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Merino wool is awesome

Discussion in 'EDC Clothing' started by moostapha, Jul 1, 2015.

  1. moostapha

    moostapha Loaded Pockets

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    I'm apparently in the process of migrating all of my clothes away from cotton. Synthetics seem fine for pants, but since I tried my first merino wool shirt, I'm hooked.

    I have one icebreaker long sleeve v-neck, a few wooly short sleeve v-necks, and an ibex polo.

    They're fantastic, soft, cool in the heat and warm enough for intense air conditioning. They actually work in the heat almost as well as my cycling kit (that can cause mild hypothermia when you stop riding).

    Also, the ibex is one of the softest and most comfortable pieces of clothing I've owned.

    I'm just a huge fan. It also works great for underwear and socks.

    Does anybody have any experience? Items you really like or others that disappointed you? Advice on washing and care?

    I'm basically looking to slowly swap out my whole wardrobe, and with shirts that cost $50-150 each...I'd rather minimize mistakes if possible.
     
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  2. 343KD

    343KD Loaded Pockets

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    I'm def interested in clothing made of (from?) merino. I have none. Several items from TAD piqued my interest, but I'm on the lookout for lower priced alternatives. Icebreaker is rising to the top it seems.

    How is the fit/quality??
     
  3. moostapha

    moostapha Loaded Pockets

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    Fit is about what I expected. They have a sizing guide on their site, iirc.

    The icebreaker is my least favorite of what I have. It's not as soft as the others and might seem more...fragile. It's the only one that has visible holes from my cats' claws nicking it when I pick them up, but that might just be random. The grey color, though, is great.

    It's beaten up enough after just a couple months that I'd sleep in it if it were short sleeved. I kind of want to find out if that's normal before I buy another one.
     
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  4. PiperCub49

    PiperCub49 Loaded Pockets

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    I have an Icebreaker BodyFit 150 (t-shirt) and a longsleeve Smartwool zip-up. Both are great. I'm hooked. They're comfortable, cool when it's hot, and warm when it's cold. I wear them when I'm hiking in 85*F temps and when I'm snowmobiling in -10*F temps.
     
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  5. moostapha

    moostapha Loaded Pockets

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    So, my cat kind of wigged when I picked him up tonight, and his claws inadvertantly made several small holes in the ibex polo I really like.

    I'm annoyed. It was a $90 shirt.
     
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  6. Blitzwing
    • In Omnia Paratus

    Blitzwing Loaded Pockets

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    I've got merino socks... Love them.. Warm or cool weather they're great. I've got a question though.

    How do you guys fix holes in merino socks? What type of thread?
     
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  7. moostapha

    moostapha Loaded Pockets

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    I typically get a year and a half out of my socks, so I don't bother. Probably not the best thing, but there it is.
     
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  8. DGGoingUphill

    DGGoingUphill Loaded Pockets

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    My wardrobe is slowly becoming mostly Ibex and Darn Tough socks. Still were synthetic Patagonis boxer-briefs, due to cost but would go merino if I could afford it
     
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  9. sungame

    sungame Loaded Pockets

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    Here in Norway, for many months every year, wool is the only option if you spend any amount of time outdoors. For centuries, that meant course, itchy local wool. Even though I am all for locally sourced products, I have to say that merino wool is much more comfortable, especially for underwear.

    My favorite merino garment must be my navy blue hoodie from Moods of Norway. Moods of Norway is mainly a trendy fashion brand, best known for their crazy patterned suits and sports coats. However, their merino hoodie is a highly functional garment. It is soft, thick and warm, has a good hood that also makes a great neck warmer when not worn over the head, and features two zippered pockets. All in a nice, discreet navy blue.

    I also love my Aclima underwear.

    I use their Woolnet crew neck undershirt for moderately cold days and/or high activity (skiing, running, cycling etc), and a Hotwool crewneck for colder days or for sitting still.

    The latter is not 100% wool, but a wool/polyester blend terrycloth. However, it is very warm, and does a great job of transporting moisture. Even though it is a sort of undershirt, it also works well as a lightweight middle layer, and offers a lot of extra insulation for relatively little backpack space.

    All in all, the Aclima garments are excellent, and they are quite a bit cheaper than many competing brands (such as Icebreaker), at least here in Norway.
     
  10. Fort fireman

    Fort fireman Loaded Pockets

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    I just got a set of the Kryptek merino wools. Of course I'm in NC and its been around 100 degrees so I haven't really used them yet. I got the top and bottom.Not the camo pattern one because they were sold out but the grey.I will say I was pleasantly surprised when they got here. They were alot darker than the picture made them look. More of a charcoal grey than ash grey.
     
