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Shirt Color and Hot Weather
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elaie elaie
(elaielaios) - F

Locale: Canada
Shirt Color and Hot Weather on 03/08/2010 10:17:41 MST Print View

I'm going to be going on a trip to hot Thailand soon, and want to bring a few ultra thin merino wool shirts with me. I know wearing black when its hot and sunny can be pretty brutal, so wearing white shirts is quite mandatory. I would just buy a merino wool shirt in Thailand, but I'm fairly certain I can't just buy a shirt my size without a lot of work.

Thing is that it's fairly hard to find a white merino wool shirt that is locally available, and the lightest color I've been able to find is a grey colored shirt. I can't really test if a grey shirt will boil me up while I'm in cold Canada, so do you guys think it will work in Thailand?

The shirt in question
The Shirt

Edited by elaielaios on 03/08/2010 10:20:27 MST.

Michael Walker
(mwalker) - F

Locale: Everywhere. All of the time.
Colour. on 03/08/2010 19:51:38 MST Print View

That colour will be fine I'd say. White gets dirty and stays discoloured anyway.
Dark shirts are definitely hotter, but it's never been enough to bother me. I always seem to end up with dark, navy blue shirts working outside in Australia. I do enjoy a good 40C day though so ymmv.

Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
Re: Shirt Color and Hot Weather on 03/08/2010 23:48:59 MST Print View

Merino wool in Thailand? Seriously?

I can guarantee you that you will sweat profusely no matter what -- and your wool tee will hold on to that sweat so much that it will feel like a wet rag on you. Like cotton -- if not worse.

A much better option IMO is something blended -- 80/20 polyester/cotton. You will still sweat like a pig -- but as soon as you stop for a rest (in the shade or better yet a nicely air conditioned cafe or restaurant or mall) -- your blended tee will dry much faster -- meaning you will feel comfier sooner.

Also, white is a nice color but it is certainly not mandatory. You see, what's brutal is not the temperature per se -- unless you insanely love to stand right under the hot tropical sun instead of looking for shade like everybody else -- but the high humidity! And color won't make a difference in this department. I'd say any color is fine except for black and truly dark colors.

EDIT: I should add that nighttime at higher elevations in northern Thailand can be cool (not cold, but cool). While wool can be nice in cold temps, synthetics or 80/20 blend base layer can provide a wider range of comfort -- with, say a light wind breaker / shell on top.

Finally, one GREAT thing about white -- esp. on long trips... colored tees get "tired" after repeated washings and whites become progressively "off white". BUT, while there's little you can do to resuscitate tired colors, you can periodically bleach your whites and they come back looking brand new again and again.

Edited by ben2world on 03/09/2010 00:08:31 MST.

John Frederick Anderson
(fredfoto) - F

Locale: Spain
Shirt Color and Hot Weather on 03/09/2010 02:05:45 MST Print View

I don't think you'll find any merino in Thailand.

I've worn merino in very hot conditions, and prefer it to cotton or synthetic.
It's also great when you go into an airconditioned place, which can be freezing in a thin cotton shirt.
Try Icebreaker- they do 150 weight merino polos and t-shirts of various colours.
Only tourists wear white, so if you want to stand out as a tourist.... tropical fantasy.
I travelled around India with two pairs of linen pants, two shirts and some merino boxers- for a year no problems.
Merino doesn't need to be washed that often and doesn't smell, even after a few days. YMMV, of course.
Dark shirts are a bad idea more for the fact they attract mosquitoes at night, whereas lighter shirts don't.

Nicholas Couis
(nichoco) - MLife
Shirt color and Hot weather on 03/09/2010 03:30:08 MST Print View

Can you be a bit more specific about the clothing. Brands and composition of fabric and the areas and temps that you encountered.

Ben P
(benp1) - F

Locale: London
what about shirts? on 03/09/2010 04:03:22 MST Print View

These countries are HOT

I would suggest forgetting t shirts altogether, I find shirts much more comfortable. I often wear long sleeved synthetic travel shirts, they dry quick, can be washed easily and keep me cool as they are looser fitting.

