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Desert clothing question

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I spend a lot of time in the desert. The best that works for me is Cotton. First a cotton T shirt (light color) and then a button up light cotton shirt over that (long Sleeve).

Yeah I know what your going to say....2 shirts! But both being cotton breathes well and the second long sleeve protects your arms from the sun. Also include a wide brim breathable hat with that and jeans.

It works well down here on the border. :twocents:

ps... I buy those shirts at the Salvation Army. I spend about 5 bucks total for both and I dont feel bad if I want to just toss them out after my wife says " I am not sticking that in MY washer"..... :hahaha:

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I'm wondering what is a good light weight shirt to wear in the desert that give good coverage to prevent excessive water loss and breathes well. I'm hoping not to have to pay through the nose for $40 shirts.

I like to wear light cotton in light colors and drink a lot of water. Losing that water in the form of sweat is what is going to keep you cool. This works pretty good until the humidity picks up in a month or so. Drinking lots of water is the key to life with our summer temps here in the AZ desert.


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All good suggestions above Jim...especially the water bladder that Frank was talking about

they come in many shapes and sizes with pockets to carry your "stuff" in...you can't survive

the desert without a lot of water...I carry a small cooler with the frozen jell packs and

it keeps my Gatorade cool so when I get back to the truck to rest or have lunch I down a

couple of bottles....as for clothes in this tropical climate here I buy the new military

camo BDU's when their on sale at the military surplus sites...I usually give about $18.00

for a shirt and $18.00 for the pants and they last forever...I use only light weight rip-

stop material that's 60% cotton and 40% polyester...light weight and dries quick when

washed and you have a lot of pockets for other "stuff"....

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Two shirts the first layer is Under Armour Heat Gear Tshirt then a 5.11 Tactical hot weather long sleeve shirt from Lapolicegear

get them when they go on sale. Get yourself a Camelbak Mule it holds 100oz's of Water.


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For pants I go to the Van Huesen outlet at AZ Mills. They have a nice selection of lightweight, but rather sturdy, cotton cargo style and other pants for ~$20. They're cheaper than most jeans, lighter material and they wear well.

For hunting, I wear knee pads or take a throw down pad to kneel on in order to avoid all the stickers in the desert ground, so wearing light weight pants makes it more comfortable for me.

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A lot depends on the breeze or lack of it. In extremely hot, but windy, conditions I wear a 100% cotton "Dickies" T-shirt with a pocket, plenty of sun block, a Dickies baseball cap, high quality Polaroid sunglasses, jean shorts, 100% cotton socks, canvas shoes and knee pads. I douse myself with tap water every 15 to 20 minutes or so down the front and rear centers of the T-shirt and under the armpits. The hot, breezy air rapidly evaporates the water and wicks off a tremendous amount of heat. I take numerous rest periods and take with me a portable chair that comes with a sun shield [currently for sale at COSTCO stores]. The chair serves as a base camp where I keep an ice cooler with plenty of drinking water and some food items, including a few salty ones. In extremely hot conditions with NO breeze I just do not risk it. With a light breeze or zephyrs, I will wear an old, oversized white, untucked cotton shirt with NO undershirt [usually purchased at a thrift store and thrown away afterward if too soiled]. I only button it in two or three places to allow maximum air flow and roll the cuffs up to about my elbows. It gets doused with plenty of water as well as my cap. As soon as I feel the slightest need for a rest I immediately get in my chair shielded from the direct sun and calmly fan myself with whatever is available until I feel better. Drinking down ice cold water keeps your inner core from overheating. Also, holding ice cold bottles next to your jugulars serves to quickly cool your brain case. If venomous snakes are a major concern I will wear SnakeGards. When using my Minelab Extreme I use a hydration pack in place of the ridiculous stock halter, in conjunction with a pocket rocket. I do not put much water in it to conserve weight and because I only have the water there for a dire emergency [i don't like drinking the hydration pack water because it tastes like plastic, but in an emergency it is better than nothing]. Rather, I stock the area I will be searching with water bottles, shading them from the sun. I also hang one behind my back from a belt mounted holder. Pace yourself, listen to your body and take plenty of time to recuperate. You can't be on a "schedule" in these extreme conditions. Everything, including time, slows down -- way down. But usually there is no one else around and that is a joy in itself!

