/ Benefits of Merino

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GridNorth - on 10 Dec 2012
Can someone explain to me the benefits of merino base layers. I tried one out recently and it didn't seem to wick moisture as efficiently as my synthetic ones and didn't dry over night after washing. Not to mention being considerably more expensive.
prog99 on 10 Dec 2012
In reply to GridNorth:
No smell after being on for a week?
mrchewy - on 10 Dec 2012
In reply to GridNorth: No smell after being on for two weeks?

I've found it doesn't dry too quick and much prefer synthetic but if you're travelling light in winter, for me, it's the way to go.
oddtoast on 10 Dec 2012
In reply to GridNorth:
I was given one from Howie's of all places as an unexpected gift and love it. I just find it keeps me comfortable in a wide range of temperatures and hate the feel of synthetic baselayers against my skin. It takes plenty of abuse in the washing machine and doesn't take that long to dry. Going to get another in the sales :)
thomb - on 10 Dec 2012
In reply to GridNorth:

I have icebreaker tops 160g/m & 200g/m, they're my go-to active layer. Comfortable, warm, and in my experience wick pretty well (though I tend to avoid getting too sweaty in them).

Also, no smell after wearing for 8 days hiking, (genuinely felt like a waste washing them!)

I can't stand putting on a stinky synthetic layer on day 2 of a trip.
Alex Slipchuk on 10 Dec 2012
In reply to GridNorth: none apart from spending money. I have an icebreaker and a 20 year old Rohan. I much prefer the synthetic Rohan. Apparently i don't smell. Even after a couple of days wear. Anyhow smells would only bother me when in civilisation, where of course you can often find a bar of soap.
CurlyStevo - on 10 Dec 2012
In reply to GridNorth:
> Can someone explain to me the benefits of merino base layers. I tried one out recently and it didn't seem to wick moisture as efficiently as my synthetic ones and didn't dry over night after washing. Not to mention being considerably more expensive.

I'm not a big fan of merino base layers. I find they tend to get damp too easily and then get heavy and saggy, also the don't dry as quick.

One of my favourite base layers was an untrendy make of synthetic one that cost a tenner and has lasted me years and years......
Shearwater - on 10 Dec 2012
In reply to thomb:
> I can't stand putting on a stinky synthetic layer on day 2 of a trip.

I wonder if some folk have skin flora that is naturally inclined to make synthetic base layers minging? Maybe anti-ming treatments have come on a fair bit in recent years, but my polyester and powerdry baselayers have never been unpleasant.

Just as well really; I'm a delicate little flower and my skin is too sensitive for merino
gethin_allen on 10 Dec 2012
In reply to GridNorth:
I have a range of base layers and find the merino icebreaker and smartwool tops to be by far the most comfortable if not the fastest wicking or drying. Added to this that they don't smell anywhere near as bad (although my old icebreaker has developed a bit of a perma-wiff).

The old smelly helly lifas are ok but the new super lifa tops really don't fit very well (really tight under the arms and across the chest yet baggy in the arms) and the static you get from them is crazy.
CurlyStevo - on 10 Dec 2012
In reply to Shearwater:
"my skin is too sensitive for merino "
Oh yeah I forgot to mention my other gripe - they also tend to make me itch both whilst wearing and afterwards.
gethin_allen on 10 Dec 2012
In reply to gethin_allen:
As a slight thread hijack, does anyone know how to get the smell out of old helly hanson lifa tops?
CurlyStevo - on 10 Dec 2012
In reply to gethin_allen:
"the fastest wicking or drying"

come on you know thats not true, wash a merino and synth base layer and hang them out to dry I think we all know which will be dry first!
CurlyStevo - on 10 Dec 2012
In reply to gethin_allen:
I have noticed that Ariel Actilift is very good at getting the smell out of clothes. If you are generally finding your clothes aren't washing as nice smelling as you like its work doing an empty boil wash on your washing machine with no detergent to kill any bacteria and wash out powder residues, and occasionally using DAZ powder (not on your delicate base layers!) on your normal washes, the bleach also helps here.
GridNorth - on 10 Dec 2012
In reply to GridNorth: My synthetics don't smell and I don't really expect a wicking layer to add much insulation so it looks like I've saved some money there. I'll stick with synthetics.
Timmd on 10 Dec 2012
In reply to CurlyStevo:
> (In reply to gethin_allen)
> "the fastest wicking or drying"
>
> come on you know thats not true, wash a merino and synth base layer and hang them out to dry I think we all know which will be dry first!

