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Clothing suggestions for hot humid sunny weather outdoor work  RSS feed

 
Posts: 17
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There must be a best option for clothing to wear on hot humid sunny days while working outside. I'm not looking for style points here, and I don't want to go shirtless (bugs, sunburn, sticky sunblock, thorns, etc.). So far, I have been opting for loose-fitting airy pants with an old long-sleeved cotton blend button down white shirt (with the collar cut off). I like that, with this outfit, I don't have to use a sunblock, that my skin is protected, etc. but it still is certainly less comfortable than going shirtless with shorts. Boots can get hot too, like my favorite Muck boots, so I'll sometimes wear Keen sandals with socks or not. I almost always wear a broad brimmed straw hat with down sloping brim and a pair of safety glasses--keeps the sun off my neck and seems to keep the swarm of gnats hovering above the hat instead of in my eyes and face. My grandfather worked hot Chicago summers in the mosquito abatement field, and apparently they would soak their t-shirts in water, put them on until they dried, and then soak them again. I seem to get soaked enough from my perspiration.

Of course, there's the option of doing outdoor work early morning and late evening, but that's not always ideal--when you have to get something done on the only dry day, for example.

I wish I knew more about what different cultures have used over the centuries.

Have you found the perfect clothing for such weather? I'd be glad to hear about it.
 
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It sounds like you're already doing about the best you can within the constraint of our American culture, but have you considered doing what people in arid regions in other parts of the world do? For example, a long, light-colored and lightweight tunic, kaftan or robe-type thing (called a thwab in Arabic) that allows air to circulate around your legs and body? (Actually, there is evidence that black may be a better color than white for summer. It seems to defy common sense, but here is a quick, simple explanation should you want to try a black, bedouin-style robe https://io9.gizmodo.com/5903956/the-physics-that-explain-why-you-should-wear-black-this-summer.
Then, you can keep wearing your wide-brimmed hat if you like (it's a great way to keep sun off your face and neck)

OR

Wear one of these


OR

Go whole-hog into desert dress and wear a Shemagh (which can be tied and worn in so many ways ... this is only one way to do it)
 
David Mitchell
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Thanks for those ideas, Deb.

The physics on black clothing was new to me, and the link at the bottom of that link (StraightDope) gives even more of the physics, suggesting that in a windy location, black is better, since it absorbs body heat and then is able to transmit it via convection into the passing air. But if the air is relatively still, black just hangs on to the heat. It is worth a try.

I might try a shemagh scarf, just to see how it feels. Just seems like it would get hot and sweaty pretty darn quick, but people have been wearing them for ages, I suppose. On the other hand, I don't have blowing sand here.

(I noticed you're in SW Missouri; I used to work in Springfield, MO.)
 
Deb Stephens
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David Mitchell wrote:
I might try a shemagh scarf, just to see how it feels. Just seems like it would get hot and sweaty pretty darn quick, but people have been wearing them for ages, I suppose. On the other hand, I don't have blowing sand here.

(I noticed you're in SW Missouri; I used to work in Springfield, MO.)



You don't have to buy one if you do. Just grab an old cotton sheet and cut a 44" square out of it (hem or not as you please or fashion dictates). The cheapest and lightest weight white ones work best. And don't forget that you can get them wet before tying on if it's really hot!

As for Springfield ... small world! I live just south of there about 45 miles.
 
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Location: Boudamasa, Chad
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Hey David,

In my corner of Africa, people go for light and airy cotton clothing. Personally, I wear a wet turban to work outside. It feels awesome and stays wet pretty long. I wrap it so the tail hangs down the back and covers the neck.  And yes, sandals.

Wetting your shirt is WAY cooler than letting it soak in sweat. It also helps with hydration, since your body doesn't have to sweat as much.

Happy working!

 
David Mitchell
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Thanks, Nathaneal.

I should really try a wet turban, but I have no idea how to tie it, unless it is the same as the above post, referring to a shemagh.

Do you happen to have a picture of how you tie that?

Good thoughts on the wet shirt. Thanks.
 
