Non-wicking Base Layer
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Nov 24, 2011 at 8:23 pm #1282375P SMember
I'm looking for a hydrophobic base layer that will not wick by capillary action.
Although polyester is hydrophobic, all polyester base layers that I'm aware of are treated to be hydrophilic.
Polypropylene is also hydrophobic but many polypropylene base layers are described as "wicking" which indicates they have also been treated to be hydrophilic. "Wicking" is a ubiquitous marketing term so I'm not sure which polypropylene base layers actually wick by surface treatments.
Merino wool is naturally hydrophobic as well but some companies wash wool in a particular manner to be hydrophilic, creating a base layer inferior in many ways to the typical brushed polyester.
I'm particularly interested in Helly Hansen's LIFA polypropylene, the army surplus polypropylene, and Coldpruf's polypropylene. Anyone have recent experience with the listed fabrics or know of a hydrophobic base layer that will not wick by capillary action?Nov 24, 2011 at 9:40 pm #1805307Dan DurstonBPL Member
@dandydanLocale: Canadian Rockies
A few years back I worked at a retail Helly Hansen store. There's a few types of Lifa (Dry, Warm etc) but you basically want the 'dry' stuff as the 'warm' is just an added layer of merino and the other ones are blends too normally (although I'm a bit out of the loop now).
Most of the Lifa that we had in the store seemed to be hydrophobic. I'm basing that on that we would actually pour water on the garment and it would just sit there in a puddle without soaking in and then later you could pour it off. However, I'm not sure how much of this was actually the polypro, and how much of it was a DWR coating that was factory applied. Some later batches of Lifa Dry were different in that the water would soak in, so I'm not sure if they stopped using DWR, or if it was the polypro that was hydrophobic and then they added a treatment later to make it wicking.
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