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Anyone have experience with the new seldom wash clothes?

Anyone have experience with the new seldom wash clothes?

Old Jun 15, 19, 5:48 pm
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Anyone have experience with the new seldom wash clothes?

There are a small number of brands. Most are treated, light wool that doesnít absorb sweat, odors and dirt much and is still breathable. According to some reviews Iíve seen you can wear them many days in a row without washing. It would certainly simplify packing and eliminate washing while traveling. Any experience? Thanks.
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Old Jun 15, 19, 10:31 pm
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I can travel almost any where in the world with about 3 merino wool shirts, 3 merino underware and socks. I've done it and do it often.

I was teaching classes and one of the physicians i was teaching was an Army Trauma doc who then bought some for his travel and he mentioned it to the founder of Unbound Merino (well not exactly, if i recall there is a "how did you hear about us" survey when you purchase and the founders must occasionally check or get forwarded responses) ...long story short. I actually got contacted personally by one of the co founders Dima Zelikman with a personal thank you. I actually responded to his email and we carried on an exchange for at least 5 or 6 emails if i recall. That's pretty darn impressive customer attention in my book.

Unbound Merino is better than ice breaker and certainly better wool x etc. A few pointers...this stuff is expensive but they DO have bundle packs and then they DO run black friday sales. I stock up by combining bundles with black friday door busters.

To really make merino wool work here is a tip. Change clothes every 8 to 12 hours. If it stays dry you can wear it for weeks.

My routine: Arrive from a flight, that shirt comes off and starts to dry.. Shirt number 2 goes on. At bed time Shirt number 2 goes out to dry. I don't sleep in it because it is too expensive to risk stretching. IN the morning a brand new shirt 3 goes on. When i get off work Shirt number one goes on till bed time. Day two a completely dry shirt 2 goes back on. After work, i am back to Shirt 3 before heading out (and so on). You can go for weeks and or months like this, go home to your wife shove the arm pit right in her face and zero smell.

This works fine if you are relatively clean. Obviously this doesnt make you mud proof, dirt proof, and if you are a generally fiilty person this wont work. However, you can wash them in the sink in cold water with some wool soap. Merino wool drys pretty fast and your back in buisness. The underware and socks honestly need a good washing in the sink a bit more often but as bad as this sounds, you can get by with wearing each set closer to 48 hours if you constantly change them and let them dry (as opposed to the normal 24 hours straight most people do).

I have a drawer full of merino wool gear and last fall they came out with very handy long sleeved t shirts which i wore all around London for days a couple weeks ago. Now i am just waiting for them to come out with some polo shirts. They also have a hoodie but i don't have one. Since it is expensive i don't wear it around the house (much). I have one black shirt (the first unbound mernio wool t i ever bought) that i use for the flight itself since it doesnt look as good as it once did and one that looks great but has a stain on it (salsa i think it was) that i use if i am going to eat out some where messy and I DO mow the yard in that one. Over time i may end up replacing all my shirts with merino wool as the new stuff gets old an i dont want to throw it out so i buy new and start using the old around the house more etc...

Cheers and happy minimalist packing travels!

Link added: https://unboundmerino.com/collection...MaAoA5EALw_wcB

Last edited by Allentown; Jun 15, 19 at 10:59 pm
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Old Jun 15, 19, 11:22 pm
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Originally Posted by Allentown View Post
I can travel almost any where in the world with about 3 merino wool shirts, 3 merino underware and socks. I've done it and do it often.

I was teaching classes and one of the physicians i was teaching was an Army Trauma doc who then bought some for his travel and he mentioned it to the founder of Unbound Merino (well not exactly, if i recall there is a "how did you hear about us" survey when you purchase and the founders must occasionally check or get forwarded responses) ...long story short. I actually got contacted personally by one of the co founders Dima Zelikman with a personal thank you. I actually responded to his email and we carried on an exchange for at least 5 or 6 emails if i recall. That's pretty darn impressive customer attention in my book.

