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      Merino t-shirts - are they "all that"?     



member (39)member
07/21/2019 11:30AM
Merino t-shirts - yes or no? They seems pretty pricey. Are they worth it?
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07/21/2019 01:54PM
I don't own a merino t shirt, but I wear merino long underwear in the colder seasons and I wear merino wool socks all year. Merino breathes, wicks away sweat and doesn't stink. It dries quicker than cotton and doesn't wrinkle. You could wear a merino t shirt for an entire canoe trip and it won't stink.
distinguished member(2052)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
07/21/2019 06:18PM
Yes along with Merino boxers. For all the reasons noted above
distinguished member (500)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
07/21/2019 06:38PM
Boppasteveg: "Merino t-shirts - yes or no? They seems pretty pricey. Are they worth it?"

I bought a couple pair of Smartwool Boxer briefs, and couple Midweight NTS 1/4 zip tops for backpacking. They were very comfortable but not very durable. There are many quality synthetics that possess the positive attributes of merino wool with much more durability.

07/21/2019 07:00PM
I bought a Smart Wool Polo Style shirt. I breathes well and is comfortable but the slightest bit of moisture and it smells like a wet sheep. It gets damp overnight in the tent and has a strong odor then too. There is some articles on the internet about wet wool odor and other brands. The one I’ve got is 50/50 merino wool and something else. None of my other Smart Wool long underwear smells at all. It’s mostly 85% merino.
07/21/2019 11:45PM
OCDave: "Boppasteveg: "Merino t-shirts - yes or no? They seems pretty pricey. Are they worth it?"

I bought a couple pair of Smartwool Boxer briefs, and couple Midweight NTS 1/4 zip tops for backpacking. They were very comfortable but not very durable. There are many quality synthetics that possess the positive attributes of merino wool with much more durability.


Definitely true. I have three Smartwool lightweight long sleeved t-shirt weight tops I like to wear in the winter. The first cost $40 bought at Canoecopia a number of years ago and the others were purchased thru EMS on sale for $60 each. I also have purchased several similar items in a synthetic fabric for $10 each at Costco and they perform as well as the merino wool tops.
distinguished member (479)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
07/22/2019 07:07AM
definitely worth it for me and my wife.

but - all depends on your style.

we move just about every day, and sweat - a LOT. Even so, I can get 6+ days out of wool before it even starts to smell funky. Most synthetics get rank after only a couple days.

ounce for ounce, wool keeps you warmer when wet than any synthetic I've tried. It also doesn't melt if/when you get DEET on it. Also safer around fire. I've seen the result of a stray ember landing on nylon - OUCH. When a spark hits wool, it's hardly noticeable.

The down side, is that wool takes quite a bit of time to dry after washing. Also, depending on the brand, there is some degree of 'itchiness'. Some people are very susceptible. Me, not so much.

If I were base camping and fishing, I'd probably forgo wool over synthetics. They tend to be cheaper, and safer to buy 'off brands'. Also, slightly lighter in weight, and they do line dry quicker.
member (27)member
07/22/2019 08:39AM
Yes, definitely. MY family lives in the tees backcountry or not. My husband loves them for hunting. Try Icebreaker brand. Prefer these highly over smartwool. They are having an end of season sale. Or sierra trading post has them occasionally.
07/22/2019 11:09AM
I have some merino items...some issues with 'pilling', and though there are real positives, the longer dry time on Merino is a bigger deal to me than the warmth, so I use a synthetic baselayer.
07/22/2019 11:57AM
As OCDave, deerfoot, sns, mentioned Smartwool durability and pilling, I have had both problems, also with Ibex. I changed to Minus33 for merino underwear and have no problems, slightly heavier weight in all temp ranges. Have several years of use out of the underwear I have from them stuff just lasts.

07/22/2019 01:46PM
I switched from synthetic t-shirts to merino wool a few years back.
The wool actually keeps me cooler in hot weather.
For me merino is worth every penny.
07/23/2019 08:22AM
I find the merino underwear very comfortable and stack up to all the claims but have used all the brands mentioned on here and they just aren’t durable enough for the cost. I still watch for sales and buy them just for tripping but it has to be at least 50% off.

