Clothing, The Other Three Seasons

This is a guest post and entry in our non-fiction writing contest  by Ben D

I’m not going to talk about warm winter clothing. That’s been done before. If you live in a northern climate, of course you should have a good warm coat, a backup warm coat, and probably even a backup to the backup. Even if you live in a southern climate, it still doesn’t hurt to have a good warm coat as a backup. After all, when the power is spotty, or out completely, being warm is critical to survival during the winter months.

Looks like I did talk about warm clothing a little bit. Well, a quick reminder could mean a difference between life and death. So consider yourself warned on staying warm.

However, this little article is about the other three seasons… spring, summer, and fall.

Let me truly begin by painting a picture for you… it is summer outside. A blistering 103 degrees that makes the air dance when you look down a road. It’s so bright and sunny that you only need half of your solar oven to boil water. Sweat is pouring down your back as you plant another row of seeds in your garden. You think to yourself how nice a glass of ice-cold water would taste right about now. But there is no ice anymore, so you have to settle for the hot water in your canteen that has now been sitting in the sun for an hour, baking. A few hours ago, you left it in the shade, but dang that old sun, moving across the sky. The sun continues to move across the sky and eventually sets with you welcoming the coolness of the night with open arms.

Or so you thought… as you lay there in bed, you begin to itch. Your neck, your ears, if you are male, you are bald spot, they all start to itch. Next thing you know, your back and arms start to itch too. You itch all over. It’s like someone rubbed poison ivy or poison oak all over your clothes. Not being able to stand the itching anymore, you grab your flash light and head to the bathroom. There, you discover that you’ve become sunburn. Extremely sunburned.

That sunburn could have been prevented. Part of being a good prepper is being prepared of course. And a good way to be prepared for the summer is with SPF clothing. I own several light cotton long sleeve shirts from Coolibar. The shirts I own from Coolibar has a zinc thread weaved in with the cotton shirt making it the equivalent of wearing sunscreen that is SPF 50. They also sell a variety of SPF protected hats too. You don’t necessarily have to go with Coolibar since there are numerous companies that some great SPF clothing. There are SPF hats, swimwear, pants, shirts, dresses, just lots of stuff that y’all should consider for the other three seasons! A great thing about SPF clothing is that such clothing is significantly cheaper than buying a bunch of sun screen.

During the summer, especially summers in the south or south-west, you’re not going to want to wear thick clothing to protect your skin from the sun. No, you’ll want to wear a light cotton shirt for all the extra outdoor work you’ll need to do, from gardening, to patrolling, to finding other folks to trade with. And a nice summer cotton shirt, even a long sleeve one is not going to cut. A typical cotton shirt provides protection that is about the same as wearing sunscreen that is SPF 5 to 8. For folks who are fair-skinned, that’s instant burning and a little later peeling. So make sure you have some good sun protection for days you’ll be spending a lot of time outdoors. Especially if you don’t want to store hundreds of containers of sun screen that will one day expire if you don’t use them.

As an aside, you can start using these shirts immediately too! Planning on going to the beach or hiking in the desert? Having a good shirt with an SPF rating of 25 or more is a great idea!

There are still other clothing options many might not have considered. A good rain coat for when work that still must be done outside when it is raining. My wife and I have several large black containers that we store most of our preps in order to stay under the radar (containers labeled Christmas decorations are filled with canned goods for example). Those same containers can be used to collect rain water in a pinch and having a good rain coat to stay dry while working outside in the rain to collect water is just a smart idea. Maybe one might have to go hunting in the rain or even stand watch. So don’t forget a good rain coat!

By now, I think y’all get the point. Remember, there are three other seasons in the year, and having the appropriate clothing for each of those seasons will definitely make your life better right now and post-TEOTWAWKI.

