Home » Travel resources » Best clothes for traveling: Merino wool

Best clothes for traveling: Merino wool

Merino wool is amazing stuff. It is extremely soft and comfortable, it keeps you warm when it’s cold, and it keeps you cool when it’s hot. And yes, even if you’re allergic to regular wool (like yours truly), there’s a very good chance that Merino will not bother you one bit.

Merino wool comes from, yes, Merino sheep, which are certainly the most bad-ass of sheep. Merino sheep live in places where the average sheep wouldn’t last a single day: high in the mountains in extremely harsh environments. This has evolved them into producing wool that has many amazing qualities. Clothes made out of this wool are fantastic.

When I swiped my credit card to pay a hundred bucks for a pair of socks, a boxers short, and a plain, black t-shirt, I scratched behind my ear and wondered if I might have gone insane. I guess the store clerk had been very convincing when she explained all the benefits and qualities to me. Plus, she was kinda cute.

At the same time, I’m a firm believer in “buy once, buy good”. I have found that it’s better to have few things of high quality, than many things of low quality. You ultimately tend to get what you pay for, and since the company that makes these clothes has been in business for many years, they have to do something right.

So, I figured what the hell, why not? A hundred bucks is a lot of money, but it’s a risk I’m willing to take if it might lead me to discover something great.

When I got home and put the clothes on, all my doubts were immediately gone. These were certainly the most comfortable and nicest-feeling clothes I’d ever put on. After a few days of wearing them, I was pretty sure the majority of my clothes will be replaced by ones that are made out of Merino wool over time. It’s like clothes version 2.0 compared to anything else I’d worn before.

Human hair and Merino wool fibre Merino wool fiber and a human hair illustrating how fine the fibers are.

Why I love it

Here’s a list of the benefits of this stuff to give you an idea why it’s so good.

Very comfortable

Merino wool fibers are extremely fine, which creates a soft feeling on the skin. It’s a fabric with a luxurious feel to it. It is also elastic and it holds its shape incredibly well, which makes moving around in it easy and natural.

Fantastic temperature regulation

Merino Wool keeps you warm in cold weather, and cool in hot weather, and it retains this quality even when it gets wet.

Merino wool is an active fiber, which means it reacts to the temperature of your body and the outside.

Moisture control unlike any other fabric

It will keep you a lot dryer than synthetics or cotton when you’re breaking a sweat. Merino wool can absorb over one third of its weight in moisture and still feel dry to the touch. This will make you feel less clammy and sweaty when you’re active.

Anti-smell

The breathability and moisture absorption qualities of Merino wool cause you to sweat less, and thus smell less. On top of that, bacteria have a hard time attaching themselves to the fabric. Win-win! If I wear a cotton shirt, I need to throw it in the laundry after a day, maybe two if I’ve had an easy day. A Merino wool shirt has lasted me close to a week before I started to notice something. It really is amazing stuff.

Other cool qualities

  • Unlike regular wool, you can wash this like your other clothes. Washing machines and tumble driers will not destroy it
  • Stain resistant
  • Dries quickly
  • Naturally wrinkle-resistant
  • Colors don’t fade
  • It blocks UV-radiation better than any other fabric
  • Fire resistant

Downsides

The main downside is the obvious one: the price. This stuff is expensive, there’s no getting around it. But, it is also durable and long-lasting, which means it will take a longer time before you have to replace something. After wearing a handful of shirts and underpants for a year and washing them with shitty, industrial laundry machines, they still look like new.

Here's a photo of a Merino sheep chillin' out
Here’s a random photo of a Merino sheep chillin’ out.

Conclusion

I have only relatively recently found out about Merino wool, and it is likely to replace the majority of my other clothes over time. It is great stuff for any type of clothing: undergarments, socks, sweaters, shirts, etc. The comfort, breathability, and premium look and feel of this stuff won me over within a day.

Expensive? Yes. Worth the money? Definitely.

Icebreaker makes clothes for men and women made out of Merino wool. Give it a shot and there’s a good chance you won’t look back.

Check it out

IcebreakerPremium clothes by Icebreaker

Photo credits

Brownpau
Jean
CSIRO

 

About Diederik

Diederik is a guy from Rotterdam, The Netherlands. He quit his job when he was 29 years old and traveled the world for over 18 months as a digital nomad and bartender. On this website, he posts his travel photos and experiences, records podcasts with interesting people, and shares his general thoughts.

Check Also

Kensington AbsolutePower: One charger for everything

What is Kensington AbsolutePower? The Kensington AbsolutePower is an incredibly practical laptop travel charger with …