T-shirts are awesome and have been durable. Once again only buy them if I can get them for quite a discount. I don’t think they are good enough to pay full price. Just my opinion.

senior member (51)senior membersenior member
07/23/2019 10:42PM
I have a long sleeve merino t-shirt i wear the entire trip past 2 years even in 80 degree weather i wear it, dries quick, doesn't hold the stink and breathes. Got mine on Camo Fire for around $30 well worth the money
distinguished member(713)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
07/24/2019 09:22AM
Can bugs bite through wool? The synthetics I have are tight enough fabric that bugs cannot bite through them.
distinguished member(713)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
07/24/2019 09:22AM
Double post.
07/25/2019 01:42PM
Mosquitoes will happily bit through a merino wool t-shirt, that is why I treat mine with permetherin. As far as if they are worth it? I think they are. I can wear one t-shirt the entire week and it still doesn't stink. I wear a loose fitting Filson shirt over it when it is cool, if I need sun protections, or to keep the bugs at bay.

I like Icebreaker and minus33.

distinguished member(2122)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
07/25/2019 07:00PM
Merino far superior in comfort and rank stank over synthetics. Minus 33, Icebreaker and Woolly brand more durable than Smartwool. Nylon or polyester feels like saran wrap on the skin. Doesn't breathe and my skin knows it. Merino drys as quickly as most synthetics and is quite comfortable to wear when damp or even wet (good way to keep cool on really hot days- wear a wet wool shirt). I gave all my capilene and Underarmour bs away years ago. One key is to find a light colored t-shirt for coolness in the sun and less attractive to the bugs. Heavier weight shirts resist bugs- they can bite through the thin ones.
distinguished member (351)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
07/30/2019 10:57PM
I absolutely love my Icebreaker tshirts and 1/2 zip sweaters. They are what I wear on all my canoe trips. They are not “itchy”, will keep you warm even if wet, are easily layered, do not use plastic, do not remain smelly after some period of time (all my polypropylene reached a point where you could not wash the stench out of the fabric), and do not get very smelly on a trip (and are easy to rinse in the water to freshen them up. I do suggest you wear a shirt over it to portage as the shoulders will wear out over time more easily that polypropylene. My shirts and sweaters have lasted many years. They are a bit pricy, but there are online sales twice a year where you can get 30-40 percent off. I thoroughly recommend Icebreaker t’s and 1/2 zips. I tried the boxer briefs and like them for sleeping at home, but did not like them for all day wilderness trip use because the rode up, if you know what I mean! Their socks are ok, but are far inferior to FITS. FITS socks (any model other than light weight dress socks) are outstanding - HIGHLY recommend them. They fit well (made with a rounded heel), return to form after washing, do not smell after days of use, and are excellent on trips, evening when wet footing. I wear them nearly every single day for work or play.
distinguished member (352)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
07/31/2019 05:29AM
The problem with synthetic and synthetic cotton blends is that after repeated use, they retain the stink, even after washing. I've noticed that some of my favorite yard working shirts will smell and look clean after washing, but just 10 minutes after a good sweat has started, the shirt smells horrible. I've tried several of the sport washes, nothing has worked.

My experience is Merino wool doesn't have this problem. Your body may actually stink, but the shirt itself amazingly does not. But jeez, $50 for a t shirt is crazy.
distinguished member(1208)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
07/31/2019 06:05AM
I think they are worth it. Using sites like Sierra and Backcountry have decent prices.
member (15)member
08/01/2019 09:27AM
I love merino t-shirts, but I tend to wear them as a base layer under a synthetic quick dry shirt. This tends to protect it from snags and abrasion, which some other posters mentioned as vulnerabilities.

The range of comfortable temperature is wide and you can wear merino numerous times without it getting stinky, as others mentioned.

I like Woolpower brand merino. I wear their 'Lite' line t-shirts. I also have some of their heavier winter wool base layers in the terry-loop 'Ulfrotte' design and they are also great.

Their merino socks are what I wear daily and when tripping too. Good stuff!
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