Go Back  Bike Forums > Bike Forums > Touring
Reload this Page >

Merino wool clothes

Notices
Touring Have a dream to ride a bike across your state, across the country, or around the world? Self-contained or fully supported? Trade ideas, adventures, and more in our bicycle touring forum.

Merino wool clothes

Old 07-16-23, 04:23 AM
  #1  
Newbie
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: May 2023
Posts: 48
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 31 Post(s)
Liked 9 Times in 6 Posts
Merino wool clothes

Hi,

do you have any experience with merino wool clothing? Is it worth? Is it just a hype? How much the brand matters?
flocsy is offline  
Old 07-16-23, 07:21 AM
  #2  
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2012
Location: Golden, CO and Tucson, AZ
Posts: 2,835

Bikes: 2016 Fuji Tread, 1983 Trek 520

Mentioned: 13 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 674 Post(s)
Liked 738 Times in 429 Posts
The few garments I've owned were given to me as gifts. They work(ed) well in many conditions, but I'm not sure I'd buy one myself. I don't sweat heavily so I can't evaluate that aspect. And I have no opinion on brands.
andrewclaus is offline  
Old 07-16-23, 07:44 AM
  #3  
Full Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2015
Location: Japan
Posts: 334
Mentioned: 5 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 150 Post(s)
Liked 62 Times in 41 Posts
Socks? Don't wear any other kind, even for daily life. Other stuff is too icy for me.
waddo is offline  
Old 07-16-23, 07:49 AM
  #4  
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2020
Location: SE Wyoming
Posts: 604

Bikes: 1995 Specialized Rockhopper,1989 Specialized Rock Combo, 2013 Specialized Tarmac Elite

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 213 Post(s)
Liked 588 Times in 278 Posts
I have several Merino wool garments, some for biking, some for other outdoor and daily use. IMHO, it's no hype. Comfortable to wear, sweat wicking, doesn't get smelly with repeated wearings. I wear wool socks year around.
Inusuit is offline  
Old 07-16-23, 08:12 AM
  #5  
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2016
Location: SE Wisconsin
Posts: 1,851

Bikes: Lemond '01 Maillot Jaune, Lemond '02 Victoire, Lemond '03 Poprad, Lemond '03 Wayzata DB conv(Poprad), '79 AcerMex Windsor Carrera Professional(pur new), '88 GT Tequesta(pur new), '01 Bianchi Grizzly, 1993 Trek 970 DB conv, Trek 8900 DB conv

Mentioned: 12 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 758 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 809 Times in 471 Posts
Good stuff. I have 50/50(+) and 100% Merino socks and base layers and wear them hiking, camping, and biking in cool weather. Thin, lightweight, moisture-wicking, and comfortably warm. With hiking..year around for merino socks. Merino can be pricey, but if you look around you can get items at a reasonable cost. For socks, I have a bundle or two of "Fun Toes" (amazon) that I wear through the winter in all shoes, inexpensive warmth. Darn Tough socks are a standard in hiking socks.
fishboat is offline  
Old 07-16-23, 08:43 AM
  #6  
Iím a little Surly
 
Germany_chris's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: Near the district
Posts: 2,422

Bikes: Two Cross Checks, a Karate Monkey, a Disc Trucker, and a VO Randonneur

Mentioned: 5 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 699 Post(s)
Liked 1,294 Times in 647 Posts
Most thing that touch my skin in day to day lifer are merino, but I ride bikes with Lycra
Germany_chris is offline  
Old 07-16-23, 10:49 AM
  #7  
ret'd msgr
 
ignant666's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: upstate
Posts: 117
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 31 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 16 Times in 10 Posts
Merino wool is the, um, stuff. Warm when wet, non-itchy, can be worn day after day without stinking (bacteria breed poorly in wool).

I highly recommend Darn Tough Vermont socks, and wool clothing from Rivendell- i think i have four of their long-sleeved shirts and two short-sleeved, and need a new pair of tights to replace the ones that lasted about ten years.
ignant666 is offline  
Old 07-16-23, 11:55 AM
  #8  
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2021
Posts: 4,083
Mentioned: 6 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2332 Post(s)
Liked 2,097 Times in 1,314 Posts
Originally Posted by flocsy
Hi,


do you have any experience with merino wool clothing? Is it worth? Is it just a hype? How much the brand matters?

Yes, Yes, No, sometimes


On today's 3 hour training ride, it was raining hard and fairly warm at 72F. I cannot imagine riding in a lycra top in those conditions, my merino jersey was perfect. OTOH, it was 95F and 70%RH yesterday, I cannot imagine wearing any merino jersey in those heat index conditions.


