View Full Version : Fabric that doesn't stink

11-09-2015, 11:05
I am trying to lighten my load on 4-7 day treks on the AT. My last trek across Harriman/Bear Mtn and down CS to Peekskill took 4 days. I wore four different polyester shirts, changed underwear nightly, but only one pair of shorts. The difference is the fabric. Polyester is sometimes called the "stinky fabric", and for good reason. You wear it a single day, sweat even a little, and it stinks. I am one who finds it offensive to put on a shirt that smells bad, even if I'm on the trail and no one is going to smell me. The pants I wore are nylon, and nylon doesn't get stinky. But I cannot find any nylon shirts, except the ones that are intended to be worn as underwear. They are very thin, and partially translucent. I could get silk shirts, but they are far too expensive. So I thought I could buy some of those nylon under shirts, and wear them under my poly shirts. It's November now in the northeast, so I don't expect to have much trouble with sweating, but I need a shirt that I can wear for several days without offending my nose.
What do you think of the combo nylon under and poly outer? Would you suggest something else?
I don't want to spend more than $25 on each shirt, and need short sleeves. I wear fleece (which, unfortunately is also poly) when it's cold.

Thanks for your suggestions


11-09-2015, 11:23
Look into shirts made for fishing as they are often made of nylon. I use some cheap ones I got at Academy for hiking all the time.

11-09-2015, 11:53
Polyester stinks Unless they mix something in the fabric to prevent it. I have a berghaus argentium T shirt that has Silver ion in its fabric that prevent that bad sweet odor to happen.

Watch their video about the fabric.

I am sure there are other companies that have some other innovations to prevent the stinking of polyester but I first hand can confirm that the Argentium technology works. For some reasons this T shirt is way less itchy than other polyester shirts I have. I will use this T shirt in my 2016 PCT thru hike.

11-09-2015, 12:36
Suck it up and pay for a Merino wool undershirt.
Yes, this material is expensive -- but this is another case where buying premium will pay off.
Plain and simple, my polypro shirts stunk to high heaven after one day of hiking, and I hated wearing them with the stink.
After reading that Merino would solve the problem, I tried one and found that it works -- I could wear one for five days without a problem.
I now own three Merino shirts -- I save up and buy one during the holidays.

11-09-2015, 12:51
Normal washing won't get the odor out of poly sports fabrics. Use a specialty sport detergent like Nikwax Basefresh, Win, Prowash, or Hex. (Tide sport formula is just Tide with even more perfume and just temporarily masks.) Don't use fabric softener. A couple of washings will get the odor out. Continued use of the sport detergents will keep it away.

11-09-2015, 13:02
Polyester fabric takes on an odor and won't let go.

I found a merino half-zip top on sale I wear with a thin nylon full-zip or half-zip wind shirt.

Sierra Traders has frequent sales and even combines coupons. I gave them my email, requesting notification for Icebreakers products. I often see merino t-shirts on sale, and sometimes in conservative colors I prefer.

For hot weather, I find a nylon Fisherman's shirt (Bimini, Florida keys, like that) from Columbia sportswear on sale online. I also like a solid color conservative color rayon shirt, my favorite for hot wearer.

I wear a string cotton t-shirt under a hot weather shirt unbuttoned. I can button up, if more warmth is needed or if the wind picks up.

I like clothing that I can easily adjust my temperature while hiking.

This works for me.

11-09-2015, 13:12
Thanks guys;
I'll check into the Merino and the fisherman's shirts.

11-09-2015, 13:19
How do the sizes for the Icebreaker Merino t-shirts run? I usually buy a large, but if sizes run large, I go with medium.

11-09-2015, 13:55
I ordered two Icebreaker merino shirts from Sierra Trading Post with a 20% coupon I found online (applied only to one item). One short sleeve and one long sleeve. Total cost me $80, but if I can wear one shirt for several days then the investment is well worth the money. I can also use the shirts for running. Save on electricity and gas to run the washer if I don't have to wash them after every run or hike.

11-09-2015, 14:02
Vinegar in the rinse cycle helps with smell. Allowing clothes to dry, slows bacterial growth. Wear them dry and they smell less than if you take them off at night and they stay damp. You also wont notice them.

11-09-2015, 14:07
Vinegar in the rinse cycle helps with smell. Allowing clothes to dry, slows bacterial growth. Wear them dry and they smell less than if you take them off at night and they stay damp. You also wont notice them.
I have been using vinegar and borax in the wash for my running clothes for years. It works, and I also find that if I wash them immediately after wearing they come out smelling even better. I use a small tub and wash by hand - leave them soaking overnight or few hours during the day, then hang outside to dry.
But I did order the Icebreaker merino shirts from Sierra trading. I thought I was getting the 20% off on only one item, but I got it on both shirts I ordered. The items I ordered are discontinued though - don't know how long I will be able to get them, thinking I will come back for more when I get a little more cash.

11-09-2015, 14:31
These show up from time to time.

I haven't worn one out.

I find they fit snug, order a size up?

I hand wash and air dry. I do not use a dryer.

11-09-2015, 16:31
I wear merino wool base layers all year long. I usually carry two, one short sleeve and one long sleeve. I can hike in the short sleeve top for a week in the summer and it doesn't smell bad. Really. I save the l/s for a dry shirt for sleeping. One downside is that they really shouldn't go in the dryer, so they need to hang overnight when you do laundry. But I have put them back on when damp plenty of times and they dry fast while walking. My hiking layers are the Smartwool 150-wt. I have some boxer briefs for cooler weather, and long johns, all in the same weight, all work the same way.