This is an entry in our non-fiction writing contest where you could win:

First Prize) Winner will receive a Nomad – 1 Person Standard Survival Package courtesy of Shepherd Survival Supply, a One Month Food Pack courtesy of Augason Farms, a $150 gift certificate for Remington Ammo courtesy of and a EcoZoom’s Versa Stove courtesy of EcoZoom stoves. A total prize value of over $875.

Second Prize) Winner will receive two (2) Rothco Sure Paks With Heater courtesy of Camping Survival, a Wise Food Vegetable bucket courtesy of LPC Survival and a Wonder Junior hand grain mill courtesy of Kitchen Kneads. A total prize value of over $509.

Third Prize) Winner will receive 3 – 27 Variety of Non Hybrid, Heirloom Non GMO Survival Seeds, 2 – Fruit Pack of Non Hybrid, Heirloom Non GMO Survival Seeds and 2- First Aid Kit with Sutures in a Waterproof Resealable Bag courtesy of Be Prepared Now. A total prize value of over $215.

Contest ends on March 30 2012.

About M.D. Creekmore

M.D. Creekmore is the owner and editor of He is the author of four prepper related books and is regarded as one of the nations top survival and emergency preparedness experts. Read more about him here.


  1. I grew up in Oregon and now live in Montana. Both places require that you keep your clothing variable because the weather will usually change 3-4 times during the day. It’s a tough thing to teach my grandchildren who, being boys, are often living in the moment and not thinking about later in the day.

  2. Judy, another one says:

    Sorry, I’m not buying into the specialty clothing. Life experience tells me it is not required. Furthermore, recent research says because we have gone overboard in preventing sun exposure, to the point, we are now suffering from Vitamin D deficiencies.

    My grandfather, born in 1886, wore long sleeve chambray shirts and a broad-brim hat the width of his shoulders for sun protection. If he tore his shirt out in the field, he immediately went to the house to get the shirt repaired. In the length of time it took to get to the house he was burned wherever the tear was.

    Any light colored, long sleeve, tightly woven shirt will protect you. My husband’s old dress shirts are excellent for this. I wear a broad-brim straw hat with a chinstrap to keep it on my head. (I live in Kansas. The wind blows. A lot!)

    There is a reason old-timers dressed the way they dressed in the summer time. Look at the pictures, everybody was in light colors and had broad-brimmed hats. Light colors reflect sun and broad-brimmed hats provide shade. Straw hats soak up sweat and then evaporation cools the head. Cotton or better still, linen, absorbs sweat and once again, evaporation cools. (Linen is a sturdier fiber than cotton.)

    No one wants burnt, people have died from sunburns. All that’s need is some common sense.

    Furthermore, you won’t catch me in the field when it is 103. I got up at dawn and worked until it was hot. Then I came to the house found some shade and waited until it started to cool down before going back to the field. Why make myself sick from the heat? Dehydrating is a real issue in that kind of heat. The only reason to be out in that kind of heat is to hay or trying to beat the rain ruining your wheat harvest.

    One final point, when your specialty clothing wears out what are you going to do?

    • Wellrounded says:

      I have to agree Judy. I work outside in all weather and wear basicly the same thing all year. Long sleeved sturdy cotton shirt, sturdy jeans and a broad brimmed hat, I’ve never been sunburnt through these clothes. (We do have a temperate climate here, temps range from just below freezing to 110F, so I don’t need to worry too much about the cold). I work early if it’s going to be over 100F, if it’s really hot we check the animal troughs just after lunch, other than that it’s work in the shade or inside. The sturdy clothes are not just for sun or cold protection, some basic skin and foot protection is a pretty good idea. A lot of our visitors who work along side us for a while ignore most of my clothing recommendations, they end up scratched, burnt (yes they all use suncream), trodden on and complaining. I don’t have a lot of sympathy, if you want to wear short short’s then go into the puppy pen……
      I prefer basic cotton/linen fabrics, so easy to repair, wash and dry. I can boil them if I want to. Once their life as clothing is over they make excellent rags.

      • Judy, another one says:

        Being from Kansas it is -10 to 110 with a 30-mph wind. I got to be able to take care of both extremes of exposure.