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I have been wearing black long sleeve shirts for many years  here in the deep South.  And catching lots of grief from people who dont understand.  haha  This post has me wondering, do you think wearing a white cotton layer over my shirt would be a good idea to reflect the heat from the sun?
 
Nathanael Szobody
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David,

I'm in the bush right now, and my Internet isn't good enough to upload video. But when I go to the capital in a month or so I'll try to remember to record a video to show how I tie a work turban.
 
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I'm in Djibouti right now.  I'd recommend khaki pants, light cotton longsleeve shirt, bandana or a shemagh.  Sandals if appropriate, low top slip ons like Keens if you have to go steel toe.  How much of SW Asia and Africa are sporting sandals?  Pretty big majority.

The synthetics look better if you have to sell something or appear like in court,  (I don't get by in this world on my looks) and most of you don't either; so for normal context I'd go cotton 1940's look.
 
David Mitchell
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I have been wearing black long sleeve shirts for many years  here in the deep South.  And catching lots of grief from people who dont understand.  haha  This post has me wondering, do you think wearing a white cotton layer over my shirt would be a good idea to reflect the heat from the sun?



I'll definitely try out the black long sleeve at least once.

I would think that an extra layer of white on top of black would defeat the effect of convection of heat from the black.

Ideally, there would be a material that is like a one-way mirror, letting radiated heat out but reflecting all light from outside.

Less complex than that would be a material that is black on the inside and white on the outside, but that might mess with the convection process too.

Thanks for your input.

 
David Mitchell
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I'm in the bush right now, and my Internet isn't good enough to upload video. But when I go to the capital in a month or so I'll try to remember to record a video to show how I tie a work turban.



Thanks much Nathanael. Be safe.
 
David Mitchell
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Post Today 5:44:20 AM     Subject: Clothing suggestions for hot humid sunny weather outdoor work
I'm in Djibouti right now.  I'd recommend khaki pants, light cotton longsleeve shirt, bandana or a shemagh.  Sandals if appropriate, low top slip ons like Keens if you have to go steel toe.  How much of SW Asia and Africa are sporting sandals?  Pretty big majority.



Thanks, Jim. I appreciate the input.

With the sandals, working in the soil, the problem I run into is constantly getting dirt and pebbles in them, so I will often wear heavy duty socks with them. Any tips on that issue? Are there sandal designs that are better for preventing the debris from getting in.
 
David Mitchell
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I have been wearing black long sleeve shirts for many years  here in the deep South.



Do you think these are good to try, brews? Thanks.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00KBZSQ64/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o00_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

 
Deb Stephens
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David Mitchell wrote:With the sandals, working in the soil, the problem I run into is constantly getting dirt and pebbles in them, so I will often wear heavy duty socks with them. Any tips on that issue? Are there sandal designs that are better for preventing the debris from getting in.



Have you tried Crocs (or if you're like me, the knock-off brands which are exactly the same but much cheaper)? It's pretty much all I wear. They're roomy inside so let air circulate around your feet. They're "rubber" so don't mind mud or water. And you can slip them on and off easily if you do happen to get a rock in your shoe. In fact, I think they were originally made with gardeners in mind (although I wear them everywhere).
 
Nathanael Szobody
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David Mitchell wrote:
With the sandals, working in the soil, the problem I run into is constantly getting dirt and pebbles in them, so I will often wear heavy duty socks with them. Any tips on that issue? Are there sandal designs that are better for preventing the debris from getting in.



You could try a different brand. Here most people use flip-flops, and they don't seem to catch stuff as much. But whether it's flip-flops or sandals don't hesitate to kick them off for some chores. Here people plow barefoot, for instance, otherwise they would constantly be battling dirt in the shoes. Also, it extends the life of them.
 
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David Mitchell wrote:

I have been wearing black long sleeve shirts for many years  here in the deep South.



Do you think these are good to try, brews? Thanks.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00KBZSQ64/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o00_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1



I'm near the Great Lakes, high humidity and high temps.
That link looks like the new wicking fabric tech that's been around a few years. Simply astonishing how well it works even in a humid climate.  I no longer fear those days. They still suck, but I don't dread them.
 
