Discussion Thread

  • 1.  Hot Weather Clothing for Fieldwork

    Posted 06-02-2021 03:17 PM
    It is now officially summer! And with it comes the heat. At my job, part of my responsibilities includes doing inspections out in the field. And I can tell you during the summer here in North Carolina, you are going to sweat and sweat A LOT. Over the years, I have found that typical fieldwork clothes (jeans and  a T-shirt) aren't the best, as they hold in moisture and sweat. After hours of physical labor in the heat and humidity, nobody likes having to get back into a vehicle in damp, smelly clothes. 

    So I want to know from others who do fieldwork during the summer, What do you choose to wear? How do you stay cool?

    I like to wear long sleeve "fishing" shirts. These shirts are meant to get wet and dry out very quickly, while also being lightweight. I know wearing long sleeves in summer seems crazy, but being out in the field, there are lots or insects, poisonous plants, and UV rays that all love to attack bare skin. I have found that moisture-wicking lightweight long sleeve shirts do a good job of preventing insect bites, sunburn, and getting poison ivy or poison oak on you. They also help keep the dirt and grime on your clothes and not on you.

    To this point, I still haven't found a great pair of pants that are breathable, yet durable. I have tried some lightweight pants that allow my legs to breathe better and stay cooler, but would easily be ripped by thorns, wire-link fences, and other sharp hazards that I am around when doing inspections. Some of my coworkers wear different types of canvas pants, which are lighter than jeans and are pretty durable, but not that breathable. The search continues...

    Does anyone have a pair of pants they like to do fieldwork in the summer?

    Always remember to stay hydrated and take breaks when doing fieldwork, especially during the summer months. Be safe out there!

    Doug Cantrell P.E., M.ASCE
    Professional Engineer
    Durham NC

  • 2.  RE: Hot Weather Clothing for Fieldwork

    Posted 06-03-2021 05:41 PM
    I started using Uniqlo's Airsm line, cooling towels, and hiking clothes. From Uniqlo Airsm, I use the mesh hoodie to keep the sun off my arms and neck. I find that works better than the sun protection sleeves because the air gap keeps the sun's heat from being transferred to my skin vs sun sleeves which are usually very tight. I used it fully zipped in 90° Hawaii humidity. Airsm tees are great for layering and I saw there's some new pants options. Cooling towel around my neck was nice in the afternoon. Afternoons were miserable because our lunches were in AC or breezy areas out of the sun, so it felt disproportionately hot. I liked the hiking pants since they are lightweight and quick-dry, perfect for those random rainshowers. I too haven't found any hiking pants that can withstand the wear & tear like jeans.

    Kristen Yoshida P.E., M.ASCE
    Belt Collins Hawaii LLC
    Honolulu, HI

  • 3.  RE: Hot Weather Clothing for Fieldwork

    Posted 06-10-2021 09:58 AM
    Fjallraven hiking pants might be worth looking into. They are cotton but are very durable. I've abused them pretty hard during summer hikes and they're still in good condition. They aren't cheap though. I bought the most inexpensive version of them and they were still $80. But for how much I wear them, it was totally worth it.

    Christopher Seigel P.E., M.ASCE
    Civil Engineer