Ask Tug: Looking for a quick drying moisture wicking tank top

While I haven’t typically written about tank top undershirts here, I received a great question from a reader looking for quick drying (aka moisture wicking) tank top.

I travel a lot. I have always used a tank top undershirt.

My mother always used cotton, but I got some COOLMAX tank top undershirts, white, from TravelSmith. They worked great but now are in need of replacement.

I want to know where to get quick drying white tank top undershirts.

COOLMAX is fine, but maybe some other fabric is good.

Suggestions?
Edward

Hi Edward,

Thanks for the question! I thought it would be good to start by sharing a little information about the Coolmax fabric and go from there. Basically, the reason that Coolmax (from Invista), a moisture wicking fabric, is quick drying is because it is made out of a special blend of polyester and nylon (throw in a little lycra for comfort). Both polyester and nylon are synthetic materials that don’t easily absorb water. Because of that, moisture (sweat) moves to the outer layer of the fabric where it can evaporate quickly.

In simple terms, moisture wicking shirts are basically made out of some form of polyester, nylon, a blend of both, or other blends like cotton and polyester. I suspect the blends are being created so that the undershirt manufactures can find a balance between performance and comfort.

So before I list other moisture wicking brands, keep in mind that if you’re looking for a quick drying tank top, keep an eye out for products that are made out of synthetic materials like polyester or nylon. I suspect the more polyester or nylon content there is in an undershirt, the more moisture wicking capabilities it will have.

Here’s a list of alternative moisture wicking products:

  1. Holofiber. While not specifically marketed as a moisture wicking product, this new oxygen increasing fabric not only is supposed to help increase your energy and accelerate muscle recovery, it also is made of a synthetic blended material. I couldn’t immediately locate any online retailers that sold a white tank made out of this material, but keep an eye out.
  2. CoolNew. A product of Cyarn. This company is specifically marketing their product as an alternative to Coolmax. They even performed a function contrast between CoolNew and Coolmax. No tank tops to speak of, but a product to keep your eye on.
  3. Nike Dri-Fit. From what I could find, most Dri-Fit shirts from Nike are either 100% polyester or polyester blend. They do offer some tanks, but they look more like muscle shirts and don’t really seem like they’d be a good undershirt alternative.
  4. Work-Dry by Carhatt. These folks currently only carry a regular tee, but another brand that may eventually do a tank.

Now while the above moisture wicking fabric brands don’t appear to offer a product that meets your needs, I did find several white synthetic blend tank tops that should perform the same as any other “moisture wicking” marketed product:

  1. 2xist Bamboo Carbon Square Cut Tank (Stretch bamboo blend) – the Carbon collection from 2xit is made from naturally moisture-wicking and deodorizing, bamboo charcoal-infused fabric. Although it doesn’t come in white, there is a nice light silver color available :)
  2. 2xist Fusion Tank Top (52% polyester, 48% nylon) – Lightweight microfiber tank top that comes in white and black. Not the perfect match, but something to check out.
  3. I hit the jack pot when I ran across Wickers.com moisture wicking underwear site. They offer two types of moisture wicking tank tops that come in white:
    Man’s Muscle Tank (ZXpZXWA130). Interesting Category: Hot Flashes and Night Sweats, Menopause and Health. A 100% polyester white moisture wicking tank. $15 each.
    Man’s Tank Top (ZXpZXWA626). Made in the USA of 92% moisture wicking polyester and 8% Lycra. $19 each
  4. Stafford® Essentials Cotton/Poly Athletic Shirt. In my quest for Towncraft, I ran across this Stafford brand tank top from JCPenney. No specs on exact blend percentages though. Available in regular and tall sizes.
  5. Cool 2 Tank 626810 by Papi. 90% polyester, 10% spandex.
  6. Although you’re looking for a Coolmax alternative, I wanted to point out that the folks at CoolClothingUSA do offer a white moisture wicking tank top, but it is made from Coolmax.

Hope the information above is helpful. Keep in mind, even if any of the tank tops above don’t meet your particular need, when looking for quick drying, moisture wicking tank top undershirts, you should be concentrating your search on tanks made from synthetic materials like polyester or nylon.

If you wind up trying any of the above products out and have something to share, please be sure to write back so we can share your experience with our other readers.

Thanks for reading!
Tug

9/29 Update: Edward wrote back the same day and here’s what he said:

Thank you. I visited the site.

I ordered 4 Man’s Tank Top. Made in the USA of 92% moisture wicking polyester and 8% Lycra. $19 each from wickers.com. They are just what I was looking for. I will use them and give you feedback. Thanks again.

Thanks Edward! Looking forward to hearing back from you.

3 thoughts on “Ask Tug: Looking for a quick drying moisture wicking tank top”

  1. I work in SW Florida in shirt and tie….I have to go outside in the hot sun many times each day.

    It is important that my appearance be maintained so I can’t be sweating through my dress shirt.

    I need help. Are the man made fibers cooler in the first place?

    When wicking does it just transfer to the dress shirt?

    Cotton is just not working…once wet it stays wet for hours and I even developed some fungal problems on my shoulders and chest!

    Thanks in advance!

    Reply
    • heya dan! good to hear from you buddy and thanks for your question.

      in situations like this, i like to recommend absorbing/wicking blend lightweight fabrics.

      here’s the reason:
      1. the absorbing fibers will help minimize sweat through
      2. the wicking fibers will help the moisture (sweat) disperse through the fabric better
      3. the wicking fibers will help the shirt dry faster
      4. the lightweight fabric will not hold as much moisture as thicker heavier weight fabrics

      so, i’d recommend checking out lightweight undershirts with 50/50 cotton/polyester or tri-blend cotton/polyester/rayon blends. i know i have an article about this here on my site somewhere, but i don’t recall exactly which article it is.

      one last thought — i have seen very new full synthetic fabrics that can disperse moisture rapid with very little if any sweat-through, but i don’t think there are any companies using that fabric technology in an undershirt application just yet. soon though.

      Reply
  2. This is amazing! I live in the US and am getting ready to visit India for three months to live in an ashram and work on my spiritual practice. I am very fond of wicking fabric and was thinking that maybe I should get white wicking tank tops to go under my very white Indian style ashram clothing to help deal with the Indian heat and humidity. I took a stab at “White wicking tank tops” onto my Google browser and came across this article on “white wicking tank tops”. Others may find it an obscure question. However, it hit the jackpot for me. I am going to try your suggestions and I will be sure to get back to you. Thanks so much for this great article! You’ve been a HUGE help!!!
    Blessings, Sasha

    Reply

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