Why You Wool love Merino Wool

By: Jillian Johnson

Herd of merino sheep

Nowadays, you can wear Merino Wool from head to toe. Keeping you warm, dry and stink free in all seasons. What exactly is this fabric and why do you need it?

In short, Merino Wool comes from Merino sheep. These amazing animals produce finer, softer and higher moisture wicking wool. Furthermore, because this is such a sustainable and high quality product, many companies dishing out this exquisite fabric follow strict ethics about where they purchase their wool.

Merino Magic

Similar to your jackets, this magic material comes in different “weights” or GSM (Grams per square meter). From a light ‘80 GSM’ to a heavy ‘320 GSM’ the possibilities are endless. 

T-shirts and tanks usually come in ultra-light weights (80-120 GSM). These cut the odor and tame your sweat but don’t provide much insulation for warmth. They are great for spring, summer and fall layering.

models wearing ortovox baselayers
Lightweight merino wool pieces are brisk, light, and pull away moisture, making them fantastic for those high energy output days in the winter. The Ortovox Comp 120 is perfect for just that. By using a body mapping technique, in which different knit structures are used in certain zones, this piece ensures maximum ventilation while keep you warm where it needs to.

Mid & Mighty

Midweight tops and bottoms (120-200 GSM) can be very versatile and are often classified as 4 season layers. These pieces are great throughout the year when you find yourself somewhere with crisp mornings and cool evenings in the otherwise warmer months. For the colder months, these midweight layers are better for higher output days or days that aren't bitingly cold.

man in smartwool all season baselayer

The Smartwool Classic All Season Pant or Top at 150 GSM is a perfect mid layer. This layer can be worn on its own, thrown on under a lightweight jacket or used under multiple layers for days where temperature changes and activity level varies. Truly, all season.

man wearing ortovox baselayers

Another great option is Ortovox Rock N’ Wool Long Sleeve and Pant. Ortovox not only has fun colors for any gender, but they take their wool and practices seriously. This German company goes to great lengths to provide a superior product. Learn more about the Ortovox Wool Promise.

Kari Traa Smekker Base Layer
At 190 GSM, the Kari Traa Smekker Baselayer is another effective midweight baselayer. Kari Traa strives to create fun and striking patterns so the layers can be worn as everyday wear, not just something to be hidden under other layers. You can find the Smekker top in a crew neck or half zip and in numerous colors!

The Heavy Weights

Higher weight layers (200-350 GSM) are suitable for super cold days with minimal exercise. You wouldn't wear your fall coat in the Arctic Tundra. Same goes for Merino wool. The higher the GSM, the warmer it's going to keep you.

woman wearing smartwool baselayers

Smartwool's Classic Thermal Baselayer in men's and women's are perfect for colder days. The tops come in a variety of styles like crew, 1/4 zip, and hooded. They come in great color options and patterns too!

Kari Traa Rose TopKari Traa Rose Light

The Kari Traa Rose Base Layer is another great option. Coming in at 240 GSM this layer packs a punch. If you want a touch less, the Rose Light is 220 GSM and just as cute & comfy. In either Rose option, the pants come in long or capri length. You can find the tops in crew, half zip, and henley styles. 

ortovox 230 competition baselayer top

Finally, we have the Ortovox 230 Competition. The saying that great things come in small packages has never been truer when it comes to this baselayer. This stretchy layer is body mapped like the Comp 120. Breathable mesh structure is used in heat spots, while 240 GSM wool warms areas that are sensitive to the cold. 

So, How Do You Decide?

So, where to begin? A good place to start is somewhere in the middle. If you tend to run cold, a little heavier might be a good option. If you’re someone who runs hot, a lighter layer will work. No matter what, this moisture wicking soft textile is going to leave you wanting more.

Why stop there?

Smartwool ski socks

Smartwool makes amazing merino blend socks for any activity as well as everyday gloves. We also love the Ortovox Merino Freeride Glove and Kari Traa Rose beanie & Else headband.

ortovox freeride glove and smartwool ridgeway glove
kari traa rose beanie and headband ortovox beanie

There are so many options to choose from. So give this sustainable and high quality fabric a try. You won’t want to take it off.

Note: All of the brands mentioned in this article practice high ethical standards for their wool. They all practice non-mulesing

Author: Jillian Johnson

Jill has been obsessing over the Sierra Mountains for the past 11 years. When she isn't sleeping under the stars, identifying trees or sniffing bark she is adding to her certifications in the healing arts. She enjoys spreading her passion for nature and its healing powers through guiding. If you live in Truckee she has probably pet your dog. If you own a cow she will be your best friend.

1 comment

  • Sean Holt

    Good article on layering, the benefit’s and options you have available. Love the store!

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