Merino can be itchy depending on the fineness, which can range from 14-24 microns. That is where brand matters. Unfortunately, few brands give you enough information to know the quality of the wool.
GhostRider62 is offline  
Old 07-16-23, 01:33 PM
  #9  
Banned
 
Join Date: Mar 2021
Posts: 1,280
Mentioned: 3 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 608 Post(s)
Liked 382 Times in 288 Posts
Wool was much better than cotton in the old days, but now there are synthetic materials that are as good or better in terms of performance and comfort.
Calsun is offline  
Likes For Calsun:
Old 07-16-23, 05:43 PM
  #10  
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2021
Posts: 4,083
Mentioned: 6 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2332 Post(s)
Liked 2,097 Times in 1,314 Posts
I do not think I have met a single long distance hiker or long distance endurance type cyclist who does not appreciate the performance benefits and comfort of merino wool socks. Not that they exclusively use merino or other woolen socks, but they often chose to wear them.

I'll wear synthetics. But they stink. Smell awful if worn multiple days.

For baselayers, I prefer alpaca or yak over merino because they have a finer structure and more of a hollow structure that traps more air. Obviously, wool is not as light as synthetics. Alpaca dries much quicker than merino and it makes my favorite winter socks. None of these are cheap but then again neither is Capilene plastic underwears.
GhostRider62 is offline  
Old 07-16-23, 07:23 PM
  #11  
Full Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: North East
Posts: 458
Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 95 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 50 Times in 29 Posts
I was gifted some Smartwool socks. They are great. Merino doesn't smell. For bike commuting and touring, I only wear Merino socks. Smartwool is too expensive though. The Amazon Fun Toes mentioned up thread sound good as well. The founder of this Merino wool dress shirt company boasts that he wore the same dress shirt for 100 days - https://woolandprince.com/blogs/ever...could-be-on-us
Trueblood is offline  
Old 07-16-23, 07:53 PM
  #12  
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2019
Location: South Shore of Long Island
Posts: 2,785

Bikes: 2010 Carrera Volans, 2015 C-Dale Trail 2sl, 2017 Raleigh Rush Hour, 2017 Blue Proseccio, 1992 Giant Perigee, 80s Gitane Rallye Tandem

Mentioned: 12 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1079 Post(s)
Liked 1,016 Times in 719 Posts
For MTBing and more relaxed styles of riding I'm all for using merino, you really can tour with it without it stinking. I find synthetic jerseys start to smell after only a short bit of time and after 3-4 hours of riding in the summer either on trails or on tour they're awful. But merino is just comfortable and smells fine.
Russ Roth is offline  
Old 07-16-23, 07:58 PM
  #13  
Newbie
 
Join Date: Jun 2023
Location: Claremont, CA
Posts: 52

Bikes: Lemond Zurich Record 10spd, Klein Quantum Race r7000

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 23 Post(s)
Liked 15 Times in 12 Posts
How does merino work for very hot weather and high UV? Like Arizona or New Mexico?
trashbiker is offline  
Old 07-16-23, 09:24 PM
  #14  
Senior Member
 
downtube42's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: Portland, OR
Posts: 3,826

Bikes: Trek Domane SL6 Gen 3, Soma Fog Cutter, Focus Mares AL, Detroit Bikes Sparrow FG, Volae Team, Nimbus MUni

Mentioned: 11 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 890 Post(s)
Liked 2,048 Times in 1,072 Posts
Middleweight wool jersey plus windbreaker or rain jacket will work in a very broad range of conditions. The knock on wool jerseys is they're heavier than modern alternatives, and tend to be floppy.

Thin wool baselayer is still pretty darned competitive with any other materials.

Wool socks are tough to beat for winter warmth.

I can't imagine anyone using wool shorts or bibs.

Merino is the wool of choice, afaik.
downtube42 is offline  
Old 07-16-23, 10:11 PM
  #15  
Senior Member
 
MarcusT's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2017
Location: NE Italy
Posts: 1,620
Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 765 Post(s)
Liked 613 Times in 342 Posts
I like the socks. not clothing. Not as warm as synthetic pound per pound
MarcusT is offline  
Old 07-17-23, 05:30 AM
  #16  
Senior Member
 
Trakhak's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Baltimore, MD
Posts: 5,352
Mentioned: 15 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2468 Post(s)
Liked 2,944 Times in 1,671 Posts
Older synthetic jerseys did tend to stink after only one or two rides. Modern one don't.

The best socks I've found are bamboo with reinforced toe and heel. Comfortable, long-wearing, odor-free.
Trakhak is online now  
Old 07-17-23, 05:49 AM
  #17  
Full Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
Posts: 294
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 44 Post(s)
Liked 63 Times in 28 Posts
2c i started wearing wool underwear because probably of a rivendell blog post. Wear it every day, no stink chafe or bunching. Brooks saddle, no pad. Up to 200km and change or a few days tour. Also wear wool hiking socks most days.

Other fav stuff is the Paradox cheap merino long johns and long sleeve shirts from Costco. I think you can get a 2 pack of each for like 20 or 25 dollars CAD when itís in season. Mostly use these for layering up on or off bike based on weather. Works good though.
tombc is offline  
Old 07-17-23, 06:11 AM
  #18  
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2014
Posts: 1,486
Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1081 Post(s)
Liked 681 Times in 438 Posts
I also buy Fun Toes. Even though they call them lightweight, they're really not and so I only use them as winter socks.

