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Why Do Bedouins wear black in the desert?
While traveling In the Middle East (Israel) I noticed that the Bedouins wear black. This has been taken on by the local communities as an effort to keep cool. My understanding through my back ground in theater and art is that black absorbs light while white reflects it. So why wear black rather than white? How does the color of the garment affect it's ability to relieve the heat?
- flightleaderLv 41 decade agoFavorite Answer
Your understanding is technically accurate but its application to the subject here is misplaced. Many people make that error. The clothing worn actually keeps the body cool and protects from the sun. It seems odd but experience has taught us much more than unapplied scientific theories ever could.
It’s a mixture of the colour, the fabric and the way it is worn that contributes to the cooling effect. The fabric is loosely woven but lightweight. The fact that it is not form-fitting but very loose allows it to flow in the breeze even if that breeze is created only by movement such as walking. As the body perspires the colour allows the perspiration to evaporate slowly and as the fabric moves the body is cooled. Call it the poor man’s air-conditioner.
The attire also serves other purposes as well. Desserts, although extremely hot during the day, can often be very cold during the night. Additionally, one is less likely to lost in the dessert wearing colours that contrast with the terrain than otherwise. A big black moving object is pretty conspicuous in the middle of the dessert.
- Anonymous6 years ago
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Why Do Bedouins wear black in the desert?
While traveling In the Middle East (Israel) I noticed that the Bedouins wear black. This has been taken on by the local communities as an effort to keep cool. My understanding through my back ground in theater and art is that black absorbs light while white reflects it. So why wear black rather...Source(s): bedouins wear black desert: https://tr.im/NAk51
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- 1 decade ago
Good question. I found this answer.
“As a young person, I could not understand why the Bedouin wore all these layers of black clothing while it was 49 °C with no shade, nor why their tents were black. I was staying in a British white canvas tent, wearing shorts and khakis. Then I realised that the Bedouin were protecting themselves from ultraviolet. They were also holding in their moisture. The average Bedouin lives on a litre of water a day; I was living on 19 litres a day.
“Their tents are made of goat hair and are very loosely woven. They are beautifully lit inside and, as the outside of the tent gets hot, it causes an updraught that sucks air through the loose weave. If you open the tent flaps, the air comes screaming in, even though there is no breeze. It's brilliant. If it rains, the goat fibres swell up and the tent gets tight as a drum. And, because it's black, the tent shows no dirt. And the factory that made the tent follows you around, eating anything you can't and converting any form of biomass into meat, butter, cheese, fur, leather and wool.”
- 7 years ago
Another way to look at this is take two similar materials, one light or white, and the other dark or black. Hold each one up to sun light and see how the materials light up and allow radiation to pass through it. Although black might absorb radiation you'll notice that less light passes through the black but the white material lights up. Fortunately, most fabric like cotton or light wool aren't great heat conductors. If you have movement and ventilation the heat build up dissipates quickly while not letting majority of the radiation pass onto your skin having a cooler affect. The white material lights up and disperses the radiation over your skin. Perhaps the best combination is a white material on the outside to reflect most of the radiation with a black liner. I'm surprised I haven't seen more studies and scientific facts on this topic!