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Rolled up clothes at Wimberly at Deerwood, in Jacksonville, Florida



Heading outdoors for a summer adventure? Wondering what to wear? This time of year poses an extra challenge when it comes to sartorial choices – you want something light and breathable yet durable and protective. Here are some fabrics to look for when purchasing your outdoor summer clothes.


This classic, natural fabric is popular in the summer for a reason – it has a moderate level of UV protection and its ability to hold moisture can actually help you stay cool. Further, natural fabrics tend to release odors in the wash more easily than polyblends. So if you sweat a lot in that cotton t-shirt, you won’t have to worry about it retaining any malodorous scents. Just beware – this is not an ideal fabric for unpredictable weather conditions because of its tendency to retain water.


This synthetic fabric has a major advantage: it wicks away moisture from the body. If you don’t like your clothing getting damp from sweat, this is a good option. However, it can sometimes feel a bit stiff against the skin or less forgiving than stretchable cotton, and after a few wears, it tends to be harder to wash out unpleasant scents it picks up.

Cotton/Poly Blends

This is the best of both worlds, offering a comfortable and breathable fabric. It doesn’t wick away moisture as efficiently as pure polyester, but it also doesn’t absorb it as much as cotton.

Merino Wool

What, wool in summer? Yes! Soft, comfortable merino wool naturally wicks moisture away. It’s also incredibly durable and doesn’t retain odors. This is the perfect material for a pair of summer socks that will get you through miles of trail.


It’s hard to find a downside to this amazing fabric. It’s sustainable, antimicrobial, incredibly comfortable, light, and breathable. You really can’t go wrong with bamboo, or bamboo blends.


This is a great fabric, particularly for shorts or pants. Nylon is extremely durable and lightweight. It can be easily thrown into the washer, and it doesn’t wrinkle. Just wear lots of sunscreen, as it doesn’t give the wearer much UV protection.

For a detailed dive into what to wear outdoors in any weather condition, check out REI’s tips. As always, visit our blog for more lifestyle tips and local topics.