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Winter Cycling Don't let snow and ice discourage you this winter. The key element to year-round cycling is proper attire! Check out this winter cycling forum to chat with other ice bike fanatics.

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Old 05-16-14, 09:38 PM   #1
El Cid
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I fell out of love with Merino Wool

Just this last winter, I bought a Merino sweater. It was thin, but kept me much warmer than I expected. Without a doubt, this material outperforms my polyester athletic sweater on a pound-per-pound basis (although my poly sweater is big, bulky, and still warmer). All winter I washed the merino sweater as instructed: cold water only, hang up to dry. By the end of the season, this thing looked like a nice fit for my ten-year-old. My mom, bless her heart, said she wouldn't mind cutting up the sweater; she could make me a pair of socks and gloves out of the material. If it doesn't shrink even more.

While my polyester athletic sweater doesn't quite perform as well as merino wool, at least I can still wear it. And it does a fine job of keeping me warm in the extreme cold.

Maybe I'll take that merino sweater and just wash/dry it over and over until it stops shrinking -- it has to eventually, right? Then my youngest daughter can use it on one of her barbie dolls.
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Old 05-16-14, 09:56 PM   #2
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I have some merino sweaters, tshirts, gloves, socks, long johns, boxers, hats.... from different brands and none have shrinked more than one size down. I even have tried to make one shrink 2 size down and couldn't. I washed and dried it at max temp several times, ironed, cooked in the microwave, boiled it... (it was probably preshrunked) (if someone knows how please tell me, i still haven't found a way )
I have one brand that shrink more easily than others though.
Now that i think about it i have a european brand that shrink like crazy but it's angora wool and not merino. I've also shrinked a few of my lambwool gears in the dryer to make them fit just the way i wanted.
But with my merinos it's pretty hard to get one size down.
You probably got one of bad quality.

Last edited by erig007; 05-16-14 at 10:28 PM.
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Old 05-17-14, 08:28 AM   #3
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I've had an MEC merino wool top since January 2004 ... I've worn it on cycling tours, as a base layer for winter cycling, and to work as a dressy top. Even after all the wear and all the washing over the past decade, it still looks great and hasn't shrunk at all.
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Old 05-17-14, 09:44 AM   #4
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I've had an MEC merino wool top since January 2004 ... I've worn it on cycling tours, as a base layer for winter cycling, and to work as a dressy top. Even after all the wear and all the washing over the past decade, it still looks great and hasn't shrunk at all.
+1...I also have 2 pairs of merino tops from MEC and none of them have shrunk, even after washing in hot water.
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Old 05-18-14, 10:56 AM   #5
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Polar fleece ... whap it on a hand rail and knock out the excess water/sweat from it, and then put it back on ..

the wicking effect is all on the fiber surface , it will evaporate , if not under a waterproof shell ..
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Old 05-18-14, 12:30 PM   #6
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Huh, maybe I'll give merino another chance. I bought a sweater from The Gap that was on sale for $40 and that's the one that shrank -- a lot. I just don't want to get the $200 merino athletic shirt (from a sports store) and wind up having the same thing happen.

What were some of the brands of those shirts that didn't shrink? I'll take a chance on an expensive shirt if someone else vouches for it.
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Old 05-18-14, 12:48 PM   #7
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I bought one of these several years ago: Molteni Arcore LS Wool Jersey - Vintage Velos

I've had no problem at all with it.
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Old 05-18-14, 02:46 PM   #8
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What were some of the brands of those shirts that didn't shrink? I'll take a chance on an expensive shirt if someone else vouches for it.
MEC has merino base layers and jerseys.They are good quality and cheaper then some other brands.
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Old 05-19-14, 09:13 PM   #9
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Yep i would be cautious going with a brand as a whole as products may be of different quality inside a brand but I've been lucky so far going with ibex, smartwool, mec, minus33, icebreaker, fox river and louis garneau

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Old 05-20-14, 01:43 PM   #10
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Just buy one size larger.
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Old 05-21-14, 08:42 AM   #11
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Carpet moth evolution has not put eating polyesters on their life cycle to feed their larvae..
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Old 05-21-14, 12:28 PM   #12
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Buy some wool clothing with 10-20% poly in it, Patagonia makes some.
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Old 09-13-14, 08:13 PM   #13
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never had one shrink on me. interesting you say that and that happened to you
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Old 09-13-14, 08:22 PM   #14
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I think I paid $5 for my thin 100% Merino wool sweater, at the local Goodwill store. It has a few moth holes, and isn't exactly stylish, but it kept me alive on a much colder than expected evening in rural Kentucky. No issue with shrinking at all.
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Old 09-14-14, 05:42 AM   #15
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Huh, maybe I'll give merino another chance. I bought a sweater from The Gap that was on sale for $40 and that's the one that shrank -- a lot. I just don't want to get the $200 merino athletic shirt (from a sports store) and wind up having the same thing happen.

What were some of the brands of those shirts that didn't shrink? I'll take a chance on an expensive shirt if someone else vouches for it.
I stopped buying from the Gap a few years ago. Their quality just kept getting worse and worse. I usually buy from Lands End and LLBean.
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Old 09-14-14, 05:55 AM   #16
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I have Merino Wool, socks, sweaters, vests and Duofold union suits (one piece underwear). Many of them are over 30 years old since I only wore them in extreme conditions. I have had no problem with them at all. I wash them by hand, in Woolite and then hang dry. Nothing is better than wool to withstand the cold but it can be bulky.

Good wool is not cheap. I buy it from a local outdoor store. I won't buy it online since I cannot feel it and read the label. Expensive but it lasts a long time and you only need to buy it once.
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Old 09-14-14, 10:20 AM   #17
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I have Merino Wool, socks, sweaters, vests and Duofold union suits (one piece underwear). Many of them are over 30 years old since I only wore them in extreme conditions. I have had no problem with them at all. I wash them by hand, in Woolite and then hang dry. Nothing is better than wool to withstand the cold but it can be bulky.

Good wool is not cheap. I buy it from a local outdoor store. I won't buy it online since I cannot feel it and read the label. Expensive but it lasts a long time and you only need to buy it once.
They had athletic shirts at a sports store for $200, and I got mine at The Gap for $40. On one hand, maybe I just got cheaply made crap. But I'm afraid I'll buy the more expensive shirt and it won't be any better, just a bigger waste of money. The cheap sweater said 100% merino wool on the tag; what else would I look for to determine the quality of a shirt?
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Old 09-14-14, 12:34 PM   #18
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I hear nothing but good about Men's Socks & Baselayers | Filson.com | Filson. Unfortunately they only have men's clothing.
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Old 09-15-14, 04:04 AM   #19
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They had athletic shirts at a sports store for $200, and I got mine at The Gap for $40. On one hand, maybe I just got cheaply made crap. But I'm afraid I'll buy the more expensive shirt and it won't be any better, just a bigger waste of money. The cheap sweater said 100% merino wool on the tag; what else would I look for to determine the quality of a shirt?
I would shop at an outdoor store and look for companies that specialize in cold weather clothing for hiking/climbing/other winter outdoor sports, I'm not certain the Gap is one of them. The socks I buy are from Woolrich which I've had good luck with over the years.
The other thing I would say, in my opinion like everything else in life, you get what you pay for. Last winter, which was a *****, I noticed my feet get colder quicker. I went out and purchased socks from Wigwam and Woolrich. I spent about $110 on 8 pair.

I don't buy these things online either.
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