The thing with Merino wool is that they can have a very low percentage of Merino wool, and still use that term. I've seen some with only 10% Merino wool that were labeled "Merino wool socks".
Jeff Neese is offline  
Old 07-17-23, 07:21 AM
  #19  
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: northern Deep South
Posts: 8,889

Bikes: Fuji Touring, Novara Randonee

Mentioned: 36 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2590 Post(s)
Liked 1,921 Times in 1,205 Posts
Originally Posted by trashbiker
How does merino work for very hot weather and high UV? Like Arizona or New Mexico?
There's a range of fabric weights available in wool. However, even the lightest weight wool jerseys are too hot for me above 80-85F. I think merino wool is great for 35-75F, so winter in your area. Riding is southern Arizona on an 85F morning? I don't care if it's a dry heat, I don't need anything more than a lightweight poly jersey.

UV? I've worn out exactly one poly jersey in some 25 years, and that one started leaking UV its last summer. I haven't experienced any sunburn below any other kind of clothing I've worn -- lycra, polypro, wool, or cotton. But of course I'm not a pop/rock star, so I'm not wearing anything to flash my audience.
pdlamb is offline  
Old 07-17-23, 07:41 AM
  #20  
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2016
Location: SE Wisconsin
Posts: 1,851

Bikes: Lemond '01 Maillot Jaune, Lemond '02 Victoire, Lemond '03 Poprad, Lemond '03 Wayzata DB conv(Poprad), '79 AcerMex Windsor Carrera Professional(pur new), '88 GT Tequesta(pur new), '01 Bianchi Grizzly, 1993 Trek 970 DB conv, Trek 8900 DB conv

Mentioned: 12 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 758 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 809 Times in 471 Posts
Costco also sells everyday merino socks that are very nice. They'll be available in season (not now). Come in packs of 3 or 4..can't remember if they are a blend or 100%. I'm thinking they're 75-90%. Probably some spandex in there to hold their shape. They're replacing my Fun Toes, which I've worn, and worn out, for years.
fishboat is offline  
Old 07-17-23, 04:31 PM
  #21  
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: Boston area
Posts: 2,035

Bikes: 1984 Bridgestone 400 1985Univega nouevo sport 650b conversion 1993b'stone RBT 1985 Schwinn Tempo

Mentioned: 7 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 542 Post(s)
Liked 151 Times in 100 Posts
Merino wool is good, especially if you are likely to get wet. A local mountain club tells hikers "cotton kills." Cotton is okay if you are dry, but in wet and cold conditions it offers little protection from the cold. A number of hikers wearing cotton jeans and sweatshirts have died from hypothermia when a sunny day turns cold and wet.
ironwood is offline  
Old 07-18-23, 07:32 AM
  #22  
Newbie
 
Join Date: Mar 2012
Posts: 10
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 3 Post(s)
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Effective but itchy/scratchy. Also expensive compared to other fabrics, at least in my part of the world
tpuglisi is offline  
Old 07-18-23, 10:29 AM
  #23  
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2010
Posts: 1,366
Mentioned: 4 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 420 Post(s)
Liked 462 Times in 244 Posts
The brand means nothing other than a gigantic markup. When I was living in Japan Uniqlo had lightweight merino wool turtlenecks for about $20, those were my bread and butter for cycling and back country snowboarding.
abdon is offline  
Old 07-18-23, 12:03 PM
  #24  
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: Right where I'm supposed to be
Posts: 1,630

Bikes: Franklin Frames Custom, Rivendell Bombadil

Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 115 Post(s)
Liked 208 Times in 126 Posts
I can wear merino wool for socks, hats and a neck gaitor I find even the best merino itchy on my my torso. They are fragile however, unless blended with around half polyester or nylon. I wear Smartwool liner socks for cycling in the summer, but they're blended with half nylon to make them durable, and from my experience they are durable and they retain the wool benefits, except softness. They feel coarse, but i like it that way actually. I might be able to wear some blends like that on my torso, but then we come to garment fit(I'm tall and thin), and the very high prices of such. Since I wash anything I sweat in daily, synthetics work just fine and they line dry quickly. If merino half blends were as available as all the synthetics in fit variety and cost, sure, sign me up. But they're not.
Garthr is offline  
Old 07-18-23, 04:18 PM
  #25  
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2023
Location: Maryland
Posts: 162

Bikes: Pedego Stretch 2016 (electric cargo bike for around town and grocery shopping, Small surly Ogre (2015), Bianchi Advantage (46cm) 1993, Bike Friday NWT, 2005

Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 125 Post(s)
Liked 44 Times in 24 Posts
I have a TON of wicking clothes and so does my son and partner. Wicking polyester stuff is great for wearing, but IT STINKS - washing it with vinegar, etc.

We also ski and we wear the same clothes all season (merino wool) and we don't have to wash all season and they still don't stink. Now, granted, we don't get as hot, but we WORK on the slopes too!

There is no reason to wash wool as often (nor should you) but I'm a bit skeptical of the merino wool wicking stuff for fitness. I have a shirt and it feels GREAT, but since so much of it still polyester, I'm not sure how much less stinky it will be and of course it is PRICY.
mams99 is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service -

Copyright © 2024 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.