The Best Quick-dry Clothing of 2024

These pieces will keep you dry and comfortable no matter the activity.

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The Best Quick-dry Clothing of 2024

Quick-dry clothing isn’t only a great way to stay protected from the elements during your travels, but it can keep you comfy and dry during a grueling hike or workout, too. While quick-dry clothing can be a utilitarian sweat-wicking base layer to be worn under your ski jacket, it can also serve to enhance your overall look while you’re out and about, which is the case for most athleisure wear, as long as you know what to look for. 

“When seeking optimal quick-dry clothing for travel, you should prioritize lightweight garments crafted from breathable fabrics,” says Joe Nardolilli, senior director of retail and eCommerce at Orangetheory Fitness. “Our members consistently value performance-driven fabric options, contemporary silhouettes, and vibrant color palettes.” 

So, which fabrics should you be looking for, exactly? Caroline Lee Butler, textile expert and CEO of WearFirst, recommends polyester and nylon with spandex blends, since they tend to be the most comfortable. “Polyester has become one of the most effective fabrics for quick drying. Nylon is another popular choice as it's lightweight, durable, and dries rapidly. These fabrics make for great hiking, backpacking, and any travel adventure where you might encounter rain or sweat,” she says. 

When traveling, Nardolilli also recommends looking for quick-dry clothing with anti-microbial properties to help extend the wear of your garment (which is especially relevant on the road, when you’ll likely have limited access to laundry). “This is particularly important if you want to stay fresh and less sweaty during and [after] workout sessions,” he says. 

The best part about quick-drying clothing? Nardolilli says these lightweight fabrics boast space-saving qualities when packing and are super resilient against wrinkles. “A few shakes, and your attire is ready to wear!” he says. Lee Butler adds that quick-dry clothing is also a great packing hack, as it allows you to pack clothing soon after it’s been worn — which can be a life-saver on a busy trip.

They can be worn as either pants or shorts.

The zipper that hits mid-thigh might be distracting.

For a three-in-one solution to all your bottom-half dressing woes, opt for these genius zip-off pants from beloved athleisure brand Outdoor Voices. Not only are they made of quick-drying nylon with a touch of elastane for added range of motion, but their zippered construction allows you to wear them as shorts when it’s scorching hot out and capris or longer pants when you’re looking to stay protected from wind, rain, or snow. A removable nylon belt further adds to their adjustable properties and they come in cool color-blocked options for tons of styling opportunities. They also come with a drawcord band at the ankle so you can wear them as joggers (which further keeps wind at bay) and their generously sized cargo pockets will allow you to forgo a purse.

The Details: XXS to XXXL | Nylon and elastane

They come in the cutest colors and are super flattering.

They don’t have any pockets, hidden or otherwise.

For a pair of shorts that won’t show a single drop of sweat (especially in the black shade), opt for these fan-favorite moisture-wicking bicycle shorts from Alo Yoga made of the brand’s popular sculpting Airlift fabric. They work perfectly on their own paired with your favorite crop top or sports bra, or even worn under a skirt or dress for anti-chafe properties during long days of exploring a new city on foot. Their 5-inch inseam is neither too short nor too long for ample modesty while the subtle dip in the hemline at the back creates a lovely curve in your figure. The combination of the high waist and compressive polyester and elastane blend keeps you feeling nice and tucked in as well as dry and comfortable.  

The Details: XXS to XL | Polyester and elastane

Its mesh fabric is extremely breathable.

It has a bit of an old-school silhouette.

Nardolilli says you can “feel the air against your skin in this super-lightweight tank” because it’s “made entirely of airy mesh [and] you can go all out without worrying about clingy fabric.” He adds that its Dri-Fit technology moves sweat away from your skin for quicker evaporation, helping you stay dry and comfortable. Thanks to a cooling blend of polyester and spandex, you’ll be able to move through a full range of motion whether you’re lifting your carry-on into the overhead bin or hitting a personal record at the hotel gym. A scoop neck and open back further promote ventilation while a longer hemline keeps you feeling nice and covered up.

