I only have one outfit—I’ve worn the same thing, on trail and off, summer and winter, everyday for years—a macabi hiking skirt and a nylon shirt.
Since I only have the one outfit, I carefully select my clothes like a super hero selects their outfit.
Although this combo works well most of the time, I’ve been unhappy with nylon shirts in the hot desert because they are hot and aren’t breathable enough. So, before heading out to the Arizona Trail, I bought a Columbia Sportswear omni freeze shirt. My conclusion?– Basically they have taken every disadvantage of a nylon shirt–hot and not breathable enough, and combined it with all the disadvantages of a cotton shirt–cold when wet and slow to dry.
So the next year, when heading back to the desert of the Pacific Crest Trail, I decided to just go with a light weight cotton shirt–breathable, quick to dry, cools when wet and very comfortable. Worked great and would use again for deserts.
There, however, is a reason you never see a super hero wearing natural fibers— they quickly disintegrate when adventuring. Even though I kept repairing it with dental floss, in less than a thousand miles, it looked liked I had been marooned for 20 years— that shirt was nothing but a hopeless rag and had to be replaced; where as a nylon shirt will last years and multiple long hikes.
I replaced it with a nylon shirt but I would definitely go back to cotton next time I’m hiking in the desert.
An idea: I was thinking, if a person was sending themselves boxes on a trail, it might be an idea to buy a bunch of used shirts at a thrift store or yard sale and pop out a new shirt every resupply. That way you could look spiffy when hitching a ride back to trail instead of trying to hitch in a stained raggedy shirt. You also wouldn’t have to do laundry, and you wouldn’t have to keep repairing your cotton shirt. I’ve seen shirts at yard sales for .25 a piece.
One thought on “Hiking shirts”
The cotton shirt is a really interesting idea and I’d like to try it out in the desert. I’ve always worn a nylon button-down long-sleeved shirt in the desert, and simply dealt with the torrents of sweat.
Does it matter if it’s not 100% cotton? And, how light do you mean by “lightweight”? The T-shirts in my closet seem to have a variety of weights. Also, with short sleeves in the desert, how do you deal with sunburn on your arms?