        Sun protection is a real issue with me because I inherited my grandfather’s photosensitivity. I can burn through the windshield of a vehicle.

        What most people don’t realize with sunscreen lotions is that as soon as you start to sweat you have lost the protection of most sunscreens. There are a few on the market that will hold up for a little while longer but even those need to be reapplied regularly. Then to add to the misery of being hot any lotion you rub on your skin is going to cause you to retain body heat. Ever had heat rash? Save lotions for winter use. They will actually help keep you warm by sealing the skin against moisture loss.

        And hats! Don’t get me started on hats! Particularly baseball hats, that’s a whole ‘nother rant! LOL I just look mild mannered.

    • Hi Judy,
      I must respectfully disagree with you regarding your post. This is from the viewpoint of someone who has spent many years in the field in many different uniforms and headgear. I didn’t get to choose my hours of operation and even though most of them were at night, you know that summer temperatures in the South can be as unforgiving as the mountains of Afghanistan or the endless dessert of Iraq.
      My first point has to do with weight. Weight is a soldiers enemy. If your clothes are bulky, coarse and heavy you do not move as well. New fabrics are sheer and have a much lower weight factor than clothes our grandfathers used to wear. Case in point, go to Academy or another sporting goods store and try on an Under Armor T. Wear it for a couple of days and then go back to what you wore before. I suspect that after a couple of sunny 90 + days you’re looking for that Under Armor T.
      Second is durability. There have been some tough fabrics engineered after 10 years of combat testing. Gortex became popular with hunters and campers after It had been issued to me for a couple of years. Only the toughest footwear can stand up to sharp outcroppings, sharp metal debris and fire/blast damage while keeping your ankles attached to your legs. The Kevlar reinforced boots of todays Army (Marines too if you can get them out of the FOB, lol, that one’s for you Jarhead03) will outlast those old leather boots I started my career in by many seasons.
      Third is breathability (if it’s a word) today’s fabrics have the ability to control the temperature of the body and help with pulmonary function. They wick away moisture and keep you cool on those long patrols where everything chafes. Try and get that out of an old cotton shirt. For hunters, an activity which may become even more competitive soon, it is a distinct advantage that newer fabrics on the market can even control your scent at the animal level while keeping your body heat centered on your core.
      Fourth and last is the tactical advantage of newer fabrics as noise, IR signature, and survivability are all taken into account in the newer fabrics and tactical uniforms being issued today’s combat troops. Some features are built in pressure points to control bleeding, elbow and knee pad pockets for “pucks”, flame retardant capabilities, camouflage patterns that can keep you well hidden should you be surprised in your garden or perimeter WROL, socks that can help keep your blood circulating during an all out run or tactical movement to contact. Ladies, that last item can even help with varicose veins. YMMV.
      Luckily for us many of these fabrics and uniforms are available commercially and you don’t have to follow the AR-670-1 to wear them. And also lucky for us they come in styles that allow you to blend in and not look like a mall ninja. Unless of course you go for that sort of look.

      • Judy, another one says:

        I understand what you are saying from a military/defensive/hunting point of view and I am thankful my son had access to those fibers/clothing while he was in Afghanistan.

        But I am talking about growing beans for the average Joe/Jane out here and dollar signs. You don’t need specialty clothing to grow beans. You need a wide brimmed hat, long sleeve shirt, shovel, hoe, rake, and seeds to grow food. And come to think of it, all you really need is a digging stick and seeds. Not sure I want to get that primitive but I guess I could if I had to.

