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Safari clothes colors

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Feb 28th, 2011, 01:36 PM
  #1
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Safari clothes colors

Most articles and posts that I've read suggest staying away from colors outside the khaki/tan/brown/dull green range, including white. I sunburn very quickly (even though strong sunblock) and often wear a long sleeve white shirt over tank tops and t-shirts to protect my skin if I'm going to be out for long periods. I don't know if I can find this type of shirt again in a "proper" khaki type color. It's 100% cotton and has an extremely loose weave so it doesn't add any extra weight/warmth but really helps keep the sun off.

I've also seen articles and posts that say that people are really worried about "proper" colors their first time but then not again.

Is white okay, or will it actually startle/spook animals? I ask now so that I have lots of time to find various alternatives on sale if I need to be looking for something different. I don't care if it gets dusty and dingy looking, it rinses in a sink easily and dries quickly.

Thanks!
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Feb 28th, 2011, 01:59 PM
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I'm pretty sure the "stay away from white" admonitions are due to the ease of cleaning/dust issue, but I'll let more experienced heads confirm that.

For myself, I was a big fan of the clothes that came pretreated for sun protection (REI and such benefitted greatly from my decision to go on safari), but there's probably no actual need to buy new clothes if you have some that will do.

That said ... I was very, very happy that the couple wearing turquoise shirts with glitter and rhinestone embellishments got off the plane in the Mara on the stop before mine. (They were kind of killing the mood.)
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Feb 28th, 2011, 02:03 PM
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white is ok, although a bit unpractical because of the dust/dirt. Other than that, I don't think colors matter that much to be honest. Blue is bad for atrackting tsetse flies, but the actual research proves only that it attracks a (little) bit more flies than other colors, which still atrackt them as well. So don't worry to much and bring where you find yourself most comfortable in
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Feb 28th, 2011, 03:54 PM
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If you want to wear white, it's ok. But I lightly dyed my whites in tea or fabric dye.

Lots of people will tell you bright colors and printed t-shirts are ok, too. I just think they seem out of place while on safari, but it's nice to wear a bright scarf at dinner.
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Feb 28th, 2011, 04:23 PM
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White really stands out on the plains. If you're going to Kenya and Tanzania as your post suggests, then you'll be in closed vehicles and standing up looking out the open roof hatches. There isn't a lot of you that will be showing, so I don't think it will matter all that much. If you were doing walking safaris, it would be a different story. The posts about keeping it clean, are correct, however... very dusty! It won't be white for long.
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Feb 28th, 2011, 05:21 PM
  #6
 
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Personally I don't think colours matter much at all. Animals are colour blind and even lions don't see the Maasai red (don't tell anyone, they'll be disappointed!). White stands out because it reflects light so highly, bit like bleached bones on the plains. I think you should wear what is comfortable and if you're comfortable with white smeared with dust and dirt … go for it. Khaki just doesn't show the dirt as much. I'm not sure which safari outfitter is continuing the myth that we need to buy their khaki coloured clothes but I hope they are making plenty of money out of it!
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Feb 28th, 2011, 06:43 PM
  #7
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Thanks all!

If I can find something in a khaki'ish color that works (that isn't crazy expensive) I'll take that instead. I'm okay with dust and dirt but I would like to be able to show photos with me in them without looking like a complete train wreck. I have a couple of them and might try dyeing one so the dirt color looks intentional.


WO, "...couple wearing turquoise shirts with glitter and rhinestone embellishments..."??? Oh holy buckets.

ShayTay, I'm a freak and sunburn when no human should be able to sunburn. I burned past blisters through spf 48 in Florida in high school. That was in under an hour outside. Even in the shade of the vehicle I'm afraid of the sun at the equator. It will kick my butt.
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Feb 28th, 2011, 10:32 PM
  #8
 
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Ex Officio sells travel clothing that is fairly sun resistance and in safari-ish colors. I see their stuff on sale or clearance at REI or Sierra Trading Post.
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Feb 28th, 2011, 11:38 PM
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btw, remember the colors of the cars you are in; some of them are white with some bright logo's
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Mar 1st, 2011, 04:02 AM
  #10
 
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I don't know why so many people here say that white is OK. White is certainly NOT ok. Or put otherwise; white is less OK than most colors (even bright ones).

You have to look at it this way; a lot of animals have a type of monochrome vision. Hence, a color that looks bright to us may still look quite "gray" to them. But not white. White is white. To us and to them.

For instance, any lodge that offers walking safaris will advise you to not wear white. Any other color is OK, just not white. I know EP even had it in their little booklet that was in every lodge room (not that a lot of people read it, nor that the rule was enforced, but walks @ EP are not real walks anyway).

