Many of you have asked me why I have the 'No Cotton' policy when it comes to the outdoors. And here is the explanation;
Cotton is not the only enemy in the outdoors, but since it is one of the most common fabrics used in everyday clothes, it's the one that most people wear without knowing the risk.
Cotton has large spaces between the fibers, and holds a lot of water. It swells up with water and won't let go, acting much like a sponge. Due to its sponging properties, it takes hours to dry, and in a humid environment, drying times increase significantly.
So, here you are, carrying a backpack full of heavy gear, and guess what? Now you have to lug around the weight of your own sweat as well. Water, is extremely heavy. One Liter (350z) of water weighs 1Kg (2.2Lbs). So you could be carrying an extra kilogram at least!
So, you are physically fit, and you think carrying the extra weight will help you build your strength and stamina? Think again! In the winter, this water resting up against your skin will freeze. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out why it's not a good idea to have a layer of ice against your skin in an already freezing environment!
Oh, and that's not the worst of it. It's actually worse in the summer. It doesn't freeze, but it hangs there against your skin. This layer of water will first block any and all wind from penetrating to your skin. Not allowing your sweat to evaporate. After that, the humidity level next to your skin will reach up to 100%. Well, this is definately not good. Why you ask? Little known fact about the human body; at 70% humidity, your sweat glands shut down. Sweating is the only way the body has to cool itself. If you can't sweat, you will over-heat. Heat exhaustion is not a laughing matter, it is very serious.
So, now, I hope this helps everyone understand why Cotton is not your friend. Its very common because it is cheap and abundant, and easy to clean. But, if you're an outdoor enthusiast, you should stay away from it.