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6/27/2016 8:39 PM
 

Not really sure yet if I can wear merino but I know when I tried some of my dads from Duluth Trading, it really was itchy/scratchy. Other than merino and UA...are there any other options? UA stinks if I'm wearing and I'm sweating. 

 
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6/28/2016 4:26 AM
 
trapperjay wrote:

Not really sure yet if I can wear merino but I know when I tried some of my dads from Duluth Trading, it really was itchy/scratchy. Other than merino and UA...are there any other options? UA stinks if I'm wearing and I'm sweating. 

I've had good luck with both the Patagonia Capilene and the Marmot base layers.  Smart Wool merino hasn't made me itchy.


Hill People Gear Coureurs des Bois (Brand Ambassador). Victoria faveat paratam. De Oppresso Liber.
 
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6/28/2016 6:32 AM
 
trapperjay - I have two types of merino baselayers, neither are 100% wool. The Kuiu stuff is around 78% merino and the rest is other stuff. The Woolpower stuff (from Sweden) is around the same. What is nice about these is they don't stink even after two weeks, they don't stick to you when your sweaty. For me the seller on these was the fact you can wash them like normal laundry, not having to be overly cautious like 100% wool.

I also use Helly Hansen Lifa for anytime it is already damp, rainy or humid outside or if I am going to be doing some heaving sweating (running or humping up the hills). These are awesome for warmth to weight ratio, dry super quick but stink like hockey kit. They also melt if exposed to fire, not recommended for duty unless you have an FR coverall or uniform.

Craig
 
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6/28/2016 7:32 AM
 
alpendrms wrote:

I've had good luck with both the Patagonia Capilene and the Marmot base layers.  Smart Wool merino hasn't made me itchy.

Yep, I've also had good luck with the Patagonia Capilene, plus they make it from silk weight all the way up to heavy below zero weight.  Really good stuff.

As for wool, I've personally worn Smart wool, First Lite, Justin Charles, Icebreaker, Core 4 element and probably some others I am forgetting.  All of these are what i would consider soft and non-itchy.  Justin Charles is more known in the fishing circles, but makes a really nice wool and you can get it in different weights which is nice.  

As far as smell goes, the UA stuff that I have tried is the worst stuff on the planet.  All of the wool's listed above and the Patagonia will outperform UA all day everyday.  

The more I use good synthetics the more I like them.  They dry faster, are often times softer against the skin, and are usually more durable. I'm not too sure wool has any advantage over a good synthetic, even though people try to convince me other wise.     

 
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6/28/2016 9:03 AM
 
Paulgus wrote:

As far as smell goes, the UA stuff that I have tried is the worst stuff on the planet. 

The more I use good synthetics the more I like them.  They dry faster, are often times softer against the skin, and are usually more durable. I'm not too sure wool has any advantage over a good synthetic, even though people try to convince me other wise.     

 Agreed, at one point I was a UA guy, and didn't like the smell. 

Then I went down the merino road, and while the quality stuff is comfortable it just didn't hold up to day in and day out use like they got in the winter.  If I was a once a month user or similar maybe, but they just flat wore out quickly when I was using them every day.  I switched back to synthetic, not even that high a quality, for daily use to save money and save my merino for trips and not daily hikes and what not.  I found that for me the synthetics out performed the Merinos in pretty much every way. I was never sure if the Merino was actually warmer when wet or not since I wasn't wearing them on the same day.  I do know that I didn't feel any colder on days that I wore synthetics than on days I wore merino and the synthetic stuff dried in a fraction of a time it took the merino to dry, and a dry layer is a lot warmer than a wet layer of the same weight.  That was the clincher for me I get dry faster and dry is warmer, add to that better longevity and no real difference I could tell during use and I never really looked back.  I also haven't found that my synthetic stuff gets smellier that quickly.  I typically just use the cheap Reebok ones that Sam's sells every fall. 


Co-Owner Hill People Gear "If anything goes wrong it will be a fight to the end, if your training is good enough, survival is there; if not nature claims its foreit." - Dougal Haston
 
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6/28/2016 1:45 PM
 
I'll echo some of the sentiments already posted;

Smartwool is my choice for a natural fiber product and Patagucci as a synthetic option. I will occasionally wear silk when the temps are above freezing, as well.
 