''find the merino icebreaker and smartwool tops to be by far the most comfortable if not the fastest wicking or drying''

Perhaps he means they're *not* the fastest wicking or drying? Could depend on how you read it.
Shearwater - on 10 Dec 2012
In reply to gethin_allen:
> As a slight thread hijack, does anyone know how to get the smell out of old helly hanson lifa tops?

Fire.
gethin_allen on 10 Dec 2012
In reply to Timmd:
> (In reply to CurlyStevo)
> [...]
>
> ''find the merino icebreaker and smartwool tops to be by far the most comfortable if not the fastest wicking or drying''
>
> Perhaps he means they're *not* the fastest wicking or drying? Could depend on how you read it.

It looks like someone has missed out the word "not". Read it again CurlyStevo.
CurlyStevo - on 10 Dec 2012
In reply to gethin_allen:
Ahh yes my bad.
ayuplass - on 10 Dec 2012
In reply to GridNorth: Id agree with comments about merino staying damp, I love it in summer cos it keeps you cool, doesn't reek, (although it does Smell like wet dogs if you sweat a lot!) and is comfortable next to your skin. In winter I always wear synthetic, I have an arcteryx top that keeps me warm and dry and doesn't Snell too bad after a couple of days wear
Iain Thow - on 10 Dec 2012
In reply to GridNorth: Mix Merino with Cocona and you get the wicking abilities of the Coconut and the warmth of the Merino. Both are anti-bacterial & don't smell even after heavy use. Rab's MeCo does this & is brilliant. I find merino base layers on their own too warm but use MeCo all the time. Cocona on its own is pretty good too - ME, Sprayway and (I think) Marmot all use it.
ads.ukclimbing.com
Tall Clare - on 10 Dec 2012
In reply to gethin_allen:

Try either Napisan or the near-mythical sort of milton fluid that you can put in your washing machine. Both germicidal.

As for the merino vs. synthetic debate - I found that cheap synthetics from Decathlon have mung less than a Helly, but that merino thick (the heavier-weight Howies ones) and thin (I was given an Icebreaker 150) seem to ming less than synthetics overall.
Tall Clare - on 10 Dec 2012
In reply to ayuplass:

You've reminded me - I inherited a (never worn) synthetic baselayer from my brother, a Marks & Spencers 'viewfrom' one with some sort of silver fibres in it. Worked a treat, didn't ming.
Dan_S - on 10 Dec 2012
In reply to gethin_allen:
> (In reply to gethin_allen)
> As a slight thread hijack, does anyone know how to get the smell out of old helly hanson lifa tops?

White vinegar spayed into the pits and left to soak for about 20 minutes before a normal wash should do the trick.
GridNorth - on 10 Dec 2012
In reply to GridNorth: Nobody has put up a convincing argument to make me convert to merino so it looks like I've saved myself a bit of money. :-)
captain paranoia - on 10 Dec 2012
In reply to CurlyStevo:

> come on you know thats not true, wash a merino and synth base layer and hang them out to dry I think we all know which will be dry first!

You need to ensure you're comparing like with like, and not apples and oranges...

The US site backpackinglight reviewed a number of different base layers, and concluded that merino took longer to dry. However, they'd neglected to consider the basic fabric weight; the merino was heavier than the synthetic. When the drying times were normalised to account for the fabric weight, there was little difference.

