Hi Tech vs. Low Tech clothing

Hi Tech vs. Low Tech clothing


The question was:

I spent 12 months working and treking all over India.
I used 100% cotton shirts as they were the most comfortable.

After reading a lot of posts on here, I decided to follow the advice and get some hi tech moisture wicking all singing and dancing and expensive clothing.

I have done a few training treks with these now.
What am I doing wrong… they make me feel clammy as they are not natural fibres, i feel greasy from the nylon, I stink :0 and i dont feel comfortable.
I try cotton shirts and whilst i sweat, yes they get a little wet, but I feel comfortable and dont stink.
Why is cotton mainly worn in the hottest place on earth (India)
My question is;
1) Is it because the store sales rep sold me the wrong gear of is it the
2) Do we all stink or just me :)
3) Do i need to stop being a princess and accept they will be uncomfortable.

Read the interesting conversation on Hi tech vs low tech clothing in the Camino forum.

11 Replies to “Hi Tech vs. Low Tech clothing”

  1. Hi tech fabrics are lighter weight and dry faster. I had two sets of clothes. At the end of each day, I took off the clothes I wore, took a shower, put the OTHER set of clothes on and washed the days’ dirty clothes. The hi tech fabrics were dry in the morning so I could pack them without them being wet (heavier). I think I was probably a little smellier than I would be in cotton clothes, but that really wasn’t what I was worried about on the trail. In India I imagine you didn’t have to carry around last night’s washing each day. Good journey!

  2. I actually prefer cotton t’s to the hi tech ones. I have walked the Camino twice, both times in the summer and never had a problem with my washed clothes not drying overnight. I did take a hi tech pullover type of shirt which was nice when it was cool and also because it packed down into a small bundle in my backpack. I would encourage you to go with what feels the best to you personally and you’ll be fine. ~Buen Camino~

  3. I have found the exact same problem as you (the stink especially was awful). so I have gone back to cotton as my base layer. I do use a swandri fleece which is warm, wind proof, light weight and dries very quickly. most important thing is to find what works best for you.

  4. I agree that some high performance gear can be uncomfortable, and can get smelly pretty quickly. I wore a summer Marino t-shirt (advertised as “2 weeks, no wash, no stink”). It was expensive, but I wouldn’t do another Camino without one. I was able to do laundry every 3 or 4 days so never going 2 whole weeks, but it kept me cool and dry and never got stinky. I even prolonged the wash a few times to test it. The rest of my clothing was Lululemon which can get smelly, but stayed dry and comfortable.

  5. I make my living outside all year (+30 to -30 celsius). Cotton is for summer and it is fantastic. In winter while working, skiing, or camping, I wear polypro or polyester underwear, nylon pants and fleece. Wool is great as well and I use it for socks. An outdoor fanatic I know has gone to wool and silk long underwear for winter. Cotton will kill you under cold, wet conditions. It never drys while the synthetics can, even below freezing. A little hydrogen peroxide in the wash water cuts the smell of the synthetics.

  6. I do a lot of hiking in warm and cold climates and really dislike the techie stuff…but I don’t go anywhere without my marino wool t-shirts. The are soft, comfortable, feel not dissimilar to cotton. They come in very light weights so are fine in hot weather and you really can go for a week without washing them and while you may whiff a bit, the wool doesn’t. I swear by marino and once you’ve worn it you’ll never go back. Expensive but worth it.

  7. Actually, I think wool is the best choice, e.g 150gr Icebreaker. Perfect for the summer – it keeps you cool when it is warm and keeps you warm if it is cold. Beside that, you never stink, dont need to wash it every day, and also keps you comfortablw when wet. I am doing hicking with it and even running my marathons.

  8. The problem with cotton is, as Captain Canada said, that it does not retain heat when it gets wet. This can be a major problem in cold weather and we need to remember the adage what under these conditions “Cotton Kills.” I use nylon, polypro or polyester all year round.

  9. Wet, cold but smell free or drier, warmer and maybe a bit smelly? You pays your money and takes your choices.

    Call me selfish but technical everytime. Cotton just soaks up liquid – rain and sweat – making it uncomfortable and heavy for me.

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