To be frank we don’t 100% understand what makes ramie so damn good in the hot and humid weather, but the stuff is like magic and we are going to keep on using it whether we understand it or not. And of course we’re going to keep trying to understand that magic too, as the more we know about out fabrics, the better our products become.
Ramie is quite possibly the world’s oldest fiber. It’s a nettle plant native to Southeastern Asia, the stalks of which can be processed into a fiber quite similar to linen. Like linen, it can absorb large amounts of moisture while retaining a dry hand feel. They both have very flat surfaces that allow water to travel quickly across the surface via capillary action making it cool to the touch and quick to dry. Finally, like linen, ramie is a rather stiff fiber which means it can retain a very open structure that allows for superior air flow and breathability. This also means they both start out rather stiff but break in to a beautiful softness over time if cared for properly. (Avoid top-loading washing machines!)
The information on how ramie and linen are different is a bit scarce, but we have our theories. They come from two different plants from two very different parts of the world, and ramie is more complicated to handle as it requires a degumming process. Ramie also tends to come in shorter staple lengths than linen, allowing it to be knit into jersey much more easily. What we don’t quite understand is just why ramie wears so much cooler than linen. Our best guess is that ramie insulates much less than linen, which is hollow inside. With linen heavier fabric can get quite hot, but with ramie using more material barely makes it hotter, but it does allow things to get substantially drier as the ramie sucks up moisture from the air.
Both our Ramielust T-Shirts and Ramienoth Pivots are 100% ramie fabrics that clock in at weights way heavier than generally used for warm weather clothing, yet wear far cooler than just about anything else. Maybe it’s magic, maybe it’s science, but either way we know we can’t get enough of this stuff as the temperature and humidity start rising together.
It’s worth noting that the key here is hot AND humid. In hot and dry climates we recommend a lighter material like our Ramielight or Dreamweight fabrics. For cold and humid this stuff is actually dangerous-you don't want a shirt that pulls heat away from you in the cold! But when it’s both hot and humid out, nothing beats ramie.