So my advice would be;
1) Stay away from whites
2) Stay away from dark blue, if you are going to areas where there are tsetse flies
3) Stay away from bright colors (for the animals with non-monochrome vision)
4) Go for shades of brown, gray or green.

...in THAT order!



B.regs,

J.
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Mar 1st, 2011, 07:40 AM
  #11
 
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Iowa_Redhead, I understand; my Dad was a redhead! Cover up well and use a wide-brimmed hat. Even if your vehicle has a "pop top", you'll get sun because you'll be out in the mornings and evenings when the sun is at a lower angle. REI has several hats that shade the back of your neck and ears, as well as having the front brim. I use a Tilley hat myself.
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Mar 1st, 2011, 07:53 AM
  #12
 
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If it won't break the bank, I'll note that lifelist's recommendation of clearance sales at REI or (especially) Sierra Trading Post is a good one. Sierra Trading Post can drive you a bit mad with emails (make sure you set your preferences appropriately if you order through them), but they have some really great deals if you're patient enough to wade through all the options on the site.
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Mar 1st, 2011, 07:59 AM
  #13
 
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I've seen guides on walking safaris in Botswana, Zimbabwe and Zambia tell people wearing white to to go and change. If anything, it's the worst colour you can wear for walking because it's so bright.

However, if you're only doing vehicle safaris I don't think clothing colour is an issue.
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Mar 1st, 2011, 08:18 AM
  #14
 
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Every store now has their spring/summer attire. Go for the low-cost shops as TJMaxx, Old Navy, Target, etc. Even GAP, their "sale" racks, and I'm sure you'll find items that work. Unless you can find sale items at REI or other that provide safe fabrics to avoid burning... these are otherwise rather expensive.

You don't need that many changes of clothing, so fine you some brown, tan, khaki and you'll be fine. If you want something different for dinner, toss in a pair of black slacks to wear with sweater and a piece of chunky jewelry.

I avoid white for the reasons stated, not so much the dust, but the dirt which can be brown, red or black... so soon your white isn't any longer. And, unless walking, rather spending most time in safari vehicle, color doesn't much matter, but for those "sparkles and bright colors" which, honestly... "are they proper anywhere?"
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Mar 1st, 2011, 10:47 AM
  #15
 
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LLBrean is another source of sunblocking shirts and pants that won't break the bank. Most outfitters include a few pieces laundy a day as part of your package deal. You really only need 2-3 outfits with this service.
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Mar 1st, 2011, 11:37 AM
  #16
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Thanks for the help everyone!

Okay, the white cotton will stay home for baling hay. I'll try the clearance and sales areas online (REI, LLBean, Sierra, etc) and see if I can find what I'm looking for in a price that won't make me whine. My main idea was to wear a tank top or t shirt and then a loose shirt over for sun protection, but I'll see what I can find.

I'm already on the lookout for lightweight pants (I only have jeans or black slacks) and will add shirts to my list. I need to get a Tilley style hat at some point but that's easier to find than clothes that fit right.
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Mar 2nd, 2011, 05:05 AM
  #17
 
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I recommend that you purchase sunburn insurance.
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Mar 2nd, 2011, 07:59 PM
  #18
 
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If you already have some white why not dye it with one of those dyes that work in the washer? That's what I'm thinking of doing.

Don't own one piece of beige clothing so thought if I can't find anything in the earth colours but it's available in white then I can simply dye it.

Also like the idea of tea staining some whites.

My beach cover up only came in black or white so I bought the white and plan to dye it turquoise for Zanzibar.
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Mar 2nd, 2011, 09:45 PM
  #19
 
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I dyed a shirt beige, came out peach. Not what I wanted. So I tried again and dyed the peach turquoise. Came out a perfect earthy sage color!! So KathBC, while you're doing your cover-up, add something peach and see what happens.

Iowa_Redhead - I thought the hat would be easy, too. I bought about 10 of them before I finally found one I liked. At the end of the summer, linen pants go on sale. I have bought many pairs for under $15. They were mostly white, so the ones I took on safari, I dyed. (too bad I didn't know that I would freeze my hoo hoo off in southern Africa in Sept and needed heavy pants)
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Mar 2nd, 2011, 10:27 PM
  #20
 
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christabir, I'm interested in the need for heavy pants as I am struggling to put together the right layers for our visit to SA this Sept. I think I have the upper half covered, so to speak, with short sleeve tees (3), light long sleeved shirts (2), two different weight fleeces & a heavier waterproof jacket. Also wool hat, fleece gloves & scarf.

The pants (3) I have bought are very light (in order to dry quickly). I will also take long underwear. If I take heavier pants will they be too hot as the sun gets up? How heavy do you mean? Should I take a couple of the lighter pairs for the afternoon?
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