Cotton Vs. Wool Vs. Synthetic: What Fabric is Best for Your Next Outdoor Adventure?

Having the right gear can make or break any outdoor adventure. Even on a trip with Sund’s Lodge, where all of the gear you’ll need is provided, it’s still important to pack the right clothes.

Having the right clothes will help keep you dry, warm, and comfortable can help make a day on the water much more enjoyable, and ensure that nothing stands between you and the memories you’re out to make. Choosing your fabrics carefully is a big part of that.

Whether you’re enjoying some socially-distanced hiking now or planning ahead for your next visit to Sund’s Lodge, keep reading to learn the best materials to look for when shopping for clothing for an outdoor adventure.


Sund’s Lodge might be a luxury vacation, but you can leave your fancy clothes at home. That said, when you’re packing your favorite comfy basics, think twice about bringing along a stack of your favorite tees to wear while you’re out on the water.

While a cotton t-shirt or leggings are great for relaxing in your guest room or even sitting around the campfire on a warm night, it won’t help keep you comfortable on a chilly morning on the water.

A popular mantra among avid hikers and other outdoorsmen is that “cotton kills.” That’s because cotton clothing doesn’t wick away moisture like other materials. Whether you sweat or get hit by a spray of water or a burst of rain, that moisture will cling to your clothing and lower your body temperature on a cold day. In extreme conditions, if you can’t dry off or get somewhere warm, this could lead to hypothermia. But even when conditions aren’t extreme, it’ll leave you chilled and uncomfortable.

On a warmer day, a cotton t-shirt under a waterproof outer layer isn’t a problem. But if the forecast calls for chilly temps or you’re choosing an outer layer that you know you’ll wear without a jacket, opt one of the other fabrics on this list and save your t-shirt or cotton leggings for when you get back to the dock. While you can bring your own rain gear or wear one of our float coats during your adventure, wearing something that wicks moisture away underneath will make you more comfortable, especially if you sweat while reeling in that monster halibut!


Wool can be a great alternative to cotton on the water. But not all wool is created equal.

If the first thing that came to mind when you heard the word wool is that you’ll be itchy, you’re not alone. The classic fabric frequently gets a bad rep for being a bit uncomfortable to wear. However, that doesn’t apply to all types of wool.

Merino wool is one popular choice among outdoor enthusiasts. It comes from a special sheep and is a very fine wool that is soft to the touch and won’t be itchy against your skin. In most cases, shirts, socks, and even leggings made from merino wool are much thinner than your grandma’s old wool sweater, which means you’ll stay warm without sacrificing your range of motion while you are hiking along the shore or reeling in a catch.

You can even find summer versions of this fabric that are breathable and lightweight. They’ll wick moisture away from your skin, helping you stay cool even on a warm day. Another big benefit of wool is that it has natural antibacterial properties. That’s because the wool contains lanolin, a type of wax that is produced by the sheep’s glands to help protect them from rain.

The only drawback of wool is that while it does wick moisture away from your skin, it also traps it in the fabric and takes a long time to dry. Thinner merino wool dries faster than other versions, but keep this in mind when choosing your outer layers on a rainy day.


Synthetic fabrics offer an alternative to wool, with many of the same benefits. Usually made from polyester and a blend of other materials like spandex and nylon, these fabrics are soft, flexible, and great for wicking away moisture. Unlike wool, these also dry faster, making them a great alternative on a rainy, wet day, or when you know that you’ll be sweating.

Synthetic fabrics are available in a wide variety of styles, so you can choose the right weight for the weather to keep you warm or cool. Many synthetic fabrics are odor resistant too, making them a great choice for outdoor activities.


Whether you’re wearing merino wool for a cold day of hiking, synthetic fabrics for a day on the water, or your favorite tee for relaxing around a campfire, having the right clothing can make all the difference on your next outdoor adventure.
While it might be a bit too early to start packing your bag, it’s never too early to book your next visit to Sund’s Lodge. Contact us today to secure your summer 2021 trip!