Recommend me a Merino Baselayer

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  • Recommend me a Merino Baselayer
  • So do I have to pack several different thicknesses of merino top depending on what the weather is going to be like, so I can wick correctly?

    Afraid you are not going to convince me, i have worn Lifas in all sorts of temperatures with no problems, including hot days skiing. Dependable performance and I don’t have to worry that I have the right thickness on.

    I felt really guilty for buying icebreaker tops for the wife and then having her suffer getting cold in the same way she would have with a cotton t-shirt on. Hence you will never see me wearing it.



    <runs away and hides>


    +1 for rapha.


    \i have Rapha and Baabaa, prefer the Rapha as it seems to fit better, the Baabaa seems a bit short. Both however are great for wicking and I havent had the issues that Andrewdrummond is talking about, I do have HH Lifa tops and would never choose them over any of my merino tops.

    Might try one of those £19 tops for commuting, seems a great price for a Merino top.

    (I also use the Baabaa socks and think they are great.)

    Premier Icon AlexSimon

    AndrewDrummond – I’m sure everyone else reading this thread know that’s not what I meant! I meant that many people go from the lightest weight synthetic to a thickish wool and then complain that they’re too hot. My point is that you should compare like-to-like.

    If you think that you’ve been comfortable wearing your thickest Lifas on the warmest of skiing days, then I’m not going to convince you otherwise. Basically for £40 you could find out for yourself instead of arguing.

    Wearing Merino is absolutely nothing like cotton.

    Premier Icon BadlyWiredDog

    Merino wicks very well (I haven’t seen figures comparing it directly, but I seem to recall that density of weave and fineness of fibre made more difference than wool v synthetic). I was careful to swap like-for-like when going from capilene to merino.

    Actually that’s a fundamental misunderstanding of the way merino works – it doesn’t wick particularly well in the sense of moving moisture outwards away from the skin, which is what most wicking synthetics do, unsually using the structure of the fabric to do it. What it does do really well is absorb moisture and hold it away from the skin so the fabric still feels comfortable even when it’s slightly damp. It’s also brilliant for not smelling with repeated use and for comfort against the skin.

    If you’re really sweaty, you’re probably better off with a thin, high-wicking polyester baselayer fabric that will move moisture outwards fast and dry a lot more quickly.

    Merino’s also less robust than synthetics and prone to be eaten by moths – generally when it’s unwashed though, if it’s clean they apparently don’t find it quite so more-ish…

    Icebreaker or Smartwool for me fwiw.

    Another fan of IceBreakers here…having being completely submerged in very cold water on a day when the temperature did not exceed 3 degrees celsius I can vouch for the fact that they do, in fact, keep you warm when wet through!


    Finisterre of Howies. They’re light enough that you can pack an extra one in case it’s too cold.

    “If you’re really sweaty, you’re probably better off with a thin, high-wicking polyester baselayer fabric that will move moisture outwards fast and dry a lot more quickly. “

    indeed, that is my point.

    The effects of merino on my wife were exactly like cotton – it was wet and she got cold – end of story. Never happened with the synthetic tops she wore before.

    If you’re soaked through and cold when wearing Buffalo DP clothing you have to do a brief burst of exercise to raise your skin temperature which then drives the moisture outwards, leaving the skin feeling pretty dry and certainly warm and allowing the insulation to do its stuff. I imagine merino works the same way – if your skin temperature drops too low the moisture in the fabric can end up sitting against the skin, thus causing chilling.

    I came quite close to buying another merino top – one got killed by a hot wash, another gradually shrunk despite wool cycle washing – but realised I’ll probably have another laundry disaster so picked up a Capilene 3 half-price instead.

    Premier Icon AlexSimon

    BadlyWiredDog – probably off-topic. But this is interesting to me.

    Yep, I know about that aspect of wool. But I was referring to the overall ability to transfer moisture from skin to air (or skin to next layer). I.e. ignoring the fact that they can retain a high proportion of moisture. It’s still interesting to know how quickly it can be got rid of compared to synthetic. It would be no good if all the moisture just went to the core – we’d be wringing them out every hour!
    A quick search still didn’t bring any direct comparison though.

    Premier Icon NZCol

    One thing about Merino is there are a mahoosive array of ‘types’ that is, weave, grade etc which all affect the ability for it to ‘dry’. IB use a different grade to our stuff these days, we got a specific turbo merino made which dries way quicker for the very reason that it works better for ‘active’ sports where you will sweat a lot. Its this drying speed, to me, that defines whats going to work and not work so well. While IB stuff is nice its also, in my personal opinion, not of the quality it used to be. We’ve been doing a lot of work on weaving sensors into the actual merino fibre itself (for future bio-sensory garments) and its been quite interesting getting hold of merino here – IB buy it all.

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