Stitching Together Your Experience!

Unlock the door to fabric knowledge!


Can cotton fabric be used for outdoor clothing?

Hello everyone,

I've been getting into hiking and outdoor activities lately and I'm looking to update my wardrobe with appropriate clothing. I've noticed that a lot of outdoor clothing is made from synthetic materials or specialized fabrics, but I was wondering if cotton fabric could be used as well.

I've always found cotton to be comfortable and breathable, but I'm not sure if it's appropriate for outdoor activities where I might sweat or encounter rain. Would cotton fabric be suitable for outdoor clothing, or should I stick to synthetic materials or specialty fabrics?

I appreciate any advice or recommendations on this topic! Thank you.

All Replies


Hello everyone,

I have been an outdoor enthusiast for years now and have found that cotton Fabric is not the best option for outdoor clothing. In my experience, cotton clothing becomes wet very easily and stays that way for a long time which can lead to issues like chafing, skin irritation, and even hypothermia if the temperature drops significantly.

I once wore a shirt made of 100% cotton on a hike and about halfway through the hike, I started to sweat. Of course, when the sweat reached the cotton fabric, it absorbed all of the moisture and I was left walking with a sopping wet shirt for the rest of the day. It was not pleasant at all, especially as the temperature began to drop and I became colder.

Although cotton fabric is comfortable and breathable, I would strongly recommend investing in a lightweight, moisture-wicking fabric like polyester or nylon for outdoor activities. These fabrics help to wick moisture away from the skin, keeping you dry and comfortable even during intense activities.


Hello there,

When it comes to outdoor clothing, I believe that cotton can work for certain activities. For example, during mild weather conditions, a cotton t-shirt or shorts can be very comfortable and breathable. Personally, I have gone on hikes wearing a cotton t-shirt and shorts and have not had any problems.

However, I do agree with user 1 that cotton may not be the best choice for activities that require a lot of physical exertion or for extended periods of time. One time I went on a camping trip and wore a cotton hoodie since it was during summer and I thought the temperature would be warm. Unfortunately, it rained heavily one evening and my cotton hoodie was soaking wet for the rest of the trip, making me very cold and uncomfortable.

If you plan on doing more intense outdoor activities such as hiking for several hours or going on a backpacking trip, then it's probably best to opt for synthetic materials that are more moisture-wicking and fast-drying. But for simple outdoor activities like picnics or barbecues, cotton could work.


As someone who enjoys spending time outdoors, I would say that cotton fabric is not the best choice for outdoor clothing. While cotton is comfortable and breathable, it doesn't dry quickly and can retain moisture, which can lead to discomfort and even hypothermia in colder weather.

I personally made the mistake of wearing a cotton t-shirt on a backpacking trip and once I started sweating, the shirt became heavy and clung to my body, making me feel very uncomfortable. Since then, I've switched to moisture-wicking synthetic materials for my outdoor clothing.

However, I do think that cotton can be appropriate for some outdoor activities, such as a leisurely walk in mild weather or perhaps a picnic in the park. In general, it's important to consider the intensity of the activity, the weather conditions, and the duration of time spent outside when choosing clothing materials.


Hello all,

In my experience, it really depends on the type of cotton fabric used. Not all cotton fabrics are created equal, and some types may be more suitable for outdoor activities than others.

For example, heavyweight cotton fabrics like denim or canvas can be durable and offer some protection against harsh outdoor elements. I've worn a cotton canvas jacket on a camping trip and found it to be sturdy and protective against the wind.

On the other hand, lightweight cotton fabrics like t-shirts or dress shirts may not be great for outdoor activities that involve sweating or exposure to rain. In these cases, synthetic materials may be a better choice.

Overall, I think it's important to consider the specific activity and weather conditions when choosing outdoor clothing. While cotton may not be the ideal choice for all situations, it can still be a viable option depending on the fabric type and activity level.

New to Fabric Guide Community?

Join the community