Formerly Known as Newbie
Merino Wool T-shirts anyone?
I finally broke down and bought an Icebreaker merino wool T-shirt (short sleeved).
I've got a collection of old "technical" t-shirts/jerseys for summer riding, ranging from a nearly decade old Gore Bike Wear polo shirt to a no-brand cheap shirt from last summer. They all stink. Some of them are decent right out of the washing machine, but even those will stink after first use. I'm thinking they'd have to be washed in gasoline to get the stink off.
So I thought I'll give merino wool a go, as I have relied on wool for a long time in winter clothing. Locally pickings were slim, lots more in the 'net of course, but I wanted to try the shirt on before buying. Amusing little detail about Icebreaker is, they have a "BAACODE" in each product that identifies four NZ wool stations that provided the wool for the batch your shirt was made of.
If this works out, I'm going to need at least a couple more. I've already checked out Rapha in UK - expensive but presumably very high quality. Some of their designs are also very understated, casual looking, which I prefer. Where do you buy yours?
your god hates me
I have a couple Ibex Merino wool t-shirts -- I think they're the Woolies -- that I use as base layers in cold/cool weather. They're awesome. Really comfortable, unbelievably warm for their light weight, they look pretty stylish...or at least as stylish as a tight-fitting t-shirt can look.
I get my merino kit from chocholatefish, a UK importer of NZ-MADE products.
My CF T shirts have been in daily use for several years and are very durable. I used 2 on a long distance tour and wore them every day.
The quality of CF is probably better than big brands and you don't pay for the marketing guff. Check the label of your Icebreaker, where was it made? I believe Rapha is also made in China.
Formerly Known as Newbie
Thanks Bob and Michael for the pointers.
Michael, I don't have the T-shirt at hand now, but I believe it's made in China. Slim pickings like I said, it took some effort just to find shirts made of certifiably non-mulesed sheep's wool. Non-mulesed also pretty much equals to non-organic, as they need to use pesticides instead of mulesing. Still, I think it's the lesser of two evils... choices, choices.
Do a search for merino wool T shirts. I came up several. One was http://www.filson.com/products/merin...irt.15005.html. Might have to look into buying one or two myself.
If you want organic then it's usually Australian wool but they have to mules to protect the animals from flystrike - the fly they have there kills the animal very nastily. The alternative in Australia would be to constantly be drenching the sheep in pesticide.
New Zealand merino, if it's made from Zque wool, is guaranteed non-mulesed. In cold South Island they don't have the same type of fly so less of a problem. Pesticides are also kept to the absolute minimum. You have to protect the animals one way or the other.
Oh- and the baa code thing is nonsense - wool from a load of sheep stations will be sorted and then all processed together. Some of the wool in your tshirt will have some from some of these - all and from a particular one? I doubt it. Its a marketing gimmick.
The only company I know of that can guarantee the use of Zque wool and ethical non-chinese manufacture, is as Michael says, ChocolateFish. I buy their stuff now and it's the best as far as I'm concerned. Theyre on on-line company and sell all over Europe but not to the US or Canada.
I recently bought an Ibex merino t-shirt and zip up light shirt/jacket.
Besides the undeniable comfort and both warmth and cool attributes (how does it do that?) I find that the non-stink claims are also true.
As a trial I wore my Ibex merino T for a number of rides without washing it. During that time my cotton canvas ride shorts got so nasty that they had to be washed three times, but the T never smelled bad at all. I finally washed it just on principle.
The things are quite spendy but worth it. I'm sold on merino, now I just need to save my nickels for a few more.