Is Merino Wool Good For Travel
Merino wool has a great reputation as a comfortable, breathable, odor-resistant fabric for clothing. It’s soft and luxurious too — but is it practical for travel? It’s worth knowing about Merino wool garments’ pros and cons before you make your next purchase.
#1. Merino Wool is Naturally Antimicrobial
Lanolin is an oily, waxy coating that coats every strand of a Merino sheep’s coat. It repels water and protects against bacteria and other infections during the rainy season. This characteristic of Merino wool ensures that microbes cannot reproduce within the material.
The thread used to produce Merino wool apparel has some leftover Lanolin along with its antimicrobial benefits. It also prevents mold, mildew, and even fungi. Additionally, it prevents odor build-up, which is quite common during hot (sweat) and cold (moisture) seasons.
#2. Lightweight, Breathable, and Great Insulator
Merino wool fibers are much finer than your typical wool, resulting in smoother, thinner, and more durable fabric. Merino clothing moves through the body’s natural motions in a manner that feels natural. Additionally, it does not have the itchy feeling typically found in clothing made of coarse and thick fibers.
Your body generates heat and vapor during the day, especially if you are moderately active. As heat and vapor cannot escape, they condense, resulting in sweaty clothing. Garments consisting of blends and synthetics are susceptible to this as they trap moisture.
However, with Merino wool, the body heat escapes through the gaps between the fibers. Additionally, the fiber helps fresh air to pass through, leaving you cool and dry.
On top of that, the crimp in wool fibers produces tiny pockets of compressed warm air that serve as insulators in cold weather. This keeps heat close to the body. Unlike most fibers, Merino wool maintains many of its insulating qualities when wet.
In hot weather, the same mechanism has a cooling effect because when wool releases moisture, it absorbs the heat from the skin and traps cold air. Wool draws moisture away from your skin, allowing it to evaporate, keeping you cool and dry even in hot weather. This also prevents the wearer from sweating too much.
Because of these properties, Merino fabrics are usually the go-to next-to-skin clothing for most active adventurers. It is especially true for backpackers who are taking on long trails.
#3. Does Not Require Constant Washing
Merino wool clothing is also very simple to care for. Since it is naturally antibacterial, it resists odors and often requires less cleaning than cotton or synthetics. Merino wool is also extremely stain-resistant.
Furthermore, since wool regulates moisture well, surviving bacteria do not have the humid and damp environment they need to survive. Wool clothes also smell better at the end of each day because there is no buildup of odor-causing microbes. As such, they don’t produce a permanent odor that can’t be washed away like certain synthetic fabrics.
When maintained properly, Merino garments are great when you are on-the-go. Because they prevent stain and odor buildup, you do not need to wash them constantly. This saves you a trip or two to the nearest laundromat.
#4. Naturally Fire Resistant
Merino wool has superior thermal qualities, a high natural fire tolerance, and protects the wearer in both wet and dry conditions.
Wool takes more oxygen than is present in the air to become combustible due to how the fiber is structured. As a result, it is an outstanding fire-resistant fiber. Furthermore, as it burns, it does not drip, melt, or adhere to the skin.
Wool’s natural fire resistance stems from its high nitrogen and water content. It can be ignited if exposed to a sufficiently hot source, but it does not sustain flame and will only smolder for a brief period. Furthermore, when heated to the point of combustion, the cross-linked cell membrane structure of wool swells, creating an insulating layer that inhibits flame from spreading.
#5. Super Soft and Comfortable
A single Merino wool fiber is a third of the size of human hair. It’s so delicate that it bends out of the way when it comes into contact with skin. It is not prickly like most wool fibers as it cannot even support its weight.
Many gravitate towards synthetic fibers when choosing their travel clothing due to their price. However, Merino wool proves to be a great investment. It is soft, antimicrobial, and odor-resistant. This makes it a great travel companion, especially when you are planning tons of activities.
Fortunately, you have numerous options for Merino garments in the market. You can mix and match Merino clothing with the rest of your travel wardrobe, from socks to sweaters. Because they last a long time, you can enjoy the benefits of Merino wool for years before you need to replace them.