I think Icebreaker is going to be snug - my wife went up a size and it's still rather, er, flattering. :) Same with Montbell. I don't remember the sizing on the Smartwool.

11-09-2015, 18:38
I just buy a size larger and dry them. They fit the same with less care involved.

11-09-2015, 19:18
I bought size large. It will fit fine. I wouldn't put this kind of thing in the dryer - at least not on any heat cycle. Normally, I will hand wash in mild detergent (like Woolite) and hang or lay flat to dry. Some fabrics will stretch if you hang them while wet, but I would expect that something of this light weight wouldn't. I'll pretty much follow the care instructions.
Good idea to keep the long sleeve for sleeping.

11-09-2015, 20:54
I approach this by attacking on several fronts because I don't care what kind of material or treated apparel you wear IF YOU REEK like vomit and with a I live under the bridge and haven't washed in two wks ODOOR in all sorts of conditions putting on a brand new whatever type shirt out of the box there YOU ARE and there WILL BE the ODOOR. 1) yeah merino or something like a synthetic treated with silver ions or a combination of synthetic/natural shirts, a Patogonia Polygiene treated tee, etc certainly helps, at least for me, but isn't a magic bullet for odor vastly 14reduced hiking 2) mask your undesirable odors, I smell like Repel Lemon Eucalyptus Insect Repellent, essential oils in other products I may have like Bert's Bees lip balm, or Berts Bees Res-Q-Ointment or Lemon Butter Cuticle Cream that I use for multiple purposes(antifriction cream, subtle insect repellent adding to a cumulative insect repellent strategy, small abrasion/scratch, subtle antiseptic/anti-fungal qualities etc or a small bit of Dr Bronners castille liquid soap that again has multiple functions(toothpaste, body soap, laundry/gear detergent, shampoo, etc) 3) clean your gear regularly, the simple act of dunking and rinsing backpacks, washing sleeping bag, hosing off a tent, etc can do wonders decreasing and eliminating cross contaminating odors. For experimentation several times, I took all my kit and weighed it pre washing and after with the exact same kit. One time I removed 1 lb 2 ozs of sweat and grunge from a 16 lb kit. That's 7+% extra UNNECESSARY wt I was hauling in gunge and SMELL. 4) reduce the stink by keeping hair short, it's not just for triathletes and Micheal Phelps, consider going smooth - less stink, lets get serious UL! 5) don't go crazy UL meaning splurge for the back breaking knee cracking extra ozs of having two pr of socks, and two torso pieces, etc that you're constantly rotating into a cleaner/dryer set, don't be afraid of washing your one set if that's your only apparel either especially when it's warm, put the wet clothing on and dry it with body heat and the sun, it 's often refreshing anyway in the summer months 6) OMG wash the shoes, get a grip on shoe odors! - get some charcoal, replace othotics/footbed, wash those funky arse smelling feet, replace shot shoes!

No one is saying you are trying to get the GQ or Mens Fitness cover but all these things, and more, cut down the stink to a somewhat more manageable considerate level. Say what you say but a better smell and appearance plays into getting what you want and demonstrates consideration of others. And, you never know what good looking significant other you might meet on trail! Trail sex is awesome! Reasonably naturally smelling the better!

11-10-2015, 05:36
If the price of merino t shirts or base layers shocks you. Try goodwill or another thrift store. I got my husbands nylon shirts and my merino there. The merino cost me about 7 dollars the nylon shirts were 3 bucks.

11-10-2015, 10:54
If the price of merino t shirts or base layers shocks you. Try goodwill or another thrift store. I got my husbands nylon shirts and my merino there. The merino cost me about 7 dollars the nylon shirts were 3 bucks.
I don't mind paying good money for something that will serve me well. Having the right clothing while on an extended trek is worth the money. My pack was 40lbs on my last AT trek, which was only 4 days long. I need to reduce to 30-35. Being able to get along with fewer pieces of clothing will certainly help.

11-10-2015, 11:41
Here's Merino wool (http://theunderwearguys.com/product_info.php?cPath=52&products_id=281) for $39.99 (always)
And it doesn't stink after wearing for 4 days straight (tried it twice now, VERY little smell)

11-14-2015, 02:37
I own just about every shirt made by Icebreaker and wear them on a daily basis. The best shirt, in terms of durability, stink resistance, performance, comfort and fit is IB's newer Cool-Sphere T-shirt. It kicks the snot out of the tech T lite and, even, their fancy-pants Oasis Bodyfit line. The only problem is that the available colors suck. This is solved by buying some RIT dye and coloring them how you'd like.

In cooler weather, I'll use IB's budget "everyday" 200wt T-shirt or a similar Oasis Bodyfit at 200wt which is nice to sleep in under a quilt. In my experience, their 150wt stuff falls apart like Smartwool.

I can also highly recommend their hike lite socks which I also wear to work as well as play basketball in. Those socks last. Also great are IB's hoodies, if you can find them at a significant discount.

Check Sierra Trading Post's facebook page. Every once and a while they'll drop a 40% off code and/or run those hike light socks on sale at $6. Every now and then Amazon will have some outrageous deals on out of season IB stuff.

11-14-2015, 03:08
Oh, one more suggestion. I've recently had luck with Ex Officio's Minimo shirts if you're in the mood for a classic button down. Again, can be found for around $30 and beats the hell out of the columbia fishing shirts you see everywhere. Great shirts for traveling.