This incident was brought up in another thread. A lady had become lost and spent 11 days alone and naked in summertime Alaska. She explains:
Ditching my clothes was next to impossible. It was raining, and I saw the steam escaping and knew I had to do something. But with how cold I was, it was hard to do. As I felt my muscles start to contract, which can be the beginning of hypothermia, I knew they had to go.
I thought it was interesting in that people seemed to think it was a great idea to throw away your wet cotton clothing and go naked.
Still, it's almost ingrained NOT to do it. It seems counter intuitive. Yet, it was probably the best thing you could have done under the circumstances. For not having any experience or training, you sure made some smart decisions.
That seems like a terrible idea for many different reasons.
1. When this lady initially threw away her clothing, it was raining. When it's raining you're going to be wet either way, with your body losing more heat due to evaporation. I can't see how the wet clothing wouldn't at least slow down the process.
2. She crossed icy streams many times. Each time she would have lost way less heat had she been wearing clothing.
3. In June and July in Alaska, the mosquitoes could out-right kill you eventually if you're unprotected in some way.
5. Wind chill.
6. It will eventually stop raining.
7. If you have a tarp, like she did, you can get out of the rain and your cotton clothes will dry with your body heat.
Cotton is terrible when wet compared to the many superior materials (wool, synthetic fleece, polypro) but in my opinion, with few exceptions (like a wet t-shirt on a hot sunny day) wet cotton clothing will be a heck of a lot warmer than going naked.
Am I wrong?