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Polyester/Cotton blend
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Jeff Gerke

Locale: Utah
Polyester/Cotton blend on 06/03/2014 20:49:26 MDT Print View

I've been trying to find a fairly cheap long sleeve button/snap shirt that will work for backpacking. I want to find a cheaper alternative to shirts sold at REI. I found some western shirts that are 65% polyester and 35% cotton. I'm guessing that 35% cotton is too much cotton for a shirt I want to dry quickly. Anyone have a source for long sleeve button/snap quick drying shirts that would be a cheap alternative to what is found at REI? Should I be looking for something that is 100% polyester or would a small amount of cotton be ok?

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Polyester/Cotton blend on 06/03/2014 20:53:24 MDT Print View

Try a thrift shop. You can get about eight or ten shirts for the price of one at REI.


Just In Time
(ArcturusBear1) - F
Re: Polyester/Cotton blend on 06/03/2014 21:04:07 MDT Print View

Depends on the average or typical climate you will be at. 100% cotton is great for the desert in the day time.

For fairly dry climates, but not quite desert like, 35% is fine. Where i live
(VA), it tends to be moderately to very humid much of the time, and 35% cotton could be on the border of possibly a bit too much.

Also, check out Richard Nisley's research on this issue, he found it was more the thinness and weave of a garment which most affected a garment's drying time, over specific material. With that said, an all synthetic shirt with the same weave and thickness as an all cotton shirt will dry faster than the all cotton one, but if both are sufficiently thin, the cotton will dry fairly quick.

The difference is is that cotton doesn't insulate when wet, whereas polyester does some. However, while that may be bad in cold temps, it's actually a nice thing in warm to hot temps.

I would also suggest looking at other blends too. Linen or hemp mixed with polyester is great. As is tencel with predominant polyester or nylon. Linen/hemp and tencel seem to dry noticeably faster than cotton, yet are still absorbing and cool/conductive materials. They also have better odor reduction properties than cotton (especially linen and hemp).

So a shirt with slight majority of synthetic to linen, hemp, or tencel is a really nice combo for warm to hot weather. If it's really humid, and really hot, definitely want more synthetic to natural blend ratio.

I have a shirt made with 65% polyester and 35% linen. It surprised me at how well it minimized odor--i thought with all that polyester it would get stinky somewhat fast. Nope, though not as good as 100% linen. Also feels dry really fast even in humid VA weather.

Paul Magnanti
(PaulMags) - MLife

Locale: People's Republic of Boulder
Poly-Cotton shirt on 06/03/2014 22:54:24 MDT Print View

I've been hiking all over the west with a poly-cotton blend shirt for many years now.

They are inexpensive, vent well, durable and dry quickly due to being thin. As long as I have a thermal shirt, I am not worried about the "cotton kills!" warning.

Even for day hikes now, I prefer a simple short sleeve poly-cotton dress shirt vs a tech t-shirt for similar reasons.

Edited by PaulMags on 06/03/2014 22:55:30 MDT.

Ian B.

Locale: PNW
Re: Poly-Cotton shirt on 06/03/2014 23:04:06 MDT Print View

Interesting little factoid. Brown T shirts I was issued by the Army and wore three seasons per year for 10 years as a grunt, 100% Cotton.

The BDUs I wore four seasons per year in areas ranging from the jungles of Panama to -20* and many feet of snow at Ft. Drum, 50% Cotton 50% nylon. Yeah the cotton kills thing is grossly exaggerated and beyond silly.

Anywho, I bought a wonderful nylon shirt from Costco a few months ago for $25. You might want to check and see if your local Costco has anything. After that, as others said, Goodwill.

Justin Baker
(justin_baker) - F

Locale: Santa Rosa, CA
Re: Poly-Cotton shirt on 06/03/2014 23:23:20 MDT Print View

Yeah, I like polycotton too. I do 90% of my hiking in polycotton. You can find many different styles at your local goodwill.

Jeff Gerke

Locale: Utah
Thanks on 06/04/2014 08:20:17 MDT Print View

Thanks for the info everyone. I might give one of the western shirts I found a try. They are on sale for $20, 65% polyester and 35% cotton. I also noticed WalMart has Hanes long sleeve Cool DRI tees, 100% polyester and only $9. Not a button/snap shirt with a collar like I wanted but for $9 I might give them a try. There is a thrift store near by that I can check out as well.

Just In Time
(ArcturusBear1) - F
Re: Thanks on 06/04/2014 22:52:47 MDT Print View

"I also noticed WalMart has Hanes long sleeve Cool DRI tees, 100% polyester and only $9"

If you care about odor at all, it will likely build up odor quickly and retain it until washed very well.

Shirts with 35% cotton will do a bit better in that regard.