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When I determine if a clothing item is TFG Approved, I carefully assess the fabric to determine if it will withstand the test of travel. Read to find out what’s the best fabric for travel!
How to Choose the Best Fabrics For Travel
Written by: Chantelle Mallin
TFG’s official blogger and fashion student Chantelle Mallin uses her textiles classes as inspiration to help you determine what fabrics are best for travel!
We’re all tempted just to buy clothing based on style, but a closer look into the fabric of your capsule wardrobe can help make travelling way more comfortable.
Fabrics for Travel in the Cold
To help you make the most of your winter gear and limited luggage space, start by reading these general tips on packing for winter travel:
- Capsule Wardrobe for Winter
- How to Pack for Cold Weather
- How to Stay Warm in Cold Weather
- Extreme Cold Weather Clothing Strategies
- The Secret to Packing Light in Winter
- The Best Travel Shoes for Winter
Pure merino wool is like a super fabric, it has the ability to keep you warm in winter and cool in summer, wearing a wool garment will retain warm air and keep moisture out keeping you nice and toasty, it has the capability to absorb moisture from your skin and release it into the air, which is pretty cool and means you stay lovely and dry. Disadvantages include wool becoming heavy when wet and taking forever to dry.
Find out why merino wool is the best fabric for travel!
A high tech synthetic fabric part made from recycled bottles, a good alternative for people who are against wearing fabrics made from animal by-products, it is lighter that wool, offers better insulation, still remains warm when wet and dries fast. Fleece comes in a variety of thickness and colours.
Take a look at our round-up of the best looking fleece clothes!
A highly insulating fabric catching air between you and the outside – the more air it traps the warmer you’ll be. Thinsulate is a thin fabric, a welcome break from thick, bulky winter coats.
Present in most outdoor clothing, the fabrics strongly woven fibres and occasional chemical coating stop moisture from getting through, keeping you nice and snug.
Check out our best travel blazers recommended by our readers!
Used in a variety of outdoor clothing such as hiking boots and parkas, this high tech fabric is perfected to allow moisture to escape the body whilst remaining super waterproof and promoting a ‘Guaranteed To Keep You Dry’ promise; the science behind the fabric it is pretty cool. Garments made from GORE-TEX can be quite pricey, however if your used to battling extreme weather it’s probably worth the investment.
Traveling to a destination with subzero temperatures? Read these tips on how to choose the best arctic clothing to find out the best extreme cold weather gear for women!
Worth A Note
Don’t forget to layer!! Also invest in a pair of thermal underwear, lightweight and guaranteed to keep you delightfully warm. Use thermal underwear underneath and never feel a winter chill!
Learn more about layering and why thicker fabrics aren’t always warmer!
Fabrics for Travel in the Heat
Start by reading these general tips on packing for summer travel:
One of our favorite fabrics for intense heat and humidity is actually rayon. It’s similar to cotton but less expensive and slightly more wrinkle resistant. Made from wood pulp or cotton linters, rayon is one of the most absorbent fabrics and a good conductor of heat making it a preferred fabric for summer climates.
A popular fabric in warm climates as it is soft, lightweight, absorbs sweat, and lets your body heat escape. Paperweight 100% cotton is very comfortable and quick dry for the heat. The cotton clothing to avoid includes items that have thicker cotton fabrics.
Is cotton the most breathable fabric for hot weather? Find out six pros and cons to help you pack for your summer trips!
One of the best suited fabrics for summer, a sturdy and resilient fabric, that although stiff doesn’t cling to the body, linen absorbs perspiration and dries quickly, again wrinkles easy so go for a blend.
Linen clothing is perfect for summer and warm weather travel. Stock up on this vacation staple with this season’s ten best pieces!
Lightweight, breathable and durable not to mention luxuriously soft, however repeated exposure to the sun will erode the fibre, not the best for lengthy wear.
Find out why we love traveling with silk pillowcase!
Worth A Note
It’s worth a note that the above fabrics wrinkle like crazy. Here’s how to avoid wrinkles! While not the freshest option, polyester wrinkles less and is very lightweight for summer travel. Look for breathable sleeveless styles that have a looser weave for the most comfort.
Adea Clothing boasts moisture wicking quality basics that work great for travel in humid climates. Check out TFG’s review of their Bra Friendly Camisole Tops.
Quick Drying Fabrics
Wet clothing provides little insulation, a nightmare in cold and wet environments, look out for fabrics that are quick drying such as:
A strong, durable and wrinkle resistant fabric that dries very quickly, polyester does not absorb moisture meaning it can get humid when worn in warm weather, tongue twister!
Choosing lightweight fabrics such as silk, cotton, rayon, or polyester (with a breathable weave), don’t take up much space! Find out how to turn any dress into versatile dresses!
The fabric dries quickly and dirt does not cling making it an easy washable fabric, perfect for travel, like polyester it can be humid and clammy in the heat.
Longchamps are the best example for nylon fabric. Find out why Longchamps are the best travel handbags!
A high performance fabric that keeps the body dry by moving sweat away from the body to the outer layer of the fabric, COOLMAX is one of the fastest drying fabrics.
Worth A Note
Fast drying fabrics mean less dryer use, saving you time and money, bonus!
Fabrics That Are Wrinkle Resistant
It’s definitely got to be a fact that everyone hates the chore of ironing, so finding clothing made from fabric less prone to wrinkle is just wonderful (and such a time saver), look out for fabrics such as polyester, nylon, Lycra, knitted fabrics such as cotton and denim.
Worth a note
Use the bundle wrapping method when packing, removing the folds that cause the dreaded creasing, if a few stubborn wrinkles remain hang the garment in the bathroom whilst you take a shower, the steam will help smooth the creases.
TFG Top Picks
Despite the fact that denim has received so much criticism in the past as a bad fabric for travel, it’s actually the perfect fabric for travel in cold or mild climates.
It matches with all you clothing and can be dressed up or down which is great if you only want to pack a minimalist travel wardrobe. It’s also fairly wrinkle resistant, moisture absorbing, and hardly needs to be washed. What more can you ask for!
Think of chambray as your “summer-weight denim”. It has the benefits of a versatile denim piece in your travel wardrobe:
- you can wear it repeatedly without washing
- you can dress it up or down
- it works in a variety of destinations
Find out how to wear chambray clothing for your next trip and stock up on our favorite pieces!
For more tips on travel fashion, please read these posts:
- Beach Dresses You Can Wear On and Off the Sand
- Summer Maxi Dresses
- 5 Sundress Outfits to Transform a Summer Dress
- The Best 2-Piece Dress for Travel
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