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.

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.

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.”

Stephen Regenold

Stephen Regenold is Founder of GearJunkie, which he launched as a nationally-syndicated newspaper column in 2002. As a journalist and writer, Regenold has covered the outdoors industry for two decades, including as a correspondent for the New York Times. A father of five, Regenold and his wife live in Minneapolis.