About base layers


Outdoor activities, Trekking, How to choose -guides by Varuste.net / Toimisto-Jorma, 9.9.2020

Base layers, or long johns, tops, boxers, bras, etc. are an important part of your outdoor experience. There are many different material choices in the market, and many of us probably wonder which one is the best. Merino wool is something people tend to enthuse over, and some of them swear by it like there is no other choice available. But there is: there are so many shades of grey between synthetic technical base layers and those made of 100% merino wool. In this article, I present in outline how different materials work and which base layers are good for which purposes.

Sports‪»Outdoor activities‪»Clothes‪»Shirts‪»Undershirts‪»Men's‪»
Aclima Woolnet Crew Neck Men
Campaign price 72,17 €
120g/m²
(266)
Available in stock
-15%
Devold Breeze Merino 150 T-Shirt Mens
Sports‪»Outdoor activities‪»Clothes‪»Shirts‪»Undershirts‪»Men's‪»
Devold Breeze Merino 150 T-Shirt Mens
Campaign price 67,15 €
150 g/m2
(70)
Available in stock
-15%
Devold Expedition Zip Neck Mens
Sports‪»Outdoor activities‪»Clothes‪»Shirts‪»Undershirts‪»Men's‪»
Devold Expedition Zip Neck Mens
Campaign price 101,92 €
235 g/m²
(246)
Available in stock
-15%
Devold Breeze Merino 150 Shirt Mens
Sports‪»Outdoor activities‪»Clothes‪»Shirts‪»Undershirts‪»Men's‪»
Devold Breeze Merino 150 Shirt Mens
Campaign price 75,65 €
150 g/m²
(53)
Available in stock
-15%
Aclima Woolnet Longs Mens
Sports‪»Outdoor activities‪»Clothes‪»Trousers‪»Underpants‪»Long‪»Men's‪»
Aclima Woolnet Longs Mens
Campaign price 80,67 €
120 g/m²
(239)
Available in stock
-15%
Devold Expedition Man Long Johns w/ Fly
 
Sports‪»Outdoor activities‪»Clothes‪»Trousers‪»Underpants‪»Long‪»Men's‪»
Devold Expedition Man Long Johns w/ Fly
Campaign price 84,92 €
235 g/m²
(198)
Available in stock
-15%
Aclima WarmWool Longs Mens
Sports‪»Outdoor activities‪»Clothes‪»Trousers‪»Underpants‪»Long‪»Men's‪»
Aclima WarmWool Longs Mens
Campaign price 67,15 €
(39)
Available in stock
-15%
Devold Breeze Merino 150 Longs Mens
Sports‪»Outdoor activities‪»Clothes‪»Trousers‪»Underpants‪»Long‪»Men's‪»
Devold Breeze Merino 150 Longs Mens
Campaign price 78,97 €
150 g/m²
(56)
Available in stock

100% Merino wool

Merino wool is an extremely comfortable material. It feels cool when you are hot, and warm when the weather is cold. Merino wool transfers moisture from the skin efficiently, it dries very fast, and amazingly, keeps you warm even if it was damp. Odours do not stick in the merino products easily, and according to my experience, merino underwear (tops and johns) will wear out before they start smelling bad.

The thickness of the merino fabric is usually indicated in weight / m2. For example, 100g/m2 is a very thin fabric, while 300g/m2 is already quite a thick inner layer. Also, the thickness of the fibre might be indicated on the garment in microns.

Merino wool fibres are extremely fine and thin, and that is the secret why merino wool does not itch like normal wool. The thicknesses of merino fibres vary from 16.5 (super fine) to 24 microns (one thousandth of a millimetre).

Normal lamb wool is approximately two times thicker than merino wool, and everything over 25 microns might feel itchy. To make it easier to understand what kind of thicknesses we are talking about: the thickness of a human hair is about 30 microns.

The best thing in these clothes is the easy care. The best care is airing after use, but you can also wash the garment if you need to. If you are washing the whole garment, do it at a low temperature. Sometimes just a stain removal is enough. Check the care instructions of your garment on its laundry etiquette. Using too strong soaps / detergents weakens the features of the natural material, so pay attention to detergent dosing and use preferably detergents meant for wool clothing.

There is one weakness in the merino wool. Because it is an entirely natural product, it tends to form pills, and it is not as hard-wearing as for example synthetic fibres that you cannot break almost by any means. It is why many manufacturers have ended up reinforcing the merino wool used in their garments with synthetic fibres, which is a good alternative. Remember also that even if your merino clothes get broken, you can darn them as well as any other woollen garment.

Merino wool blends

We talk about blends when the merino wool has been blended with acryl, polyamide, polyester, or other. Materials used in the garment are indicated on the product, and naturally also in the description texts on our web pages.

Briefly, the higher the percentage of the merino wool, the closer we are to the merino wool features. The more synthetic fibres there are, the more hard-wearing the garment is, but at the same time, it has not so many good merino wool features.

What makes the merino so expensive?

Merino clothes are quite expensive, I can admit that. Sure, it depends on what we compare it with. Synthetic underwear is inexpensive, and the more there is merino wool (great natural material) and the thicker it is, the more expensive the product becomes.

