Up until the beginning of 2018, my gear bag consisted of clothing and base layers made from mostly cotton or synthetic materials. I had a good friend I began hiking with in late 2017 that swore by wool socks. Even in the summer! I, at the time, associated wool with hot and uncomfortable, but he swore that they were the move! After a little research I began to realize that Merino Wool was quickly becoming the new “it” fabric in the outdoor clothing world.
Fast forward a few months and by some divine intervention I was introduced to one of the leading Merino Wool companies in the game, Minus33! Throughout 2018 I began testing their products and became an ambassador for their products as I went on an epic tour throughout 12 National Parks in North Carolina, Tennessee, Washington, Utah, and Colorado. I experienced all four seasons hiking and camping in different National Parks which tested my gear more than ever! After trying out countless products from socks, gloves, beanies, base layers, jackets, and t-shirts I came to one conclusion… Merino Wool is a MUST have on the trail, or any other outdoor activity for that matter.
Top 3 Reasons I Made the Switch to Merino Wool
Merino wool fits perfectly as a base layer or as a top layer when fighting the elements. Minus33 offers 3 different “layers” which they call Lightweight, Midweight, and Expedition with the latter being the thickest to endure the coldest of temps. Minus33 Merino Wool clothing is naturally elastic, which allows it to stretch with your movements. Wool has a natural crimp in it which helps it bend as you move, and then returns to its original shape. Because of this Merino wool doesn’t wrinkle easily either. Minus33 products fit true to size with a comfortably snug fit to the body!
Minus33 Merino Wool regulates the amount of moisture on your skin by absorbing the moisture and sweat on your body. The absorbed moisture then evaporates out of the fabric. This is how sheep stay warm in the harsh elements! Wools’ softness is classified by its micron level. The lower the micron the softer the wool! Minus33 sits between 17.5 -18.5 microns which gives it the perfect balance of comfort and durability. My personal favorite is the long sleeve Midweights. They help keep me warm when it’s cold out but can also help to cool me down on a summer hike by keeping me dry. I always throw it on at the end of the day for extra protection from the sun!
Wool can absorb 30% of its weight before it even begins to feel wet! Once it’s wet the fabric becomes much more insulated than cotton or any other synthetic product. Although wool is a natural insulator, when used correctly Merino Wool can be just as effective in warmer weather. Minus33 expedition layers offer a UPF of 50+! The mid and lightweights all have a UPF of 25.
Long story short, I live in the Smoky Mountains and I’m a regular on the Appalachian Trail. Since trying out my first Minus33 Merino Wool product in early 2018, I haven’t and won’t make a hike without wearing their gear. Bottom line, they perform, they feel amazing, and they look great.