A Geocaching Wicking-pedia

Posted in Articles on Dec 03, 2007

You can Geocache throughout the seasons, with all but extreme weather keeping you indoors. So what should you wear when out caching?

Although jeans and a t-shirt may be OK for those “road side” caches, after about 5km down a trail you may wish that you had worn something else. The problem with the jeans and t-shirt is that most are made of cotton. Cotton is soft and comfy but it absorbs moisture and stays wet, making you damp and cold in cold weather and damp and sweaty in the hot weather.

A much better choice would be the new “wicking” fabrics.  Fabrics such as silk, merino wool, microfibre polyester, polyester nylon, nylon lycra and other synthetic variations will not
absorb moisture. The key is synthetic fabrics that “wick” or that draws moisture away from your body. This fabric stays dry and therefore you stay warm in winter and cool in summer.

Start with a weather appropriate base layer. In cold weather that would be long-john style underwear and a long sleeved top worn close to the body, both made from “wicking” fabric.  The second layer is a long sleeved high loft synthetic fleece with or without a hood and a pant with a comfortable, looser fit. If you are using this as your outer layer make sure that they are made from a breathable and water repellent/water proof fabric.  The outer layer jacket should also be made of waterproof, breathable fabric, preferably with vents.  The best thing about dressing in layers is the ability to self regulate your comfort level – if you are too hot just remove a layer.

Hot weather presents a different layering system. Shirts made from “wicking” fabrics are available in both long and short sleeved lengths. These are worn loose, keeping you cool and comfortable.  The long sleeves would also provide sun protection with minimal weight.  Pants are available in the same light weight fabrics with zip off legs and usually have cargo pockets which come in handy for Geocaching accessories and snacks.

Wicking underwear is also available. You can even get thongs for women and boxers and briefs for men. For the ladies there are also sports bras available for hot weather comfort. 

Your feet are the most important part of your body to keep dry and comfortable. Socks that ‘wick’ are also available. There are synthetic and wool varieties available. It is best to have lightweight socks for warmer weather and thermal socks for colder weather. Footwear will be your most important purchase and yes, there is footwear that “wicks”. Look for waterproof, breathable shoes or boots. They should be comfortable the first time you put them on. If they don’t feel great in the store chances are they won’t feel great when you get 5km down the trail.

For ultimate comfort when Geocaching remember to look for clothes that “wick”.  They will keep you warm, dry and comfortable.

Keep on cachin’!

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