Although high quality thermals can last many years, many people find that the undergarments develop yellow or brown tinged stains that look pretty ugly. These stains don’t mean that you have not looked after your clothes, or have not washed them – it is a pretty normal result of wear.
When people think of stain removal they tend to think of dry cleaning – it works for most other clothes, so why not for thermals? The fact is though that chemical dry cleaning is NOT a good idea for getting stains out of thermal underwear.
One – the cost is usually not worth it.
Two – chemical residue in underwear is potentially quite unhealthy…think skin rashes.
Three – there are much simpler, cheaper, and easier ways to whiten up your thermals! Here’s how I do it.
1. Hang them out to dry. Wash them and hang them in the sun. UV rays in sunlight are great at bleaching, and will also remove odours very well. A full day in the bright sun, with any yellowed patches turned to the light, is often enough to cure even really browned underarm thermal tops. This is a good preventative for thermal long johns and other underwear too.
2. Wash – and really wash – by hand. A washing machine only agitates, it does not scrub. put on some gloves, sprinkle on some gentle washing powder on your thermals, and scrub the fabric for a few minutes. Then dry in the sun.
3. Laundry bleach. Not really a safe or gentle wash, but still cheaper and less toxic than the dry cleaners place. Bleach is not at all good for woollens and silks, so use it only on small patches. Don’t soak the whole garment (unless it is seriously yellow and brown all over and you have nothing to lose), rather just mix up a small batch of bleach and water and dab this onto underarm/ other yellowed areas of the thermal underwear.
Extreme weather conditions require extreme clothing, and nothing beats top quality thermal underwear when it comes to keeping warm. Modern thermal underwear can be composed of multiple thin layers of fabric to trap more body heat and still allow the skin to breathe. Polyester, Wool, and silk are all commonly available materials, but what is the best thermal underwear for extreme cold outdoor conditions? Here we have a head-to-head comparison of the three main fabric types.
Polyester is a man made fiber that is fairly inexpensive, and is becoming more and more commonly used in thermals. It does a pretty good job of imitating natural fibers like wool, but unfortunately it has a habit of trapping odors. The combination of ammonia and bacteria that live on your skin quickly results in smelly clothes. Poly-cotton and polyester-wool blends can be a reasonable compromise, being comfortable and fairly breathable. However, when the polyester ratio in thermals goes above 20 or 30% you will find it has a distinct plastic quality. My verdict: Good for a budget solution, and great for short term sports or running underwear for women or for guys, but not for the serious outdoor enthusiast. Although synthetic fibers are constantly advancing, these are not the best thermal underwear for extreme cold situations. Still, this might change in the next few years. We’ll see.
Silk is not usually associated with hard wearing underwear, but silk long johns for men and women are not a bad choice. Silk breathes well, and has a delightfully smooth and cool feeling when worn under heavier outer clothes. In a single layer silk is not terribly effective as insulating underwear, but thanks to its very fine fibers and resulting light fabric it can easily be fashioned into 2 or 3 layer composites. Quite often silk is combined with wool or a cotton layer to increase its weight and thermal properties. Although expensive, silk composite is often regarded as the best thermal underwear for extreme cold where you can stay fairly dry.
Fine wool, most often from Merino sheep farmed in Australia and New Zealand, is probably the ultimate material for thermal underwear. In my opinion pure wool is simply the best thermal underwear for extreme cold hands down. Superfine wool is very smooth and light weight (nothing at all like a scratchy woolen jumper!) and keeps you amazingly warm. For people like me who are into outdoor sports it is ideal because you don’t ever get soaked in sweat, and if you do get wet through you still don’t freeze. Wool doesn’t hold water like a sponge like cotton does, so you still end up with air pockets trapped in the fabric even when it is wet – the result is that it still insulates you. If you are into skiing, hiking, or any other adventure sport then woolens are the best thermal underwear for extreme cold no matter where you are. The only downside to pure wool thermals is that they cost a lot more than polyester or cotton, but once you have worn them you will appreciate it as money well spent. Be wary of really cheap wool-polyester blends that advertise “contains pure wool” or “real wool” and similar – have a look just how much wool they actually contain, since quite often the fine print reveals that they might only have 10% wool with the balance being a cheap and nasty polypropylene filler. A small percentage of synthetic fiber can make woolens more elastic, but above that 20-30% threshold you lose effectiveness.
Remember that you generally get what you pay for, and super cheap outdoor clothes are rarely worth it. Online store like Amazon are a great place to shop for the best long underwear for cold weather and other great camping gear, so keep an eye on the “featured products” list down below to snap up the bargains that come up from time to time.
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When it comes to keeping warm under extreme conditions, thermal underwear is unrivalled for comfort and practicality. Fine wool or silk long johns for men who work or play outdoors are a great way to combat the winter weather, and are just as good when it comes to keeping off the chill while you are at home.
“Long Johns” were the name given to the long john underwear for men that became popular in the early 1900’s. While early thermal pants were made of itchy wool, things have evolved quite a bit since then. Plenty of people want the best long underwear for cold weather and ask what the best material is. Synthetic fibers like polypropylene are cheap but suffer from lack of breathability (they smell bad!), and cotton tends to absorb sweat like a sponge, so this leaves only wool and silk as the top contenders.
Silk VS Superfine wool – which makes the better long john underwear for men who work outdoors?
Most people know that silk is wonderfully smooth and strong, but not everyone realises that high grade wool (usually from Merino sheep) can also be woven into very fine, soft long john underwear for men who are exposed to extreme cold. Both are used in top end thermal underwear (aka long johns) and carry a similar price tag. Lets run through the pro’s and cons of both.
SILK: Silk fiber is collected from the spun cocoon of the silk worm, and woven into fabric. Silk long johns for men are not cheap, but they are soft and very comfortable. They are great to wear under multiple layers of clothing, because they are very thin, and thanks to its very light weight, you will practically forget you are wearing this fabric. If you are after some warm sleepwear, then silk long johns for men or women are a great option.
The downsides? Silk is not as warm as wool, nor does it have the same water shedding properties. Still, silk is a great choice especially if you want a luxurious feeling pair of long johns to wear underneath your work wear, and they make great insulated underwear for men to wear to bed when it is very cold.
WOOL: The individual fibers in superfine wool are only slightly thicker than silk fibers, and as such, wool is a good alternative to silk long johns for men. Although it lacks the luxury smoothness of silken fabric, wool is a better insulator and is favored by people who work outdoors or engage in winter sports. Apart from breathing and wicking moisture from the skin surface, wool has the advantage of drying quickly and insulating reasonably well even when damp (or even when wrung out from soaking wet). So woolen long john underwear for men is a great choice for more extreme situations…or more extreme people that is. Wool is quite stretchy when woven, so can be worn for most sports. It makes good running underwear for women or for men, and is great for watersports like canoeing.
In summary, few people would be disappointed with quality wool or silk long johns. Both carry a similar price tag, and both are delightfully comfortable. For lounging around the house, or wearing under your business suit, silk long johns for men or women or kids are a great choice. For serious adventures though, you can’t pass up pure wool or mild wool-polyester blend insulated underwear.
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