Take on the Outdoors in Cotton

In the past few years, performance activewear has skyrocketed – both in popularity and technology. For many years, cotton had a bad rap when it came to taking on the great outdoors from hiking to kayaking -  but we are here to straighten out some facts. What used to be true about cotton is no longer the case, thanks to new technologies.  Moisture wicking and weather resistance technologies are helping cotton to overcome outdoor challenges and become a true competitor in this space.


Myth: Working out in cotton is a bad idea because sweat could be soaked up by the absorbent cotton fabric, keeping moisture next to the skin and giving wearers a chill.

Reality: While the reality of this is true, we now have technologies that are providing new solutions. Duluth Trading recently added TransDRY® to its line of women’s tops proving that performance cotton can repel wetness from the weather as well as wick moisture from the inside and dry faster than traditional cotton and man-made fibers like polyester.


Myth:  Cotton is absorbent, but will not dry in time for me to get to the rest of my activities.

Reality: Lines such as Eddie Bauer have also adopted TransDRY® technology. This technology offers comfort against the skin as well as thermoregulation, as a way of providing the comfort of cotton with moisture performance. Wearers can go bouldering, brush the bottoms off, and then head to work or dinner. Nanotex® DRY INSIDE, which was tested at the Cotton Incorporated labs, is a new technology in the market that enables effective wetness transfer away from skin, while preventing chafing and retaining the comfort aspects of the natural fiber.


Myth: Cotton is a breathable fabric, but doesn’t repel water as well as other fabrics.

Reality: While reputed for its breathability, technologies are advancing cotton products to be water repellent. Cabela’s has adopted STORM COTTON™ technology in several of its pieces — allowing cotton to remain breathable while still repelling water.


Myth: Cotton is a fabric known only for comfort, and is not durable enough for cooler weather.

Reality: Cotton is known not only for comfort, but also for its durability. The North Face’s collection of men’s thermal cotton hoodies traps air and provides an insulative quality for cotton, keeping people warm during those chillier months.


There are many misconceptions when it comes to how far cotton has advanced, as well as its benefits over synthetic fabrics. However, this natural fiber brings much more to the table, and the outdoors. Shop our favorite outdoor pieces below, and tag us in your #CottonFavorites on Instagram at @DiscoverCotton.

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