- RSS Syndication
Sweating has been the cooling mechanism for Homo sapiens for all time, so, old problem. Did primitive people have a strategy to manage dripping sweat? Who knows? Was Tonto’s headband-with-feather for decoration, or to keep the sweat out of his eyes? In any case, modern man has devised a few strategies for “perspiration mitigation”. In this post, we’ll look into all we know of, there aren’t many. We start with background info.
FACTORS CONTRIBUTING TO DRIPPING
How much sweat you produce is the fundamental factor in how much you drip, and therefore suffer, usually from burning eyes and/or smeared glasses. First, only a minority of us has the dripping sweat problem. If you are reading this there’s a high likelihood you are in the club of the “ultra-sweaters”, or are close to someone who is. We constitute approximately 25% of the total population.
FYI, the documented range of sweat production is between a quart and a gallon an hour, with a few outliers at either end. Some people produce less than a quart, and we have sold a few helmet liners to cyclists who bought them to wet them, and thereby get some evaporative cooling. Alberto Salazar, the great marathoner, set the gallon mark.
The second critical factor is humidity. Sweat evaporates far better into dry air than wet. Heavy work or play in hot humid weather? Lots of sweat, little evaporation, lots of dripping and suffering. Cool weather and dry air, with the same effort, same activity, maybe no problem at all. We make humid climate versions of most of our products, look for the “X2”.
The third main variable is individual and personal, namely hair. A full thick head of hair will disperse and to some extent even draw some sweat away from the scalp. And there’s some correlation with age here, as we lose hair over time. Shaved, bald, or balding? You’re getting little to no help at all, and will either have to learn to live with your misery, or you’ll have to acquire some helpful headwear.
So, what are your options for sweat management? How do you keep dripping sweat from burning your eyes or staining your glasses, or both? The products people turn to can be broken into several categories. The principles at work and corresponding primary categories are absorption, dispersion, and diversion. And then we add a fourth category composed of hybrids of these first three groups.
SWEAT MANAGEMENT PARAMETERS:
The most iconic example a product relying almost entirely on absorption for sweat management is the ubiquitous bandanna. Also a fashion statement in some circles, this is simply a piece of cotton fabric rolled up and tied around the head. You can purchase one practically anywhere for a few bucks. These are popular with wildland firefighters, wrapped around the brow band of their helmet. Bandanna advantages are their ready availability, price, and the wide variety of patterns and colors. This is a choice with some traditional momentum.
Some headband manufacturers boast “100% cotton terry cloth”. They make towels out of it, right? So it must be absorbent. Otherwise, however, cotton has no beneficial technical properties. Cotton is indeed hydrophilic (draws in water), that’s a plus, but sadly draws in little. Cotton only holds around 4x its weight in H2O. And it holds water tightly, does not release it, and does not wick. So in effect cotton headwear draws sweat in readily, saturates quickly, and holds on to it. And then comes the dripping we long to avoid, barely even delayed.
Simple headbands of synthetic fabric typically hold less moisture than cotton, but may perform slightly better since they wick and release moisture faster. Usually thin and lightweight by design however, they are rarely substantial enough to absorb and hold much moisture. As soon as your sweat production rate exceeds the fabric’s capacity to wick and dry...you’re dripping.
Accomplishing sweat control with low absorption fabrics quite simply requires large volumes of fabric. There is a product out there that is basically a long stretchy tube of synthetic fabric that ultra-sweaters have had some luck with. More fabric means more absorbency, and more time drip-free. But dealing with a bulky piece of headwear, maybe not so easy.
Dispersion is a quality we have touched on in the absorption section. Dispersion: to distribute over a wide area. In our case, we want to disperse sweat to stop the dripping. The factor of dispersion is present in all permeable fabrics and therefore in all sweat managing headwear. Even cotton, though barely.
All permeable fabrics have some degree of capillarity, the ability to move or wick moisture. The movement of moisture is a critical factor in effective sweat management. The more rapid the dispersion of absorbed moisture, the more available it is to evaporate, and thus the drier and cooler the user stays.
Wicking and evaporation alone however are insufficient to the needs of the ultra-sweater. Lightweight wicking fabrics alone, by far the most common design, don’t hold enough moisture to be able to buffer the user’s output of sweat unless the output is modest. The sweat-free window in the case of the ultra-sweater is simply that small bit of time before the user’s rate of sweat output overtakes the fabric’s limited wicking and evaporating capacity.