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6/28/2016 6:09 PM
 

I'm going to try the Sams Reeboks and keep Patagoinia ans others in mind. I dont want to drop the cash on merino and be disappointed. Hopefully the stink meter will stay low. I appreciate the replies.

 
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6/28/2016 8:33 PM
 
massdrop often has deals on merino base layers. i've had good luck with first lite and icebreaker.
 
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6/30/2016 9:04 AM
 

I used Merino for awhile and have since switched back to synthetic for the most part. For synthetic base layers, I'll give another endorsement to the Patagonia line of offerings. In my experience, synthetics are more durable, more comfortable, dry more quickly and are lighter weight than merino. The newer pieces that I have from Patagonia don't seem to suffer as badly from "permastink" as other synthetic items I have- and the benefits seem to outweigh the negatives to me. I mean, I am in the backcountry when I am wearing these a lot of the time- who cares about a little stink?

I work in the rain often, and if the temps are mild I find myself wearing silkweight capilene under my rain gear- it wicks moisture and does a good job at "sliding" under other layers.

As it gets colder, I'll use capilene 2 mostly. I find that Capilene 2 under something like the wind cheater does pretty well for me while moving in cold temps. It dries extremely fast, and holds up pretty well.

I've got a capilene 4 top and bottom (now called "thermal weight" I think). It's their heaviest warmest base layer, and is comprised of a fleece grid fabric. It's extremely warm for its weight, breathes and transports moisture extremely well, and is very comfortable against the skin. I'll sometimes wear this if it's bitter cold or if I am not moving around. I'll also make use of it as a sleeping layer under puffy garments in extreme cold.

I think I get the most use out of the capilene 2 weight. If you watch closely, they'll have it on sale for a good price from time to time.

 
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6/30/2016 1:01 PM
 
When I'm backpacking, especially hunting, I do prefer merino. You need to watch the fiber size as that is what determines "scratchiness." I have found Icebreaker and Ibex to be the most comfortable followed by Smartwool and Minus 33. Some of the cheap stuff is just flat out uncomfortable. Price is not always an indicator of comfort though. I've heard that Filson merino is really rough stuff though I haven't tried it. I just don't like the smell, backwoods or not. but agree with Scot that it is not as durable for daily wear. For day use, I'm a synthetic fan due to durability and the fact that it dries quicker than wool. However, I'm just wearing it for whatever I'm doing and then washing it rather using it for repeated wear. Sierra Trading Post is a great source for deals on merino. They currently have a pretty large Icebreaker selection.
 
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6/30/2016 7:27 PM
 
i have no idea what I'm evaluating when it comes to merino fiber size. here's what I'm finding . . .thoughts??

http://www.sierratradingpost.com/icebreaker-bodyfit-200-ika-realtree-base-layer-top-upf-30-plus--merino-wool-long-sleeve-for-men~p~8692m/?filterString=s~mens-icebreaker-wool%2F

http://wool.minus33.com/ticonderoga-mens-lightweight-wool-crew/718zg/product/


 
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6/30/2016 8:33 PM
 
That Icebreaker is as good as you'll find and a smokin' deal. Their 200 weight is a very good all around base layer. Having both, I prefer the Icebreaker to Minus 33.

 

If the manufacturer gives the micron count (I think Icebreaker uses about 18 micron) this chart could help:

Grades of Merino Wool

The finest garments and products are made with the highest grades of merino wool. Merino sheep produce wool that is less than 24 microns in diameter. Most wool between 11.5 and 24 microns in fiber diameter are made into clothing. The remainder is used for other textiles like blankets, insulation and furnishings. The finer or lower the number of microns, the softer and more expensive the merino wool.

 

<17.5 microns - Ultrafine merino 
17.6-18.5 microns - Superfine merino
<19.5 microns- Fine merino (also interchangeably called Extra Fine merino) 
19.6-20.5 microns - Fine medium merino
20.6-22.5 microns - Medium merino
22.6-<24 microns - Strong merino


 
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7/1/2016 8:11 PM
 
super helpful responses. thank you much
 
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