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Wool for Those Cool Mornings

Old 11-01-16, 05:15 PM
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Colorado Kid
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Wool for Those Cool Mornings

With Fall temps. taking a turn on the chilly side, I've been rethinking my cool weather gear. Does anyone use Wool in their choice for colder weather?
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Old 11-01-16, 05:59 PM
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Originally Posted by Colorado Kid View Post
With Fall temps. taking a turn on the chilly side, I've been rethinking my cool weather gear. Does anyone use Wool in their choice for colder weather?
I need to invest in wool base layers, but in dry but cold weather I break out an old LL Bean ragg wool sweater as one of my go to tops. Warmth is good, odor is no issue, and it generally looks good. So, pretty good deal.
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Old 11-01-16, 06:34 PM
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If you can afford it, wool is the best fabric for commuting, year round. Keeps you dry and odor free. The new stuff is generally really soft, too.
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Old 11-01-16, 06:50 PM
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Originally Posted by Colorado Kid View Post
With Fall temps. taking a turn on the chilly side, I've been rethinking my cool weather gear. Does anyone use Wool in their choice for colder weather?
Yes, It was 40 and windy the other day and I used the thin merino wool base layer for the first time this year and it felt good Merino wool is fantastic. I have socks and base layer I use. Not so good for gloves though - they can get trashed quickly.

And it wicks and dries quick with no odor.

Then today it was in the low 70s! It was a great ride in the dark after work, like a cool summer night.

Last edited by GeneO; 11-01-16 at 06:53 PM.
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Old 11-01-16, 07:01 PM
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Here is an experiment:

Take a 100% polyester shirt and a wool shirt of the SAME WEIGHT, put them both in a bucket of water, then hang them outside. You will be very surprised by the lengthy amount of time it takes for the wool shirt to dry relative to the polyester shirt.

I was part of the wool-is-best bandwagon until I started doing multi day alpine climbs in endlessly wet baselayers. I now only use micropile fleece layers (fleece with a microgrid pattern is my favorite). If I ride to work in the freezing rain my fleece will be dry by the time I am done working. My wool gloves and socks will still be soaking wet. This winter I will not have any wool in my cycling gear. Wool has failed me too many times.
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Old 11-01-16, 07:08 PM
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I ride with wool nearly year round, mostly wearing lightweight Minus33 brand shirts. They were reasonably priced, being discontinued (still available as of a month ago). I do switch over to poly jerseys during the high heat of summer in the South, although never sure if they are any better. Certainly nothing comes close to the feel of Merino wool.

On cold days of 20-30F, I wear the same wool shirts layered under either a Merino LL Bean hoodie or Icebreaker midweight long sleeve shirt. Also have some 25 year old wool tights from Performance that are pretty well worn, but still comfortable.

i would love to try some Merino bibs and jerseys from eleven.cc some day. Other brands to look at are Smartwool and Ibex.

To me, wool is soft and breathable. I've never been a big fan of the poly jerseys after dealing with Coolmax in the late '80s. I run hot and perspire a bit more than most, so that may be part of my problem. Wool will still feel damp at times, but stays soft and dries quickly. Just my two cents worth.
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Old 11-01-16, 08:14 PM
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+1 for merino wool - I wear merino T-shirts in warm weather, merino long sleeve base layers in cool weather, and wool blend socks year around. I sweat/skank quickly, but the odor-resistant properties of wool defy any logic - I can't wear synthetics more than a day at a time, but wool easily gives me that option.

Worth the price if you can afford it.
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Old 11-01-16, 08:24 PM
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Originally Posted by Colorado Kid View Post
With Fall temps. taking a turn on the chilly side, I've been rethinking my cool weather gear. Does anyone use Wool in their choice for colder weather?
l've switched 100% to wool for commuting. I have 4 short sleeve shirts for the summer and 5 or 6 wool long sleeve shirts 150 or 200 weight for the winter. Never really had a problem with them drying at work but I do wear a jacket if it's raining.

Primary advatange of wool is that it keeps you warm even when it's wet as long as you have a windproof top layer.
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Old 11-01-16, 08:47 PM
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Hmmm, for moderately cool temperatures, I start off with cotton t-shirt, a wool or sometimes heavy cotton sweater and then a windbreak layer. I usually wear a Merino watchman's toque and dickie for the neck when riding. Sweat is the enemy in winter riding so I like to set a pace that minimizes the waterworks.

When the temperature really plummets, the same setup is used but with an extra layer between the sweater (except the sweater is always wool) and the windbreak outer. A pair of longjohn's are mandatory and winter boots with double socks. I usually will ride down to -20f. Lower than that I really don't feel like it and the bike doesn't like it either.

I also massage in coconut oil into the face whenever I ride, even when it's mild out. It helps out prevent weathering of the skin and has an spf factor of about 11.
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Old 11-01-16, 09:10 PM
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I love wool. I have a wool Buff (neck gaiter), and a merino wool long-sleeved, half zip jersey I use for layering. They're amazing. I also have a smartwool balaclava that is great for layering on very cold days.

Now, just to get more money for MORE wool layers! When temperatures dip, I layer wicking baselayers with the wool jersey and top it with my REI cycling rain jacket. Keeps me pretty warm, even to 20s F. I would like more wool jerseys, and probably leggings I could layer over bike shorts and under windblocking tights on very cold days.

And Darn Tough wool socks are AWESOME. I wear mine with summer hiking boots right now, and I can switch to insulated winter boots when the weather gets really bad.

