Merino wool has been part of clothing for centuries. Unlike traditional wool, which is itchy, smelly, and heavy when wet, merino wool has fine fibers that feel soft and lightweight, resist odors, and last for years.
The term “merino” actually refers to one of the oldest – and toughest – breeds of sheep in the world. Merino live in the Southern Alps of New Zealand in weather that varies from 95°F in the summer to -4°F in the winter. The wool can be a light, breathable coat that cools in the summer or a thick extra layer that insulates in the winter. If this wool didn’t do its job, the sheep would die. Designers like Smartwool and Icebreaker have created clothing so that we humans can now benefit from the remarkable features of merino wool.
Versatile: Warming And Cooling
No matter the weather, many outdoorspeople find merino wool perfect for their sport, whether they’re cycling, running, skiing, hiking, or mountain climbing. This is because merino wool wicks moisture away from the body to regulate body temperature more efficiently than the synthetic fabrics of modern days. Its fine fibers are so small that the wool has microscopic pockets of air. These pockets keep heat close to the body, like a sleeping bag. Merino has one of the best warmth-to-weight ratios available for outdoorspeople.
Odorless: Fresh Smelling
Synthetic materials tend to stink when they’re dirty, but merino wool still smells fresh after days of sweaty use. Its lanolin, which is oily wax from a sheep’s skin, has antibacterial properties. Even though most of this oily wax is lost during manufacturing, there is enough lanolin to stop bacteria and mildew from growing in your clothes. This keeps it smelling fresh even after several days of activity.
Comfort: Soft, Durable Fabric
The fine fibers make it one of the world’s softest wools. Don’t let the softness fool you – merino wool is long lasting because its fiber structures are stronger and “crimped,” unlike the synthetic fibers of modern technology. The soft fibers stretch with you as you move, never restricting your reach for the next hold when you’re mountain climbing.
Natural: Earth Friendly
As if these reasons aren’t great enough, merino wool is natural, sustainable, compostable, and biodegradable. Merino sheep need sheered, and you need outdoor gear that will serve you best. This wool is good for you and good for the planet.
Merino Wool At Appalachian Outfitters
If you have an active lifestyle and want to stay warm or cool in the outdoors all year, choose merino wool. It’s perfect for all of your activities no matter the season. Check out our selection of Smartwool and Icebreaker products as a gift to yourself or your loved ones this holiday season!