Northerners love merino wool. Washable, non-itchy, non-stinky, warm in winter, cool in summer, merino is the most comfortable fabric. It comes in different weights so that you can choose the warmth that is best for you and your activities.
But wait, how can a fabric be both warm and cool? Wool is thermoregulating. This means that it has the ability to react to changes in your body temperature and the environment. It insulates you when you are cold, and it manages heat and moisture when you are hot.
Non-itchy? Yup. There is a small percentage of people who are allergic to wool. But most of us are lucky enough to be able to wear it. Merino wool, however, is not itchy like regular wool because each strand of wool is thinner than regular wool. The thin strands bend when they come in contact with your skin, they don’t poke. Voilà, soft and comfortable.
And yes, you can throw it in the washing machine. Merino prefers cool water and to be hung to dry. But the best part is, it doesn’t stink so it doesn’t need to be washed often. Wool is naturally anti-microbial… it will air out, especially if you hang it at night. Consequently, many Yukoners will wear their wool almost every day as a base layer in winter, whether they are inside or outside most of the day.
So what weight is best for you?
Overall, in winter, 200 weight wool is great when you are in and out of doors most of the day. 150 weight and 200 weight will work well under your work shirt or if it’s cold and you will be getting your heart rate up with a ski or a run. If you run cold, you may find yourself reaching for your warmer wool…. And you can layer! Wool over wool equals warmth! Layer it on when the temperature gets to -20 or lower.
And yes, bring it on your holiday to Hawaii (when we can travel again!!). Lightweight merino is perfect in hot weather and it doesn’t hold wrinkles for long. Roll it up, stuff it in your suitcase then just wear it for a little while or hang it in your bathroom for a little steaming before you do. Walk into air-conditioned stores and you won’t be cold. Walk outside and you won’t be too struck by the heat. Wool is wonderful. Merino wool that is.
You will find merino from Icebreaker, Smartwool, Woolpower and Kari Traa at Coast Mountain Sports. So many Yukoners love it. You might live in a big city. You might be off grid in the bush. Merino wool is comfortable, beautiful and practical no matter your lifestyle.