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Differences in wearer response to garments for outdoor activity

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The performance of garments for outdoor activity was compared. Three fabrics, each in garments for the upper body, matched garment/wearer dimensions, were worn by 10 athletically 'well-trained' males under controlled conditions (hot 32 ± 2°C, 20 ± 2% relative humidity (RH); cold 8 ± 2°C, 40 ± 2% RH) with physical (instrumental) and sensory responses obtained during the trials. Differences in human responses to the fabrics/garments included heart rate, core temperature during run (hot, cold), rest (hot) and walk (cold), heat content of the body, humidity under garments during rest and run and time to onset of sweating. No such differences were identified for change in body mass, core temperature during walk (hot) and rest (cold), skin temperature, temperature of skin covered by the garment, humidity under the garments during walk or for any perceptions (thermal sensations, thermal comfort of torso, exertion, wetness). The garment in single jersey wool fabric performed best in both hot and cold conditions. Effects of garments on wearers are often related to properties of the fabrics from which the garments are made. This study shows that only some differences in fabric properties result in measurable thermophysiological and perceptual responses of the garment wearers and underlines the difficulty in predicting performance of garments/persons from laboratory tests on fabrics.
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Keywords: garment-wearer responses; knit fabrics; merino wool

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand

Publication date: November 1, 2007

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