View Full Version : Comparisons of Moisture Wicking Fabrics

05-25-2003, 13:51
There's a lot of marketing hype out there about how great all of these moisture wicking fabrics are (e.g., Capilene, CoolMax, UnderArmour, MTS, etc.), but I have yet to see any sort of scientific comparison as to which ones are really better. I did see some results on the UnderArmour site, but it did not compare to any other technology out there.

Of course, I'm trying to find the lightest, fastest drying, "wickiest" short- and long-sleeve shirts out there. My personal opinion is that the expensive Patagonia Capilene T-shirt I bought didn't wick or dry very quickly in hot, humid weather. I've probably had the most luck with an old lightweight Duofold T-shirt that seems to dry before I take it off. However, I can't say that I've done a scientific comparison of the benefits of these various technologies.

I'd appreciate it if anyone can point me to the best fabric, in any of the dimensions (breathability, wicking, drying, comfort, etc.), or a scientific comparison, or just their own experience.

05-27-2003, 15:59
I have found Coolmax to wick like the dickens.

Hind Drylete is also pretty sweet.

10-09-2003, 20:10
Anyone out there see any controlled tests on this recently?

10-09-2003, 20:51
I am old enough that I remember when the recomendation was to ALWAYS use natural fibers. So I was a skeptic about all this wicking voodoo. BUT I hike mostly in the southwest with temp frequently over 100 and for some reason my thighs are closer together than they used to be.

I tried one pair of MTS based undershorts to help combat a chaf problem and I was sold. I have used Coolmax and MTS. I can't tell a difference but I find either better than cotton or "nothing at all" by a large margin. I find a long sleeve Coolmax t-shirt is far more comfortable under GoreTex than other options.

My main complaint is that they can stink. Snowseal makes a scent neutralizing detergent that you can buy at Walmart that does a grea job of removing any kind of smell. A good idea in bear country.

10-09-2003, 20:56
I think www.backpackinglight.com has a "study" on various materials. In their opinon merino wool is the best base layer around. Several manufactures now make merino wool base layers (IBEX, Smartwool, etc.)

10-09-2003, 21:37
Silk underlayer, wool or wool/silk blend on top of that.

10-10-2003, 00:40
Here's some info on different fabrics: High Performance Fabrics (http://www.abc-of-mountaineering.com/articles/mountaineeringperformancefabrics.asp)

10-10-2003, 07:56
I recall that Backpacker Magazine did a review of wicking clothing a few years ago.

On the other hand, I think there is a lot of manufacturing hype out there.

Probably what is more important than brand name is fit. Certain brands will fit better than others, or may have seams in wrong places.

10-10-2003, 08:29
Thanks, Peaks, I'll do a search of Backpacker.com to see if I can dig up the review. There is certainly a lot of hype out there. I'm confident that some of these products don't do the job nearly as well as others.