When you think about merino clothing most people think about warm cosy knits that you bring out in the depths of winter to keep you warm on those long cold dark days, and whilst that is true its also a little bit misleading as merino is a far more adaptable and all year round fibre.
In fact here at FINDRA we think it’s a true wonder fibre, which is why we developed our new Merino Lite fabric specifically for the warmer months of the year. And amazingly, even in Scotland, we have had the opportunity to really put it to the test this summer!
Our Merino-Lite fabric is created from incredibly fine lightweight fibres, which have the ability to absorb large amounts of moisture vapour, and through evaporation the merino can effectively transfer the moisture into the atmosphere away from the skin and from the surface of the garment.
At 150g Merino-Lite is just that: lightweight, easy to pack down and light and easy to wear on their own or layered up with our seamless merino pieces.
As a knitwear designer I have worked with many fibres from luxurious cashmere to man made blends but my favourite has always been merino wool. It truly is one of nature’s great wonder fibres. So when I embarked on my journey of setting up FINDRA and designing my own range of adventure clothing there was no doubt in my mind that Merino would feature centre stage.
Here are 7 reasons why you should choose products made from this awesome fibre as your go to summer staples.
Wool fibres are breathable and react to the body’s changing temperature. You only need to think for a moment about the climate in which merino sheep live to understand that merino wool naturally adapts to both the heat and the cold.
Breathable refers to the fibres’ ability to absorb moisture from the microclimate directly from the skin and release it again when the moisture level drops – i.e. when it is drier again. This is why wool dries out quickly, keeping you nice and cool in the hot summer months. And of course, it also releases moisture, which in turn provides a feeling of freshness in warmer temperatures: warm ambient air leads to a quick drying effect, which produces a fresh coolness.
2. Fast wicking
Moisture control – one key difference with merino to synthetic fabrics is merino "holds" moisture whereas synthetics eradicate it. Wool fibres are hydrophilic fibres and that’s precisely what makes them so functional. So merino wool can be heavier when wet and hold up to 3 or 4 times its own weight in moisture but still keep it's natural thermo-regulating properties and it is highly efficient at wicking moisture without feeling wet to the touch. The fibre surface remains dry, while the moisture moves to the fibre core. Merino doesn’t suppress the body’s natural cooling function of sweating; it just transports the moisture and odour away from the surface of the skin to the surface of the fibre.
3. Temperature regulating
Along with the high insulating values, merino is highly breathable allowing heat to be released when necessary to avoid overheating, especially during more intense activities and warmer climates. This is what makes it such a wonder fibre, merino wool fibres are true all-rounders that do exactly what you expect from them, whatever the season – they cool you down in summer, and warm you in winter. Hence the woolly jumpers in winter but who would have thought that merino could also keep you cool in summer! The thermo-regulating properties are based on two principles. Firstly, wool fibres have a naturally rippled structure which allows body heat to be stored in air chambers, thus facilitating optimum insulation in woollen fabrics. This is also what makes merino wool products such effective layers according to the onion principle. The air serves as an insulating layer against heat and cold in both summer and winter. This insulating layer also enables merino sheep to survive in extremely warm summers. The second principle is based on cooling by evaporative coolness. Wool can absorb more than 30% of its own weight in moisture (without feeling wet to the touch). If the ambient air is warm, the moisture dries faster, resulting in this refreshing evaporative coolness. This makes them perfect all year round.
4. Odour resistant
We think it’s a given that no one wants to smell? Which is another reason why merino is so awesome! During activity, our body produces sweat which develops bacteria, and it's this bacteria which causes of odour. The natural composition of merino with its antimicrobial design, allows sweat to sit on the surface of a product without leaving unwanted smells on the garment for a period of time. The surface of the fibre is like a layer of roof tiles (compared to synthetic fibres, which are smooth), so it is difficult for bacteria to get lodged inside. These bacteria are responsible for that stuffy smell. With merino, moisture is absorbed directly into the fibres, allowing less sweat to build up on the skin so there's less time for bacteria to grow.
Wool fibres also virtually have their own in-built washing machine. The keratin – the protein molecules in the merino fibres – simply breaks down the odour-forming bacteria, so we can enjoy the benefits of this unbeatable self-cleaning function and don’t have to wash our merino wool clothing as often. When you come back from a mountain tour simply leave your product to air, preferably in humid or damp weather. You will then be able to wear it again the next day and it won’t smell. Your friends and the environment will thank you for it! It also means you can travel light when heading outdoors only needing to carry a few pieces of clothing even if your adventure takes you off grid for a few days or right around the world! We promise you wont smell!
5. Easy to care for
We use the “Total Easy Care” process to give our merino wool a special finish that allows you to machine-wash it at 30. Only the scaly surface structure of the wool fibres is washed, thus protecting the wool from severe shrinkage. But of course because it’s odour resistant you really don’t have to wash these products that often and can wear them over and over without worrying that they smell. Often hanging them out to dry is enough to freshen them up and keep them working hard for your next adventure!
FINDRA merino products are also extremely lightweight which means you can layer up and down without bulk and they are so easy to pack down small meaning you carry less weight.
6. Wool is sustainable
It's completely natural. Wool is 100% naturally grown year-round by merino sheep, consuming a simple blend of water, air, sunshine and grass. Every year sheep produce a new fleece, making wool a completely renewable fibre. The shearing process is purely manual labour and causes the animal absolutely no pain. It's biodegradable so when a wool fibre is disposed of, it will naturally decompose in soil in a matter of years, slowly releasing valuable nutrients back into the earth. The fibres themselves contain all the technology that make them the best naturally performing raw material for active outdoor clothing, so the hard work has already been done! Leaving you to focus on enjoying your outdoor adventure!
7. Merino wool provides UVA protection
With global warming and the depletion of the o-zone layer, we all understand that we are now more at risk than ever form the harmful UV Radiation, but our lovely merino sheep don’t have to worry about such things! Their wool simply absorbs some of the UV radiation and keeps it away from the skin. We still advise that you invest in and wear sun cream but the fact that your merino wool garment acts as an extra layer of protection goes a long way to understanding just how amazing, and adaptable this fibre really is.
Merino wool really is the best; team FINDRA are big fans and believe it’s a true wonder fibre. In a nutshell we love it and hope you do too!