Unbound Merino is better than ice breaker and certainly better wool x etc. A few pointers...this stuff is expensive but they DO have bundle packs and then they DO run black friday sales. I stock up by combining bundles with black friday door busters.

To really make merino wool work here is a tip. Change clothes every 8 to 12 hours. If it stays dry you can wear it for weeks.

My routine: Arrive from a flight, that shirt comes off and starts to dry.. Shirt number 2 goes on. At bed time Shirt number 2 goes out to dry. I don't sleep in it because it is too expensive to risk stretching. IN the morning a brand new shirt 3 goes on. When i get off work Shirt number one goes on till bed time. Day two a completely dry shirt 2 goes back on. After work, i am back to Shirt 3 before heading out (and so on). You can go for weeks and or months like this, go home to your wife shove the arm pit right in her face and zero smell.

This works fine if you are relatively clean. Obviously this doesnt make you mud proof, dirt proof, and if you are a generally fiilty person this wont work. However, you can wash them in the sink in cold water with some wool soap. Merino wool drys pretty fast and your back in buisness. The underware and socks honestly need a good washing in the sink a bit more often but as bad as this sounds, you can get by with wearing each set closer to 48 hours if you constantly change them and let them dry (as opposed to the normal 24 hours straight most people do).

I have a drawer full of merino wool gear and last fall they came out with very handy long sleeved t shirts which i wore all around London for days a couple weeks ago. Now i am just waiting for them to come out with some polo shirts. They also have a hoodie but i don't have one. Since it is expensive i don't wear it around the house (much). I have one black shirt (the first unbound mernio wool t i ever bought) that i use for the flight itself since it doesnt look as good as it once did and one that looks great but has a stain on it (salsa i think it was) that i use if i am going to eat out some where messy and I DO mow the yard in that one. Over time i may end up replacing all my shirts with merino wool as the new stuff gets old an i dont want to throw it out so i buy new and start using the old around the house more etc...

Cheers and happy minimalist packing travels!

Link added: https://unboundmerino.com/collection...MaAoA5EALw_wcB

Thanks a lot. I have been wearing merino wool t-shirts under a button down shirt for a while. I was very sick a few years ago and one of the residuals is Iím often cold. The wool t-shirts help a lot so Iím used to wearing them but they arenít treated. I have 6 or 8 of them and change them everyday but I think Iíll try the Unbound Merino or some of the other brands.
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Old Jun 16, 19, 1:58 am
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This sometimes comes up on reddit onebag
https://www.reddit.com/r/onebag/comm...l_days_on_end/
https://www.reddit.com/r/onebag/comm...ll_really_not/

The short of it is that if you don't produce a lot of body odor, aren't very active, travel to cooler climates, and don't get stains on it then you might be able to re-wear merino before washing. However, I'd also say that doing some test runs at home with an honest smell sensitive good friend/family member is a good idea. A lot of people can't smell their own body odor. The fabric also tends to look uneven unless ironed and cheaper cuts can cause the shirts to skew on a bias as they are washed. Both shouldn't be a problem for you since you're wearing them under another shirt.

Originally Posted by Allentown View Post
However, you can wash them in the sink in cold water with some wool soap. Merino wool drys pretty fast and your back in buisness.
I own plenty of merino shirts from Icebreaker, Ibex, Uniqlo, and etc plus a lot more merino in sweaters, base layers, and socks. Nothing from Unbound but I've also knit for quite a long time with various merino yarns. To me, the wicking action is enough - machine washable (superwash) merino is easy to wash and dry. You might as well wash superwash merino with some regularity to get sloughed off skin, spf, sweat, skin oils, and other smells out of your clothing.

Since you're asking the question, I'll also say that a clean set of clothing on transit days is a courtesy to fellow travelers, merino or not. Hotel shampoo works if you don't want to carry wool wash and it isn't overly scented. Just rinse well.

