What are the qualities of various clothing materials?
|From: Jim Carson
Polarlite - Fluffy, fleecy stuff also called Polarplus and Synchilla. Comfortable.
Incredibly warm, especially under something that breaks the wind. Doesn't
wick moisture out very well. Breathes very well.
Supplex (nylon) - Comfortable. It is breathable and water repellent (but
NOT water proof). Seems to absorb a small amount of water if it is really
Merino (wool) - From a "breed of fine-wooled white sheep originating in
Spain and producing a heavy fleece of exceptional quality." I guess you
could treat this as normal 100% wool.
Thermax - An improvement on Polypro. The big advantage is heat resistance
so you can put it in the dryer. Balance that against the extra cost.
CoolMax - This stuff seems more like a plastic bag than the revolutionary
wicking material it is advertised as.
Dacron - Trademark name for Dupont polyester. Woven fabric made from dacron
is similar to nylon ripstop or taffeta, but not as stretchy. Many of the
better clothing insulations are made from dacron. They are usually refered
to by more specific trademark names, like quallofil, hollofil, polarguard,
Lycra - Used for its stretch, mostly a warm weather (>65 degrees) thing.
GoreTex - A teflon based membrane with microscopic holes. Gortex's claim
to fame is that it will let water vapor (from perspiration) through, but
not liquid water (rain). It blocks wind fairly well too. The membrane is
delicate, so it always comes laminated between 2 layers of other material.
It does not breathe enough. There are less expensive alternatives.
Polypropylene - Does not wick very well. Can be uncomfortable. Troublesome
to care for (e.g. can pill badly) Will keep you fairly warm if soaked.
Not very wind resistant. Melts in the dryer.
Capilene - Wicks moisture away. Very comfortable. Comes in different weights
for more/less warmth. [lots of favorable things about it... only really
unfavorable thing is the co$t]
60/40 cloth - This is a cloth with nylon threads running one direction,
cotton in the other. It was the standard wind parka material before Goretex
came along, and is considerably less expensive. Good wind resistance, fairly
breathable. Somewhat water resistant, especially if you spray it with Scotchguard,
but won't hold up to a heavy rain.
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