Fundamentally, a fabric will hold water in the weave interstices, and there isn't really a significant difference between the structure of a merino and a synthetic fabric. Thus, the dominant factor in the amount of water a fabric will hold is determined largely by the thickness, and this in turn is determined largely by fabric weight (g/m^2).

Much is said of the absorption of water into the merino fibre itself, but, realistically, this is a tiny fraction of the water held in the fibre bundles that form the spun thread, and the weave or knit structure forming the fabric.

Merino plus sides are the no pong and warm feeling.

Downsides are cost, care and fragility.

Synthetics are cheaper, easier to wash with standard washing detergents, and more robust to abrasion and snagging. But they sure can pong...
captain paranoia - on 10 Dec 2012
In reply to captain paranoia:

Oh, and merino doesn't wick as well as some synthetics, IME.
Arms Cliff - on 10 Dec 2012
In reply to GridNorth: The main benefit is that it's made of sheeps which we can make more of rather than oil, which we can't make more of ;)
ayuplass - on 10 Dec 2012
In reply to
>
> Merino plus sides are the no pong and warm feeling.
>
> Downsides are cost, care and fragility.
>
> Synthetics are cheaper, easier to wash with standard washing detergents, and more robust to abrasion and snagging. But they sure can pong...

oh yes, fragility. I now have a lovely howies merino tshirt that is peppered with holes around the belly button after a struggle with a grit top out. The holes don't seem to get any bigger with wear or washing though
chris wyatt - on 10 Dec 2012
In reply to GridNorth: I had a lovely Merino wicking layer which didn't stink and felt great. My teenage spon borowed it for skiing and I am have never seen it since!!! :(
Nath93 - on 10 Dec 2012
In reply to GridNorth: I love my Rab Aeon long sleeve, its really good and feels super soft, but boy does it whiff ! Think I may give the Rab MeCo a bash if I can pick one up cheap somewhere !
Caralynh - on 10 Dec 2012
In reply to GridNorth:

I hate merino. My favourite baselayer is a 10+ yr old powerdry top bought in the sales for 25. I have had various merino tops which have either been itchy, fallen apart in the wash, or generally annoyed me by being soggy and damp. Synthetic all the way for me - at least they won't get holes in after a few goes in the wash!
ciaran1999 - on 11 Dec 2012
"...easier to wash with standard washing detergents..."

Agree with you 100% in all but this statement:- merino baselayers can be washed in mild NON-BIOLOGICAL detergents and indeed this will increase their wicking abilities due to the hydrophilic (attracts water) nature of detergent residues.

As an aside this fact is incidentally the reason that washing a waterproof coat in detergents will induce the 'wetting out effect'
Ben Sharp - on 11 Dec 2012
In reply to captain paranoia:
> (In reply to CurlyStevo)
>there isn't really a significant difference between the structure of a merino and a synthetic fabric.

I have to disagree with you there, synthetic fabric is made of a solid non permeable, hydrophobic plastic fibre and wool is like all wool, made of natural hairs with hydrophilic cores and scaley surfaces. In terms of structure you can't really get much different.

I get what you're saying that merino is often thicker than synthetics but synthetics still hold way less water. Think about it, each synthetic fiber of weight x holds zero moisture on it's own, each wool fiber holds a third of it's weight in water. Times that over a garment. Wool also doesn't let the moisture go very quickly, hence why a lot of people don't like it. Also even if it were true, in practical applications merino garments tend to be thicker anyway due to the fragility of the fabric. You can make a hardwearing thin synthetic but not a hardwearing thin merino so it makes sense to test the garment and not the fabric. i.e. a test that tests the drying weight of a thicker merino top and a thinner synthetic top tells you exactly what you need to know, a test that tests the same thickness fabric tells you nothing because you probably wouldn't use the same thickness fabric. Well, not unless you like spending 60 on a new base layers every month.

