What is quick-drying fabric

Update:10 Mar 2021

The most important feature of a truly portable Textile […]

The most important feature of a truly portable Textile Shirt wardrobe is quick-dry fabrics. Here’s everything you need to know about travel fabrics and quick-dry clothing that will keep your travel backpack smelling fresh.Quick-dry clothing is anything that dries fast enough to wear the next day. The best quick-dry clothes are worth the extra cash really, but you don’t have to break the bank to get a few essential pieces that last for years.The best travel fabrics are quick-drying and durable. Here’s everything you need to know about how quick-dry fabrics work, what to look for when buying quick-dry fabric, and when to get or not get quick-dry clothing.


I judge something to be quick dry if it goes from wet to damp in under thirty minutes and to completely dry within a few hours. Quick-dry clothes should always dry completely when hung overnight.Quick-drying clothing is everywhere these days, but synthetic quick-dry clothes are a pretty new invention. Before synthetic fabrics like polyester and nylon, the only option was wool.The best fabrics for travel are polyester, nylon, and merino wool.All of these fabrics are quick-dry and durable, but each functions a little differently from the rest. Cotton is a decent budget option, but not as great as the others. Polyester is easily the most widely used synthetic fabric, and it’s especially great for quick-dry travel clothing because it’s extremely hydrophobic. That means polyester fibers don’t absorb much water.


The amount of water they absorb varies with different weaves poly cotton absorbs more water than  poly tercel but generally polyester fabric only absorbs about  of its own weight in moisture.That’s nothing. An 8 oz. polyester t-shirt absorbs less than half an ounce of moisture which means it dries quickly and stays dry most of the day because there isn’t much to dry in the first place.The best part is that polyester is super durable, which is why it’s blended into everything from shirts and socks to pants. It’s also affordable. The downside is that polyester doesn’t have the built-in odor control and limited breathability of fabrics like merino depending on the weave.


Polyester isn’t ideal for extreme hiking gear, but if you’re gonna put in a few hours on a sweaty bus to Chiang Mai, polyester is a solid choice.Merino socks and shirts are usually woven with polyester, nylon, or tercel, meaning you get the benefits of merino and the quick-drying features of synthetic fabrics. Merino wool is significantly slower to dry than polyester or nylon. But the thing about quick-dry is that faster isn’t always better.The whole point of wearing a quick-dry fabric on a hike is to wick away moisture from your skin to keep you warm, and merino does that better than anything. Look for a polyester merino wool blend (if you can afford it), and you’ll have a quick-dry garment that takes a little longer to dry than the thin stuff, but feels a million times better when you’re wearing it which is most important.