The Details: XS to XL | Polyester and spandex

They’re cooling and sleek on the outside and soft and cozy on the inside.

They provide some serious compression, so if you want a roomier fit, size up.

If you were to invest in a single pair of quick-dry leggings to last through the next decade (yes, they’re that durable), let it be this moisture-wicking pair from Lululemon’s sweat-friendly Wunder Train line. What Nardolilli appreciates about these leggings is that they allow you to “train hard, not hot.” He adds that they’re powered by the brand’s proprietary Everlux material, which is “highly breathable and quickly wicks sweat so you feel less sweaty during (and after) your workout.” Most importantly, these leggings are complete with an infinite drawcord waistband for an adjustable fit, a discreet waistband pocket for your keys and card, and are available in four inseams for the perfect fit.

The Details: 0 to 20 | Nylon and elastane

It’s highly packable for travel.

The material might be too sturdy to provide a full range of motion.

To stay dry in a downpour or warm on a chilly flight, you can never go wrong with this durable and quick-drying Patagonia jacket. It's made of ripstop fabric for a (near) infinite shelf life, it packs into its own pocket for ultimate portability, and it features convenient pit-zips for extra ventilation where you need it most and a zipper garage chin guard to keep you bone-dry. Its two-way adjustable hood also provides sun protection while its hook-and-loop wrist closure and drawcord hem help keep wind and precipitation at bay.

The Details: XS to XXL | Nylon

It’s supportive enough for larger busts.

Certain patterns might be difficult to match with bottoms.

For a sport’s bra that’s supportive enough to stabilize your bust during high-impact activities, yet plush enough to wear while strolling through city streets, look no further than this quick-drying option from Sweaty Betty. It features a unique single adjustable strap at the base of the racerback to eliminate bulk, and it comes higher up on the chest and features thicker shoulder straps than typical sports bras to help keep larger chests comfortably contained. Its polyester and elastane material stays dry against your skin while hugging you in all the right places. Thick removable inserts keep you secure while festive patterns offer visual interest.

The Details: XS to XXL | Polyester and elastane

They’re designed to contour to your foot.

They’re quite pricey for a single pair of socks.

Whether you’re hiking in a remote location or seeking extra insulation in chilly temperatures, you’ll love these performance-driven Smartwool socks. Seamless toes ensure you can roam blister- and chafe-free, while materials like sustainable merino wool add durability, reinforcement, and moisture-wicking properties. Contributing to the socks’ durability and overall comfort is recycled nylon and stretchy elastane, which also contour to your foot for the perfect fit. Mesh zones add a dash of much-needed breathability while the on-trend crew height provides coverage from the trials of the trails.

The Details: S to L | Merino wool, recycled nylon, and elastane

It’s one of the softest T-shirts on the market.

Its cropped silhouette might not provide as much coverage as you’re looking for. 

You won’t know just how heavenly soft Vuori T-shirts are until you run your fingers over their buttery material or treat yourself to one. Thanks to its polyester and elastane fabric, this tee is both quick to dry and allows you to move freely no matter what’s on the itinerary. It’s ideal for outdoor jaunts thanks to its built-in UPF 30+ sun protection and it’ll also stay nice and fresh for multiple wears thanks to integrated odor-fighting technology. Its cropped length allows you to pair it with everything from high-waisted leggings to trousers while its drop-shoulder short sleeve gives it that perfectly laid-back look.

The Details: XS to XXL | Polyester and elastane

It comes in multiple inseams.

The thick seams on certain colorways might look or feel distracting.