David Mitchell
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I'm near the Great Lakes, high humidity and high temps.
That link looks like the new wicking fabric tech that's been around a few years. Simply astonishing how well it works even in a humid climate.  I no longer fear those days. They still suck, but I don't dread them.



Good to hear that, Roy. I've ordered some already! Hoping to start a new phase in life...
 
Roy Hinkley
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The first one I got as a gift, it's the best and been trying to find a lower cost one that works as well.  http://www.coolcanuck.ca/apparel/golf/golf%20shirts  ; Logo says Coolcore fabric, maybe search that.

Tried others with mixed results. They can't be big sellers, everything I bought before is a dead link except for the link I posted.

Amazon "coolcore"
https://www.amazon.com/Coolcore/b/ref=w_bl_sl_ap_ap_web_10007840011?ie=UTF8&node=10007840011&field-lbr_brands_browse-bin=Coolcore
 
brews wain
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David Mitchell wrote:

I have been wearing black long sleeve shirts for many years  here in the deep South.



Do you think these are good to try, brews? Thanks.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00KBZSQ64/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o00_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

Since you ask, No.  I wear Dickies twill button up. Loose fitting. Great material, if you get a smudge or something on it, it just brushes off.
 
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Military surplus desert clothes work well for me in Texas, especially pants. I will buy any nations surplus clothing except USA because I haven't served in the military.

Desert clothing made for military use is tough, light, and designed for high temp environments. There are a lot of overpriced sellers out there. A little effort with a search engine can find great deals online. A good local surplus store can be great resource.

 
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I think you're about right on everything but the hat!

Maybe it's because I'm used to wearing it everyday, but it is very comfortable, easy to wash, and durable. There is a nice gap inside to get some air flow too.  I'm good in this outfit until about 120F, after that I'm in a boiler room or something and all bets are off.
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Ok, I'm not working...
 
Jim Wineteer
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David Mitchell wrote:


Post Today 5:44:20 AM     Subject: Clothing suggestions for hot humid sunny weather outdoor work
I'm in Djibouti right now.  I'd recommend khaki pants, light cotton longsleeve shirt, bandana or a shemagh.  Sandals if appropriate, low top slip ons like Keens if you have to go steel toe.  How much of SW Asia and Africa are sporting sandals?  Pretty big majority.



Thanks, Jim. I appreciate the input.

With the sandals, working in the soil, the problem I run into is constantly getting dirt and pebbles in them, so I will often wear heavy duty socks with them. Any tips on that issue? Are there sandal designs that are better for preventing the debris from getting in.



I'm not a medical type but in the last couple years I've read Blue Zone and Gut Biome.  I'm pretty sure it's really - really good to get some contact with our soil.  I know it's uncomfortable but I recommend you stretch your nervous systems' normal, and condition for it.  Come to think of it Born to Run informs this attitude of mine too.  North American feet, knees, backs are weaker from using foam rubber sports shoes day in and day out everywhere.  There is huge precedence for sandals, or minimal shoes in human history. 

The feet have some special zone where the arteries and veins that are pointing to each other are close.  I forget the two bit word, but think of it as a radiator.  So like if you wake up in the night hot, slightly hot but covered and you want to do the minimum to go back to sleep; well just kick your feet out from under the covers.  Whole body cools down pretty quick.

35 years ago I had an uncle that had some Chinese sandals made from tires and cowhide with a steel ring across the top.  They had super powers at longevity and I spent some time looking for some of my own, without knowing what they were called.  I never found them but I dislike wearing company logos and disposables.
 
Jim Wineteer
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Daniel Richardson wrote:I think you're about right on everything but the hat!

Maybe it's because I'm used to wearing it everyday, but it is very comfortable, easy to wash, and durable. There is a nice gap inside to get some air flow too.  I'm good in this outfit until about 120F, after that I'm in a boiler room or something and all bets are off.



You can get those hats in a cowboy hat shape too for more shade and some Texas cool points.
 
