How To: Dress for a Desert Trek in Jordan

In the desert sun, sand all around, I turned up the collar on my shirt. It’d been five days with the same clothing on, no laundromat in sight. I was in Jordan and attempting to travel light. Changes of clothes are a luxury, not a necessity, if you’re careful how you dress.

New materials let you get away with it. Stink and stains are less of an issue with clothing made for the rigors of the road.

desert shirt trek.jpg

The author hiking among ruins north of Amman, Jordan

A case in point was my shirt: Aptly called the Global Adventure Roll-Up, the $70 long-sleeve from Columbia is made of polyester but boosted with technologies that wick sweat, repel moisture, and shade from the sun.

(Related content: Author Stephen Regenold wrote about canyoneering in Jordan earlier this month in the post “Into the Depths… ‘Wadi Ghwayr’ Canyon Trek in Jordan” )

The company cites UPF 50 sun protection with the shirt. Its long sleeves and collar keep rays off your skin.

A special wicking material helps move sweat. The fabric is made to resist moisture, limiting the stink factor even after days of wear.

Columbia Travel Shirt.jpg

Global Adventure Roll-Up from Columbia

Long-sleeve shirts paired with lightweight pants might seem strange when the temp is pushing 100 degrees. But I find that loose-fitting and breathable clothing that covers you up is the best to manage dry heat and desert sun.

I’ve worn shirts similar to the Columbia piece from brands like Rail Riders and Ex Officio. All were button-up synthetic tops, pocketed and made to keep the sun at bay.

In Jordan, where I was hiking and exploring canyons for almost a week, my shirt adapted across a range of temps. Its stretchy fabric was comfortable while hiking as well as climbing up a desert peak.

A bonus: Wrinkles are a thing of the past with many travel-oriented tops. As long as you don’t crumple them into a ball, a shirt like this Columbia can survive a trans-Atlantic trip in a duffel bag and arrive in a far-flung place still looking crisp.

—Stephen Regenold wrote about canyoneering in Jordan earlier this month in the post “Into the Depths… ‘Wadi Ghwayr’ Canyon Trek in Jordan.”

Posted by James Kennedy - 06/18/2013 02:07 PM

I did the same thing during my trip in the Emirates. Didn’t pack much at all, and was just fine. Would go into cafes and no one even glanced at me.

Posted by Bruce Warren - 06/21/2013 10:04 AM

Finally! A piece about the right way to dress in the desert. I grew up on a farm and harvesting hay was a job for which you got fully covered. My first ever backpack trip was in college in the Grand Canyon. We all wore long pants and long sleeve shirts. Anywhere I hike I do the same. Constant shade for your skin, no sunscreen junk needed, protection from thorns and bug bites. But, since it is not stylish…. most folks wear hot little outfits.

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