What dries quickly and doesn’t stink?

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First off, what exactly has “laboratory” to do with Formal Friday? Let me tell you. We pay close attention to the fabrics we use, and we want to share everything we learn along the way with you. Laboratory is kind of a learning tool and a blog to us where we share not only textile information but also other experiments regarding the manufacturing of our products, and also some more traditional blog content. So let’s get cracking.

Read any forum on backpacking gear and you’ll most likely find people praising merino wool clothes. Travellers can’t carry a ton of clothing with them and have very limited chances of doing laundry. Thus, merino t-shirts and sleeveless shirts come handy. Why? For at least two reasons:

  1. They dry quickly
  2. They have anti-odor properties

The ability of a garment to manage moisture is an important factor in enhancing wearer comfort and physical performance. Merino is doing that particularly well, as it dries much quicker than cotton. Unlike cotton which hold onto moisture all day long, merino t-shirts can be handwashed and worn again almost right away. That is because the fibre naturally absorbs and releases moisture, maintaining a balance between the internal and external environment without any clamminess.

Similarly, polyester dries quickly enough not to feel damp even when you sweat a lot. However, it has a problem of its own. It will stink like a dead rat after couple of wears without a wash. Like traveller blogger Snarky Nomad puts it:

The smooth surface of the fiber is a spectacular breeding ground for bacteria, particularly when it’s hot and sweaty. Entire civilizations of microorganisms will rise and fall within the synthetic fibers of your snazzy polyester t-shirt, producing waste products that cause offensive and socially unacceptable smells. And it doesn’t matter if you’re using deodorant. That’ll make you smell fine, but not the fabric, where the colony will thrive.

One of the co-founders of Formal Friday, Pentti, is an avid mountaineer. He has done his fair share in testing different textiles in different environments and nowadays prefers merino during his adventures. He literally has to wear same set of clothes for days in extreme conditions. Still, more often than not, he climbs down to the base camp with perfectly fresh set of clothing. Here’s Pentti giving a test ride to one of our early prototype t-shirts at Mont Blanc:



Formal Friday Team


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