Author Topic: Can arm sleeves really cool in the summer?  (Read 5545 times)

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Offline BikeFreak

Can arm sleeves really cool in the summer?
« on: December 20, 2022, 05:42:23 pm »
Hi,

One of the things I don't like about touring is putting on tons of sun screen every day during summer. So I've been looking for alternatives.

First of all, my body reacts to heat like this (lets say temp is more than 100 degF)

1. I wear padded synthetic cycling shorts
2. I wear a short sleeved cotton t-shirt. No synthetic jersey.
3. When resting at +100 degF it feels warm/hot especially especially if there is no wind.
4. As soon as I start cycling I feel much more comfortable. The wind cools my skin, I have a wind chill effect going on directly on my skin. My cotton t-shirt picks up the sweat/moisture and the damp fabric cools even more which is perfect. As the wind pushes through the fabric the evaporation process (latent heat) cools even more. Moreover, since the t shirt is a normal loose fit, wind pushes directly through the sleeve openings, cools my upper arm/chest area while agitating my t shirt like a flag in heavy wind further establishing a cooling, pumping effect around the upper torso.
5. My cotton t shirts don't stink due to their loose fit and I can cycle the for several days with 1 shirt. They go to the laundromat for 1 reason: The cotton starts to feels "greasy" probably also with all the salts diluted into it.
6. The concept is ideal, except the sun UV protection against my skin on exposed lower arms. I tried merino wool shirts and synthetic jersey and nothing comes close to the cotton feeling.

For many years I read about arm sleeves that claim to have a cooling effect during the summer. Here is one:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5lFiJMesByk&ab_channel=ColumbiaSportswear

For me it's hard to comprehend how a tight fitting synthetic material can create a cooling effect in +100 degF when you sweat a lot. Does anyone have practical experience with such summer sleeves?

I could argue: If it is SO good, why aren't Tour de France riders using arm sleeves or long sleeved jerseys during hot days in France?

Lucas

Offline John Nelson

Re: Can arm sleeves really cool in the summer?
« Reply #1 on: December 20, 2022, 07:07:25 pm »
No.

I typically wear sun sleeves in the summer, and sometimes even sun knees. Despite claims, they do not make you cooler, but they don’t make you much hotter either.

If you have unlimited water (highly unlikely), you could wet your sun sleeves every ten minutes. That would cool you down, but it’s not very practical.

So why do I wear sun sleeves? As you say, it’s easier than sunscreen, and it provides protection all day without reapplication. It will likely reduce your chances of skin cancer, and is less likely than sunscreen to give you heat rash.

Offline Pat Lamb

Re: Can arm sleeves really cool in the summer?
« Reply #2 on: December 21, 2022, 04:01:53 pm »
As John says, No.

I find sun sleeves nice for 60-85F weather in the southeast (humidity is low enough it doesn't condense on you if it's not raining!).  On a cool morning, before I start sweating, it provides a little warmth.  From 70 to 85 or so, it's about the same as bare arms.  Above 85F, sleeves feel warmer to me than nothing (or sunscreen).  From limited exposure in the southwest deserts, ~0% R.H., my break-even temperature is closer to 100F.

TdF riders?  Those things weight you down!  Soaked in water (provided by convenient support cars) they probably top an ounce for the pair!  :)

Offline jamawani

Re: Can arm sleeves really cool in the summer?
« Reply #3 on: December 21, 2022, 04:34:06 pm »
Yes.
Most certainly in the West. And cotton or a cotton blend works best.
Evaporative cooling can cool your skin 10-15F as long as the arm gaiters stay wet.
If you can keep them wet on hot, dry days, the cooling will be very noticeable.
(Do you remember putting on a wet t-shirt on a hot summer day?)
Even your perspiration will contribute some cooling.
In the South or the East they will just be sticky.

Offline staehpj1

Re: Can arm sleeves really cool in the summer?
« Reply #4 on: December 21, 2022, 06:36:50 pm »
If you like the short sleeved cotton tee, why not just wear a long sleeved one?

Me, I like tech tees, some much better than others and just use sunecreen on my arms.  I have considered long sleeved tech tees, but have not gone that route yet.  I think that I might consider a loose fitting silky one if I had one I liked.  The ones I have in the material I am thinking of are all short sleeved though.  If I run across one I like I'd buy it and try it, but so far I haven't.  My favorite is from Marmot, but the tags are shot from repeated washings so I can't read the model or materials.  I also think I remember it having a decent spf rating, but I could be wrong.

Offline ray b

Re: Can arm sleeves really cool in the summer?
« Reply #5 on: December 23, 2022, 12:34:39 am »
Trying to spend as much time at altitude as possible, I pretty much gave up on short sleeves years ago.

Agree with the long-sleeved tees - though I still find a tight fit with big pockets a plus on the road, so I tend to spend a little more money on a good jersey. I mean, I generally carry only two shirts when travelling (I try to make sure one smells OK, just in case), so they might as well be durable, utilitarian, and interchangeable.

