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The effect of textiles on perceived physiological comfort while backpacking in the cold

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dc.contributor.advisor Chen, Hsiou-Lien
dc.creator Rau, Lynn M.
dc.date.accessioned 2012-07-06T22:24:38Z
dc.date.available 2012-07-06T22:24:38Z
dc.date.copyright 2012-06-04
dc.date.issued 2012-06-04
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/1957/30776
dc.description Graduation date: 2013 en_US
dc.description.abstract Clothing is the primary means that wilderness backpackers have to protect themselves from injuries and illnesses that can occur while hiking in the cold. The current method of layering clothing may not meet backpackers' needs for both thermal insulation and heat dissipation, particularly in areas of the body that produce greater sweat, and during times of high physical exertion. No previous studies have addressed backpackers' needs for thermal and moisture comfort in different body areas within a single layer garment. The purpose of this study was to design and evaluate a single-layer garment of different textiles, to improve the physiological comfort of male backpackers hiking in cold winter weather conditions. The objectives of this study were to identify the physiological comfort needs of male backpackers hiking in the cold, to design a prototype backpacking shirt to improve comfort, and to evaluate the comfort and performance of the prototype over time, in comparison to a control. Male backpackers were recruited from a wilderness therapy company in Bend, Oregon, where subjects' employment duties included regularly backpacking in the cold. Qualitative data was collected by interviewing the subjects about their physiological comfort needs, types of garments and materials worn, dissatisfactions and preferences with hiking clothing, and locations on the body that need better attention to thermal and moisture comfort. Information provided by the qualitative interviews was used to develop design criteria. From the guarded hot plate and moisture management testing, results were used to select one thermal insulation, moisture management, and control fabric for the garment design. Based on the design criteria, a prototype shirt was developed. A prototype garment was constructed using the combination of the thermal, moisture, and control fabrics; while a control garment was constructed in an identical style using only the control fabric. The prototype and control garments were worn and tested by subjects while they backpacked. Additionally, comparisons of thermal insulation data between the prototype and control garment were collected on a thermal manikin. Major findings from the qualitative interviews were that subjects preferred base layer shirts made with synthetic fibers and style features that helped retain body heat. Subjects preferred to have greater thermal insulation in the chest and the arms, and less thermal insulation in the underarms and upper back area. Additionally, subjects were concerned about durability. A polyester fleece pile-knit was selected for the thermal insulation fabric and located in the arms and chest of the prototype. The moisture management fabric selected was a polyester fiber mesh knit fabric and was located in the upper back, underarms, and side seams of the garment. The control fabric was a brushed polyester double knit fabric and was located in all other body areas of the prototype and in the entire control garment. The wear test data indicated that both the control and prototype garments were perceived to be comfortable. The prototype had slightly better overall comfort than the control, and there were significant differences found between the prototype and the control in the areas of overall comfort, combined thermal comfort, and combined moisture comfort. The prototype did not consistently have better comfort performance than the control in each trial and for each subject. It was found that the prototype and control shirts could be worn without additional layers when the temperatures were above 35 °F and 40 °F, respectively. Thermal manikin testing results confirmed that the overall thermal insulation of both test shirts was equal, but that the prototype had greater or less thermal insulation than the control in specific body areas, depending on the placement of the thermal insulation or moisture management fabric. In summary, the prototype shirt designed in this study has accomplished the goal of providing backpackers' physiological comfort needs identified in the qualitative interviews.  The design prototype, when worn alone, is able to keep backpackers comfortable when hiking in cold conditions, particularly in temperatures above 35˚F. Although not intended to be worn as part of a layer system, the prototype also keeps backpackers comfortable when they are wearing multiple clothing layers. The use of different fabrics in different body areas satisfies the backpackers' needs of both retaining and dissipating body heat with changes in physical activity. Although both the prototype and the control shirts were found to have good thermal, moisture, and overall comfort, the prototype had slightly higher overall comfort ratings than the control.  In addition, both the prototype and the control were perceived to be better than the subjects' own base layer shirts, and all subjects were willing to recommend the shirts to other hikers. en_US
dc.language.iso en_US en_US
dc.subject backpacking en_US
dc.subject comfort en_US
dc.subject textiles en_US
dc.subject cold en_US
dc.subject physiological en_US
dc.subject.lcsh Cold weather clothing -- Design and construction en_US
dc.subject.lcsh Cold weather clothing -- Physiological aspects en_US
dc.subject.lcsh Hikers -- Clothing -- Design and construction en_US
dc.subject.lcsh Hikers -- Clothing -- Physiological aspects en_US
dc.subject.lcsh Shirts, Men's -- Design and construction en_US
dc.subject.lcsh Shirts, Men's -- Physiological aspects en_US
dc.subject.lcsh Perspiration -- Prevention en_US
dc.subject.lcsh Body temperature -- Regulation en_US
dc.title The effect of textiles on perceived physiological comfort while backpacking in the cold en_US
dc.type Thesis/Dissertation en_US
dc.degree.name Master of Science (M.S.) in Design and Human Environment en_US
dc.degree.level Master's en_US
dc.degree.discipline Health and Human Sciences en_US
dc.degree.grantor Oregon State University en_US
dc.contributor.committeemember Mullet, Kathy K.
dc.contributor.committeemember Cluver, Brigitte G.
dc.contributor.committeemember Roper, Larry D.
dc.description.peerreview no en_us

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