Merino Wool Travel Clothing Guide | Part 1: Why Merino? | Merino Wool vs Cotton & More

– In this video series, we’re going to be covering all
things Merino wool for travel. I’m Tom, the founder of Pack Hacker, and we’re a team of frequent
to perpetual travelers that do travel gear reviews. We share our travel tips and tricks, and we do guides just like this one. So if you’re new here,
consider subscribing. I’ve even spent a year
and a half living out of one single 40 liter backpack
with three Merino T-shirts. We’re going to be covering the benefits of Merino wool for travel. We’re going to talk about a couple
different clothing pieces and articles that you should consider. And lastly, we’re going to talk about how to care for your Merino wool. This guide is also available in written format at, and we’ll be sure to keep
that updated as we learn more about Merino wool and
the landscape changes. Let’s jump right into this
guide all about Merino wool. [upbeat music playing] So first of all, Merino wool
is soft and comfortable. Maybe when you think of traditional wool, you think of a sweater that
your grandma knitted for you during the holiday season. It’s definitely not like that. It’s a lot softer and is very
comfortable to the touch. Merino wool is naturally anti-microbial, and what that means is
that it doesn’t stink. So you can wear a Merino
wool T-shirt a bunch of different times between
washes when comparing it to a traditional cotton T-shirt. Merino wool can absorb
and retain about 30% of its weight in moisture, which is going to be really great, let’s say if you’re
working out on the road or headed for a hike in hotter weather. This fabric does a really great job at regulating your body
temperature depending on what kind of climate that you’re in. So if you’re in a really warm climate, it’s gonna keep you cool. If you’re in a really cool climate, it’s gonna help with some
additional insulation and keep you warm, because science. Merino wool does have some
natural elasticity to it. But companies that do want to
add more will add things like Lycra or Spandex to their garments. Merino wool has a natural
ultraviolet protection. So that means that a UPF of
40 in a Merino wool garment is gonna block about 97%
of those ultraviolet rays, whereas a cotton T-shirt for
instance, with around a UPF of five, is only going to
block about 20% of that. So you’re definitely getting
a lot of that benefit without using sunblock or
any type of chemical creams to block those ultraviolet rays. Merino wool is biodegradable. Nothing lasts forever, and when it comes time
to recycle your clothing, it’s going to degrade a lot
faster than say some garment made out of nylon, or polyester, or any other types of synthetic materials. It’s pretty good for the Earth. [upbeat music playing] So how about Merino wool
versus other fabrics. Let’s start with wool. When you think of wool, it’s easy to think of
something really itchy, a thick sweater, and something
that’s just generally not that comfortable to wear. Merino wool is a lot different. It is a lot softer. It’s comfortable to the touch. And it feels a lot better to wear, even as a T-shirt, underwear or socks. A lot of the other properties
are going to be similar. You’re going to have that
antimicrobial properties. You’re going to have that wicking. And you’re going to have all the benefits that come with regular wool, it’s just going to be a lot softer. So how about Merino wool versus cotton. To start off with, Merino
wool comes from sheep, whereas cotton comes from plants. So that’s definitely a
key difference there. Cotton is generally
going to be more breathable than Merino wool depending on the weight of the fabric used and what
the specific garment is. However, cotton is also going to just absorb all of your sweat, which is going to make it smell
faster than Merino wool. It’s going to get a lot heavier than a Merino wool garment would. And generally, you’re going to need to wash cotton a lot more
when you’re traveling. So unless you love spending
your time in a laundromat, we’ll chalk this up as
a win for Merino wool. There are a lot of people out there that prefer synthetic
clothing for travel as well. And we’re a big fan of that too. Again this guide is all about Merino wool. Kind of up to your personal preferences what you wanna travel
with between those two. What we will say about synthetics is that they tend to dry faster, even though Merino wool has a super fast drying time already. But synthetics are less antimicrobial than Merino wool for the most part. So with Merino wool, it’s a
little bit lower maintenance. You’re going to be able to get
more wears between washes. Again, your mileage may vary. It’s totally up to you what you want to wear while you’re traveling. Thanks for taking a look at
our first video on Merino wool. Be sure to stay tuned for the
next video where we’ll talk about some specific products for travel that are made of Merino wool
and some of the benefits that they give you when
you’re on the road. Thanks for checking it out. We’ll see you in the next video. [upbeat music playing]

7 thoughts on “Merino Wool Travel Clothing Guide | Part 1: Why Merino? | Merino Wool vs Cotton & More

  1. Hey Pack Hacker Community! Tom – the founder here. Do you travel with Merino Wool? I personally can't live without it. It's basically all I wear now 🙂

  2. Nice post Tom! I'm also a big fan of Merino Wool. I have a whole pile in my closet. I'm wearing Icebreaker for years and I have some nice merino blends by Patagonia and Houdini. And recently I found this new brand "Wolk" and I'm blown away with their quality. Great T-shirts in a special Climaforce merino and I also have their Merino Buttoned Shirt which is perfect for work. You can check them here…

  3. Depends. Beach, surf or hot vaca I prefer cotton or tencel blends as they wear and feel nicer. For example I'd much rather wear a Patagonia Pataloha or AC Steersman shirt than a Merino wool tshirt – much more versatile. I tried the hype, but came to the conclusion Merino is best for baselayers and zipups like a hoody. Just wearing a Merino tshirt to me is a bit sloppy, and polo versions are always a bit droopy as well. It's really nice as a blend though, which I hope to see more of in polos and short sleeve collar shirts. Still not many cost effective choices though.

  4. I think alpaca wool is even better. It's softer and warmer because it's a hollow fiber. It's also quite water resistant. But it's not much available outside South America and the designs are more on the traditional side. Cashmere / vicuña are also great but those are luxury materials that I wouldn't abuse outdoors. To this day, I'm thankful to an old Peruvian lady who sold me a jumper and opened my eyes 🙂

  5. What sweater are you wearing in the thumbnail? I'm looking for a good one to travel with, but all I keep seeing are T-shirts.

  6. Hi, thanks for this video. I've gotten more into hiking recently, because i stared doing a lot of landscape and astro photography, and then i started building my cold weather clothing system. What confused me the most, as i was new to all this, is that most online retailers list all kinds of garments under Merino Wool, where it could be anything from the actual 100% Merino wool, to all kinds of Polyamids, Polyesters, Lycras in different ratios, mixed with the Merino wool. Could you possibly do a video on that, and talk about some pros and cons maybe, or just point me in the right direction? Great channel, subscribed and following!

  7. Is it significant the dry time from polyester vs Merino wool ?
    What about Merino wool pants or other accessories ?

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