Lastly, some people buy into the merino doesn't need to be washed very often hype a bit too much especially with underwear. Not a good idea https://www.reddit.com/r/onebag/comm...ultiple_times/
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Old Jun 16, 19, 10:16 am
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Originally Posted by freecia View Post
This sometimes comes up on reddit onebag
https://www.reddit.com/r/onebag/comm...l_days_on_end/
https://www.reddit.com/r/onebag/comm...ll_really_not/

The short of it is that if you don't produce a lot of body odor, aren't very active, travel to cooler climates, and don't get stains on it then you might be able to re-wear merino before washing. However, I'd also say that doing some test runs at home with an honest smell sensitive good friend/family member is a good idea. A lot of people can't smell their own body odor. The fabric also tends to look uneven unless ironed and cheaper cuts can cause the shirts to skew on a bias as they are washed. Both shouldn't be a problem for you since you're wearing them under another shirt.



I own plenty of merino shirts from Icebreaker, Ibex, Uniqlo, and etc plus a lot more merino in sweaters, base layers, and socks. Nothing from Unbound but I've also knit for quite a long time with various merino yarns. To me, the wicking action is enough - machine washable (superwash) merino is easy to wash and dry. You might as well wash superwash merino with some regularity to get sloughed off skin, spf, sweat, skin oils, and other smells out of your clothing.

Since you're asking the question, I'll also say that a clean set of clothing on transit days is a courtesy to fellow travelers, merino or not. Hotel shampoo works if you don't want to carry wool wash and it isn't overly scented. Just rinse well.

Lastly, some people buy into the merino doesn't need to be washed very often hype a bit too much especially with underwear. Not a good idea https://www.reddit.com/r/onebag/comm...ultiple_times/

i can can also confirm that unbound stuff CAN be washed in with regular laundry.....I even run mine through the dryer if it’s stretched and needs to be shrank some. I just don’t do it every cycle. I usually do about 5 or 10 washes in the washing machine in a delicate bag in cold water with wool soap for every one “hard wash”. Hand washing in the sink is not what I meant to infer was “routine washing” it’s what you do in your hotel room when all you have access to is a sink....

IF you’ll check out my post above, you’ll see my “every 8 to 12 hour rotation” addresses many/most of your concerns. The key is keeping it dry. You won’t keep it dry if you 1) Wear it as an undershirt as it won’t breath as well and your likely sweating more and 2) If you don’t rotate them in shifts.

i can see where my experience using my techniques might be very different from someone who doesn’t use my techniques.

Trust me me I have tested this stuff and I have made it stink.....not keeping it bone dry or letting it air out when it gets damp is how you make it stink. Full disclosure.....I wear a suit and tie 8 hours a day when traveling so my rotations are even easier since I only need to cover the 6 to 10pm daily time slot.....I get more drying time in my rotation than others. I did compensate by sleeping in it and as I said when I was experimenting with its limits....including wearing it for days on end when I was home not working.....didn’t rely on my own sense of smell either.

When teaching class I literally asked if anyone wanted to directly smell the arm pits of an inside out worn 15 times shirt.. a few students lined up..all they detected were hints of my deodorant and if it’s not bone dry you’ll get a slight “wet towel” vibe.

True BO comes in when you sweat it up.....don’t rotate it and or if your deodorant isn’t working and you just keep wearing and wearing it while you stink and grind that odor into it....again if you do this then blame the merino, you are lacking common sense anyway.

I honestly think the people who aren’t successful with Merino are either just not paying attention to these basic common sense tactics or they are just almost deliberately stinky/smelly.

I can say that because historically I am one of the fastest to sweat people in a given group....I can sweat up a buttton down just getting from my car to the front door to the point it almost looks like I went swimming in it.

if I can make merino wool work well....gotta figure almost anyone can if they give it some effort and common sense planning.

