Wicking Fabrics will actually pull moisture away from the body to the exterior of the fabric so that it can evaporate quicker and easier. The best are usually synthetic materials but there are some natural materials that are great too.
Quick Answer: 7 Best Moisture Wicking Fabrics
Here's the definition of wicking that I found at Dictionary.com.
I looked up "Capillary action" so that I could give you the exact definition but then I felt like this was getting a little too scientific for my liking.
You're here so that you can learn which fabrics will work best for wicking moisture so that you can stay dry on your next adventure or workout.
So for that reason I won't get too scientific. Instead I'll just explain a little bit about each of these materials for you.
Polyester is a synthetic blend that has become one of the most common fabrics that we see in clothing today. Here's a definition from Whatispolyester.com
"Polyester is a term often defined as “long-chain polymers chemically composed of at least 85% by weight of an ester and a dihydric alcohol and a terephthalic acid”. In other words, it means the linking of several esters within the fibers. Reaction of alcohol with carboxylic acid results in the formation of esters."
So in layman's terms it's basically plastic cloth. What makes it so popular is it's durability as well as it's tremendous moisture wicking ability.
Polyester will only absorb 0.4% of it's weight in water which is amazing especially when you compare that to the 7% that cotton absorbs.
It's used in base layers, glove liners, hat liners, socks and underwear. Chances are that you own at least one piece of polyester clothing.
Simply put, polypropylene is a synthetic plastic that can be used in numerous different applications but we tend to see it a lot in outdoor clothing or gear.
It's less expensive than a lot of other synthetic fabrics which make it a popular choice for a lot of people.
When polypropylene gets wet it will not only wick away the moisture and dry very quickly but it will also stay warm while doing it.
As great as polyester is in wet conditions, polypropylene is even better.
If you're wearing polypropylene close to your skin and you sweat a lot you'll notice that the outside of the fabric will feel wet but the great thing is that the inside (the part touching your skin) will be totally dry.
It's very durable too so you can wear it on epic adventures without being concerned about it getting damaged.
What most of us know about wool is that it comes from sheep. We've probably all seen an image of a sheep being shaved to make yarn.
Yes this is where most wool comes from but the term wool is more of a blanket term for a material that can come from many different animals.
Wool can also be cultivated from goats, muskoxen and rabbits.
Basically wool just means that the material is made up of mostly protein with a small amount of lipids as well.
It's no surprise that wool is so great at wicking considering it's what keeps some animals warm and dry while living outdoors.
Typically we see wool in a heavy knit sweater or thick garment that might be cozy to wear on a cold winter night but isn't exactly what we think of when looking for clothing to wear when we need to keep dry during activity or adventures.
Let's be honest, you don't see a group of runners competing in a half marathon wearing big wool sweaters.
Instead they're usually wearing thin, tight fitting clothing that is reflective and technical looking.
You wouldn't think that any of that stuff is made of wool but you could be wrong.
Big companies like Nike are now using wool in some of their active wear because of it's many great qualities like;
- moisture wicking
- heat regulating
- odor resistant
When used for active wear it's generally blended with synthetic materials like polyester for example but the wool is generally the main component.
All in all wool is a great wicking fabric and best of all it's all natural.