Appropriate clothing during extremely hot weather is essential in order to avoid heat exhaustion. The Family Care Giver Alliance suggests wearing light-weight, light-colored, loose-fitting clothes made of natural fibers. Natural fibers such as cotton and linen keep the body cool and dry perspiration quickly. Both have positive and negative attributes, and preference for one over the other is a matter of personal taste.
Cotton clothing is made from the breathable, natural fiber from the cotton plant.
Linen is a labor-intensive textile produced from the flax plant. Additionally, nonflax fibers, like cotton, woven in a linen texture may also be referred to as linen.
Cotton spun into cloth is believed to have first been created over 3,000 years ago in Pakistan. Historically, people in hot climates such as Northern Africa and South East Asia wore cotton.
Linen was worn extensively throughout lands with humid climates like Egypt and the Caribbean. Years later, it evolved to become the preferred fabric for undergarments in Europe.
Whether it be cotton or linen, it is important to choose light colors to deflect the sun’s heat.
Linen has a “wrinkled” appearance, which may be an issue for some when traveling; cotton is slightly more manageable.
References and ResourcesHistory of Linen
History of Cotton
Family Care Giver Alliance: Hot Weather Tips
Fodor's: Best Fabrics for Hot Weather
Outdoor Clothing for Hot Weather
ResourcesCenter of Disease Control and Prevention: Extreme Heat FAQ
TheSite: Packing for Your Trip
The Lonely Planet: Travel Forum