I remember the days when a wool jumper was a thick, itchy thing knitted by my grandmother and worn only as the outer layer on a very cold day. That day is no longer thanks to new merino wool clothing that can be worn as underwear, and every-other-sort-of-wear.
I was a little skeptical I have to say. Could this stuff really do all that it said? Well now after using it for a few weeks of travel that included a muti-day walk and a five-day bike ride I’m a convert, it’s absolutely amazing. In fact I’m such a convert that my biggest problem is that I want to wear these shirts all the time now, even when not travelling, and the high-rotation is taking its toll.
- Is it itchy? No – quite the opposite it is lovely and smooth.
- Does it keep you warm? – Yes, it’s wool after all.
- Does it keep you cool? – Yes, again. And I know that seems contradictory.
- What? How can it do both? – Use layers, each on thin enough to be cool by itself but layering up to keep you toasty warm.
Two other properties make it perfect for trekking or travelling. The first is that it doesn’t get smelly in the way a cotton shirt will. The second is that it dries incredibly quickly: which makes washing it a breeze. That said you can’t tumble-dry, it so it’s all hand washing as you go.
Icebreaker seems to have a lock on the bulk of the market, but it’s certainly not the only brand available. The major downside is that it’s relatively expensive, although the market is competitive enough that there seem to be rolling sales where you can find good deals.
Sometimes technological advancement is not about a new iPhone or a robot on Mars, sometimes it’s about renewing something that you’ve taken for granted for ever.
Image: Icebreaker (no that’s not me).