        • Hi Judy,
          I think it was more of a living vs surviving debate for us. I want to live and if I have access to improved fabrics that can protect me in a variety of situations and keep me comfy during planting season then I’m willing to fork over the dough to be a little more comfortable. 🙂

      • Mexneck,
        I agree with you on specialty fibers and materials. As a kid in the scouts I toted a much too heavy pup tent made from canvass with wooden poles. It was hard to assemble and tear down and not all that water proof. New tents made of nylon and other fabrics with aluminum or fiberglass poles are superior in nearly every way I can think of.
        For rain gear I swear by the Frog Togs brand, which are made of Gore-Tex (or its generic equivalent) and are extremely inexpensive since the Gore-Tex patent ran out a few years ago. This rain suit (over pants and jacket) are sheer, lightweight, extremely waterproof, yet breathable. Anyone who would prefer the old heavy rubber coated cloth raincoat, or those made from none breathable plastics, are welcome to them. They are also welcome to live in caves and eat raw meat. We humans are ingenious and have invented technologies to make life easier, more comfortable, and safer, and although we may someday have to go back to caves and digging sticks, for the time being at least, I’ll use the newer technology that lessens my work load and in turn makes me more productive.

    • CountryGirl says:

      Oh Judy do you have a suprise comig to you. I am 68 and I have standing appointments with my dermatoligist every 6 months. So far two skin cancers removed. If I am lucky enough to live into my 80’s I will no doubt have many more removed. Now where the sun doesn’t shine my skin is white and smooth but where my clothing doesn’t cover my skin I have the most beautiful clusters of growths you’ve ever seen. I cannot name them all even though my dermatoligist knows them all by sight. Most aren’t going to ever become a cancer but some are what is called precancerous. Judy, until you hear those words from your doctor/dermatoligist/oncologist you just haven’t lived. So if you want excitement in your retirement years and a “friend” you can visit every six months who will look at every part of your body then just keep believing that excessive sun exposure is good for you. I was like you when I was younger. My father began getting spots and funny areas on his head, neck, shoulders, chest and arms when he was in his 60’s by the time he was in his 80’s these spots became what you saw when you looked at him not his face anymore but his sun caused skin lesions. My best advice to you if you won’t take precautions from the sun is to take lots of pictures now while your skin is clear and don’t allow anyone to take pictures of you when you get older, because it looks like hell and that is how people you love will remember you last.

    • Judy,
      I agree with your attitude of splitting the work day into two chuncks and avoiding the midday heat. In the deep south, and South and Central America, they even have a name for it, the Siesta.

  3. I live in the desert southwest . I wear jeans but despise them , I prefer cargo pants . If Im doing work or on a hike out there , I wear cargo pants , a boonie hat , and moisture wicking shirt , the moisture wicking shirts are more expensive but worth the price , you will find that they breath better , which keeps you cooler , while at the same time makes excess sweat dry up faster , which helps prevent sweat rash /burn , smell , and keeps bacteria down . We dont have much of a winter , so planning clothing is much more simple .

  4. Rob in Ontario says:

    I worked in construction for many years outside in all weather 100 degrees to minus 30 with wind chill on top of that and weekends in the bush cutting wood or hunting—never used sun screen before- but a light long sleeved shirt and wide brim hats work greatand in rain nothing beats a good oilskin with a good wide brim hat- here in spring and fall its damp cool and it goes right thru you,good luck trying to stay warm lol

  5. Hunker-Down says:

    If you live on a farm, spend time every day outside, solutions to the issues Ben discusses are already ingrained in your daily habits.

    If you live in the city and work in an office, his article is important to you.

    I spent my first 2o years on a farm. Now I go to the doctor every year and they carve a spot or two of cancer out of my skin. I’m already looking forward to my next appointment.
    I spent 40 years working in an office and lost all the outdoors savvy I learned on the farm.

    I’m excited to learn that there is such a thing as SPF clothing. We are forced to return to gardening in our retirement because of the current and future inflation that is stealing our purchasing power. As I work in the sun wearing SPF clothing (if we can afford it) I may be able to slow down the exposure to cancer causing sun exposure.

    Thanks Ben.

  6. Wish an american manufacturer would start making Tibetan flecktarn for hunting in the southwest , the colors are spot on ! right now you can only get from china . ( they stole it from the Germans and just changed the colors )

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