Next time you take a wool jumper our of the wash compare it to a similarly heavy synthetic jumper. Or do it with socks, the results are easily observable in that a wool sock will dry slower than a synthetic sock of the same thickness. Wool holds more moisture and saying that the only reason people think that is because it's tested against thinner synthetics is odd. It's like saying a larda would beat a porche in a race if only it had the same sized engine.

The main reason I wear wool base layers (not just merino) is because they're anti-bac, you can go on a trip for a week and only take one base layer. It's not just the smell they inhibit, I find they make me feel cleaner. When I take a synthetic base layer off I feel sticky and sweaty, when I take a wool layer off I feel clean.

I can't say I'd ever buy a smartwool/icebreaker type top as it would get ruined pretty quickly but I really rate the helly hansan warm stuff, or the older lambs wool ones of which I have a pair of longjohns and zip top which are still going strong. I wouldn't pay much attention to the hype about lifa being woven in and transferring moisture better but the main advantage of being woven together is they're tough as old boots. I've used mine running, climbing, fighting through brambles, managed to go headfirst down a rocky hill and scraped my arm in one but the top is as good as new, unlike my arm.

I've also been swimming in one and it's true that once you squeeze the moisture out it doesn't actually feel that wet. Obviously if you are definitely going to get saturated then a synthetic will be the better option but all isn't lost if you get a wool top drenched.
mrchewy - on 11 Dec 2012
In reply to GridNorth: I wash my merino in a biological powder, 40deg cotton wash and never have any issues. It just goes in with all my other clothing, never shrinks, never comes out with holes.
Still prefer synthetic for wearing in general tho.
Bjartur i Sumarhus on 11 Dec 2012
In reply to GridNorth: Uniqlo Heat Tech all the way...just as good, if not better and 5 times cheaper IMO

Everytime I see Ice Breaker I think "a fool and his money are easily parted" The prices they charge are hilarious.
Just a bhoy - on 11 Dec 2012
In reply to Game of Conkers:

> Everytime I see Ice Breaker I think "a fool and his money are easily parted"

Ye've never shopped in Leckies Of Falkirk then... ah fool a a wee drop of his money were parted there. 22 for a super fine Icebreaker, marvellous top.
Bjartur i Sumarhus on 11 Dec 2012
In reply to Just a bhoy: 9 in Uniqlo for one just as good if not better. Just doesn't have the "Merino" premium attached.

Well done for getting yourself a bargain (in your own head) though
Lukeva - on 11 Dec 2012
In reply to Arms Cliff:
> (In reply to GridNorth) The main benefit is that it's made of sheeps which we can make more of rather than oil, which we can't make more of ;)

'sheeps' :) I got an Icebreaker from Sports Persuit for 40 (exl p&p) with 1/2 zip. My first merino baselayer, I love it. Feels warmer when wet, wicks just as fast, no smell yet and is natural. Still, wouldn't pay 70 for one!
Michael Ryan - on 11 Dec 2012
In reply to Ben Sharp:

You can get very thin Merino T-shirts, as thin as synthetics...

http://eu2.icebreaker.com/T-Shirts-Tanks/mens-tshirts-tanks,en,sc.html

I have one of these T's and was amazed that they could knit something so light and thin.

I use mine for running and they do dry quickly depending on conditions.

They are expensive though.

As regards washing: 40 degrees C max, no fabric softener just ordinary laundry detergent.

As regards durability - I've been wearing merino for the last year: I love the feel, the look, the warmth, and the no pong - I haven't had any problems as regards holes. although I know some people do.

Mick
Neil Pratt - on 11 Dec 2012
In reply to GridNorth:

Never had problems with the durability of Icrebreaker merino - think my oldest 100 weight tops are over 10 years old now and still going strong. I bought one Howies top in their sale which developed a hole after a couple of washes. The Icebreakers have been heavily used every winter since I bought them, including 'old whiffy' which managed 3 weeks of commuting into Glasgow every day, 2 weekly sessions at the gym and some weekend mountain biking and hillwalking before my wife intervened and insisted it was washed.

