going to be your best options. Wool is somewhat warm though, even when thin. Linen is much cooler (and dries fairly quickly, especially in lower humidity-high heat conditions), but i don't think i've ever seen a t-shirt made out of it. However, there are plenty of 55% hemp and 45% cotton t-shirts out there, and this would work fairly well too, since hemp and linen are very similar in a lot of ways.
Less ideal, but still pretty good are highish nylon- to lowish cotton blends (if you can find it, also somewhat rare). Even a pure nylon t-shirt will stink less than a pure polyester one (if both are untreated). Plus it will be cooler if all other things are equal since nylon and polyester have significantly different thermal conductivity levels. The reason why nylon is less stinky than polyester is because it's less extremely hydrophobic. Extremely hydrophobic fabrics get stinky fast because the oils, skin cells, salts, etc get stuck inbetween the fibers of the garment and hard to wash out because the fibers and fabric literally repel water more than those that are hydrophillic or like nylon sort of inbetween.
As Justin hinted at, in hot, dry heat, you actually want a fabric that can hold moisture some. It prolongs the cooling effect. So if you're talking really hot and really dry, cotton actually works pretty well because of that prolonged cooling effect and because it's very thermally conductive–heat passes easily through the actual fibers. But for less extreme conditions of hot and somewhat dry, nylon-cotton blends work very well.
Also, this will lighten up a garment potentially since nylon is significantly lighter than most other fabrics (except polypro).
Re: treatments, some seem a lot better than others ime and research. The ones that involve chemical finishes are somewhat known for being able to be washed out of the garment, but other treatments last much longer. I have good experience so far with Dri-Release stuff.
Hope this helpsSep 13, 2013 at 3:28 pm #2024619
Icebreaker makes a pretty thin merino wool that dries pretty quick and stays cool enough for me even in severe heat. I've worn one of these for many days in a row in 90+ without much more than a dunk in a lake now and then to wash dust off it, and didn't hold any kind of stink.
Just if you're trying wool, buy from a place with a great return policy, as you might find out on day two or three that it causes you to itch.Sep 13, 2013 at 4:28 pm #2024634
@bolsterLocale: Between Jacinto & Gorgonio
> Just if you're trying wool, buy from a place with a great return policy, as you might find out on day two or three that it causes you to itch.
I've never met a wool that didn't. That's why I'm so wary of buying an expensive wool tee shirt.
I should try dri-release first.Sep 13, 2013 at 5:07 pm #2024645
Smartwool isn't itchy in their microweights and lightweights.
Ibex, however is.
I will say, though, I wear wool religiously. I literally wore the same long sleeve wool shirt about 75% of the summer, including 90-100+ heat days. It was a Smartwool Lightweight shirt. I also cycle in an Ibex Woollies (the sleeves aren't loose). I never feel an itch anymore, and I never reach for anything else for extended trips.
I've recently started cycling in a wool/synthetic blend from TNF I got from someone in Gear Swap and so far, I love it. It's very soft. However, it's definitely a sweater and not a warm-weather garment, so this doesn't help you much, but it might be worth looking at blends. I personally doubt blends for odor; (if there's synthetic thread in there, won't it stink?)
In other words…
Try wool. If you commit a bit, you may never go back. The "itch" is hype.
I'm wearing, right now, my Smartwool long underwear. Earlier today, I was wearing my Ibex baselayer top with Icebreaker cycling shorts and wool toe socks, with a wool headband. I slept last night in Smartwool briefs. I am a poor college student, but I rotate through 2 pairs of underwear, 10 socks, 2 light shirts, 1 sweater, and 2 sets of long underwear, all wool, 365 days a year. Only time I'm not in wool is when I'm changing wool pieces.
