If you read a lot of travel blogs, you’ll notice that one of the newest trends is merino wool. Many travel experts and bloggers have proclaimed that merino wool is the ultimate fabric. It’s billed as the perfect clothing material for both summer and winter travel. In fact, many recommend merino wool clothing for travel due to its special qualities.
I have to admit that when I would think of wool, I normally associate it with cold weather and staying warm. I’ve had a few merino wool sweaters in the past that were comfortable. However, I rarely wore them since we live in Los Angeles.
I recently learned that my conception of wool was completely wrong. Wool, especially merino wool, is a very versatile material that is useful for a variety of purposes. We’ll run through the pros and cons of merino wool clothing so you can determine whether it might be useful for your next trip.
We are extremely grateful to both Woolly Clothing Company and Olivers Apparel for sending us some merino wool shirts to test out and review. As with every product we review, we promise to only ever share our honest opinions. We are never influenced or pressured to review a product a certain way, even if it’s given to us for free.
Benefits of merino wool
First, let’s start with the pros of using wool clothing from a traveler’s perspective.
1. Soft and comfortable:
When people think of wool, they often think of a thick, itchy, and uncomfortable fabric. But merino wool is different. Quality merino wool is thin, lightweight and softer than cotton due to it’s finer fibers. This makes it extremely breathable, keeping you cool even when doing outdoor or fitness activities. A lot of people have called it “nature’s magic fabric”. Both shirts that I tested were comfortable to wear, even during our recent heatwaves.
2. Draws moisture from the skin (wicking):
Merino wool is able to handle moisture better than cotton. The surface has a natural waxy coating called lanolin that resists water. Think of it as a natural sports fabric that keeps you dry and wicks sweat away.
3. Resists odors:
The waxy coating is also naturally antibacterial, which helps with reducing the odor in the fabric. In the past, I’ve tried to travel with sports clothing like Nike Dri-fit and Under Armour shirts. They are lightweight and wrinkle-free. However, they tend to stink after a few hours of being exposed to sweat. I may sweat more than most people, but these merino wool shirts seem more effective at managing odors.
4. Temperature regulating:
This is one of the reasons why people love merino wool. The fabric functions in both hot and cold environments, keeping you cool or warm as needed. This is due to its ability to manage moisture and provide insulation.
5. Dries quickly:
Due to its natural ability to repel moisture, the fabric dries quickly. This is handy if you wash your clothes in your hotel room while traveling or get stuck in a downpour.
6. Doesn’t wrinkle easily:
Merino wool is also wrinkle-resistant. That doesn’t mean it won’t retain any wrinkles. In my experience, there were still some wrinkles in the fabric, but noticeably less than cotton. They were easier to remove by simply wearing the shirt or hanging them in the bathroom while showering.
Drawbacks of merino wool
You’re probably wondering, “what are the drawbacks to merino wool?” To be honest, there are a couple of cons to keep in mind when dealing with merino wool clothing.
Merino wool clothing is more of an investment, especially when compared to cotton. Both of these shirts run around $50 to $70, depending on the style and color.
This is the biggest drawback of merino wool. While it should be able to handle the daily demands of your life, the fabric is more prone to wear and tear. This could be an issue if you’re carrying a lot of weight on your shoulders. I personally wouldn’t wear one with a heavy backpack. Though a normal daypack should be fine. In fact, both shirts seemed durable enough to handle most daily life and travel situations.
So what does this mean for traveling? Wearing merino wool allows you to pack lighter, be less wrinkly, and potentially get more wears between washings. Since I sweat a lot, I’m probably a good person to test out the fabric. I can say that after wearing the shirt on a hot summer day, the shirt did not smell funky the next day. I didn’t test it in a humid place like Thailand. Though with the recent heat waves in Southern California, I was able to get two days of wear for each shirt before needing to wash them.
I think that merino wool is an outstanding material to bring on your next trip or even in your daily life. I like the look and feel of both of these shirts. The fact I can wear them in both hot and cold environments is also a bonus. I may not replace all my clothing with merino wool just yet, though I’ll be packing them first on future trips.
If you’re interested in purchasing either shirt, below are the links to the website and Amazon:
Have you tried merino wool clothing? Let us know what you think!