When I bought them, I don't recall them being any more pricey than a HH Lifa top to be honest.
GrahamD - on 11 Dec 2012
In reply to GridNorth:

Merino is a bloody good manager and a probable shoe in to take over at Man Utd in time.
CarolineMc - on 11 Dec 2012
In reply to GridNorth: I converted to merino tops for cold weather a few years ago. I haven't spent silly money on them... Aldi and decathlon tops are superb. I wear it because it feels warm even when sweaty or damp from condensation, it seems to regulate better than my other long sleeve tops, ie I don't seem to overheat so much on climbs but they keep me more toasty than synthetics in the chill. And the antibac thing is amazing. I take merino (and bamboo for t shirts) on expeds knowing I only need to air them and wash occasionally to keep fresh. Synthetics hum in humid conditions and need washing nightly. And being holed up in minus 15 temps for a week with no heating, knowing you can just keep the same base layer on without offending anyone is awesome! As for drying, yes merino and bamboo take just a little bit longer. But that's down to the fibres and they're the very reason it's so comfy so I'm happy to take the hit. When wearing damp they dry soon enough but you don't feel cold and damp so it's no bother. When washing them you just llan a bit, but as you don't wash them very often on an exped, it's no hassle.
They won't suit everyone though, some people are just too sensitive to the itchiness.
And I also won't buy icebreaker as I've seen them disintegrate sooooo quickly and for the money it's disgusting!
I did spend a bit more nice on a thick merino mid layer by Ortovox and that was definitely worth the extra bit of cash. It's amazingly comfy and warm!
Enough rambling thoughts from me...
Co:
Tall Clare - on 11 Dec 2012
In reply to CarolineMc:

Finisterre also do more reasonably-priced merino, iirc.

Bamboo - mmmm, lovely stuff. Nice and soft against the skin. My mum's just given me a catalogue for these people and I want to try their baselayers: http://www.bambooclothing.co.uk/
ebygomm - on 11 Dec 2012
In reply to CarolineMc:

My icebreaker things (and smartwool) have lasted really well. The embers merino stuff I bought though has virtually disintegrated despite being less than a year old and not used all that much in comparison.
tony on 11 Dec 2012
In reply to Tall Clare:
> (In reply to CarolineMc)
>
> Finisterre also do more reasonably-priced merino, iirc.
>
> Bamboo - mmmm, lovely stuff. Nice and soft against the skin. My mum's just given me a catalogue for these people and I want to try their baselayers: http://www.bambooclothing.co.uk/

Bamboo feels so nice against the skin - the baselayers are really good. The only downside is that they take a long time to dry when they're washed - much longer than either wool or synthetics.
Tall Clare - on 11 Dec 2012
In reply to tony:

Very true. For normal non-'outdoor' use, bamboo socks do take some beating.
TMM - on 11 Dec 2012
In reply to GridNorth:
> Can someone explain to me the benefits of merino?

Entertaining press conferences and a charismatic leader. The downsides can be a rather defensive style of play and one eyeed view of the world.
GridNorth - on 11 Dec 2012
In reply to Tall Clare: How do you cope with the Pandas chasing you. :-)
Tall Clare - on 11 Dec 2012
In reply to GridNorth:

I throw stinky Hellys at them :-)
CarolineMc - on 11 Dec 2012
In reply to Tall Clare: My friend got some of that bamboo stuff... really lovely underwear apparently! Thanks for the link, it's reminded me I was going to try some stuff from there! Co:
CarolineMc - on 11 Dec 2012
In reply to ebygomm: I think you've been pretty lucky! Most friends icebreakers started holing up after a year or less! Co:
Brookie - on 11 Dec 2012
In reply to GrahamD:

Ha, good one!
tony on 11 Dec 2012
In reply to CarolineMc:
> (In reply to ebygomm) I think you've been pretty lucky! Most friends icebreakers started holing up after a year or less! Co:

I wonder if it's something to do with the way they're washed. I have a few Icebreaker tops, some quite a few years old, and none of them have holes.
Shearwater - on 11 Dec 2012
"Bamboo fibre" as used in clothing is actually just viscose or rayon that happens to have started out life using bamboo feedstock. It'll be great as a base layer anywhere you'd use cotton, given that it has pretty similar properties.

