Last Updated on April 3, 2022

Common knowledge dictates that in hot weather it is preferable to wear light colors, because they reflect UV rays from the sun, whereas dark clothes tend to absorb them and generate heat. This is why people often pick white clothes for the summer, but does it make that much of a difference? Nomadic tribes in the desert have often been obserbed wearing black clothes, which may appear counterintuitive.

Wearing Black in the Desert

Wearing black or white in the desert

In 1980, the results of a study titled Why Do Bedouins Wear Black Robes in Hot Deserts? were published. Researchers tested the body temperature of volunteers wearing either black robes, white robes, an army uniform, or shorts (shirtless) in the Negev desert of Israel. The outcome of the study showed that there was no significant difference in temperature, regardless of what color the participant was wearing. Truth is, while the black clothes did indeed absorb more UV rays than the white clothing, the heat was dispersed before it would reach the participant’s skin. This is because bedouins generally wear loose fitting wool clothes and long robes that do not enter in direct connect with skin. As it turns out, the type of outfit and fabric of your clothes in the desert is more important than the color you pick.

In conclusion, there is not a best color to wear in the desert. Light colors such as white and light beije are still favored by most people, and it is true that light colors tend to absorb less heat. But when picking clothes for the desert, the type of clothing and fabric is more important than whatever color you pick: make sure to choose clothing pieces that are long sleeve and cover as much as possible of your skin, preferably made of merino wool or linen.

As part of the Amazon Associate and eBay Partner Programme, we earn from qualifying purchases.

Best Shirts and Pants for Desert

Browse more UPF50+ shirts for desert hiking
Browse more pants and trousers for desert hiking

Read also: Packing List for Desert Travel

Leave a Reply