Why you should wear merino wool apparel on your mountain adventures!
Why you should wear merino wool apparel on your mountain adventures!
Products made of merino wool are top-rated in mountain sports – this is not just a short-term trend. In addition to outstanding functions such as moisture transport and excellent thermal performance, the merino sheep wool also promises sustainability.
In the following, we list essential advantages and explain why it is important to pay attention to the origin and husbandry of the animals.
Merino wool has a positive effect on the personal climate. Every mountaineer knows the eternal problem: the alternation between sweating and freezing, warmth and cold – conditions that are usually mutually dependent.
Merino wool provides a remedy: due to the high breathability of the cell core and the unique ability of the surface structure, on the one hand, you sweat less; on the other hand, the moisture does not penetrate to the skin, so it remains dry.
The secret of functionality lies in the wool fiber itself – through its composition and structure.
Warming layers often lose their function very quickly when wet or damp – this is known, for example, with down jackets, which simply no longer warm when wet because the down clumps together when wet and loses its insulating ability.
With merino wool, it is different: even when the wool is wet, it still warms. This is due to an exothermic process: the proteins in the fibers heat up as soon as they get wet.
In addition, the crimped structure of the natural fiber contains a layer of air that serves as an insulating layer. Moreover, wool can absorb more than 35% of its weight in moisture and thus absorb more than most synthetic fibers.
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Merino wool is much finer than conventional sheep’s wool and therefore does not scratch! The fine wool fibers are 16.5 – 19.5 microns (one micron = one-thousandth of a millimeter)
They are so thin that they are well below the human scratch limit of 25 microns. In addition, they curl when they come into contact with the skin and the contact is not perceived as unpleasant.
Despite its thin fibers, merino wool is so strong that it does not tear.
← Merino wool under Microscope
Merino wool absorbs part of the UV radiation and thus keeps it away from the skin. An indicator for this function is the abbreviation UPF (Ultraviolet Protection Factor), similar to the common SPF (= Sun Protection Factor) for sun creams.
UPF indicates how much UV radiation is blocked by the clothing.
Merino wool is a real functional miracle and is perfect for hiking in all weather conditions
One argument against products made of wool is usually that woolen bodysuits would smell. Here, we can refute this:
Firstly, the surface of merino wool resembles roof tiles (in comparison, synthetic fibers are smooth), which makes it difficult for bacteria to settle. Thus, you reduce unpleasant odor.
The second reason for anti-odor, as described above, is that less sweat is formed on the skin in the first place. Thirdly, wool fibers contain keratin. These internal protein molecules break down odor-causing bacteria and have a self-cleaning function.
Due to the excellent breathability and moisture transport of merino wool, you sweat less and have to change clothes less often in total.
The intelligent combination of natural fibers with innovative, technical materials makes it possible to wear merino products from the first to the third layer.
Breathability is thus ensured even with several layers (onion-layer principle). Furthermore, wool clothing has an antibacterial effect and can also be worn longer or several times.
Even though wool is odor-neutralizing, you should still wash it from time to time. This does not have to be in the form of time-consuming and tedious handwashing – products made of merino wool can usually be machine washed at 30° or 40°.
This only washes off the scaly structure of the wool fiber surface, which can prevent strong shrinkage of the wool.
The producers of merino wool are merino sheep, which are sheared twice a year. Shearing in itself does not hurt the sheep. However, you should pay attention to the origin and husbandry of the animals because not everywhere are the animals treated well.
Ortovox merino wool comes from farms in Tasmania, which are managed according to the ORTOVOX WOOL STANDARDS.
Wool is natural and grows back. Moreover, it is so ecological that you could even compost it. And yet, it is so durable that it could be bent up to 20,000 times without breaking – an indication of the material’s long life. All in all, merino wool is made for outdoor sports.
Because wool is an animal product, the industry has a special responsibility. The Responsible Wool Standard (RWS) is intended to ensure uniform standards here. Ortovox has developed its own wool standard that goes even further.
Fair conditions for animals and farmers, as well as transport and production chains: The OROTOVX WOOL PROMISE takes a holistic approach to sustainability.
Merino wool has fallen into disrepute due to the use of Mulesing: This refers to the removal of the skin around the tail of animals without anesthesia to protect them from infestation by fly maggots.
Ortovox is clearly against this practice and only cooperates with farms that supply MULESING FREE MERINO WOOL. Over two years, discussions were held with wool farmers, suppliers and producers to develop a binding standard.
For protection, the animals are sheared more frequently instead. In addition, the back breeding of the skin folds is encouraged. Regular audits ensure this animal-friendly approach.
Since 2012, Ortovox has been sourcing merino wool from 60,000 sheep on selected farms in Tasmania. Utilizing the OWP, transparency is created for farmers and customers so that the farm production systems fully meet Ortovox’s high-quality standards.
Ortovox knows the farms from which the merino wool comes and is regularly on site. Ortovox takes feedback from stakeholders in the wool supply chain, ensures transparency, and continuously develops innovative solutions.
A traffic light system is used to independently check indicators for farm management, animal husbandry and welfare, land management, slaughter and transport. The areas are: Management, feed, infrastructure, health, animal husbandry, shearing, handling, slaughter, transport, land management.
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Ridge Merino’s mission is to develop high-quality, high-value Merino wool apparel that performs as well in daily life as it does in the wildest outdoor conditions.
Merino wool is the gold standard in terms of athletic performance apparel – noted for its breathability, warmth and comfort.