We should pay attention to the production process. Harvesting merino wool is not an easy task, and caring for the lambs and their wool is quite laborious, especially when you choose the ethical alternative, or the mulesing-free wool (read more about mulesing in this Wikipedia link, if you are not yet familiar with the concept). All the merino wool we sell at Varuste.net is mulesing-free.

Why would anyone want to buy synthetic fibres after this speech?

Synthetic fibres do have their place. Nowadays the technology has developed so far that many of the features of the natural fibres have successfully been copied for the synthetic fibres, even though they are no match for the natural fibres themselves. The resistance is of course an important argument as well as the price – technical materials are often cheaper than natural ones. Some people prefer synthetic materials when doing sports, even though merino clothing manufacturers have developed this sporting side of the wool as well (Devold, for example)

Sports‪»Outdoor activities‪»Clothes‪»Underwear‪»Sports bras‪»
Devold Berle Merino Bra
Campaign price 50,58 €
(5)
Available in stock
-15%
Shock Absorber Ultimate Run Padded
Sports‪»Outdoor activities‪»Clothes‪»Underwear‪»Sports bras‪»
Shock Absorber Ultimate Run Padded
Campaign price 59,42 €
(7)
Available in stock
-15%
Shock Absorber Ultimate Run
Sports‪»Outdoor activities‪»Clothes‪»Underwear‪»Sports bras‪»
Shock Absorber Ultimate Run
Campaign price 55,17 €
Available in stock
From -48%
Mons Royale Sierra Sports Bra
Sports‪»Outdoor activities‪»Clothes‪»Underwear‪»Sports bras‪»
Mons Royale Sierra Sports Bra
Campaign price 40,72 €
Outlet prices from 25,00 €
(24)
Available in stock
From -54%
Mons Royale Folo Brief
Sports‪»Outdoor activities‪»Clothes‪»Trousers‪»Underpants‪»Short‪»Women's‪»
Mons Royale Folo Brief
Campaign price 31,37 €
Outlet prices from 17,00 €
(14)
Available in stock
-15%
Devold Breeze Merino 150 Hipster Womens
Sports‪»Outdoor activities‪»Clothes‪»Trousers‪»Underpants‪»Short‪»Women's‪»
Devold Breeze Merino 150 Hipster Womens
Campaign price 33,15 €
(44)
Available in stock
From -43%
Mons Royale Sylvia Boyleg
Sports‪»Outdoor activities‪»Clothes‪»Trousers‪»Underpants‪»Short‪»Women's‪»
Mons Royale Sylvia Boyleg
Campaign price 33,92 €
Outlet prices from 22,90 €
(14)
Available in stock
-15%
Aclima Lightwool Shorts Hipster Woman
Sports‪»Outdoor activities‪»Clothes‪»Trousers‪»Underpants‪»Short‪»Women's‪»
Aclima Lightwool Shorts Hipster Woman
Campaign price 41,65 €
(5)
Available in stock
-15%
Devold Breeze Merino 150 Boxer Mens
Sports‪»Outdoor activities‪»Clothes‪»Trousers‪»Underpants‪»Short‪»Men's‪»
Devold Breeze Merino 150 Boxer Mens
Campaign price 38,17 €
(88)
Available in stock
-15%
Mons Royale Hold 'Em Shorty Boxer
Sports‪»Outdoor activities‪»Clothes‪»Trousers‪»Underpants‪»Short‪»Men's‪»
Mons Royale Hold 'Em Shorty Boxer
Campaign price 36,47 €
(29)
Available in stock
-15%
Aclima Lightwool Shorts Man
Sports‪»Outdoor activities‪»Clothes‪»Trousers‪»Underpants‪»Short‪»Men's‪»
Aclima Lightwool Shorts Man
Campaign price 38,17 €
(30)
Available in stock
Arc'teryx Motus SL Boxer Mens
Sports‪»Outdoor activities‪»Clothes‪»Trousers‪»Underpants‪»Short‪»Men's‪»
Arc'teryx Motus SL Boxer Mens
44,90 €
(3)
Available in stock

You might also be interested in

Randohiihtomonojen valinta

Randohiihto, joka tunnetaan myös nimillä touring-hiihto tai alppitouring, on hiihtomuoto jossa yhdistyvät pitkä vaellusmainen hiihto sekä laskettelu. Randohiihdossa laskettelusuksiin asennetaan skinit eli nousukarvat, joiden avulla suksien avulla voi hiihtää ylämäkeen. Huipulla n...

Woolly wonders: How quality wool elevates your outdoor experience

In co-operation with Devold When planning your next outdoor adventure, you might consider if there are any alternatives to the traditional three-layer shell jacket (or whatever similar, depending on the weather). Now, especially when traditional woollen sweaters are a fashi...

How to choose a ski helmet

How to choose a ski helmet A guide to help you pick the right helmet for your needs When you head to the slopes, a ski helmet is one of the most important pieces of equipment to take with you. The helmet protects your head from possible  injuries, keeps you warm in cold wea...