With winter upon us, wearing the right gear for your winter activities is often paramount to having a good time. In the right gear, anything the weather can throw at you is dealt with, keeping you warm, dry and comfortable. That's where natures wonder fibre - Merino, comes in. Merino products are manufactured from the wool of the Merino sheep, a breed commonly found in New Zealand and Australia. Its unique properties make it perfect for outdoor activities, here's some of the reasons why.
Strength and Resilience
Wool fibres behave much like the skin on a human, it's unique properties help it cool and heat the body as needed. The fibre is made up of interlocking protein molecules called keratin, which is the same stuff that makes up our own hair and skin. Wool fibres are very strong, they are excellent at being bent, flexed and stretched in any direction, with the ability to return to their original shape. In addition, Merino has a natural wave like structure called crimp which further improves its resilience to stretch.
Is all about the way a fabric transports moisture from a higher to lower humidity area. Meaning, how well can a fabric remove moisture from the layer between your skin and garment (high humidity area), to the outside environment (low humidity area), where the heat and moisture is released. This process keeps the wearer dryer, warmer and ultimately more comfortable. Merino is amazing in the fact it can hold up to 30% of its own weight in moisture but still feel dry to the touch.
Just think about a sheep during a year, the habitat in which they live sees extremes of seasons. It can be scorching hot in summer and well below freezing in winter. Nature gave them the perfect fibre so they stay warm in winter and cool in summer, this is called thermo regulation. Merino is really good at performing this crucial operation for your body. To keep you warm the crimp in the fibre traps heat and wicks moisture away from you, keeping you warm and dry. For cooling, the fibre structure of Merino has the ability to store moisture. When you warm up, you start to evaporate the moisture in the fabric which creates a cool zone between your skin and the fabric, the warmer you get the more evaporation. It's just like having your own natural air-con for your body.
Here is where Merino really out performs other fibres with it's unique ability to resist the build up of unpleasant odours from perspiration. Merino manages moisture away from the body so well that odour causing bacteria, just don't have an environment in which to thrive. You can wear Merino products for extensive periods of exertion and not have to worry about unpleasant odours developing. Odours are actually absorbed into the Merino fibres so they become less detectable by the human nose.
Doesn't Even Itch!
Gone are the days of old itchy poly-prop thermals, Merino is here now, and it just does not itch. People often associate wool with itching, especially when it's in direct contact with the skin, this is because larger broader fibres of normal wool actually prick the skin and cause an itching effect. Merino fibres are of much smaller diameter, are softer and more flexible, therefore they bend against the skin. Voila! - no itching. Merino fibres are also more elastic and conform to the wearers body, making them more agile and comfortable to wear during activity.
Other Fun Facts About Amazing Merino.
Naturally Static Resistant
Wool's ability to retain moisture makes it's excellent as resisting static spark, moisture in the fibres prevents this from happening. This is great for safety in spark free areas.
Merino wool is like nature's sunscreen, it naturally protects against the sun's harmful UVA and UVB without extra fabric treatment. This makes it great for our harsh New Zealand summers!
Merino not only wicks vapours, it moves moisture mechanically when we perspire so much vapour turns to liquid. Synthetics and wool have the ability to wick, but only wool has the ability to wick away moisture in its vapour state.
Merino is lightweight, fine-spun Merino wool fabrics dry as quickly as any performance synthetic fabric of comparable weight.
When buried, Merino is a completely biodegradable fabric, unlike many synthetics which can remain in the environment for many years.
Merino is naturally flame resistant; it won't melt or stick if it comes in contact with another burning surface.