As noted in a similar thread, my current preference for summer (UPF-28) long-sleeved jerseys come American-made from Bouré Bicycle Clothing out of Durango. https://www.boure.com/. Looking at the temperature ranges suggested above, I'd add, most folks are more comfortable with temperatures above 100 deg F if they keep the sun-exposed skin to a minimum. (There's a reason for the traditional garb seen at the World Cup in Qatar.) My max last year in eastern Washington was 114 deg F - OK as long as I was keeping the air moving and keeping the speed and exertion waaay down....

I also use the Voler sun protectors for my legs - sold by Adventure cycling - and full-finger gloves.

Sunscreen - only nose, malar area, and tips of ears.

(Attached shot from the highly recommended Ride the Rivers Century sponsored by Trailnet out of St. Louis every fall.)

(Fit in the elbows is distorted a little as I also wear G-Form elbow protectors under the jersey to avoid any more time in the operating room with my orthopedist. If you blow up the photo, you'll also see the hip protection on the G-Form shorts.)


« Last Edit: December 23, 2022, 11:37:41 am by ray b »
“A good man always knows his limitations.”

Offline staehpj1

Re: Can arm sleeves really cool in the summer?
« Reply #6 on: December 23, 2022, 07:33:03 am »
By the way I mentioned wearing tees.  I have found that when trail running I accumulated a lot of tech tees that I really liked and started wearing them when touring.  I sometimes use a tiny backpack with no more than just a few pounds in it rather than stuffed jersey pockets.

Around home I wear tees more often than jerseys, but still wear jerseys some of the time, usually under a shell on chilly days.

Offline canalligators

Re: Can arm sleeves really cool in the summer?
« Reply #7 on: December 25, 2022, 05:43:51 pm »
I used wicking UPF-50 long-sleeved shirts for my TransAm this year.  I am totally sold on them.  I was surprised that they blocked sun better than exposed areas + sunscreen (neck, wrists).  And they were comfortable at 100F.

I have used cotton shirts in very dry areas (backpacking, New Mexico) and they worked well.  But not so well in humid places.  Not a good choice in the humid eastern US.

p.s. The wicking shirts cool effectively enough that they can be uncomfortably cool below 60F.
« Last Edit: December 25, 2022, 05:46:25 pm by canalligators »

Offline RyeToast

Re: Can arm sleeves really cool in the summer?
« Reply #8 on: January 02, 2023, 06:32:07 pm »
Long ago, primarily commuting, I transitioned to tights for my legs and sun sleeves for the arms. I hated slathering on suncreen for the 40 minute ride, only to try to wash it off. I also wear wool shirts. Best thing I ever did. Maybe, MAYBE, not as cool, (the wool shirts are!) but most definitely not hard to adapt to. I'm a convert.

Offline Pat Lamb

Re: Can arm sleeves really cool in the summer?
« Reply #9 on: January 03, 2023, 08:41:18 am »
Long ago, primarily commuting, I transitioned to tights for my legs and sun sleeves for the arms. I hated slathering on suncreen for the 40 minute ride, only to try to wash it off. I also wear wool shirts. Best thing I ever did. Maybe, MAYBE, not as cool, (the wool shirts are!) but most definitely not hard to adapt to. I'm a convert.

Since what's "hot" and what's "cold" vary widely, can you give us a clue where you (were?) riding, and typical temperatures?

Offline BikeFreak

Re: Can arm sleeves really cool in the summer?
« Reply #10 on: January 03, 2023, 11:13:29 am »
I can add the following information:

My black lycra bike shorts from Assos have never felt warm or hot even in 110 degF. I know the thighs do not perspirate as much as the upper body, but still. And I have always been amazed that the black color as opposed to a bright color never feels burning hot.

Lucas

Offline RyeToast

Re: Can arm sleeves really cool in the summer?
« Reply #11 on: January 26, 2023, 10:06:11 am »
Long ago, primarily commuting, I transitioned to tights for my legs and sun sleeves for the arms. I hated slathering on suncreen for the 40 minute ride, only to try to wash it off. I also wear wool shirts. Best thing I ever did. Maybe, MAYBE, not as cool, (the wool shirts are!) but most definitely not hard to adapt to. I'm a convert.

Since what's "hot" and what's "cold" vary widely, can you give us a clue where you (were?) riding, and typical temperatures?

I'm riding in the Washington, DC area in the dead of summer: Hot and Humid!

Offline canalligators

Re: Can arm sleeves really cool in the summer?
« Reply #12 on: January 29, 2023, 07:02:28 pm »
I can add the following information:

My black lycra bike shorts from Assos have never felt warm or hot even in 110 degF. I know the thighs do not perspirate as much as the upper body, but still. And I have always been amazed that the black color as opposed to a bright color never feels burning hot.

Lucas

And I know people who get a rash where the sun strikes their black shorts.  So YMMV.

Offline ray b

Re: Can arm sleeves really cool in the summer?
« Reply #13 on: January 29, 2023, 07:19:28 pm »
I can add the following information:

My black lycra bike shorts from Assos have never felt warm or hot even in 110 degF. I know the thighs do not perspirate as much as the upper body, but still. And I have always been amazed that the black color as opposed to a bright color never feels burning hot.

Lucas
Right. My black Assos bibs burned my Assos in the summer sun at altitude. The white sun protectors were fine.
And I know people who get a rash where the sun strikes their black shorts.  So YMMV.
“A good man always knows his limitations.”