Wool's light weight, naturally antimicrobial, insulates very well, and tolerates many wearings before washing make it a natural in my book for cycling.

I want TONS of clothing from Ibex in particular. I really want some of their wool sports bras.

Last edited by kellichou; 11-01-16 at 09:11 PM. Reason: balaclava
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Old 11-02-16, 08:27 AM
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Speaking as a person who had never owned a piece of wool before being convinced to buy a wool jersey on this forum, and who now owns a piece of swiss cheese shaped jersey, if you buy wool, get a sealed plastic box for it and some mothballs.

I haven't bought any more wool because OMG the price and I can get along just fine without it. The only reason I'm considering wool is because of the smell of poly. I've ridden with nothing but poly down to -25*F so I'm OK there.
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Old 11-02-16, 09:12 AM
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Originally Posted by Refreshing View Post
Here is an experiment:

Take a 100% polyester shirt and a wool shirt of the SAME WEIGHT, put them both in a bucket of water, then hang them outside. You will be very surprised by the lengthy amount of time it takes for the wool shirt to dry relative to the polyester shirt.

I was part of the wool-is-best bandwagon until I started doing multi day alpine climbs in endlessly wet baselayers. I now only use micropile fleece layers (fleece with a microgrid pattern is my favorite). If I ride to work in the freezing rain my fleece will be dry by the time I am done working. My wool gloves and socks will still be soaking wet. This winter I will not have any wool in my cycling gear. Wool has failed me too many times.
I think the OP was looking for commuting clothes for biking, not alpine ascents. Many bikers find wool sweaters and base layers to be ideal, myself included. Today I had on a medium weight 80% merino wool base layer with a 100% merino wool medium weight sweater, perfect for the 45-55 temps for 1.25 hours. YRMV.
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Old 11-02-16, 09:26 AM
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all smartwool all the time here. It really is best.
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Old 11-02-16, 10:12 AM
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I only have wool socks but I really like them Some thin dressy ones from JC Penny, and some REI store brand with garish logos that are maybe a little thicker than cotton crew socks. Like these but mine just predate the change from tree-and-mountain logo.

I typically wear the light ones with my waterproofed boots which get too warm, and the heavier ones with my lighter boots to keep the temp more even.
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Old 11-02-16, 10:19 AM
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Yes, specifically merino wool and it is vastly different/distinct from plain old wool. I actually wear merino shirts all year round - lightweight in the summer, mid weight this time of year, heavy weight in winter. Merino does not hold water, it's the only fabric that will hold warmth when wet, it never stinks, and most importantly (for me) I can wear one top every day for a week and not have to wash it.
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Old 11-02-16, 11:40 AM
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Wool might take longer to dry than polyester, but one of the great things about both of those materials is that they stay fairly warm when wet, unlike cotton.
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Old 11-02-16, 02:24 PM
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Most of my commuting t shirts are merino. In the warm weather they are worn by themselves and when the temperature dips I just layer on top of them. I find its the most comfortable in all conditions.
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Old 11-02-16, 03:09 PM
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Where has been the best place to find affordable wool stuffs?
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Old 11-02-16, 03:48 PM
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Probably Sierra Trading Post. They have clearance sales all the time.
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Old 11-03-16, 11:52 AM
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Originally Posted by ryan786i View Post
I need to invest in wool base layers, but in dry but cold weather I break out an old LL Bean ragg wool sweater as one of my go to tops. Warmth is good, odor is no issue, and it generally looks good. So, pretty good deal.
I loved my wool rag sweater until the x-wife shrank it so much it fit her instead of me.
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Old 11-03-16, 01:35 PM
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Originally Posted by entersaundman View Post
Where has been the best place to find affordable wool stuffs?
Also, keep an eye on Ibex and Smartwool. Use google alerts to find sales on these products.
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Old 11-03-16, 01:48 PM
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Originally Posted by entersaundman View Post
Where has been the best place to find affordable wool stuffs?
Goodwill? I find 100% wool sweaters for $3.99, sometimes half priced. Minor snags, pilling or even holes don't bother me, since I use them as an outer layer when riding, and change at work. The downside is that I go through 20' of rack to find 2-3 sweaters. I've also found long sleeve technical t's for a base layer, and a variety of (non-cycling) rain gear. Not ideal, but you can't beat the price.

You can also try ebay, but wool jerseys are still expensive there.
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Old 11-03-16, 01:53 PM
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I have an merino wool base layer shirt that is great. On really cold days, I have an old moth eaten wool sweater that I put on under my jacket and it keeps me amazingly warm. I wear wool socks and glove liners as well.
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Old 11-03-16, 06:11 PM
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Yeah, if you are into used stuff, you can do great at church rummage sales, garage sales, craigslist, etc. I got a nice sweater for $5 at a church sale.

Speaking of wool socks, I wear them year round, except when I wear sandals. Cotton socks hold moisture which breeds fungus! @kellichou mentions darn tough socks. I hadn't heard of them until this week. My boss swears by them. I think I might try them.
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Old 11-03-16, 06:17 PM
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Originally Posted by noglider View Post
Wool might take longer to dry than polyester, but one of the great things about both of those materials is that they stay fairly warm when wet, unlike cotton.
Exactly. There is a saying, "Cotton kills." If you are out in the cold hiking and cotton gets wet, it can be a very serious thing, not so for wool and some of the newer fabrics.

Wool also sort of self regulates if you will. I can start out with the wool zip up sweater on when it is rather chilly, and when it warms up, it still is comfortable. I love wool for biking. It breathes well and doesn't hold odor.
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