Last edited by Allentown; Jun 16, 19 at 10:28 am
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Old Jun 16, 19, 11:53 am
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Originally Posted by Allentown View Post
I honestly think the people who arenít successful with Merino are either just not paying attention to these basic common sense tactics or they are just almost deliberately stinky/smelly.
....
if I can make merino wool work well....gotta figure almost anyone can if they give it some effort and common sense planning.
It sounds like you've run your tests, set up a good routine, and verified it works for you. People really do have different body odors so a few tests are good. https://blogs.scientificamerican.com...aty-valentine/

I've smelled and then spotted people who bought into the marketing of "you won't need to wash your merino clothing because won't stink". Unbound Merino puts the advice of rotating and airing between wears below the fold under their care instructions https://unboundmerino.com/blogs/unbo...to-merino-wool and they prominently advertise traveling for weeks without having to wash a single shirt. The upfront cost min is two shirts, not one.

Some research by McQueen also states that wool holds bacteria longer over multiple days than cotton or poly, even while smelling less https://www.researchgate.net/publica...al_Populations That's something to be aware of if someone is prone to skin infections - just because it doesn't smell doesn't necessarily mean it is clean.

I've smelled merino fleece and the sheep it comes from. Sheep wool smells and lanolin can reek. Merino, Alpaca, and Cashmere all have wonderful properties. Silver and anti-smell treatments for synthetics can also be useful. Just don't expect to repeatedly wear a single clothing item next to your skin weeks on end and expect it to magically stay odor free for forever. Especially if someone is going to crammed into the next 17" in economy.
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Old Jun 16, 19, 4:43 pm
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I have some t-shirts from Ably that I've had success with -- they are treated cotton. I have tried merino wool of various brands but I have a long trunk and so a bit hard to fit and most of the merino t-shirts I've bought are too short. The key as the OP says is to give them a rest between wearings. I usually will rinse them in the shower or sink wash (or use my Scrubba if I brought it) after 3-4 wearings.

I always bring a fresh set of everything to wear on the flight home. A couple times that has come in handy when I've had a "gastro emergency"
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Old Jun 16, 19, 6:52 pm
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I don't really understand how this stuff works. Your body is constantly producing sweat/oil/dead skin/smells, etc. No matter what material the clothing is made of, this stuff is touching the clothing. Unless your sweat is supposed to remain on your body (like imagine if you were wearing a garbage bag or some sort of rubbery material), it is going to get on the clothes. The clothes are going to be dirty.

If you can wash it, how is it any better than other material that can be washed? There are quick drying synthetic materials that are easy to wash and dry each wearing.

This sounds like marketing BS being used to sell expensive products.
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Old Jun 16, 19, 7:59 pm
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Originally Posted by STVA View Post
I don't really understand how this stuff works. Your body is constantly producing sweat/oil/dead skin/smells, etc. No matter what material the clothing is made of, this stuff is touching the clothing. Unless your sweat is supposed to remain on your body (like imagine if you were wearing a garbage bag or some sort of rubbery material), it is going to get on the clothes. The clothes are going to be dirty.

If you can wash it, how is it any better than other material that can be washed? There are quick drying synthetic materials that are easy to wash and dry each wearing.

This sounds like marketing BS being used to sell expensive products.
Well, not from the reviews and articles I've read and the people with experience who have posted here.
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Old Jun 16, 19, 8:27 pm
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Originally Posted by STVA View Post
I don't really understand how this stuff works. Your body is constantly producing sweat/oil/dead skin/smells, etc. No matter what material the clothing is made of, this stuff is touching the clothing. Unless your sweat is supposed to remain on your body (like imagine if you were wearing a garbage bag or some sort of rubbery material), it is going to get on the clothes. The clothes are going to be dirty.

If you can wash it, how is it any better than other material that can be washed? There are quick drying synthetic materials that are easy to wash and dry each wearing.

This sounds like marketing BS being used to sell expensive products.

Easiest way to explain is cotton is more hydromorphic......likes to hold moisture.

Merino wool is more hydro phobic....doesn’t like water and drys faster.

Moisture is the breeding ground for bacteria and bacteria is what leads to odor.