The third and most unusual approach to managing excess sweat is to mechanically collect it and divert it away from your face. Think of the gutters on a house. There is a product out there that is essentially a silicone gutter, worn like a headband, that collects sweat across your forehead. This then drains out either end, at your temples. These effectively intercept the sweat running off your head. As they rely on gravity, you need to remain upright yourself or the sweat spills out the front and onto your face and glasses. They will not serve you well in yoga class, the gym, gardening, aero position cycling, etc. Users complain about the volume of diverted sweat that now courses down the sides of their face, and the red stripe left behind on their forehead when the gutter is removed.
Most sweat managing headwear relies on a combination of the three mitigating principles, absorption, dispersion, and diversion. The exceptions to this rule are items made of either cotton or silicone. With almost no wicking ability, cotton headwear relies nearly entirely on absorption. And silicone’s impermeability spells pure diversion. The vast majority of products are made of synthetic fabrics that both absorb and disperse, and are therefore inherently hybrid.
Worth mentioning are two truly hybrid products that have each diverged from the predominant wicking-fabric-only model. Both have incorporated a second material in their designs to add functionality to their respective headwear lines.
One has added a silicone strip low across the forehead of their wicking fabric headwear. The strip helps to divert some of the run-off sweat to the sides of the user’s face. However, since the silicone strip is adhered to the underside of wicking fabric, ultra-sweaters still end up with a dripping issue. Sweat wicks through the fabric right over top of the silicone strip, and into their eyes and onto glasses
SWEATHAWG: ULTIMATE HYBRID HEADWEAR
The fundamental shortcoming for lightweight wicking-fabric-only headwear, at least for folks at the high end of the sweat production range, is their lack of absorbency. The dreaded dripping begins as soon as the fabric’s limited capacity first to absorb and then to disperse and evaporate is exceeded. In humid climates especially this can be very quick. SweatHawg products are unique in having an absorbent layer temple to temple that holds 10x its weight in water.
SweatHawg’s hybrid system employs two different fabrics, one wrapped up with the other. In every version of our headwear we have placed a strip of aggressively absorbent fabric across the forehead, then an aggressively wicking fabric overall. In this creative combination of lightweight fabrics, the absorbent layer gathers excess sweat at your forehead, and the other wicks it away, dispersing moisture to then evaporate. Evaporation results in cooling, the intended purpose of sweat from the start.
Fabric that holds ten times its weight in water retains excess sweat that is continually wicking away, evaporating, and cooling. This added absorptive capacity prevents the usual deluge of dripping, similar to the way a reservoir evens out streamflows and prevents flooding.
This is so simple and so effective! We stand behind our products as most effective for sweat management, guaranteed. No more drips, no more burning eyes, no more smeared glasses.
Best of 2017 BikeRumor.com Review
17 things that made bicycle travel better in 2017 By Zach Overholt of BikeRumor.com
I'm definitely what you could call a hat person. That means I'm almost always wearing a different hat while traveling. But one thing remains constant – the Sweathawg Cap Insert. Hustling through the airport can work up a sweat – especially through the crowded summer season. The Sweathawg insert keeps your cap (or hat) looking fresh by absorbing most of the perspiration and preventing sweat stains. In many cases it can actually make the hat more comfortable (for those that are follicularly challenged). I was given one of these years ago, and bought a bunch more so I could keep them in certain hats and not have to rotate as much. I may have a problem. $10.
Thank you Zach for including SweatHawg Cap Inserts in your "17 things that made bicycle travel better in 2017" article!
It is Headband Season!
‘Tis the season, headband season! One week from official Winter, many of us have been driven inside by cold, snow and darkness.
Runner or cyclist, treadmill or trainer, you can still manage a great sweaty workout with SweatHawg Headwear.
Links to trainer and treadmill workouts below.
Three trainer workouts:
Skull caps are our most popular cold weather product
management is at least as important in the winter as it is in summer. SweatHawg
Skull caps are our most popular cold weather offering. Wick and stay
Don’t sweat. You may have heard this basic adage of winter adventure, which in my experience is all but impossible to achieve. But there are some simple things you can do to minimize the amount you sweat, which is still a very worthwhile goal.
Why not sweat? It’s simple. If you sweat, your base layer gets damp or wet. If your base layer is wet, it takes a lot of body heat to warm that moisture, evaporate it away, and keep you comfortable. And if that doesn’t happen, the moisture will cool you down and eventually chill you unpleasantly. Or, to put it more simply, damp base layers make you cold.
