MERINO Wool is one of the most environmentally friendly fabrics available. The process of growing sheep’s wool is a natural renewable process and requires very little energy and no chemicals or artificial fertilizers. Unlike synthetic fabrics, wool is a naturally biodegradable fiber and takes just six months to biodegrade.
Besides being biodegradable, merino wool has other impressive properties that make it a top choice for outdoor enthusiasts. It is incredibly lightweight, has excellent insulating qualities, and it wicks moisture away from the body to keep you dry.
The crimps and bends in the wool fibers trap air, keeping you warm in cold weather and transporting sweat to keep you dry in hot weather. This fabric is great for hiking, biking, skiing, and other active lifestyles where your body has to work hard to stay cool and hydrated.
A single merino wool fiber is about 1/3 the size of a human hair and is therefore super soft and pliable. This makes it easy to move with and bounce back to its original shape when it is stretched out.
It is also a lot more elastic than other types of wool. This makes it a very comfortable material to wear, especially when you are climbing or backpacking.
Unlike other wool, merino is machine washable so you don’t have to worry about it soaking in dirty water or becoming grubby while climbing or trekking. You can even hand wash it if you prefer, but be sure to rinse it out thoroughly and avoid using harsh detergents.
The hygroscopic properties of merino leggings means it will absorb up to 35% of its weight in water vapor (from your sweat) and transport it quickly away from your skin, reducing the amount of sweat on your skin. The evaporation of this moisture will cool the air around your body, helping to regulate your temperature and keep you feeling comfortable while out on the trail.
This is the reason why merino garments do not leave your skin feeling sticky or wet like cotton and synthetic materials do. This is because the merino fibers are extremely fine and flexible, making it possible for them to draw the moisture from your skin and re-seal it, keeping you feeling dry and odor free.
Because of this wicking ability, you don’t have to sweat as much, so you aren’t overheating while wearing a merino sweater or jacket in the summer. The hygroscopic property of wool is also why you don’t feel as hot or uncomfortable while wearing a merino hoodie or hat in the summer.
The wicking and insulating properties of merino wool are why we use it in all our baselayers, underwear, and mid-layers, as well as our tees, tops, and outerwear for hiking, backpacking, and other activities where you’re working up a sweat. Combined with the natural UPF, this helps you stay protected from the sun’s harmful UV rays.
All this is why merino wool is the material of choice for many hiking, climbing, and backpacking gear companies. Its versatility and superior performance makes it worth the slightly higher price tag for the added benefits.