Merino wool baselayer - which one?
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David Poston
(dgposton) - F

Locale: Texas / Colorado
Merino wool baselayer - which one? on 05/21/2008 14:46:51 MDT Print View

I'm currently trying to decide which long sleeve merino wool crew to take with me on my Colorado trip this summer. I prefer to order from REI or Backcountry.com, since they have 100% guarantees. I was going to go with Smartwool's Microweight tee, but I have read that there are some other good options out there, such as Patagonia and others, which weigh even less. Advice appreciated.

Adam Rothermich
(aroth87) - F

Locale: Missouri Ozarks
Re: Merino wool baselayer - which one? on 05/21/2008 15:16:08 MDT Print View

I just got a Microweight Tee a week ago and like it a whole lot. Its loose fitting and super thin, so I think it will be great this summer. It worked well this weekend building trail in nearly 80* weather.

I've also got an Icebreaker Oasis L/S shirt. Its a heavier weight (200 g/sq m) and close fitting but still comfortable in 'warmer' weather. I like the feel of the Icebreaker a little more and I wouldn't hesitate recommending their products to you.

The only real reason I got the SW Microweight over a similar Icebreaker shirt is because it popped up on Steep and Cheap for a price I couldn't refuse. Both of the pieces I own have really impressed me and made me a convert to merino wool.

Adam

Sheila Baynes
(sheilabaynes) - F

Locale: Alaska
Patagonia Wool 2 or Icebreaker Oasis 200 on 05/21/2008 15:38:14 MDT Print View

I have both of these and am very impressed. The patagonia wool 2 is slightly thinner and the version I have is a zip-t. The Icebreaker has been one of my favorite items for several years. I have avoided Smartwool after seeing a lot of their products rip very easily on friends.

Brian Strong
(bmstrong) - F
I've worn my 3 year old Smartwool Versa Long and Short Sleeve T-shirts everyday. on 05/21/2008 15:48:38 MDT Print View

The Icebreaker stuff drives me nuts the way it's marketed. I wish they would do away with all of the Superfine Lite, Ultra, Journey, Bodyfit, Travel, etc. Makes my head hurt.

I've been looking at Ibex Qu T's for awhile now but haven't pulled the trigger.

John Haley
(Quoddy) - F

Locale: New York/Vermont Border
Re: Merino wool baselayer - which one? on 05/21/2008 16:29:29 MDT Print View

I'm wearing an Icebreaker Aero-T in 140 superfine (slim fit) for my main hiking layer on the Colorado Trail beginning in mid July. My only concession to warmth will be an Icebreaker Oasis crew neck in the 200 weight material (also slim fit) and a windshirt. The softest, most comfortable, merino around.

Edited by Quoddy on 05/26/2008 06:23:35 MDT.

Eric Noble
(ericnoble) - MLife

Locale: Colorado Rockies
Re: Merino wool baselayer - which one? on 05/21/2008 16:48:08 MDT Print View

I wear merino wool every day, all year long and have done so for many years. I generally favor Ibex with the exception of my Smartwool Shadow Hoody which is, in my opinion, a nearly perfect base layer. If Ibex made a hoody like the Shadow in their finer 17.5 merino with an even more face hugging hood, I would buy it in an instant. I love my Qu T for warm weather running and biking and the 17.5 Polos for everyday wear. In the winter I wear the Shak and Hooded Shak. For the summer in Colorado I would recommend a light weight long sleeve, with a long zipper, in a light color. The Ibex Woolies Zip T-Neck in grey is a good example.

Edited by ericnoble on 05/21/2008 16:53:26 MDT.

Jonathan Ryan
(Jkrew81) - F - M

Locale: White Mtns
Re: Merino wool baselayer - which one? on 05/21/2008 18:59:54 MDT Print View

I have three depending on the season

Winter: Ibex Long Sleeve 1/2 zip woolie
3 Season: Ibex Outback long sleeve
Summer/hot weather: Icebreaker Tech T Lite

Huzefa Siamwala
(huzefa)
Re: Merino wool baselayer- which one? on 05/21/2008 20:16:16 MDT Print View

suprise.. nonbody mentioned the new BPL UL merino. Thats the lightest and finest merino wool available on earth. (In my knowledge)

Lynn Tramper
(retropump) - F

Locale: The Antipodes of La Coruna
Re: Re: Merino wool baselayer- which one? on 05/21/2008 20:46:04 MDT Print View

Yeah, the BPL stuff is pretty light, but expensive and untested. The other brands at least have a proven track record. And it seems not everyone wants a black merino top...

George Matthews
(gmatthews) - MLife
Re: Re: Re: Merino wool baselayer- which one? on 05/21/2008 21:09:13 MDT Print View

The BPL Merino UL long sleeve is excellent. It is not as fragile as its ad sounds. I've worn mine for four days and plan to continue to use it as my primary shirt. We'll see how long it lasts. So far I love it.

Chris Ryan
(UCDChris) - F

Locale: Central Valley
RE: Merino wool baselayer - which one? on 05/21/2008 23:54:45 MDT Print View

I picked up an Icebreaker Atlas short sleeve a couple weeks ago and it's great. The fabric is lightweight (150g/m) and more comfortable on my skin than the smartwool midweight shirt I already own. The shirt has a slim cut, is comfortable in the heat, and is going to be my baselayer when I go backpacking in Yosemite this July.

