Cotton Clothing really important?

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Aug 7th, 2005, 10:16 AM
  #1
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Cotton Clothing really important?

I have a lot of ExOfficio clothes I generally wear on trips. These are synthetic, versatile, comfortably fit, easily laundered and dry quickly. Knowing that "all clothes washed on safari will be ironed," I feel faced with two choices: launder my own or buy new stuff that is cotton. Any suggestions? Also, my polartec and windbreaker are both black. Is that an issue -- do I need to get something more neutral in color?
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Aug 7th, 2005, 11:52 AM
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bwanamitch
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Tsetse flies are attracted by black/dark-blue colours (like buffalo skin), so if you're traveling in Tsetse areas (Zambia, southern Tanzania - but nowadays not the Okavango Delta) I would recommend more neutral colours.

Mitch
 
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Aug 7th, 2005, 01:29 PM
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Mosquitoes are also attracted to dark colours.

Your clothing problem is the opposite to mine: I hate wearing synthetics in warm weather, so most of my safari clothing is cotton. I would have thought you could ask that your synthetic clothing not be ironed.
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Aug 7th, 2005, 03:00 PM
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For the most part, bugs don't like me so I don't seem to attract them. Perhaps I am lucky that way. I do try to be careful as to how I dress so as to prevent bites, etc. But I don't think I will be in tsetse fly areas. Just need to keep the mossies at bay.

While I normally prefer natural fabrics, I find that the high tech travel clothes made these days are quite comfortable no matter what the weather. So I will probably stick with them rather than spend money on cotton wear. I guess I will just have to be careful not to let them get ironed.
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Aug 7th, 2005, 03:28 PM
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One comment on the Ex Officio synthetic clothes. I once sent a pair of the zip off pants to be laundered at a camp. They came back neatly pressed but the iron burned through them. I don't think that would happen with cotton.

I have asked for those synthetics to not be ironed since that incident.

Tell us again where and when you are going, as that will make a difference. The only place I've had tsetse fly problems was in a few parts of Zambia, mainly Kafue. Not in Kenya or Tanzania, Zimbabwe or Botswana, all during the dry season.
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Aug 7th, 2005, 04:59 PM
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I had a shirt burned once in Bali. I will probably just launder them in the sink rather than risk burn holes. Going to Kenya, Northern Tanzania, Zanzibar, Rwanda, Cape Town and Vic Falls. Only 26 days from now!
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Aug 7th, 2005, 07:28 PM
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I've travelled with nylon ExOfficio type clothes for all of my trips because they are so light. In about 180 days in Africa, they have never burned or damaged one of my things. Not in Namibia, South Africa, Botswana, Zambia, Zim or Kenya. Not a single one! I like them because they are so much lighter than cotton & they dry quickly if you have to launder them yourself (happens if you are changing camps sometimes).
I think so many travellers bring these now (those weight restrictions!) that they are quite familiar with synthetics at all the tourist camps. I would go with what you have because the miniscule risk that something is ruined is probably independent of fabric type. (When I have had things ruined in the US they were natural fabrics. A mistake or problem with equipment can ruin anything.)
But I would not travel with a black fleece or windbreaker. Sometimes I do advise other travellers that they are fine, but only travellers I don't particularly like, and that is only because the bugs (mostly tsetse flies) will go surround them and not me.

Also a good guide will not let anyone walking wear anything but natural/bush colors. No black, no white, no brights. It stands out too much in the landscape, something you do not want to do on walks. If your walk starts in the early, cold AM this could be a problem.
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Aug 7th, 2005, 11:31 PM
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Okay, I now feel better about my ExOfficio clothes, so thanks for that. But I am having trouble finding anything that is suitable for a windbreaker or fleece that is a good color. My windbreaker is Helly Hanson and I love the way it functions. It seems like most windbreakers / fleece come in red, navy, yellow, purple, light blue, etc. and not neutral colors. Any ideas where I can find something (probably on line because I don't live near anything)? Also, considering that I won't be out in the bush walking except for the Mountain Gorillas, is color that important? My "safaris" in Kenya and Tanzania will be from a van as I understand it, and I don't think color will matter there, will it? Thanks!
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Aug 8th, 2005, 12:09 AM
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Colour may not matter much in a van, though if you stick the upper half of your body through the roof-hatch, it might. And it certainly might matter with the gorillas. If you have to search online, look for outdoor/camping/trekking/military surplus specialists...they usually don't stock bright colours. But be careful to avoid camo clothing. It's usually a no-no for obvious reasons. I always wear plain olive greens, fawns, browns, greys etc.
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Aug 8th, 2005, 11:02 AM
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For online retailers, check out:
www.sierratradingpost.com
www.campmor.com
Both have LOTS of specials, and are great about returns for any reason.
www.rei.com is also a good resource
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Aug 8th, 2005, 12:24 PM
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Wanderlust:
Try this site - www.rei.com and click on the outlet store. I bought this very item about 6 weeks ago for my upcoming safari next month. It is the Ground Strada Jacket, item #727914 @ $98.93. The color is beige and brown with an attached hood. I think it will be perfect. I might even wear it when I get home.
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Aug 8th, 2005, 05:50 PM
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Problem: I live in Hawaii and finding any type jacket is next to impossible. Have a blue weathertek jacket I got for trip to New Zealand in March, know not to bring blue to Africa, so bought a hunter green jacket on last trip to the mainland. Since we are going to Zambia in late October, will the hunter green be o.k or will I even need a jacket? We have longsleeve safari shirts and hate to have to buy yet another jacket that will only be worn for 2 weeks in Zambia!
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Aug 8th, 2005, 07:04 PM
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also if i do need to find another jacket, am I looking for a nylon windbreaker type or a cotton type?
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Aug 8th, 2005, 07:27 PM
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Hunter green will be absolutely fine. And in October it might be so hot that you won't need it, but if the weather is at all cool at night and you are in an open landrover (you will be) you may want the windbreaker. Most of the lodges provide blankets on the vehicles, so I doubt you'll need a fleece, unless it is for the flight over or for any time you are spending in South Africa where it might be cooler.
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Aug 8th, 2005, 07:39 PM
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Matnikstym, I just noticed that you talked about longsleeve safari shirts--it's good to have a couple to put on at night if it cools down, to fend off the mozzies, but remember it will be really hot during the day. Really really hot. I don't think you will want longsleeves during the day. Think the coolest things you own...sleeveless. loose. wicking. I didn't bring enough sleeveless stuff in May, and I considered cutting the sleeves off my tshirts to make them cooler. A sarong/pareo is really useful. (You can buy a cheap length of local chitenge fabric in the shops when you arrive.) During the midday siesta, you wet it down and wrap it around yourself for your nap. Relief.
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Aug 8th, 2005, 11:17 PM
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thanks tasha! one less thing to buy, just bringing t-shirts and a couple of long sleeve shirts for the mozzies, will bring the green jacket but as you say, it will be HOT so probably won't need.
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