I would like to hear posters success/failure stories about using wool garments, or re-discovering their benefits after a hiatus..
Thanks to what I read here at BPL I have recently been replacing synthetic layers with wool, and testing them in this winter weather. So far I am impressed, and glad I made the change. I replaced my synthetic watch cap, sock liners, and shirt all with merino wool. Most recently was the change to 1oz (28g) icebreaker glove liners with 4% nylon stretch.
Another poster (chime in if you want credit) summarized the choice by saying "Do i want more absorption, heavier weight and slower drying, hence warmer? Or, do i want lighter, faster drying, hence more chilling?"
Instead of my usually-stinky capilene, now I use a 1/4 zip long sleeve lightweight wool top. I can pull the arms up above my elbows and unzip when I am hot and dry, or zip up to stay remarkably warm for such a thin garment. My three layer system is wool, Montbell Thermawrap jacket, and TNF DIAD (or heavier goretex).
Walking around the trailhead town after a hike, I can simply leave the wool on because it really does not retain odors, and put on my down belay jacket. Not too out of place..
Based on current results, I'd wear short or long arm wool during the coldest 9 months, and capilene during the hottest 3 months when it's chilling effect and rapid drying is appreciated.
Another combination I like is wool against the skin, with a polyester zip top layer ($10 from Uniqulo) above. It breathes well, moves like one garment, and is a light weight combo.
As an aside, these wool garments seem to usually be quite expensive, so I buy it all from SAC.com or at steep discount.
Your comments please? For example, anyone tried a poly/merino blend? Does it retain the best features of each?.. or the worst of each?