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  1. #1

    Default Shirt Materials Questions

    I'm shopping for some men's button up shirts specifically for my adventures. I like the idea of plaid because it breaks up the obvious dirt and filth you're covered in. But a good majority of the shirts I find under $40-50 have some % of cotton. Is all cotton a NO GO for you? And on the topic of button up shirts, do you guys find the ability to open them and vent them more helps in summer or does it just not matter? If anyone has a brand that you like I'm open to suggestions within a $50 budget. Thanks in advance peeps!

  2. #2


    Unfortunately, cotton has properties that are not all that desirable for conditions expected on a hike in shoulder weather where hypothermia likes to blend in. In winter I typically avoid cotton in most anything, in summer I have a few blended tee-shirts that are comfortable. One of the coldest I have ever been was wearing a cotton shirt when a mid-summer thunderstorm stalled overhead, reducing the warm 85-degree day into a very wet and wind whipped 50-degrees.

    Though comfortable, cotton absorbs and retains water and when saturated can weigh a lot, which is the primary reason I tend to shy away from 100% cotton garments to hike in (a different story for camp clothing depending if its a weekend jaunt or long distance trek. For desert hiking I will wear cotton given the evaporative cooling it can provide. In shoulder weather I avoid wearing cotton given its inability to evaporate or pass water quickly and retain body heat like synthetics can.

    My experience venting cotton shirts by unbuttoning can work to a degree in warm weather, though will not do much for my back under the pack which will remain soaked. I also tend to be sensitive to constantly wet clothing and find chafing an issue especially around pack straps and places where constant motion will encourage chafing along with skin issues with dermis exposure. Again, synthetics tend to have much better performance in these conditions.

    That said, I will wear blended fabrics having some cotton in them for hiking in warm weather, though most blends I have found to work for me have less than 15% cotton in them. I think it fair to say everyone has to find that center point of when cotton is ok and when to avoid it.

  3. #3
    Registered User NY HIKER 50's Avatar
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    Brooklyn, NY
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    In this day and age you should be thinking about sun clothing. Unfortunately you should get a sun shirt not made of cotton. I'm not a shill for a certain company but their sun shirts are good. Once cotton gets wet it's no good for sun. It gets wet, IT STAYS WET. Cotton is a no go for me unless I'm inside and sedentary.

  4. #4


    not a button up but the haynes cool dri shirts are pretty good and way cheaper than the fashion brands that are the same thing.
    You may be able to find them in a camo style print. I have one that stupid Navy blue camo print... Sposed to be a fishing shirt I guess so when the fish look up they cant see you,,,, you know despite standing on an 18 foot boat.

  5. #5


    To stay cool in summer, two effects need to be managed. The sun and evaporative cooling.

    An umbrella is probably the best way to block the sun

    The cooling effect of evaporation trumps all other ways of cooling yourself. The change from water to vapor provides an enormous cooling effect (like 2,260 kJ/kg latent heat of evaporation of water). I have never found cotton to be beneficial to the evaporation of sweat. It is pretty good at blocking the sun and keeping you from getting burnt. If it isn't too hot, I still rely on lightweight wools but once temperatures are high, synthetics work much better. Once temperatures and humidity are very high, you just have to slow way, way down because there is no evaporation and you just are boiling your brain. So, it depends on what is summer.

  6. #6


    Thin wool is my base layer year round. Sub 150 weight, thinner the better for three season. It will get holes and show dirt, but function long after it loses its fashion appeal.

    That's what I want in a trail shirt
    “The man who goes alone can start today; but he who travels with another must wait until that other is ready...”~Henry David Thoreau

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  7. #7


    Ex-Officio is our go-to for an outstanding synthetic shirt (or pants, or underwear). Made for serious world travel. Lasts for decades with hard useage. You can sometimes find it on sale or on an auction site, or a thrift store. Sometimes cheap copies almost as good at Costco, steepandcheap, sierra tp

  8. #8


    Ive worn a marmot button down plaid shirt for about 2000 miles now. No complaints and it has alot of life left in it.
    Trail Miles: 4,090.3 - AT Trips: 71
    AT Map 1: 2004.8
    AT Map 2: 265.0
    Sheltowee Trace Map: 116.0
    BMT Map: 57.7
    Pinhoti Trail Map: 31.5

  9. #9


    I like Columbia Silver Ridge button up shirts. They are 100% nylon, and dry fast. They come in short and long sleeves. The long sleeve version has a strap and button to hold up the sleeves when rolled up. They come in solids and plaid. Great for warmer weather. You can often find them on Amazon for less than $40.

  10. #10
    Registered User
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    Evanston IL


    Craghoppers NosiLife, weird name, very well made shirt. InsectShield and SPF 40. All nylon, dries quick. REI closeout

    I own one, but no company connection

  11. #11


    swiss tech from walmart, magellan from sports authority

  12. #12


    All about comfort in action, this shirt is made of lightweight mini-ripstop nylon with FreeDry® moisture wicking and built-in sun protection. The low-maintenance, space-saving fabric stuffs easily into a pack or bag and comes out ready for anything.

    Eddie Bauer brand

  13. #13


    I use a Dickie work shirt (green) which is 60/40 - 60% Nylon, 40% cotton. It's reasonably wind proof and dries reasonably quickly with body heat. I use it three seasons. This shirt has traveled many miles with me. I'm not sure if they still use that blend though.
    Follow slogoen on Instagram.

  14. #14
    Registered User Venchka's Avatar
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    Upper East Side of Texas


    100% polyester. Long sleeve. Vented back. Sun treated. Fishing shirts. I have several. About $20 at Sam’s Club. I was in Sam’s this week. They have the new summer batch in. Bright colors! So the Search & Rescue folks can find you.
    Backpacking in Colorado and Wyoming. Fishing in east Texas.
    Take my pack off at camp. The shirt is dry by the time I set up camp and have dinner.

  15. #15
    Registered User soilman's Avatar
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    Chillicothe, OH


    I have worn a Mountain Hardware button up short sleeve shirt for the past 7-8 years. It has some spf protection, dries fast and cleans easily. Plus I think it is a little classier than a standard t shirt. I like being able to unbutton as I get overheated. I recently bought a light weight merino short sleeve shirt and am going to give it a try next month. I have a long sleeve merino that I use in cooler weather and really like it.
    More walking, less talking.

  16. #16
    Registered User
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    where i am now, which might not be where i am tomorrow


    it's all about a thrift store. 0% cotton is the best. you shouldn't have to pay more than $4.

  17. #17
    Registered User
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    Georgia and Hawaii


    The shirt market I've be increasingly embracing is based on mixing fibers and tech. I've been happily wearing a 110 g/m2 Voormi blended cotton Desert hoodie on hot dry sunny desert hikes. https://voormi.com/collections/ultra...-desert-hoodie However when conditions entail wet and cold I avoid cotton.

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