I roll up the sleeves for normal use but if you need to look smarter or cover your arms then they get rolled down. The collars are also often made with fold out sections to protect your neck from the sun, and the chest pockets are useful for putting things in, particularly sunglasses

Pieter Kaufman
(Pieter) - F
Re: what about shirts? on 03/09/2010 07:02:16 MST Print View

Great comments Ben.

There's another great benefit to wearing smarter shirts, and that's that people are more likely to take you seriously and not just see you as a tourist or source of income.

The last time I traveled through India and SE Asia, I wore almost exclusively very light weight long pants and button down shirts I had made for me in India, using exactly the same mostly synthetic fabrics all the locals wear. With custom tailoring, they still cost less than anything off the shelf here, fit absolutely perfectly, looked great, and helped a tremendous amount with blending in.

As for 'performance,' they were as good as anything you'll find in high heat and humidity here, maintained full sun protection when necessary, the shirts having buttons, collars and cuffs could ventilate, and they'd keep bugs off you.

Also, if you are concerned about blending in, aside from skipping T-shirts, don't wear Tevas or any other of those types of footwear.

Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
Re: what about shirts? on 03/09/2010 09:55:04 MST Print View

I've worn both ventilated shirts (Mountain Hardwear Canyon) and tees. Truth be told, when it's hot and humid, nothing is comfortable -- likely not even walking nekkid. But for me, I find tees to be less uncomfortable than shirts. While shirts theoretically ventilate better, they are also heavier -- more fabric on me when what I want is less. Rolling up the sleeves, for example, is just that many more layers around the upper arms. But shirts do have their advantages. Sun blocking, as mentioned, is one major advantage.

But regardless of shirts or tees, when you finally dash into the shade or an A/C area -- the synthetic or blended materials will get comfy and dry much more quickly than cotton or wool.

Thailand is a middle class country where many can now afford the more expensive merino wool apparel. That no one (or practically no one) wears wool tees or shirts over there should tell travelers something.

Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
Re: Blending In on 03/09/2010 10:00:51 MST Print View

Don't worry about blending in. Unless you are ethnically SEA, you are NOT going to blend in. You WILL stick out.

Wear tees or shirts. Wear shoes or sandals (e.g. Tevas). Just avoid wearing really loud or "weird" clothing and avoid expensive / high sentimental value jewelry. And for pete's sake, don't even try to "blend in" by wearing Thai fishermen pants! :)

Pieter Kaufman
(Pieter) - F
Re: Re: Blending In on 03/09/2010 12:29:25 MST Print View

"Don't worry about blending in. Unless you are ethnically SEA, you are NOT going to blend in. You WILL stick out."


But that's not how I meant it, and I think you know that.

And what's maybe normal and quiet to you and I here in California--read, Tevas shorts and T-shirts--may be a little less quiet than you realize to some people for whom bare legs are still uncouth. Dare I say, disrespectful.

And I'm not talking about Bangkok, HK, Singapore, etc. More like all the places in between.

Travis Leanna
(T.L.) - MLife

Locale: Wisconsin
Re: Re: Re: Blending In on 03/09/2010 12:38:49 MST Print View

I think its ok to wear whatever you want regarding local standards of attire--you are a *visitor* at any rate. I would, however, advise against going out of your way to insult said local culture, or purposefully be obnoxious, by the clothes you choose to wear.

Now, if you are warned beforehand of an area that is particularly hostile to those not conforming to local traditions, well, then dress accordingly!

elaie elaie
(elaielaios) - F

Locale: Canada
Merino Wool & Hot weather on 03/10/2010 01:14:39 MST Print View

It's the MEC merino wool micro light shirt. 100% merino wool. Very thin wool actually works very well in hot weather and is nothing like the wool sweaters you commonly associate with wool. I just remember it being 30 degrees in a black merino shirt, and then wearing a white cotton shirt and feeling a lot cooler. I was wondering if I could get away with something not white. Or even a darker shade of color.

I've also found icebreaker/smartwool shirts locally too, but they are almost twice the price. They do come in different colors. One is off white, blue and orange. This was mostly a question about color.


Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Shirt Color and Hot Weather on 03/10/2010 01:46:04 MST Print View

Look into the Rail Riders Eco T. T shirts with mesh sides. Lighter colors available too. I think Ben has already provided a lot of good information. In humid climates I like to bring a synthetic Hawaiian style shirt. Looks good and you can unbutton as needed. Personally I like loose fitting shirts, and find I am more comfortable in them.

John G
(JohnG10) - F

Locale: Mid-Atlantic via Upstate NY
Hot & Humid cloths on 03/10/2010 14:25:45 MST Print View

It's usually around 85-100* F and 80-100% humidity in Maryland & Northern Virginia in the summer. Loose poly t-shirts and loose nylon shorts are way more comfy than anything else for me, my wife, and 2 kids. Even heavier fabric shorts are way cooler in high humidity than lighter fabric pants. Loose shirts are way cooler feeling than tight fitting Under-armor style shirts in high humidity. Synthetics that flash dry are comfy 5 minutes after you stop hiking in high humidty, but things that don't flash dry stay "wet & clammy" feeling for 45 minutes. Loose fit is important, not because it creates a breeze (at least that I can feel), but because that way every one of your normal movements causes the shirt to "unstick" itself from your skin so you feel less wet and clammy.

Caveat; The hiking is in the forest here, so sunburn is not an issue.

Edited by JohnG10 on 03/10/2010 14:28:33 MST.

Frank Deland

Locale: On the AT in VA
eco-mesh on 03/10/2010 18:10:42 MST Print View

I wore the long sleeved eco-mesh for 2 weeks on the JMT.

Golite Dri- Move shirts are very comfortable and do not retain body oder.

Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
Re: Merino Wool & Hot weather on 03/10/2010 18:29:33 MST Print View

"It's the MEC merino wool micro light shirt. 100% merino wool. Very thin wool actually works very well in hot weather and is nothing like the wool sweaters you commonly associate with wool..."

Methinks Elaie Elaie is just transfixed by the handsome model...

Dry heat (as pictured) is nothing like the tropical, humid heat of Thailand. Why wool again?

Edited by ben2world on 03/10/2010 18:37:54 MST.

Javan Dempsey

Locale: The-Stateless-Society
haha on 03/10/2010 18:42:15 MST Print View

All this posturing by arm-chair philanthropists, about the ins and outs of the clothing insults, in other parts of the world, I invariably hear every time anybody talks about attire when travelling crack me up.

The reality is, outside of extremely religious areas (read: middle-east) people from my experience aren't nearly as up-tight about what people wear as we tend to make them out to be.

Frankly, very few cultures expect us to live up to the standards we *perceive* them to have.

If you're walking around in slacks and a button-down in any tropical country, and you're not there on business, you're a fool.


I've spent over 90% of my life outside of the USA, and I've never encountered a problem with my attire or appearance anywhere. I've got a full beard and dreadlocks down to my bottom.

Maybe some uptight paragons of local society secretly shun me, but if they do, they keep it to themselves, and I've gotten on just fine without them.

Wear what makes you comfortable, as long as you don't look like a Miami street hooker, I'm sure you'll make plenty friends.

If I were after a mark in some place like Thailand, I'd rob the guy in the suit.

Peace. :p

Marek Janda
(nyxatko) - F
wool in thailand on 03/12/2010 04:18:55 MST Print View

I've been in Thailand recently wearing wool t-shirts exclusively (lightest weight icebreaker/smartwool) and I've been pretty comfortable.

I think you'll sweat a lot no matter what t-shirt you're wearing and due to humidity even polyester t-shirts won't dry on you, so pick something that feels ok when wet.

Also, they're pretty crazy with AC, so expect drastic temperature changes every time you'll go into subway/bts/any shop etc, which is pretty often.

Enjoy the trip, it's a wonderful country.

Pieter Kaufman
(Pieter) - F
Re: haha on 03/12/2010 12:03:39 MST Print View

"All this posturing by arm-chair philanthropists"

I do not think that word means what you think it means.


Carry on brother. What you do not know apparently really does not hurt you.

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Re: Re: haha on 03/12/2010 18:16:04 MST Print View

"I do not think that word means what you think it means."

Hey Pieter, cut the dude some slack. He's spent 90% of his life abroad. English is probably his second language. I think he probably meant to say philanderer. ;}