We adore going outside. We are so passionate about it that we plan on many fronts when it comes to traveling, especially clothing. To support almost any kind of weather and remain in the fashion trend, people prefer wearing clothes made of Merino wool. Each fibre of it naturally controls body temperature, removes sweat as a vapour, and masks odours. These qualities of wool make it the ideal performance textile for nature exploration, allowing athletes and outdoor lovers to travel further and experience more without having to wash it too often. So what is Merino wool? Here is everything you should know about wearing Merino wool while hiking. So, keep reading!!
It is not a ranking of quality. Merino type of sheep. Simply said, the wool from that breed is called Merino wool. Merino has gained popularity due to animal and textile science advances that have produced many lighter-weight soft items. Merino sheep have been around for hundreds of years, but it has only been because of these improvements in the last 50 years that wool producers have improved the comfort and use of their product.
A Brief History Of Merino Wool:
Since prehistoric people first covered themselves with the fuzzy skins of wild sheep, through the Babylonian civilisation, where people first recognised wool sheep from food sheep, wool has been utilised in clothing. The Industrial Revolution, which started in the late eighteenth century, was the catalyst that moved the textile industry from the home into the workshop and factory.
The exquisite wool produced by Merino sheep, which originated in Spain, was highly esteemed. The first Merino sheep, descended from Spain's renowned Royal Merino Flocks, were brought to Australia in 1797. Although the fleece of these sheep had already evolved to be okay, further selective breeding by Australian farmers quickly led to the development of the genuine Australian Merino with its even finer wool.
Australian Merino wool has globally played a significant part and still does. Wool has traditionally been used in utilitarian clothing, especially work clothes and uniforms for the military.
To answer what is Merino wool fabric is simply a natural fibre that is good for the environment, biodegradable, and a great thermoregulator is Merino wool. Merino wool is easier to wear near to skin since it is naturally lighter and softer than any other type of wool. It also regulates body temperature regardless of the weather. The fabric absorbs humidity through "absorption" and holds onto heat when cold and humid outside. In contrast, wool uses the "evaporation" mechanism to release moisture when it is hot, which causes the body to feel cold. Merino wool is highly prized in the textile industry and is frequently used in high-performance outdoor gear because of its exceptional properties.
Why Is Merino Wool A Great Thermoregulator?
Merino wool uses the "Heat of Sorption" process to absorb and release moisture. Wool naturally produces heat as a result of a chemical reaction when it absorbs moisture from the air, warming the person wearing it.
Wool's natural crimp in cold weather produces microscopic pockets of warm air that are trapped and act as insulators, retaining heat close to the body. The same process has a cooling effect in hot weather because wool releases moisture as it absorbs heat from the wearer. Additionally, the tiny air pockets that are generated by the crimp in the fibre trap cold air and protect the wearer from hotter outside temperatures. Even in warmer weather, wearing wool makes you feel cool and dry because it draws moisture from your skin for evaporation.
Unique Features Of Merino Wool:
Merino wool, a 100 percent natural fibre, has several useful characteristics. The most crucial of these is that it doesn't smell when you sweat and keeps you warm while wet. Only the best Merino wool is used for t-shirts, pants, etc. because it doesn't itch.
Moisture: You can stay warm in the wool even when it is damp from sweat. The reason for this is an exothermic process: As soon as the fibres are wet, the proteins begin to warm up and our bodies start becoming exothermic.
Temperature management: Wool feels fresh even when it's hot and is comfortable in various temperatures. This is made possible by the tiny air spaces between the crimped wool fibres.
Microclimate: Wool has a 35% moisture absorption capacity without becoming wet to the touch. The wool does not interfere with the body's natural ability to cool itself via sweating.
Odour: Due to the scaled surface of the fibre, Merino wool has an antibacterial effect which reduces the chances of unpleasant odours.
Merino wool is a popular and high-quality type of wool that comes from Merino sheep. When it comes to the different types of GSM (grams per square meter) in Merino wool, it refers to the weight or thickness of the fabric. Here are some common types of GSM in Merino wool and their brief descriptions:
Lightweight GSM (150-180 GSM): Lightweight Merino wool fabrics typically range from 150 to 180 GSM. These fabrics are perfect for warm weather or high-intensity activities. They offer excellent breathability, moisture-wicking properties, and temperature regulation. Lightweight Merino wool is ideal for base layers, t-shirts, or garments worn in mild climates.
Midweight GSM (200-250 GSM): Midweight Merino wool fabrics fall in the range of 200 to 250 GSM. These fabrics strike a balance between insulation and breathability. They provide warmth in cooler conditions and can be used as base layers, sweaters, or mid-layers in outdoor activities. Midweight Merino wool is versatile and suitable for a wide range of temperatures.
Heavyweight GSM (280+ GSM): Heavyweight Merino wool fabrics are thicker and denser, typically exceeding 280 GSM. These fabrics offer exceptional warmth and insulation, making them ideal for colder climates or winter activities. Heavyweight Merino wool is commonly used in jackets, coats, and other outerwear garments designed to keep you warm in frigid conditions.
