The right T-shirt for the right occasion

Packing for your active scout break in Kandersteg? How many T-shirts are you taking with you? Do you know which materials are the best? Learn more about the ideal T-shirt for your outdoorsy adventures!
Hiking tips
Know more about powerful funtional fabrics that will work for you during hiking, water advetures or evening relax.

One of the very basic clothing items of every adventure lover is a T-shirt. There is, perhaps, no other more practical and versatile all-rounder for hiking, cycling, running, skiing, climbing or camping. Certainly, a T-shirt from our favourite scout event, which is hiden on the back of our closet together with many other scouty T-shirts collected since the cub times, is a great manifestation of our scouting dedication, but is it really the right choice for your next nature exploration? Maybe yes! After all, it all depends on its material. In this blog post, we offer you a brief glimpse of different T-shirt materials and their suitability for various activities.

Before we move on to the textile fibers, let's just shortly summarise how our body works during physical activities. When we move, our muscles create heat, which increases our body temperature. The thermoregulation system starts to work and tries to get the body temperature to the optimal level. It uses the body's natural cooling system – sweat. When the sweat is on the skin surface, it evaporates, thus transferring heat from the body to the environment. The sweat and different materials may react to this process differently. Let's see how.

Merino wool

Merino wool is one of the most popular natural fibres in the outdoor industry because it offers high comfort with hypoallergenic properties, elasticity, natural odour resistance and, unlike other materials, it is suitable for both cold and warm weather.


  • Heats you in a cold weather, cools you down in a hot summer
  • High UV protection
  • Merino wool is naturally antibacterial with an antistatic capability
  • Resistant to odours even even after a multi-day wear
  • Keeps you warm even when it is wet
  • Water-repellent and breathable


  • For people with more sensitive skin wearing Merino wool may feel itchy
  • Dries longer than synthetics
  • Prone to mechanical damage


  • Alpine hikes in summer or winter
  • Comfortable for casual wear or longer travels
  • Skiing

Organic cotton

Organic cotton is a favourite choice for people with sensitive skin. Organic cotton is cotton which is produced according to the internationally recognized organic farming standards. Organic cotton production does not simply mean replacing synthetic fertilizers and pesticides with organic ones. Organic cultivation methods are based more on knowledge of agronomic processes than input-based conventional production is.


  • Soft and comfortable to wear
  • Durability and breathability
  • A good heat conductor that keeps you cool in summer and warm in winter
  • Allows air to circulate and move freely across the fabric


  • Absorbs a lot of moisture and dries slowly. This feature can be both positive and negative depending on the circumstances. Although it may have a very positive effect in the summer, in the cold and windy conditions it may rather play against you
  • Weak stain resistance


  • Suitable for activities where the damp fabric fits you well for cooling down
  • Refreshing for hot destinations and water adventures
  • Practical and good looking casual wear

Do you know the difference between cotton and organic cotton?

  • Organic cotton is grown at organically certified fields
  • synthetic fertilizers and pesticides are replaced by organic ones.
  • Only biologically controlled pests are used instead of pesticides
  • Alternative cultivation is used to relax the soil
  • Organic cotton is a more effective user of water. The water consumption of organic cotton is 91% lower than that of conventional cotton. This is because organic cotton receives relatively little irrigation, relying predominantly on natural rainfall.
  • Organic cotton production uses significantly fewer fossil fuels than conventional production
  • Growing organic cotton respects the needs for saving the resources and environmental sustainability

Synthetic fabrics

In general, synthetic materials will help keep you dry and help to support the body temperature control. Instead of catching the sweat, the synthetic fabric releases it, supporting an important evaporation process.


  • Light and breathable
  • Durable and lightweight
  • Water-repellent and quick-drying fabric
  • Repels your sweat at the surface of the fabric, where it can easily evaporate and keeps you dry
  • More resistant to stains


  • tends to contain odours
  • does not maintain much heat fitness
  • not natural fibre


  • For an active movement of any kind (exercise and various sports activities)
  • Summer hiking, running or cycling
  • casual wear


If you plan to do a lot of hiking or climbing all year round and not only in Kandersteg, it is very useful to know more about materials that are in direct contact with your skin. The main thing is to understand your body and what it undergoes during increased physical activity so that you do not cause unnecessary discomfort wearing inappropriate clothing.

We wish you a great adventure wherever you will be this summer!

Source: ZAJO

Read next

CAUTION! This article might contain inspiration to apply for Director of the World Scout Centre