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HighPlains is on target. When I lived in the desert every spring I shopped at Salvation Army and for $5. picked up 3-4 good light colored, loose fit, 100% cotton shirts. One year I got a 'silk' shirt and it was nicer than cotton when working in alkali dust. By fall they were worn-out so just toss'em.

Garimpo is right, sip water ALL day long...

Keep Smiling... :cigar:

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For a good inexpensive lightweight shirt. I have been wearing these Fishing shirts from Bass Pro Shops. The brand is World Wide Sportsman(a Bass Pro Company). I buy the Longsleve and just roll up the sleves during the day sometimes. They cost somewhere around $ 14 each , and sometimes they have a good 2 for sale. They are very lightweight,and breathable with a mesh liner in the back. I believe they are 100 % cotton as well.

You cant go wrong , trust me.... :D

I will throw out a great hot weather pant too. 511 tacticals Tac lite pro pants ( at least I thinks thats them)...

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There is some good advice in the previous posts. Find something you are comfortable with. I like light colors that blend in. I don't want to be a neon orange target!

Make sure you get 100% cotton for the summer. I bought a shirt that protects you from UV and was supposed to cool and provide sun (UV) protection, it looked great, had netting under the arms and lots of vents. Besides being expensive, it was hot! Went back to linen (100% cotton) long sleeve shirts, Kohl's has clearance racks and sometimes you can find them for $5-10, Factory2U and Ross's are good too.

I bought a UV protection shirt on the recommendation of a doctor, come to think of it I used to use sun screen on the recommendation of doctors and ended up with some nasty skin cancers. Dumped the chemical sunscreens, dumped the UV shirts, get a lot of sun without burning now, back in excellent health, feel great and saved a lot of money.


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  • 2 weeks later...

Long time ago I learned a cool trick. Wrap wet bandannas around your wrists and neck... the evaporation will help cool your blood.

I find a wet towel around my neck a great way of helping keep cool, im going to go at nights from now on as it is too hot during the day for drywashing. i had a close run in with a rattler last week almost stepped on one, i have no chapps so im going to wait until i get that sorted out, im thinking of getting nee high snake proof boots to be safe they will be akward to work in but i will learn to put up with that.

i have a 100 mile drive home from the desert after a weekend of sleeping in the truck[too many critters trying to burrow their way into the tent, i decided it was safer to sleep in truck] if i could raise money i would buy a chevy all wheel drive van that i could set up for living in at the weekends prospecting. i intend to get a window air cond unit and portable genny to help keep cool. the air cond is out in the truck and life is miserable trying to cool down on a hot day after digging for a spell it was great when air cond was working one could jump in truck and cool off.

rambling on ....driving home after weekend of terrible cramped sleep tiredness comes over me. the only thing that i find works is an ice cold towel around my neck and face cloths soaking in ice water to wipe face with helps a lot to keep one awake and the sences sharp.

im new at prospecting in the desert and love going out there finding a little colour and i find the desert very peace ful and great to go to after working all week. if im luck i will walk away with a gramme or a little more or there has been times with less.

check city had adds looking to buy gold i rang them $17 dollars a gramme. im holding on to my gold until i can do better than that.

my wife thinks im mad /lol/ who knows she might be right.

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Silvervortek: The wet towel is a good cooling device as long as there is some breeze. As for your thoughts of sleeping in your truck over a weekend, that's cool. I did it for years. But be aware that rats [usually kangaroo rats, but also pack rats] will invade your truck, start chewing wires and building nests on top of your engine unless you start your vehicle at least once or twice per day and let it run until the engine compartment warms up pretty good. A pack of them also will visit with you while you are asleep unless you close off places for them to crawl up on and into. They are very clever little critters.

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  • 3 weeks later...

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