Hence the advice to avoid sweating in the first place, which isn’t really achievable. Here’s what you can do, however, to reduce the amount you do sweat.
Sense your sweat
Pay close attention to your body as you begin to exert yourself in the cold and learn to recognize the specific moment when you begin to perceptibly sweat. For me, it’s when a flush of warmth radiates across my skin and I can almost sense the sweat pores opening up. That’s the moment to take some, or all, of the following steps.
Adjust your layers
You need surprisingly few layers to stay warm when working hard in the cold, and should de-layer to that level as soon as you sense your body sweating. (Note that if you’re not cold when you begin moving, you will rapidly overheat as your body warms from the exertion.) Note that Gore-Tex and equivalent waterproof-breathable materials, as well as windproof fleece, are not actually that breathable and quickly begin to trap sweat beneath them faster than they allow it to pass through, which can prompt the next step…
Stripped down to nothing but a base layer and outer shell, but still sweating? Unzip the pit zips on your jacket if it has them. Open the front zipper as much as conditions, or your backpack, allow. If your pants or bibs have side-zips (a highly recommended feature), open them as well. You may consider removing your jacket entirely.
Move slow and steady
This is one of the most challenging pieces of advice to follow. Moving slowly enough to dramatically reduce your sweat feels like you’re moving at a snail’s lethargic pace. But doing so not only reduces the sweat factor, it also conserves your energy and allows you to maintain a sustained pace for extended periods of time.
My favorite slow-and-steady technique is to match steps with slow, steady breathing. One step for each inhale, one for each exhale. On climbs and other strenuous, sweat-inducing terrain, it’s one step for each full breath (inhale and exhale). Though slow, it’s consistent, low-sweat, and a great way to maintain a pace for the long haul.
Stay dry. Stay warm! You can check out the article from Matt Heid at Outdoors.org on sweating in the cold.
Hydration: The Flip Side of Sweat
For many athletes, sweating feels uncomfortable, though SweatHawg products can certainly help with that (our mission in life).
But sweating is of course essential, your body relies on evaporative cooling as the primary mechanism to decrease surface body temperature and prevent overheating.
During activities in the heat, the cardiovascular system works overtime in order to provide blood to the working muscles, as well as increase blood flow to the skin for cooling. Unfortunately, if one area of the body is receiving less blood than needed, performance will be compromised.
While the temperatures may be similar in two different regions of the country, relative humidity is the most important factor having a direct relationship to sweating and cooling, as relative humidity determines evaporation rates.
The lucky athletes are those who train in areas of low humidity and welcome a nice breeze to keep the body from overheating. As for athletes training in high humidity, they are all too familiar with wet clothes and high heart rates during the first ten minutes of training outdoors.
How Much Should You Drink?
If you consume too much water and not enough electrolytes, your body pulls electrolytes from its cells in order to create the right balance for absorption. If you consume too many electrolytes and not enough fluid, your body pulls fluids from within to create the right balance for absorption.
Electrolytes modulate fluid exchanges between the body's fluid compartments and promote the exchange of nutrients and waste products between cells and the external fluid environment.
Heat may cause athletes to lose up to .5-4 L/hr of sweat, depending on body size (surface area), training environment, diet and ability to meet hydration and electrolyte needs. Hydration guidelines are not designed to replace all the fluid you lose while out sweating, but most of it. When you know your sweat rate, you can then aim to hydrate accordingly.
An optimal hydration solution is necessary in order to meet individual calorie and electrolyte needs, so choose carefully. Remember, liquid calories are essential in ensuring a successful performance
Your Sweat Rate Test
Our awesome customer base is made up of folks all at least “above average” in the sweat rate test. Our kind of people! Anyway, here’s the nitty gritty on sweat rates. We have what you need to keep sweat from your eyes, regardless :-)
we will get to the flip side~hydration.
Average and Champion Sweat Rates
How much do we sweat? An average person sweats between 0.8 to 1.4 liters (roughly 27.4 to 47.3 oz.) per hour during exercise. To help you with a visual, the smaller bike water bottles typically hold 0.6 liters (20 oz.) of fluid and the larger bottles hold 0.7 liters (24 oz.) of fluid.