I actually told a girl once that a significant part of foreplay for me was removing wool. She didn't really think it was as funny as I did…Sep 13, 2013 at 5:12 pm #2024648
Icebreaker lightweight merino wool is the way to go. I live in the hot and humid mid atlantic. I have no problem wearing wool in the summer. It does not itch and although counterintuitive actually keeps me cool. Absolutely no odor and dries very quickly. Won't ever use synthetic again.Sep 13, 2013 at 5:44 pm #2024656
@einsteinLocale: Big Apple
Others have mentioned wool, and I find it the best for stink–even after many days. Takes a while to dry, can be fragile, and is always expensive.
I found ibex to be the itchiest, smartwool almost as itchy, but patagonia to be almost itch-free. Seems to vary person to person, so ymmv.
To treat and maybe prevent stink on synths, I sometimes carry 2 oz. spray bottle of drugstore hydrogen peroxide. Sprayed in critical areas, it works very well–for me. I never had any problem with burning or bleaching.Sep 13, 2013 at 7:15 pm #2024667
@vintagegentLocale: Galveston TX
In yet another case of "your mileage may vary," I've never found Ibex to be particularly itchy, certainly no more so than Icebreaker and Smartwool.Sep 13, 2013 at 8:12 pm #2024678
The thinnest Ibex is thicker than the thinnest Smartwool and Icebreaker. When I reach for a thin item, I usually choose Smartwool first. That being said, I think Ibex has the finest stitch quality and overall fabric quality, the pieces feel a lot more durable and they don't stretch like smartwool does.
Now, Patagonia's merino is actually, to my knowledge, a merino/synthetic blend unless they've changed things.
Arcteryx's wool is fine, but no better than anything else and about 20% more expensive.
YMMV!Sep 14, 2013 at 12:33 am #2024708
@antonsolovyevLocale: Colorado, Utah
Same as others said: I have converted to Icebreaker t-shirts and underwear. Practically no smell in worst conditions. Outer layers do start to stink in prolonged wet conditions, but wool stays practically odorless.
The wool (150 weight by Icebreaker) is still quite a bit warmer than standard synthetic t-shirts. I wish there were available even thinner merino t-shirts for desert conditions.
On a related note, what are the odor control solutions for socks and shoes? Out of the last 3 trips twice I had gotten into the situation when my feet were wet for over a day and after that stink got out of control.Sep 14, 2013 at 3:07 am #2024712
@ikeLocale: Central Michigan
I own a few icebreaker tech-t lite shirts and wear them year round.
The Rab MeCo is a wool-cocona blend that is even lighter and still does a good job at keeping the stink away.Sep 14, 2013 at 7:39 am #2024722
+1 on the Icebreaker T shirt. One of the best pieces of outdoor clothing I have. I always wear mine as the first layer, and I've worn it for 6-7 days straight. No stink, and It's held up great.Sep 14, 2013 at 7:53 am #2024724
@fox212Locale: THE Bay Area :)
I use capilene 2 tops now, and they do not stink nearly as bad after a couple sweaty days as other polyester shirts I've worn. They are treated with Patagonia's "polygiene" permanent odor control. No clue what that actually is, but it appears to be working. :) Also I find they cool you off well when wet, and FWIW cap 2 is marginally lighter than cap 1. But cap1 has a higher UPF (50 vs 20).
I've found that wool makes me itchy. :(Sep 14, 2013 at 1:22 pm #2024758
Wool, even in its lightest forms, is much too hot for me. I have tried 150g and 120g wool and they smoke me out. They do work extremely well at odor control however. I've learned to live with the smell of synthetics for hiking purposes, but will try some of the blends eventually. I think there is the perfect shirt out there somewhere.
RyanSep 14, 2013 at 6:55 pm #2024806
Yah, Rab MeCo is pretty good stuff too, but also still too hot for me where i live.
Earlier i said that i don't think i've seen any Linen t-shirts before..well turns out i wasn't looking hard enough. I just did a search on ebay and found a number of pure and blended Linen t-shirts. (i'm tempted to get one myself, but having so many linen button up shirts, i feel like it might be excessive).
