Why You Should Avoid Cotton in Your Thermals
You may have a few cotton t-shirts laying around. You might also be wearing one while reading this. Nothing wrong with that as cotton is a piece of very comfortable fabric. Most clothing and denim is made from this material and is usually a go-to when it comes to your favorite shorts or shirt. It's non-itchy, durable, and is relatively breathable. While this material is excellent for the warmer seasons, cotton can prove highly inefficient for men’s long john underwear.
Clothing for thermals for men should offer fantastic temperature regulation, be quick-drying, be odor-resistant, and, most of all, wicks away moisture. In the cold weather, cotton won't do this. And wearing cotton thermals while hiking, playing the snow, or other outdoor activities can prove uncomfortable on a good day and bad for your health at their worst.
Reasons Why You Should Avoid Cotton
• It absorbs too much sweat and moisture. This fabric, while comfortable dry, can absorb up to 2700% of its weight in moisture. This makes it cumbersome when it's soaked with sweat, and it won't retain any warmth. Fabrics like polyester only absorb up to 0.4%, Merino wool up to 33%, and silk up to 30%. Choose your thermals from these three before cotton.
• Cotton is horrible at regulating body temperature. Any clothing that will help you keep your body temperature controlled in the winter is what you should aim for in a thermal. Thermal conductivity is different for air than water, which is higher. This can only be possible when your skin is dry. If you sweat, your cotton clothes will absorb this moisture like a sponge and traps your body heat in the material and not on your body. Most commonly called conductivity, this can lead to a rapid loss of body heat with cotton.
• It takes too long to dry, and it's heavier. As the material is more cumbersome than synthetic fabrics, it will take longer to dry due to its moisture absorbency. The wetter it gets, also means the heavier it gets, and the longer it takes to dry. In the winter, staying dry is imperative. This reduces any conductive heat loss, which keeps you at your natural temperature longer. Thermals for men that are made of synthetic fabrics over cotton will benefit you more and keep you warm and dry longer, not to mention more comfortable.
Cotton aside, there are many alternatives in material for men’s long john underwear. The most common is polyester, with a mix of spandex for that extra stretch and tight fit. These are the most cost-effective out of the alternatives and are durable and long-lasting. Merino wool, nylon, and silk also make great fabrics for thermals and work just as well, but will cost more. All these materials are comfortable and will give you all the benefits you need out of a thermal set of underwear.