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Smart Wool

Kayak Jack

Well-Known Member
Aug 26, 2003
12,902
55
80
Okemos / East Lansing Michigan
#1
When I was a kid, Mom and Dad looked out for me, and wanted me to be warm and snug in Michigan winters. Mom dutifully bought me some wool long johns and a wool shirt. She was very proud. I was in misery. The only wool available to ordinary civilians during WWII was reused wool. I don't know what the sources were for that stuff, but it was the SCRATCHIEST clothing I ever endured. It felt like a cross between burlap and steel wool. God - I hated that stuff. Mom would lovingly tell me to wear it, and I would sneakily take it off. Luckily for me, I tended to ignore the cold.

Then when I got into teen years and went hunting with Dad, he bought me some long underwear. We hunted while sitting quietly under snowy trees. For some reason at that time, some idiots thought that man-made fibers were good materials for cold weather. NOT any time soon. That stuff had two, bad characteristics. First, it was a better conductor than insulator. The heat flowed right through it, out and away from me. Secondly, it would sop up any sweat that I generated from even walking. It didn't dry out quickly. Wet man-made fiber is an even better heat conductor than is dry! I was going out backwards.

Jumping forward roughly 20 years, I had finally found some soft wool garments that I could wear comfortably. Pendolton shirts were njce, but severely subject to shrinkage. Jumping another 20 years and I found merino wool. Turns out, there are different kinds of sheep in the world, and they grow different kinds of wool. Wow!

Lots of vendors sell clothes that have some Merino wool in them. The company of Smartwool dot com sells clothing of all merino wool. Finally, here's the real stuff. It is soft and comfortable to wear. No scratching. It is warm; it is an excellent insulator, not a conductor. It is smooth andrelatively thin. In the 50s and 60s we had waffle weave long johns that were thick. Making it hard to bend your knees when wearing a pair of them under pants that weren't loose and sloppy. My smartwool drawers wear easily under pants. They also wick off perspiration, and dry quickly. They aren't wet and ickily cold. I toss them knto the washing machine along with shirts etc.

I'm very satisfied with these. On top, I like the long sleeved shirts with a long zipper at the throat. Merino wool socks inside my L.L. bean boots help to keep me comfortable right down to the ground. Folks who are outdoors in cold seather, I recommend you spoil yourse,ves and get some of this stuff. You'll smile while wearing it.
 

oldsparkey

Well-Known Member
Aug 25, 2003
9,797
31
74
Central , Florida
www.southernpaddler.com
#2
Jack...

You are spot on about the Merino wool. It's really great for staying warm and comfortable. I have it in a long sleeve pull over and some hiking socks.

If you are going to walking in wet areas and want to keep your feet dry.
Some different socks , I got a pair of the Showers Pass Lightweight Waterproof Beathable socks. They are totally waterproof and made with three bonded layers of material , no wool.
The reason for them is it seams that wherever you go hiking here in Florida you will get your feet wet during the hike. Not the best thing if the weather is cool or by some fluke of nature actually cold out.

Here is the link to the socks and they have a lot of different clothing, including other socks.
https://www.showerspass.com/collect...ghtweight-waterproof-socks-crosspoint-classic
 

Kayak Jack

Well-Known Member
Aug 26, 2003
12,902
55
80
Okemos / East Lansing Michigan
#3
Thanks, Chuck. Another key is down. I have a down sleeping bag, 2 down vests, and down pants. The pants are for severe conditions. The bag and vest are useful almost all the time.
Wool and down - old fashioned, and still the best that I've found.
 

Wannabe

Well-Known Member
Apr 5, 2007
2,645
1
on the bank of Trinity Bay
#4
My son Nathan started wearing Smart Wool socks and loved them. I bought a pair ( 15 Bucks a pop) and couldn.t believe how good they are. Wearing them is like having a gel insert in your shoes. My wife bought me seven more pair. I wear them summer and winter. I have been wearing some of the originals socks she bought for about three years. They do not seem to wear out but being socks they are prone to disappearing now and again. I was unaware that Smart Wool made other clothing as well. I'll have to take a look.