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  11. moostapha

    moostapha Loaded Pockets

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    That's what I like about merino, at least the light weight stuff...it's just plain better than cotton for heat.

    Considering how easily my cats tear holes in it, I might have to start looking into linen or something as well.
     
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  12. comeonbabylightmyfire

    comeonbabylightmyfire Loaded Pockets

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    I'd stick with the Icebreaker base layers. Mine have lasted for years. I do have some Kathmandu merino teeshirts and a few of their merino hoodies. Norwegian Ulvang socks are predominantly merino (70%ish) with some elastane/polyester fibres in the weave to maintain the shape. Smart wool socks are another good buy. Wash at 40 celsius with everything else. Very easy to maintain in my experience.

    L(iving in the UK means that cotton is wholly unsuitable for serious outdoor garments)
     
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  13. sungame

    sungame Loaded Pockets

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    Ulvang makes about a gazillion different models in various blends, shapes and gauges. All of them are pretty decent, and they do not cost a fortune either, at least not hear in Norway. Sadly, they tend to wear out a little to quickly.
     
  14. Wishoot

    Wishoot Loaded Pockets

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    Thanks to the EDC Forum and it's merry band of enablers, I've managed to acquire about 100 pair of merino socks from various manufacturers. I actually have TWO drawers for socks.

    Now I need to venture out beyond cover for my feet and look into merino shirts and underwear.
     
    Last edited by Wishoot, Jul 9, 2015
  15. FuzzyDunlop82

    FuzzyDunlop82 Loaded Pockets

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    Ulvang socks are awesome.

    I have a TAD Gear Traverse T-shirt, a TAD Gear Merino half-zip and a TAD Gear Praetorian Hoodie, and can verify that these Merino items are top notch - the first two, when worn together were almost irresponsibly warm in the UK Spring.

    I heartily recommend the above if you can find them to buy.
     
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  16. moostapha

    moostapha Loaded Pockets

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    Underwear and socks are the big ones for me, but the shirts were equally life changing.

    I tend not to smell too bad, but these are the only shirts I can wear for a whole day without feeling gross. Unfortunately, they're expensive and don't seem to stand up well to kitty and puppy claws.
     
  17. landwire
    • In Omnia Paratus

    landwire Loaded Pockets

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    The vast majority of my wool stuff comes from REI. The 20% off full price item sales are awesome. I recently got a 25% off a full price item coupon code from being part of the email newsletter. That $90 shirt has has become a lot more affordable.
     
  18. moostapha

    moostapha Loaded Pockets

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    I can never find the merino wool at my local rei. It's all weird blends.

    The exception is icebreaker, which just isn't that impressive to me. And it's not there very often, basically never in the summer.

    I guess they haven't realized that it's good for the heat as well.
     
  19. World in Transition

    World in Transition Loaded Pockets

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    Other than pants, shorts and jackets (all Triple Aught Design) I've been 100% merino for a few years now - when I'm travelling I can sleep in my clothes and still get almost a week out of an outfit before it starts to smell (if i'm not getting to sweaty).

    Here's my layering setup and favourite gear:

    Layer 1 - Après Merino T Shirt - 100% Merino
    Custom merino t-shirts from Eleven (a bike riding clothing company based in San Fransico and Sydney). They’re 170gsm which is a little heavier than most tees but also a little harder wearing, perfect for everyday wear. You can choose colours and a different colour chest panel and stitching, I just go for all black. I also opt for “Ride length” (an extra 3” in length) which makes for my ideal T-shirt cut. They have a sizing guide, I just picked my favourite Tee I owned and measured it up according to their guide and what I got back was a perfect match. Then I rang them, told them I was interested in reselling and ordered 10, got wholesale prices - cost half what an icebreaker or TAD Tech-T would have. Best thing is they are made from Australian Merino, spun in Australia and cut in Australia - nice and sustainable (for me in Australia).

    Layer 2 - Triple Aught Design Primer Crew - 27% wool and 73% Polyester
    These are 165gsm but a waffle knit so a fair bit thicker than my t-shirts. Waffle knit traps air for added insulation. Long sleeve. I rarely use this as a base layer but as a second layer it seriously goes a long way before it starts to smell, great piece, use daily in the cooler months.

    Layer 3 - Triple Aught Design Quantum Half Zip - 100% Merino
    This one is 290gsm so fairly heavyweight, perfect if things get real cold but I’d say I use this the least of all my layers. Sleeves are slightly too long but it’s not a huge issue. If it had a hood I’d use it more. Has thumb holes.

