Let’s explain this in a way we can all understand. We’ve all probably grabbed a pair of blue jeans from the dryer way too early. That wet denim just didn’t move right when you tried to put the jeans on. You probably felt like a tall fat knight trying to squeeze into the armor of a short skinny knight. But after much toil, you finally managed to get the jeans pulled up and zipped. And as you drove to your hot date, or work, or whatever, the jeans cooled down from their warm tumble in the drier. They became clammy and uncomfortable, and they stayed that way for many hours. That’s because cotton fibers hold water up to eight times longer than other fabrics. Now imagine you pulled on those same wet cotton pants (but a camo pattern this time), and you made your way to a blind or stand for some early morning hunting. As you sat there with your cold britches in the frosty morning air, your body began to get chilled due to the moisture in the pants conducting your body heat away. Before long, you were even shivering!
Now let’s turn this into an emergency setting. What if you were out for a day hike in the mountains, wearing jeans and a t-shirt. The weather took an unexpected turn, as the wind picked up and a sudden shower soaked your clothing. As the air cooled, so did the moisture in your clothing, wrapping your limbs and torso with heat-stealing wet cotton fabric. Covered in cold wet cloth, you just couldn’t get warm! And this is how people succumb to hypothermia, even in the spring and summer.
So, here’s the take away. Cotton is a great fabric for pajamas and many other types of clothing, but it’s a poor choice for most outdoor clothing. If cotton clothing gets wet – it stays wet – robbing your vital body heat. Instead of wearing cotton, pick out synthetics and wool. These clothes may cost a few dollars more, but the fibers allow the clothing to dry much quicker and keep you warmer, should you receive an unexpected change in the weather. It’s also wise to dress in layers, so you can add or remove garments as the conditions change (and you know they will). Finally, I strongly recommend that you bring a space blanket, poncho or some other type of shelter item for each person in your group – even in warmer weather. You never know when the weather forecasters will get it wrong. Finally, make sure each person in your group has at least one bright colored item. People have been spotted and been rescued by waving colorful jackets or ponchos overhead, so they could be seen by searching aircraft.
That’s all for now. Be safe out there and God bless!