Compared to cotton you’ll stay dryer = both feel cooler and smell less. Merino drys faster when you through over a chair effectively stopping and even killing /reversing bacteria growth as it drys out so well....this doesn’t make it grime proof but it GREATLY extends the usable wear before odor sets in. If you combine that advantage with a proper rotation schedule and good hygiene....you can pack an amazingly less amount with you on a trip. A shirt that normally lasts 24 hours can last 72 or even longer.

Polyester drys fast also but the fabric turns sour and smells like vinegar very quick if you try this with poly. Merino wool however just works,

As mentioned, there are also other fabrics w interesting properties but I find merino among the best.

Agreed w what was said above. Don’t go thinking you can just buy one shirt and be done. 3 is what you need to start and it’s prob a good idea to pick up at least one long sleeved to, You’ll want even more if your a road warrior.

I live in the south where it’s very humid and it is hard to stay cool because high humidity shuts down your natural cooling mechanism.....evaporation.

Merino being hydriphobic is a God send as I actually CAN cool back off wearing this stuff. A couple hours in cotton I feel like steam is almost coming off me as I peel off a sticky wet cotton shirt. Not so with merino....I’ll get in some shade or back in air conditioning and dry right out....this is ALSO a part of the less odor equation.

One other point....Unbound says repeatedly not to tumble dry. While you should follow that I’ve got two in my collection that I tumble dry (one semi regularly) and I can’t detect any negative effects so far. Not sure what’s goin on w that. It does shrink the shirt but if you WANT to shrink one that’s always a little stretched because you’ve slept in it.....you’re golden.

Last edited by Allentown; Jun 16, 19 at 8:43 pm
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Old Jun 16, 19, 10:18 pm
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Originally Posted by Allentown View Post
One other point....Unbound says repeatedly not to tumble dry. While you should follow that I’ve got two in my collection that I tumble dry (one semi regularly) and I can’t detect any negative effects so far. Not sure what’s goin on w that. It does shrink the shirt but if you WANT to shrink one that’s always a little stretched because you’ve slept in it.....you’re golden.
High heat can cause the fiber to get a little brittle. Some superwash wool is also coated in polymers to prevent the scales from lifting. Protruding scales are what helps wool felt. It probably helps you're in a humid environment so the wool can recapture a bit of moisture. A bit of conditioner in the rinse cycle for those of us in dryer climates who tend to build up static can help maintain the hand of the fabric.

Not stinking doesn't necessarily mean clean. Most people use a sniff test and don't run bacteria cultures on their clothing but let's all be glad that modern medicine doesn't use a cursory sniff test to check if surgeons have scrubbed. Most healthy people are able to handle skin flora without adverse effects so re-wearing something for a second day won't actually make them sick. Improper hygiene can really impact those with immune disorders, though, so don't go buying into anti-bacterial "wool kills bacteria growth as it drys out so well and there's no BO so you can be more efficient & eco-conscious by washing it less" if you need to be cautious. The scientific research so far shows many synthetics dry out faster than wool (and backpackers/hikers agree) and unwashed synthetics had less live bacteria after 28 days than wool. Claims could be wrong on either side but so far the textile scientists are the ones with lab tests while most wool merchants are just asking people to smell their worn clothing. Both have small sample sizes.
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Last edited by freecia; Jun 16, 19 at 10:36 pm
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Old Jun 17, 19, 5:42 am
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Originally Posted by STVA View Post
I don't really understand how this stuff works. Your body is constantly producing sweat/oil/dead skin/smells, etc. No matter what material the clothing is made of, this stuff is touching the clothing. Unless your sweat is supposed to remain on your body (like imagine if you were wearing a garbage bag or some sort of rubbery material), it is going to get on the clothes. The clothes are going to be dirty.

If you can wash it, how is it any better than other material that can be washed? There are quick drying synthetic materials that are easy to wash and dry each wearing.

This sounds like marketing BS being used to sell expensive products.
There's probably a small grain of truth buried under a mountain of exaggeration. In the sports world there's still a bit of lore about wool being this magic fabric that wicks sweat and is odor-resistant and magically keeps a person warm but simultaneously keeps them cool. They are supplanted in effectiveness by well-engineered synthetics. It's evident by the obvious difference in market penetration.