Nothing new or clever, aside from the marketing... just a reaction to rising cotton prices. Not massively green or sustainable either, despite the claims; it needs a hell of a lot of nasty chemical processing to go from grass to fabric.
Just a bhoy - on 11 Dec 2012
In reply to Game of Conkers:
.
>
> Well done for getting yourself a bargain (in your own head) though

Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha

Cock.
dek - on 11 Dec 2012
In reply to Just a bhoy:
19 for some lightweight Icebreakers in TKMaxx.
27 for another ( heavier weight) merino make, in cracking vivid colours!
All well hidden, in the ladies keep fit accessories section!
dazq - on 11 Dec 2012
In reply to CarolineMc:
Good point about the regulating your temperature. Used my merino base layer last week for a fun run as was stood about in the cold for a while beforehand. Didn't overheat when I was on the move, whereas got v sweaty in my usual lightweight fleece the year before.

Can't wear the baselayers though due to my delicate skin :)
nufkin - on 11 Dec 2012
In reply to tony:
> (In reply to CarolineMc)
> [...]
>
> I wonder if it's something to do with the way they're washed. I have a few Icebreaker tops, some quite a few years old, and none of them have holes.

I think the Brynje website had something about detergents damaging wool fibres.

Might also be something to do with small beasties - moths or (if I remember what someone on here told me a year or two ago) carpet beatles or similar?

Tall Clare - on 11 Dec 2012
In reply to nufkin:

Moths do like wool. Putting cedarwood balls in the drawer you store woollen things in can help.
ranger*goy on 11 Dec 2012
In reply to mrchewy:
> (In reply to GridNorth) I wash my merino in a biological powder, 40deg cotton wash and never have any issues. It just goes in with all my other clothing, never shrinks, never comes out with holes.
> Still prefer synthetic for wearing in general tho.

I've had my merino for about 2 yrs and love it. It gets chucked in with the other washing, no special treatment and sometimes gets washed at 60 with no shrinking. Prefer the feel of it to my synthetic base layer.
captain paranoia - on 11 Dec 2012
In reply to Ben Sharp:

> I have to disagree with you there, synthetic fabric is made of a solid non permeable, hydrophobic plastic fibre and wool is like all wool, made of natural hairs with hydrophilic cores and scaley surfaces. In terms of structure you can't really get much different.

Note that I was discussing fabrics, not the individual fibres from which yarn is made, and then used to make a fabric.

The problem I have is that people say 'merino is slow drying', when, what they generally mean is 'a thicker garment takes longer to dry'. I don't think it's a fundamental property of the wool fibre, but rather of the entire fabric assembly.

Now, call me a sad gear geek, but I have done tests where I weighed three similar design, but different fabric base layers into a rinse & spin cycle, weighed them when they came out, and then set them to dry, weighing them at regular intervals. I recall that I found that all three fabrics gave similar amounts of retained water following the spin, as a percentage of the garment mass, and there was little difference in the slope of the drying curves, again expressed as retained water as a percentage of dry garment mass. Sadly, I can't seem to find the data, and my memory may be defective. I might have a go at repeating the experiment tonight; the initial, post-spin water mass will be interesting, given the oft-stated '30% water absorption into the wool fibre'. However, in the mean time, this paper might make interesting reading:

http://nopr.niscair.res.in/bitstream/123456789/6881/1/IJFTR%2034%284%29%20315-320.pdf

It seems they did pretty similar test to those I did, only using specially-constructed fabrics of similar weights and thicknesses, and different fibre mixes. The drying times are quite interesting, especially those of a wool/synthetic blend, which gave a drying time longer than either of the consituent fibres... Their wicking results are no surprise: wool is pretty poor.