There are actually some great deals going on there now. I really recommend trying a cheap shirt, you may be surprised how cooling/cool and stink resistant the stuff is. If the stuff is a bit rough feeling at first, you can speed up the softening washing and then by drying in a dryer on medium heat (a few times). Normally i wouldn't recommend drying Linen shirts in a dryer because it makes it look extremely wrinkly and it does shrink a bit (a little more than a non-preshrunk cotton tee), but i've noticed it does soften up the material faster.
However, good quality linen stuff usually starts off soft enough to begin with. Anyways, it's much better for hot weather backpacking than merino (ime), and much longer lasting (it's tensile strength is at least 3x higher than wools) with quite good stink control (rivals wool). If you ever happen to see any linen-nylon blends, please let me know. Pure linen can be a bit heavy, but i imagine the t-shirt versions will be lighter than my button up shirts.Sep 14, 2013 at 6:57 pm #2024807
@justin_bakerLocale: Santa Rosa, CA
.Sep 14, 2013 at 7:10 pm #2024809
related to what i wrote at the end of my last post. Regarding weights, here is a list of the specific gravity of different fibers.
Silk Weighted= >1.60
Silk – B. Mori (raw)= 1.33
Note that Linen's specific gravity measurement is 1.5 and cotton's is 1.54, so all other things being equal, a linen t-shirt will be very slightly lighter than a cotton one, but a bit heavier than a polyester or wool t-shirt.
Polypro is not on that list for some reason, but from memory, it's measurement is something crazy like .90. However, definitely don't want to use that for hot weather stuff!Sep 14, 2013 at 10:41 pm #2024845
…Sep 15, 2013 at 3:53 am #2024848
Our summers and then typhoon season are also very (very) warm. Combined with the high humidity it can be quite challenging to do more high output trekking.
I can't stand wool. I've tried a lot of Merino wool garments but I guess my skin and wool are just not good friends.
My thinnest/coolest shirt up till recently has always been Capilene 1, but I do think it starts to stink pretty quickly. After one/two seasons I have to throw it out (bear in mind this is with weekly hikes resulting in drenched shirts after one hour into a 6~10 hour hike).
I bought a long sleeve Montura Run Zip Maglia shirt before this summer and I'm very impressed. It is thinner than Capilene 1, more breathable, cooler, and has a 1/2 zip to ventilate more. It has UPF50 and doesn't stink as much either. It was expensive but I'm going to buy another one very soon because it is all I ever hike in from May to October.
Might be interesting to check out.Sep 15, 2013 at 9:06 am #2024870
Simply doesnt bother me.
You dont tend to smell yourself really.
I prefer the lightest weight synthetic I can find. Fastest drying and least moisture absorption is more important to me, than least smelly. Especially in humid SE where things dont dry very fast, if at all.
In NM or CO, anything is totally dry in 30 min, and the more water it holds, the cooler it feels while drying. Out there you dont even need short sleeves, can wear long sleeves for sun protection and be comfortable even on hottest days due to low humidity.Sep 15, 2013 at 9:21 am #2024872
My two go to shirts for hot weather are a patagonia silckweight merino and a patagonia air flow t-shirt. The air flow might be more in line with what you are looking for … super breathable and dries quick. It is pretty good for stink for a poly shirt.
THe merino is a wool poly blend which allows for a thiner cooler fabric then pure wool. I haven't had an issue with itch.
I also have a mountain hardware poly t shirts I got off steep and cheap that has a bike jersey style chest vent which works pretty well.Sep 15, 2013 at 12:45 pm #2024914
IMO, there's a time and a place for each of the options. I like my OR Echo T shirts and my Icebreaker 150s enough that I wear 'em sometimes even when I'm not on the trail (as cycling base layers or even just around the house or around town), but for the hot,dry conditions you describe, my number one would be light, tightly woven cotton.
It won't insulate when wet, but that's not what I brought it to do (it can even be considered a virtue, in hot, dry conditions). Here's what it is:
Cheaper than wool or the really good poly.
Lighter, cooler, faster-drying and easier to launder than 150 wool.
Much less stinky than any synthetic.
More durable than wool or the really light poly that I might choose for its other virtues.
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