I've got a bunch of wool garments as activewear for skiing, hiking, bicycling, and as well as normal clothing. I don't find them particularly standout, particularly in extreme conditions - high wind, high heat, high sweat, etc. The fit and color and weave and weight has a far bigger impact on the functionality of a garment than its material.

Like freecia said, if you dont sweat much, dont move around much, arent exposed to heat much, etc etc, you could get away without a wash. But likewise the same thing can be said of cotton or etc.

Practically speaking, based on experience, I dont actively seek out wool whether for socks or undergarments or sweaters. In fact I'll try to avoid it, except when used in blends. Pure wool are generally more fragile; prone to moth holes; have tendency to pill; easily distort or shrink; and more...
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Old Jun 17, 19, 9:25 am
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Here is a write up of some suggested travel shirts (albiet with a lot of marketing in it).

https://blog.tortugabackpacks.com/tr...eid=cded2ade65
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Old Jun 17, 19, 10:38 am
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Originally Posted by deniah View Post
There's probably a small grain of truth buried under a mountain of exaggeration. In the sports world there's still a bit of lore about wool being this magic fabric that wicks sweat and is odor-resistant and magically keeps a person warm but simultaneously keeps them cool. They are supplanted in effectiveness by well-engineered synthetics. It's evident by the obvious difference in market penetration.

I've got a bunch of wool garments as activewear for skiing, hiking, bicycling, and as well as normal clothing. I don't find them particularly standout, particularly in extreme conditions - high wind, high heat, high sweat, etc. The fit and color and weave and weight has a far bigger impact on the functionality of a garment than its material.

Like freecia said, if you dont sweat much, dont move around much, arent exposed to heat much, etc etc, you could get away without a wash. But likewise the same thing can be said of cotton or etc.

Practically speaking, based on experience, I dont actively seek out wool whether for socks or undergarments or sweaters. In fact I'll try to avoid it, except when used in blends. Pure wool are generally more fragile; prone to moth holes; have tendency to pill; easily distort or shrink; and more...
Okay, i understand you aren't as much as a believer as i am. To wit, i just did an experiment. It is 88 degrees F and super humid as always in Georgia. I went out and mowed 1/2 the yard in a cotton t shirt. After which there was zero place that was dry. It was so wet it looked like a wet t shirt contest and when i removed it it literally "peeled" away as it was completely stuck to my skin like some kind of slimy saran wrap coating. I then put on one of my merino shirts and mowed the other half (was hotter and i was already hot and sweaty to start), yet i stayed much cooler, the shirt did not get as sweaty (I am still wearing it now) and once i came back inside i did not necessarily feel the need to immediately remove it as i could feel it was drying inside my air conditioned house rapidly. That was about 10 minutes ago when i came in and i only see one dimed size patch of sweat on my upper chest (which was probably pre existing as i didn't towel dry off between shirts)

Hey don't take my word for it... i willing to give you my address, you can drive here and we can do this side by side test any day any time, i have the merino, the lawn the georgia heat and am willing to demonstrate side by side.

My advice? When it comes to heat, don't wear cotton. Just don't. Cotton might be good for 3 seasons but not for summer, not if you are out in the heat. As i have said, i also have some poly blend atheletic gear and all that stuff do is start to sour and smell like a combination of a jar of pickles/vinegar and someones feet after a day in the heat. Just my 0.2 cents.

Of course, YMMV
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Old Jun 17, 19, 11:59 am
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I have lived for years in places sunnier than Georgia, and more humid than Georgia. Also just got back from a visit to South East Asia.

Of talks about linen, seersucker, hopsack, muslin, drifit(TM), etc, the simple fact is past a certain climate window -- say, your Georgia example -- none of it really matters. It's going to be equally miserable.

Best thing to do short of moving out is to mow in the shade and with a cold beer.
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