Base Layers, Wicking, and Backpacking (Member Q&A)

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Home Forums Campfire Editor’s Roundtable Base Layers, Wicking, and Backpacking (Member Q&A)

  • This topic has 29 replies, 17 voices, and was last updated 2 years ago by Max O.
Viewing 5 posts - 26 through 30 (of 30 total)
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  • #3738115
    obx hiker
    BPL Member


    The article Rex linked above is about the potential of developing monitors that would analyze sweat to detect a wide variety of biological or chemical markers of various pathologies or I guess could also be used to measure levels of fitness. Kind of above my pay grade in terms of jargon etc. but looks like a promising idea. The sweat part that I lifted for this discussion was just sort of background introductory info. Impressed by the research of “Dr. Rex”

    Eric Blumensaadt
    BPL Member


    Locale: Mojave Desert

    What does a “wick” do? It ABSORBS water or other liquids like melted candle wax. We know cotton is a great wicking material but totally wrong for winter or wet conditions. Wool does wick as well but the fibers (sheep hairs) have a scaly surface that keeps some of its moisture off the wearer’s skin so it does not feel so clammy, like cotton does. But wood does HOLD moisture far more than polyester, for example.

    Thus I totally “eschew” any wicking fabrics and rely instead on synthetics and DWR treated down for managing body moisture. And don’t give me any guff about DWR treatment “wearing off” after repeated washings. Really, how many of us wash our down garments more than twice in their lifetime of use?

    So to sum up, I wear all hydroPHOBIC clothing materials in winter. In extreme cold my moisture freezes inside the shell material of my parka as a “frost”. Being synthetic it permits most of the frost to be shaken off, unlike “wicking” materials.


    BPL Member


    Locale: Rainy Pacific Northwest

    Do any of you still have your The Complete Walker book, by the backpacking arch druid Colin Fletcher?  p 523 of TCW 4,  “During WW II, I was for a time with a British unit that had been issued true fishnet vests [shirts] as special mountaineering equipment . . . the holes are the important thing: they are what keep you warm when you want to keep warm and cool when you want to keep cool.” The modern equivalent seem to be the Brynje mesh wear.

    Brett Peugh
    BPL Member


    Locale: Midwest

    I would disagree some about lanolin.  If you only use your wool here and there then yes, it does not need lonolin.  But if you are using wool very regularily and even hand washing it, it will get a bit dry over time and even a simple lanolin bath or rub in will help .  Otherwise you do get those early 80s military wool socks. :)  just saying because I wear a rotation of 4 pairs of Darn Tough wool socks every day for almost 5 months and just wash them monthly.  At the end of the season they get a bit of lanolin and then get to rest. Now mind you, I do basically wear Chacos year round so they do get a bit of abuse but it has only barely snowed thrice this year here and only dustings. :)

    Max O
    BPL Member


    The topic wicking should include Pile & Pertex systems as well as wool (and wool/polyester) clothing with slings on the inside!
    Maybe you can cover that on the next suitable occasion…
    Greetings from Europe ;)

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