It's important to note that GSM is not the only factor determining the performance of Merino wool. The quality of the fiber, the yarn construction, and the fabric's finishing processes also play crucial roles in determining its overall characteristics and performance.
Importance Of Merino Wool Garments In Hiking And Trekking:
It assists in controlling body temperature
What does Merino Wool excel at? Assisting in maintaining the body's temperature. The natural crimps and bends in its fibres trap air when cold outside, insulating you. It quickly transports sweat away from the skin when it's hot outside, keeping you cool and dry.
Merino wool transfers perspiration and moisture
Merino wool aids in keeping you dry and sweat-free. Merino fibres are permeable by nature. They are made of tiny plates that allow moisture vapour to enter between them. Artificial textiles lack pores. Sweat is typically wicked when it is already a liquid so that your body can heat it and cause it to evaporate.
When you move and play outdoors, Merino removes a step from the process, keeping you warm and dry.
It Is Odour Resistant
Merino wool is unique in absorbing bacterial odour, trapping and preventing it from accumulating. This means you can wear odour-resistant Merino wool apparel longer without worrying about smelling and washing. Merino wool is excellent for longer treks or trips with limited packing space.
Where does Merino wool excel over regular wool? It is incredibly delicate and fine. One Merino wool fibre has a diameter of one-third that of human hair. Since it is so thin, it bends out of the way when it touches the skin. Because it can't support the weight of itself, it can't be as scratchy as other wool fibres. Thus, it is soft.
In the earth, Merino wool dissipates after roughly a year. This implies that the ground will absorb this fibrous protein made of amino acids once you've finished using your gear, reintroducing carbon and nutrients to the soil.
It contributes to UPF protection
Merino fibres can help shield the skin from the sun's damaging rays (UPF 20+) depending on how they are spun and dyed. Additionally, you should seek all the assistance you can because the sun often does more harm in mountainous areas.
Merino Wool Vs Wool - Key differences:
Softness: This is one of the most common standards used to rate wool apparel. Luxurious-looking and feeling, soft wool. For obvious reasons, soft wool pants are preferred. However, an extremely soft wool shirt can sag over the shoulders like pyjamas and lose its sharp appearance.
Fineness: Yarn fineness, or fibre diameter, is linked to softness. If the cloth is excessively light, fine yarn may be less dependable and wrinkle more. Hence, very fine yarn is occasionally woven or knit into heavier garments.
Fabric Weight: Faster drying and cooler fabrics are less in weight. The greatest shirt, though, will depend on where it is worn—warm Copenhagen or sunny San Diego—since it isn't as warm.
% Wool Content: Certain qualities, such as odour resistance, moisture wicking, and thermal regulation, will be enhanced by a higher wool content. For instance, shirts made of 100% Merino wool can be worn continuously without developing body odour, whereas shirts made of a wool/cotton blend would smell sooner and take longer to dry.
Environmental & Ethical Considerations: Not all Merino flocks are raised by the same moral and ethical principles. Any ethical company will buy its wool only from approved vendors.
Merino wool vs Synthetic base layers: Which is better?
Merino wool is the best material if your top objective is to stay warm while adding as little weight as possible. When the weather is the primary safety concern, such as during shoulder season or winter thru-hikes and backpacking excursions, this is the ideal option.
We suggest a synthetic choice if your top priority is locating a cheap foundation layer that will endure the test of time. This works best on excursions where you anticipate perspiring a lot and needs a layer that will rebound after being washed.
What weather you expect to experience and the extra layers you have to complement the base layer are ultimately what matter. You might not require the warmest base layer on the market if you intend to bring a big puffy jacket. On the other hand, if you're saving money on outerwear, think about splurging on something you'll enjoy cuddling into every night.
Why Is Merino Wool So Expensive?
Merino wool is pricey because of the time, labour, and expenses involved in producing it. The factors contributing to Merino wool's high price seem fairly obvious when considering the rising demand and the limited supply available. Merino wool is widely used for several reasons, all of which raise the price of the material.
Lack Of Supply
Merino sheep are used to produce Merino wool, and they are significantly rarer than other types of sheep. The truth is that there isn't that much Merino wool on the market, especially when compared to other materials like cotton, which are more freely available. Numerous research and analyses have demonstrated that Merino wool is in high demand despite its limited supply.
Smaller Size, Increased Effort And Costs
A very fine fabric is made of Merino wool. Merino wool is soft and non-itchy because its thickness is less than 20 microns. One of the key factors contributing to Merino wool's increased demand is its smaller size. Making yarn from Merino requires a lot of time and attention because of its small size, which only worsens as you move up the production chain. The cost of production rises due to the added time and effort.
