In many westernised countries it is typical for people on a warm, summers day to flock to the beach and strip off the layers in an attempt to cool down.
However, the considered approach of people who have lived in some of the harshest hot, sunny environments suggest an alternative which has passed the test of time.
The Bedouin tribes that inhabited the desert regions of the Middle East for centuries should know a thing or two about how to dress in the hottest conditions. Bedouin people are known for the nomadic existence, roaming from one remote location to the next. They made their money by transporting animals, people and other cargo across difficult land where rainfall was rare and unpredictable.
Bedouins made their own clothes with the wool from camel, sheep and goat.
The traditional outfit for men was a body length tunic, a cloak and a head-cloth known as a kufiya. Bedouin women were also covered from head to toe. Their head and face covered with a burqa. The outfits were loose fitting and it's interesting to note the multiple layers.
So, what was the logic of the Bedouins wearing dark colours and more clothing not less in the desert?
It may not be obvious to cover up to stay cooler, but researchers determined that darker, loose fitting clothing and multiple layers with darker colours on the outside layer allowed for heat to be absorbed before it reaches the skin while the wind helps transfer the heat away, keeping your body cooler.
The Bedouin cleverly wore multiple layers to avoid getting hot in the first place but what happens when people do overheat and how can they use clothing to regulate their body temperature if that happens?
When people overheat, they perspire. As the perspiration evaporates, the body temperature reduces. This results in a cooling effect which helps regulate body temperature.
Moisture wicking fabrics take moisture away from the body allowing the cooling process to take place quicker. Moisture wicking fabrics also dry more quickly which means that they don’t get saturated. Synthetic fabrics like polyester and wool worn by the Bedouin are effective at moisture wicking.
With our sun protection range we learn from these lessons from history like the Bedouin. Solbari offers a range of loose-fitting sun protective garments and utilises fabrics which promote the cooling effect outlined above.