Kyle Rosenberger
(kyler55) - F

Locale: Greater Yellowstone
Baselayer Options on 05/22/2008 00:00:58 MDT Print View

I have used Smartwool, Icebreaker, and Patagonia wool baselayers. I am not a fan of Smartwool's microweight fabric, it does not have a good feel and durability is not as expected. If you choose Smartwool their lightweight fabric is very good.

Icebreakers products feel nice but can fit oddly. All of their bodyfit stuff fits very tight. I still can't grasp their ridiculous imagery and advertising, also made in china:(

Patagonias wool 2 is by far my favorite. Very comfortable and very light. Seems to work well in the heat of the summer or skiing in the winter. Actually quite durable for its weight. Made in USA :)

Monty Montana
(TarasBulba) - MLife

Locale: Rocky Mountains
Re: Merino wool baselayer - which one? on 05/25/2008 19:50:30 MDT Print View

I prefer a zip-T to a crew neck for the added benefit of ventilation. There probably is a weight gain because of the zipper, but it's negligible considering the extra comfort of thermoregulation. Recently I picked up a short sleeve crew with a neck zipper (similar to a cycling jersy but without the back pockets) and it worked out so well that I'm thinking of having one added to my Smartwool ss crew T.

I don't know the weight of your Smartwool Microweight T, but my long sleeve zip-T Terramar (180g/m2) weighs 8 oz, as does the similar one by Duofold. The former cost $25, the latter $19 on sale from Campmor. So far I have no complaints as they have worn well and function well as baselayers. I also use an Icebreaker zip-T, 260g/m2, 10 oz, for colder weather or as a stand-alone. The neat thing about it is that it has longish sleeves with thumb holes, allowing the hands to be covered for additional warmth. Cool!

Jeff Boone
(jnboone) - MLife
Smartwool vs Ibex vs Icebreaker on 05/26/2008 06:19:51 MDT Print View

I've worn all three, and for comfort next to my skin there is absolutely no comparison. Icebreaker wins every time. It is the only brand I will buy in the future.

Miguel Arboleda
(butuki) - MLife

Locale: Kanto Plain, Japan
Re: Smartwool vs Ibex vs Icebreaker... also MontBell on 05/26/2008 07:24:26 MDT Print View

If you can find it, MontBell's line of merino wool underwear is wonderful. Their "midweight" version is actually very lightweight and thin and feels wonderful against the skin. I've been wearing nothing but (can't stand Smartwool and Icebreaker wool undershirts, though what I wore was about five years ago.. maybe they've improved since then), for three years now, even bought two pairs for use all through winter when I'm at work. My skin is very sensitive to the scratchiness of wool, even fine wool, so MontBell's line was a very pleasant surprise. Last summer I wore two shirts for the entire month of traveling in the Alps and hot days or cold days they performed flawlessly. I really like the extra long length they have to fit nicely into the pants.

Edited by butuki on 05/26/2008 07:29:48 MDT.

Richard Lyon
(richardglyon) - MLife

Locale: Bridger Mountains
Patagonia Wool 2 on 05/26/2008 13:33:19 MDT Print View

Don't forget Patagucci. Though late to the party I've found the Wool 2 to be the lightest weight, most breathable merino base layer. I'm also a big Ibex fan - slightly heavier but really tough.

Lynn Tramper
(retropump) - F

Locale: The Antipodes of La Coruna
Re: Re: Smartwool vs Ibex vs Icebreaker... also MontBell on 05/26/2008 13:40:29 MDT Print View

Thanks for that link Miguel. Montbell also have a lovely looking line of silk underwear that I wouldn't mind trying as my jammy layer.

Michael Davis
(mad777) - F

Locale: South Florida
Re: Merino wool baselayer - which one? on 05/26/2008 14:52:06 MDT Print View

I only wear merino wool while hiking, no matter what the conditions are. I have a locker full of short/long sleeve, crew/zip neck, thick to thin.

I own several pieces from each of Icebreaker, Smartwool and, Ibex. I am satified with them all but, my critique would be the Icebreaker has the best feel, Ibex the most durable (hate the embroidered emblems, though) and, Smartwool just does it's job without standing out in any one area.

Personally, I would not go under 140 gm/m weight in any merino product. I think the smartwool microweight simply isn't durable enough as friends have had issues with that one.

And yes, why doesn't everyone use very light colors in their thin weight, short sleeve shirts! Aghhhhh! .... There, now I feel better.

And Miguel, stop trying to tempt me with those Mont-bell shirts! I have enough already! .... I think?

Miguel Arboleda
(butuki) - MLife

Locale: Kanto Plain, Japan
Re: Merino wool baselayer - which one? on 05/26/2008 16:45:03 MDT Print View

And yes, why doesn't everyone use very light colors in their thin weight, short sleeve shirts! Aghhhhh! .... There, now I feel better.

And Miguel, stop trying to tempt me with those Mont-bell shirts! I have enough already! .... I think?


Ahem! MONTBELL has their line of underwear in midweight and heavy weight in three colors, black, white, and "pewter", a light-greyish beige that I use. I have four short sleeve shirts in this color.

That tempting enough? (^•^)/"

Miguel Arboleda
(butuki) - MLife

Locale: Kanto Plain, Japan
Re: Merino wool baselayer - which one? on 05/26/2008 16:51:57 MDT Print View

Andy from Must Be This Way writes about New Zealand comapanySilkbody which has a blend of silk and wool underwear. You may want to be tempted by that, too!