Merino wool is carefully chosen and sorted before any additional processing. Even the smallest error can result in considerable quality losses; therefore, the sorting process calls for caution and experience. After being selected, the wool must undergo a thorough combing procedure called carding to eliminate minute dirt and dust particles that could harm the fabric when it is woven. Then, if desired, additional treatments like washing, drying, or dyeing are done before spinning occurs; each step raises the price of Merino wool.
For ages, merino wool, has been valued for its unique qualities as a luscious fibre. Because it has finer fibres than conventional wool, this high-quality wool is smoother and lighter than other varieties of wool. The Merino sheep has undergone extensive breeding for finer, extraordinarily plush fibres. Merino wool clothing can be more expensive than clothing from different varieties of lamb's or sheep's wool due to its excellent qualities.
Is Merino Wool Sustainable?
Merino wool is a natural fibre that is good for the environment, biodegradable, and a great thermoregulator. Merino wool is easier to wear near to skin since it is naturally lighter and softer than any other type of wool. It also regulates body temperature regardless of the weather. The fabric absorbs humidity through "absorption" and holds onto heat when cold and humid outside. In contrast, wool uses the "evaporation" mechanism to release moisture when it is hot, which causes the body to feel cold. Merino wool is highly prized in the textile industry and is frequently used in high-performance outdoor gear because of its exceptional properties.
Decathlon's Merino wool clothes could be considered better than its competitors because of the following reasons:
Price: Decathlon is known for offering products at competitive prices. They have a business model that focuses on providing affordable options without compromising quality. Their Merino wool clothes may offer a good balance between price and performance compared to some higher-end brands.
Performance: Decathlon invests in research and development to create functional and high-performance products. Their Merino wool clothes may be designed to provide excellent insulation, moisture-wicking properties, breathability, and odour control, which are typical benefits of Merino wool.
Sustainability: Decathlon has made commitments to sustainability and environmentally friendly practices. Their Merino wool clothes may be sourced from suppliers who follow ethical standards and responsible farming practices. This can include ensuring the welfare of sheep and using eco-friendly processing methods.
Durability: Decathlon aims to create products that are durable and long-lasting. Their Merino wool clothes may be designed to withstand regular use, washing, and outdoor activities. The quality of the fabric, construction, and finishing techniques could contribute to the durability of their products.
Customer Reviews: Checking customer reviews and ratings for specific Decathlon Merino wool products can provide insights into the experiences and satisfaction of other customers. Positive reviews and feedback could indicate that Decathlon's Merino wool clothes are well-received by customers in terms of quality and performance.
Washing And Care Instructions For Merino Wool Garments:
Before you begin: When subjected to the intense heat and friction of washing machines and dryers, wool clothing can shrink. Never wash or dry at a temperature higher than 30 °C.
Do your zips up, turn your clothes inside out, and empty any pockets.
Wash by hand. This is the most secure method of washing Merino wool clothing. Verify that your bowl is clean before soaking your clothes in lukewarm water for 10 to 20 minutes with a few drops of detergent. Your garment should be gently agitated before a thorough rinsing in clean water. Instead of wringing it out firmly, squeeze your clothing dry!
Washing machine. Use a liquid detergent like Ecover, Delicate, Nikwax Woolwash, or pure soap in your washing machine's delicate cycle at a temperature no higher than 30 °C.
Hang or flat-dry your Merino items in a place with plenty of air and protection from the sun.
Keep your apparel out of the reach of moths. If there is anything that ravenous moths want, it is the delectable strands of Merino wool.
We hope we are now clear about what merino wool is and what merino wool is made of. Finally, we conclude that Merino wool is excellent. And that all of these advantages of thread are used in functional items. Our products are designed to help you stay outside longer and do more, whether exercising, travelling, or hiking through the mountains.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Is Merino wool OK for hot weather?
Although we have already stated this, it bears repeating because it is the most typical cause of clothing shrinkage. Never wash Merino wool in water that is warmer than 30 °C.
Is Merino wool Itchy?
No, because its natural fibres are so delicate (about one-third the diameter of a human hair! ), Merino is the softest wool, unlike regular wool. The itching is caused by the bigger fibres present in other types of wool.
Is Merino wool waterproof?
Merino wool is not waterproof; thus, it can become wet. Merino wool, however, is an extremely durable fabric that can hold up to 30% of its weight in water, so being wet doesn't affect it. Merino wool also has the wonderful property of keeping its wearer warm even after getting wet.
What's unique about Merino wool?
Merino wool has many benefits, including good insulation, moisture transport, anti-static qualities, a lack of itching, odour, and creases, and being lightweight and maintaining its shape. And it accomplishes everything sustainably and naturally.
Does Merino wool shrink?
Natural performance fibre Merino can stretch and reshape itself. According to author Marie Knowles, Icebreaker Merino is strong and long-lasting and won't shrink in the wash. Use a standard warm or cool machine wash cycle and common liquid or powder detergent.
Have you treated yourself to a merino wool product but are afraid of having to take care of it, as if it were a cashmere wrap? Don't panic, we are here to give you all the tips you need to keep your merino wool garment in good condition for as long as possible.