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I always look for the white or light color cotton long sleeve button up shirts at the thrift shops. Light weight, quality sheet like material. Under that i typically wear a scrub top, the hospital kind. Those are often polyester or poly/cotton. (although the one I'm wearing now says 100%cotton!) they are fairly cool and forgiving. Always a bandana (cotton) tied around my neck. A ball cap an when I'll be in the sun for a while the bandana gets draped over my head under the cap an the long sleeve shirt is on. I usually wear shorts and if I'm going to be mowing or riding the tractor all day I have a piece of cotton sheet that's about 45"x 60" or so I drape over my legs. Usually if I'm walking round all day my legs don't get much sun... Or I have used that piece of sheet tucked in around my waist. Heavy leather shoes here cause the fire ants are everywhere... Plenty hot and humid here!!!
 
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Are you not concerned about ticks?
I wear long sleeves and long pants in light colors, tucked in. I like permethrin infused to repel ticks, chiggers, and mosquitoes. I need footwear to protect from rattlers but haven't figured that out yet as I don't want to wear cowboy boots.
 
Jim Wineteer
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Rattlesnakes aren't very dangerous to sober aware adults.  A lot of the injuries in America involve alcohol are something impairing the picking up on the warning signs.
 
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I recently attended a funeral in Homa Bay Kenya which is about half a degree from the equator. It was a hot sunny day, but I was perfectly comfortable while local people sweltered.

I wore a long sleeve shirt dipped in water but not tucked in, along with a broad brimmed hat that was saturated with water. I poured water over the thighs of my pants.  It felt like a cool spring day.  Some people thought it looked uncomfortable. When they touch my forearm they said it looked like I might be cold. That was the point. I asked some of the guys if they had ever gone swimming with their clothing on. They had and remember how refreshing it was. I don't think I started a trend. For them it was just a bit hot. For me, the day would have been unbearable.
 
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Not to derail, but any discussion of clothing on our place includes ticks. Not so much directly around the house (we are to spraying with a cedar oil concoction and keep the grass short) or in the open field, but a lot of our planting’s are in woodland clearings or marsh adjacent areas where ticks are plentiful. Not so much concerned with Lyme Disease as we are expert in checking and removing the blood suckers quickly so no LD is transferred, like if the tick is squeezed while attached or when it finishes feeding and throws up a little nastiness. The tick paradigm became more grave when a nearby acquaintance died of Powassan Virus which is quickly transferred very quickly from an infected tick.

So lightweight long sleeved cotton shirts and pants. Pants tucked into socks and I usually wear an old bungie hat w/ a handkerchief attached to the back. Legs on the pants are sprayed frequently w/ essential oils we mix up, no permethrin as we have cats and would worry about their exposure. We’re also experimenting w/ anti-tick leggings and shirts which is a burgeoning business.

I love the idea of flowing black robes and a turban, like Lawrence of the Market Garden...

 
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denise ra wrote:Are you not concerned about ticks?
I wear long sleeves and long pants in light colors, tucked in. I like permethrin infused to repel ticks, chiggers, and mosquitoes. I need footwear to protect from rattlers but haven't figured that out yet as I don't want to wear cowboy boots.




Denise, these are what I wear as cowboy boots are not tall enough:

https://permies.com/t/85854/Men-Leather-Snake-Boots-Guide



Every time I see this thread, I think of Joseph's skirt:

https://permies.com/t/50841/search-practical-skirt

 
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It Really a personal preference light slacks or work style pants and a tee or longed sleeved shirt or even layers it depends on what you are doing and what you are comfortable with.
there is no right or wrong way really it is what you feel comfortable and protected in.
 
Dale Hodgins
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I am not wearing my hat. Uusual for me. I did some climbing when it was fairly warm outside.
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My go-tos are: Loose fitting, long sleeved (because of the bugs), light colours (because of the bugs). My preferred fabric is linnen, i find it less clingy and cooler to the touch than cotton, exept for a thin cotton scarf/bandana, which i dip in water (cooling your neck helps cool your body, lots of big vessels close to the skin). Of course a hat. Barefoot, fllip-flops or avarcas for my feet, if circumstances allow. Avarcas are really nice. Mine are made of bike tires and leather, i had them made to fit for around 15$ and wear them almost every hot day for the last 10+ years. They look much nicer than sandals on my feet (Size 15) and are really light.
 
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