Pre-Summer Sale 30-50% off all items! With free shipping on orders over $75 – Starts 6/10
For all our friends who missed the Overland Expo 2015 aka Snoverland Expo. We are running a sale just for you. Take 30-50% off on Mountain Khaki, Exofficio and Outdoor Research.
Enter Code: presummer15 to receive your discount
Friends and Fellow Overlanders, Four Wheelers!
DECEMBER CYBER SALE! Enjoy 45% off on all items on our site + free shipping on all orders over $75!
All Mountain Khakis, OR and Exofficio Items on Sale
Exofficio ExO Dri Tee in Oregano – dri-release with FRESHGUARD
This amazing Tee will spoil you and make you turn a regular cotton Tee into a rag! Cut down on the amount of clothes you will need to bring on your next adventure. These Tee’s are light weight and sturdy. They are quick drying and don’t hold odor. Tie it in a knot, shove it in a bag, pull it out and put it on and it still looks amazing!
Most of the synthetic tops available today fit into one of two categories: plain or plaid. In the past, synthetic “style” has been limited to baggy shirts that are sold in a variety of colors ranging from neutral to garish. In the last few years, things have changed. Outdoor companies are offering products with slimmer cuts and patterns. These patterns are (for the most part) plaid.
This opens up a nice range of new possibilities when it comes to packing. These new shirts allow you to enjoy the benefits of a synthetic shirt without looking like you just stepped off the river or trail. The same shirt can be worn on a hike while also looking nice enough to be worn out to dinner. It’s impossible to pack less while receiving more benefits.
Of course, this is all a matter of personal preference. Pack whatever you feel comfortable in. Maybe I’m a bit vain and overly concerned with personal appearance. To me, packing is an art and anything that lets you get a little bit more and pack less is something to be embraced. Which do you prefer?
This is an example of a new “Plaid” style shirt. This is ExOfficio’s Trip’r Check shirt. Full disclosure: I own this shirt in three different colors.
Here’s an example of “Plain”. This is ExOfficio’s Air Strip Lite shirt. It’s a classic.
There are two main types of fabrics in the world: synthetic and natural. Natural fabrics have been around for thousands of years – these are typically harvested from plants or animals (such as cotton and wool). Synthetic fabrics are a 20th century invention (rayon was invented in 1924 and nylon in 1938). These fabrics are spun from synthetic fibers.
Each of these fabrics has positives and negatives – especially for travelers. It doesn’t matter how you’re traveling – space is always an issue. Selecting the right fabric for the right trip can be the difference between a good and great experience.
Let’s start with natural fabrics. Cotton is the heavy-hitter here (I’m not going to focus much on wool in this post – wool is fascinating and will be the focus of a subsequent post) and has two major advantages over synthetic fabric: comfort and looks. There’s nothing better then throwing on a pair of jeans and your favorite t-shirt. Going out to dinner? Throw on a nice button-down shirt and you are good to go.
Cotton has one huge weakness: water. When wet, it loses all insulating properties and actually leeches heat from your body. It takes forever to dry. It stains easily. Wearing a cotton shirt on rainy day is a miserable experience.
Synthetics have no issues with water. They dry quickly and can keep you warm even when wet. Cutting edge fabric treatments allow water to bead right off. They are stain-resistant (some are even stain-proof!) and can be made resistant to UV rays and insects.
Unfortunately, synthetic materials still have a couple of disadvantages. Feel is the biggest one. Things have improved but synthetic fabrics still aren’t as comfortable as cotton. Personally, I don’t notice this much but for others it may be a deal breaker. Synthetic fabric also lacks the variety of styles and designs that are available in natural fabric. Clothing made from synthetic fabric is mostly the domain of out door companies (who do not typically have a high demand for style) so this may change one day as the market grows. There are several companies that have introduced checked and striped patterns, making these shirts more viable as daily wear.
An understanding of the differences between synthetic and natural fabrics can really help you select gear for a trip. I tend to pack mostly synthetics, which I primarily wear during the day (when I’m most active). A pair of jeans and a cotton button-down or two also end up in my bag for use at night. Of course, each trip is different. Hanging in the city? You can probably get away with packing natural stuff. Travelling around the world with just a backpack? I would recommend mostly synthetics.