The highest recorded sweat rate for an athlete in an exercise situation is 3.7 liters (125 oz.) per hour, recorded by Alberto Salazar while preparing for the 1984 Summer Olympics. The highest human sweat rate recorded is 5 liters (169 oz.) per hour measured on a resting body exposed to a hot environment. At rest, the skin blood flow was maximum and not competing with exercising muscles.
How do you know if you are just an average sweaty person or a truly champion sweater? You need to do some testing.
Your Sweat Rate Test
The easiest way to measure your sweat rate is to weigh your naked self before exercising for one hour. After an hour of exercise, return home, strip down and weigh yourself again. Assuming you did not use the toilet or consume any fluids during exercise, your weight loss is your sweat rate. For each kilogram of lost weight, you lost one liter of fluid. (For each pound lost, you lost 15.4 oz. of fluid.)
If you drink any fluids or use the rest room between the two weight samples, you'll need to include both of these estimated weights in your calculations. Add fluid consumed to the amount of weight lost. Subtract estimated bodily void weight from the total weight lost.
Be sure to record the heat and humidity conditions in your sweat test. Repeat the test in cool and hot conditions. Repeat the test for swimming, running and cycling because sweat rates will vary for each sport and vary with environmental conditions.
Now that you know your sweat rates in each sport, you probably imagine that simply drinking enough fluid will replace what you lose to sweat given the environmental situation. If it were only that easy.
Next HawgBlog: Hydration
The Strange Brain of the World’s Greatest Solo Climber
story about the ultimate “no sweat” free solo climber Alex Honnold (nickname
“No Big Deal”). Turns out his brain does not register fear. Helps him do
things like climb El Capitan this summer solo no rope in 3 1/2 hours. Comment
at the summit? “That was rad!”
to keep sweat from eyes and glasses the rest of us can count on SweatHawg Headwear. Pretty rad too.
New Products Help Beat The Heat
New Products Help Athletes & Workers Beat the Heat: Oregon Start-up SweatHawg Launches Sweat Control Headwear Line
“If you’ve ever had a problem with sweat running into your eyes or glasses while working or playing hard, we’ve got the best solution,” says company founder John Rahm, who came up with the SweatHawg helmet liner when he couldn’t find bike headwear that would fit invisibly in his helmet and stop sweat from staining his glasses.
(August 28, 2012) – Bringing hope to active people who sweat like beasts, SweatHawg, an Oregon start-up company, has launched a line of innovative head sweat control products. In time for Labor Day, the first is a helmet liner, promising relief for anyone who wears a helmet and sweats more than average.
Sweat production during exercise ranges between a quart and a gallon per hour, and Rahm is one of many at the heavy end of the range. Noting recent record-setting heat waves and other trends, Rahm anticipates demand for his next-generation sweat control headwear solution to grow, among outdoor laborers as well as athletes:
–Approximately six million hard hats are sold in the U.S. annually.
–In 1977, Americans took 1.27 million trips by bike; by 2009 this number had more than tripled to 4.08 million.
–Along with the growth in cycling is a growing need for UV protection in an aging population. Men in their forties have a 40 percent incidence of male pattern baldness, in their fifties a 50 percent incidence, etc. And cycling helmets leave gaps where the sun beats down on bare heads.
With its flagship helmet liner product selling briskly—the 500th unit is expected to ship soon—SweatHawg will introduce a head sweat band later this fall, bringing its patent-pending head sweat control technology to runners, tennis players and other athletes.
SweatHawg helmet liners and head bands are a sweat-wicking, hyper-absorbent solution to the problem of sweat in the eyes. Made in America with imported ultra absorbent fabric, SweatHawgs are a new approach to managing head sweat, outperforming gutter systems and even your favorite bandanna. Satisfaction guaranteed, or your money back.
Get a SweatHawg Headband for your favorite tennis player.
Of course, tennis players suffer from dripping sweat.
A survey on the Tennis Warehouse website indicates that the most popular solution among tennis players is the headband at 41%, and if you throw in the bandanna people at 19%, that comes to 60%!
There is some desperate creativity as well, visors on backwards, and hats PLUS headbands. Whatever works : -)
Our stuff works, better than anything else, guaranteed, uniquely combining ultra absorbent and highly wicking fabrics.
Go get a SweatHawg
headband for your favorite tennis player.
Get Better at Getting Better
Every world-class performer—from athletes to chess players to musicians—follow these rules to keep improving at their disciplines.
Three elements. Turns out the critical element is focus...
Your SweatHawg eliminates one big distraction.