Water absorbed into the fibre core (as opposed to stored mechanically in the yarn fibre bundle and the knit/weave structure) will take a long time to evaporate off. This means that the cooling effect of this residual water is low; once the mechanically-stored water has evaporated, the main cooling power of the fabric is gone, just like for a synthetic. Of course, the faster a garment dries (assuming a similar water load), the larger the cooling power, so the faster drying will chill you; thus you get a shorter, more intense thermal shock from a faster-drying garment, compared to the longer duration, but less intense thermal shock from a slower-drying garment. Both of these situations can be considered beneficial, and detrimental, depending on the application...

As you rightly say, to get similar absolute drying times from a merino garment and a synthetic garment, they need to be the same weight, and it's easier to make a thin, robust synthetic than it is to make a thin, robust merino base layer. I commented that the downside of merino is the fragility.
captain paranoia - on 11 Dec 2012
In reply to nufkin:

> Might also be something to do with small beasties - moths or (if I remember what someone on here told me a year or two ago) carpet beatles or similar?

Carpet beetle larvae (woolly bears) are a common culprit for holes in wool items:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Varied_carpet_beetle
nufkin - on 11 Dec 2012
In reply to captain paranoia:

Them's the ones - it was probably you who mentioned them previously, too.
ice.solo - on 11 Dec 2012
In reply to GridNorth:

merino is great for wearing for a day or about town, but as a serious multi-day thing, nah.
its only redeeming quality is the odour thing - something other textiles are getting good at (bamboo, silver, copper weaves). and really, tho unpleasant, the odour element isnt top of my list for a baselayer.

i think wool does several things ok but none of them well (except the odour thing mentioned).
i dislike it because it loses its form fast, and with that goes part of its wicking capacity, which other fabrics do better ayway.
its not as warm for the weight (partly because it doesnt wick, partly because its a heavier fibre to get the same degree of structural integrity).

that said, new wool fabrics are entering the mix - combined with a well known synthetic to form a fabric, backed by another well known fabric to create a bi-layer thing. both resolve much of the issues and are a big step forward.

benefits? the NZ economy more than anything else...
Talius Brute - on 11 Dec 2012
In reply to GridNorth:

I wouldn't wear my merino on trips where I value technical ability over comfort, but for things like multi-day walks in places where you might actually meet normal people it's unbeatable. I've worn my merino tops and pants for 3 weeks straight without washing and they don't keep any smell at all.
In reply to GridNorth: When did they start calling a vest a base layer?
needvert on 12 Dec 2012
Being lazy I throw my merino base layers in the wash, of which I have maybe 6-8 items of, with regular washing liquid.

Haven't noticed any ill effects.

Noticed the odd small hole, presumably from wear, in the older items.

My most committing experiment was wearing a pair of merino underwear for 4 days. Was worried about itching, but you know, it never happened. Was great.
nufkin - on 12 Dec 2012
In reply to Talius Brute:
> (In reply to GridNorth)
>
> I've worn my merino tops and pants for 3 weeks straight without washing and they don't keep any smell at all.

While generally a merino fan, it might be worth pointing out that the smell resistance is limited to the clothing itself - it won't stop your body from smelling!
Katherine Ross - on 13 Dec 2012
In reply to GridNorth: I have a polyester base layer, a Berghaus 'Powerdry' style one and an Icebreaker merino that I was given, and since I got the Berghaus one it's been my go-to. I've worn it for a whole weekend without taking it off and it didn't smell at all, whereas the polyester one smells horrible after the same or less time. The thing that puts me off using the merino one more is the time it takes to dry (as has been mentioned already), although it is still warm when wet. I'd recommend Powerdry style. I think Berghaus' version is possibly slightly thicker than Rab's but I'm not 100% on that. They're also pretty expensive, but it helps if you win it in a raffle :)

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