    Layer 4 - Icebreaker - Thin hooded top - 100% Merino
    Got this at an outlet store and can’t find anything similar that’s currently available - it’s the same weight merino as my T-shirts but is long sleeve and has a hood - packs super small so I keep it in my pack all the time as an emergency layer - which I could find more!

    Layer 5 - Icebreaker Quantum Long Sleeve Zip Hood - 98% Merino wool, 2% LYCRA
    Love this thing - 260gsm, hooded, thumb holes, front zip. Very warm considering how small it packs. PERFECT for layering under the Praetorian without adding much bulk.

    Layer 6 - Triple Aught Design Praetorian Hoodie - 100% Merino
    Favourite merino piece, my go to jumper. Spot clean it when needed and wash it about once a year - seems to magically repel dirt and a few hours in the sun or a night outside on the line and any smell is gone. Naturally fire and spark retardant as it’s wool so no ember holes like my fleece jumpers. Only drawback is the seam on the cuffs always comes unthreaded, lifetime warranty from TAD so I can send it back for a refund when that happens but now I just keep sewing it up myself (silk thread is best for merino repairs). These have had this design flaw for years, I really don’t understand why they haven’t fixed it. Made in china unlike most of the TAD gear. But despite that one of my favourite pieces of clothing. Thumb holes and reinforced elbows and forearms, super hard wearing.

    Boxer shorts - Triple Aught Design Commando Boxer Brief 96% Merino, 4% Spandex - 160gsm
    These are my favourite of the 5 or so brands I’ve tried - only had them for 6 months so yet to see how well they last but I’ve got a good feeling about them. Super comfy, can get 5-days easy with no smell - they also have a stash pocket! Next favourite would be Minus33, these are 170gsm but feel way thicker than the TAD boxers, at first they were too warm in warmer weather but I just acclimatised to them, now I can wear them year round no problem. Really hard wearing, get almost 2 years out of them on rotation.

    Socks - Kentwool Men's Tour Standard Socks
    These by far the best socks I've ever owned - 100% Merino and, as we like to say down here on OZ, "Built like a brick :censored:house” - Ignore the fact that they are golf socks, they are the perfect balance between elastic ankles and thick tough foot - thinner than a tough outdoor hiking sock and thicker than a dress marino sock - a comfortable middle ground perfect for everyday wear with trainers or boots.I rotate 5 pairs, been using them almost elusively for 18 months and they still look virtually new - and I don't go easy on them! They're so good I've put 15 new pairs away in storage so my sock situation is sorted for the next decade. I got a great deal on Sierra Trading Post where I paid about $7 a pair, they go for about $25 on amazon so shop around - Read the reviews on amazon and you'll see what I'm talking about - almost 100% 5 stars

    I use 100% wool Holeproof socks with my work boots - these things last FOREVER. I’m still using ones I bought over a decade ago and they haven’t worn at all.

    Thermal Pants - Kathmandu Kuja Tights - 44% Merino, 51% Nylon, 5% Elastine
    These have a merino core with a nylon outer layer to provide some wind and water resistance - I often just slip these on under my TAD Force 10 AC shorts to save switching out all my EDC gear.

    Accessories
    In the colder months I keep a Triple Aught Design merino neck gaiter and a Kathmandu merino beanie in my back pockets folded flat, they take up almost no room are such simple layers to add and take away while changing activity levels. Also keep a pair of fingerless merino gloves in a jacket pocket.

    I carry a pair of silk thermals in my EDC pack (Geigerrig Tactical 700) at all times as they take up almost no space and provide an emergency layer if I get caught out.
    When I’m traveling I try to limit myself to carry on luggage (TAD Litespeed and the Geigerrig). I’ll wear whatever I practically can, then take all the other layers with hoods, nestle them inside one another and then nestle them in my TAD Stealth LT, zip it up and carry it tucked through one of the shoulder straps by my waist. Inside the Litespeed I carry a dry bag with a spare pair of boxers & socks, a t-shirt, thermal pants and a pair of TAD AC Force 10 (either pants or shorts) rolled super tight. With this setup I can travel almost indefinitely, washing clothes every 8-10 days or so.

    Also another little ninja trick, if I get pulled up to weigh my carry on I just ask for a moment to organise a few things first, put on all my jumpers and jackets and stuff my pockets with most of the contents of the bag, then hand back a virtually empty bag to be weighed - works every time!

    Hope there’s some helpful info in there for someone!
     
    Last edited by World in Transition, Aug 2, 2015
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  20. moostapha

    moostapha Loaded Pockets

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    Wow. That was fantastic. Thank you.

    On a side note, how are the tad fabrics in hot weather?