We have tested Merino wool garments from Smartwool, Mammut and Ortovox and are convinced they offer a fantastic performance advantage over traditional 100% synthetic base layers in cooler conditions ans stop/start activities.
Smartwool, Mammut and Ortovox use only high quality wool from Merino Sheep. Merino Wool is used as the fibres are the finest (lowest diameter) and avoid the "itch" sometimes found with courser wool garments. These fibres are then machined to produce a fabric which uses 100% merino wool. There will be a varying percentage of synthetic fibres woven into the fabric in order to improve the shape retention,elasticity and wicking of the fabric. Some garments use different blends of wool/synthetic fibres in different panels to produce really high performing garments. Although the fabric is not 100% wool, all the wool used in the fabric is 100% Merino Wool and not blended with cheaper wools. At a macro level merino wool traps countless little pockets of air which, as air is a good insulator, is what makes the wool so warm, and because when the wool gets wet most of the air is still trapped then most of the insulation is retained. Wool is also really effcient at transporting mositure, both as a liquid and as a vapour making Merino Wool very comfortable and non clammy to wear especially next to the skin.
Summary of the advantages of Merino Wool.
- Merino Wool is machine washable and will not shrink.
- Merino Wool is completely itch free and non clammy.
- Merino Wool retains 80% of it's insulation performance when it is damp or wet.
- Merino Wool is suited to stop/start activities as it is breathable when you are working and insulating when you stop.
- Merino Wool has natural odour control properties.
Put simply for winter sports and cold environments Merino Wool is one of the best fabrics that you can use.