Gone are the days of thermal underwear so unsightly it needs to be concealed at all costs — this midweight pair isn’t only as easy to style as your favorite pair of leggings, but it’ll keep you nice and dry under your snow pants or hiking pants during high-intensity cold-weather activities from skiing to snowshoeing, too. The combination of polyester and elastane dries immediately on contact while allowing you to move through a full range of motion, and its thick 1.5-inch waistband will keep you feeling nice and supported where you need it most. Multiple inseam options ensure you find the right fit without having to run to the tailor.

The Details: XS to XL | Polyester and elastane

It provides tons of insulation and compression for high-impact activities.

You may want to size up for a roomier fit.

Wear it on its own in chilly weather or layered under your favorite jacket or sweater — either way, this compressive yet cozy long-sleeve shirt is bound to serve you well whether you’re on a hike or strolling through a wintry town. It’s made with a stretchy, moisture-wicking polyester and elastane blend you’ll have no qualms wearing for hours at a time, and it features ergonomic flat-lock seams for a chafe-proof experience. A high scoop neck gives you the coverage you need while its ultra-lightweight fabric will feel like a second skin.

The Details: XS to XXL | Polyester and elastane

It has thumb holes to keep sleeves comfortably in place.

It tends to sell out fast, so grab your preferred color and size quickly.

While we don’t often think of prioritizing quick-dry materials in outer layers like sweatshirts, this buttery, moisture-wicking sweatshirt from Athleta will make you glad you did. It not only features an elegant V-neck, perfect for looking a little more put-together while out and about, but it’s also made of the brand’s soft Nirvana fabric, made of sweat-wicking modal and lycra that’ll instantly absorb sweat post-workout. Thumb holes prevent bunched-up sleeves, while the semi-fitted silhouette is universally flattering across a wide range of body types. Looking for that perfectly lived-in slouchy look? Size up to nail the trend.

The Details: XXS to 3X | Modal and lycra

It’s made with the brand’s famous heat-reflective Omni-Heat technology.

The style is better suited for active pursuits than more fashion-forward outings.

You can always rely on Columbia’s proprietary Omni-Heat technology to keep you warm while preventing you from sweating through your clothes. It’s perfect for year-round wear, serving you well as both a base layer under heavy coats or worn on its own in more temperate climates, whether you’re on the plane or a guided walking tour. Its built-in odor-fighting technology allows you to stay fresh in between washes while its flat-locked seams will keep you comfortable during high-impact activities. Grab it in standard or extended sizing for the perfect fit.

The Details: XS to 3X | Polyester and elastane

Fabric is key when purchasing effective quick-dry clothing. Prioritize things like polyester, rayon, wool, and modal for their moisture-wicking properties so you can stay dry and comfortable on your travels and active adventures.

Some pieces can be great for transitional weather or used as base layers in colder climates. Be smart about the quick-dry clothing you invest in so you can wear it again and again throughout your trip and on adventures to come. Also, opt for wrinkle-resistant travel clothes to maximize wearability.

Whether you run hot or have high-intensity activities on the docket, quick-dry clothing is always a smart investment. Not only can it help you stay comfortable for longer, but because it’s often infused with four-way stretch, you’ll also find yourself moving with much more ease.

You should wear quick-dry clothing whenever you need a little extra boost in the moisture-wicking department. That could mean popping on a quick-dry tank under your sweater should you start sweating on your commute or flight, or a pair of quick-dry base layer pants or leggings to keep your lower half dry during cardio-driven activities. Because quick-dry clothing tends to err on the casual side, you should reserve it for daytime wear and save your dressier pieces for evenings out.

T+L contributor Marissa Miller has been writing fashion content, covering fashion shows, and obsessively researching fashion and the best deals on the latest trends for the last dozen years. For this article, she touched on personal experience as a certified personal trainer, consulted with textile experts, and scoured the internet to determine this list of the best quick-dry clothing. She also spoke with Joe Nardolilli, senior director of retail and eCommerce at Orangetheory Fitness, and Caroline Lee Butler, textile expert and CEO of WearFirst for their expert insights. 

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The Best Quick-dry Clothing of 2024

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