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Max Dilthey
(mdilthey) - M

Locale: MaxTheCyclist.com
Long-Long-Long Term Test: Smartwool Long Johns on 12/12/2013 06:55:51 MST Print View

If anyone's wondering about the life of a pair of expensive Merino Wool tights, I've got the scoop:

I bought these in May of 2012. In August of 2012, I wore them about 15 nights on a bike tour as sleeping tights.

Then, I put them on underneath some pants in September and wore them every single day, 7 days a week, all winter until April when it warmed up. I used them sparingly this past summer as sleeping tights, and then in September I put them on again and wore them every single day until today, when I noticed a 1 inch hole in the crotch and retired them.

I estimate I've got about 300+ days and nights in them, and would not be surprised if it was closer to 350.

The threads along the seat and the center stitch in the crotch are wearing thin in rows, and there's a 1 x 1 inch hole along the center seam. Overall, though, they held up well- no seam failures at all and no substantial pilling. They got softer and softer.

I washed them in a washing machine about once every three or four days, using cold water and low heat to dry them. Since all the wear is in the seat, where they contact the seams in my pants, I would say that washing them did not contribute to their lifespan.

Obviously, I really like these. They got more use than any other piece of clothing I've ever owned. I have a matching top, but I wear these much more often.

For the $63 I paid for them on sale, I am enormously pleased with their performance. They lasted a long time and kept me warm and comfortable in so many different conditions, from windy 60º days to frigid -20º nights. I've hiked in them, sat for 2 days straight on trains in them, gone to rock concerts in them, and worn them to weddings underneath my slacks. They never built up an odor once in the entire time I owned them, even after 30-day trips.


I am going to try out Ibex Woolies 220 next to see if the durability is better. See you next year!

Katharina ....
(Kat_P) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Coast
Re: Long-Long-Long Term Test: Smartwool Long Johns on 12/12/2013 07:08:26 MST Print View

Max, I have had a similar experience with my Smartwool long johns. I bought mine four years ago and have worn them several days a week for three winters now, some in fall and on most backpacking trips with chilly temperatures. Mine are getting a little thinner in the inseam as well, but no holes yet. I have been very happy with these and they have helped keep me warm during many cold days at work and cold nights at home.
I would think that if one's thighs rub together a lot they might wear out a little quicker.

Ian B.
(IDBLOOM) - MLife

Locale: PNW
Re: Re: Long-Long-Long Term Test: Smartwool Long Johns on 12/12/2013 07:42:05 MST Print View

"I would think that if one's thighs rub together a lot they might wear out a little quicker."

THAT WAS DIRECTED AT ME WASN'T IT?!?! Sorry.... little sensitive today.

Carry on.

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Long-Long-Long Term Test: Smartwool Long Johns on 12/12/2013 08:30:44 MST Print View

"The threads along the seat and the center stitch in the crotch are wearing thin in rows, and there's a 1 x 1 inch hole along the center seam."

Use the hole as a fly and continue using them.

Max Dilthey
(mdilthey) - M

Locale: MaxTheCyclist.com
Replacements on 12/12/2013 08:52:11 MST Print View

I thought about replacing them outright, but I think I'm going to wear them into the ground underneath regular clothes while not on trips. I'll be wearing them this weekend while waiting outside of an arena for a Queens of the Stone Age concert.

That's been a secret of mine for years; Merino Wool is the only fabric I know of that keeps you warm while you're waiting outside a rock show and then keeps you cool and comfy when the Lord of the Dance overtakes you in a crowd of warm bodies. Ha!

I'm interested in seeing how Ibex compares in durability, though, so the Smartwools will be gradually phased out completely.

jerry adams
(retiredjerry) - MLife

Locale: Oregon and Washington
Re: Re: Long-Long-Long Term Test: Smartwool Long Johns on 12/12/2013 08:56:46 MST Print View

Nick, why are you fixated on flies? : )

Max Dilthey
(mdilthey) - M

Locale: MaxTheCyclist.com
Going Big on 12/12/2013 09:33:25 MST Print View

Katharina, since I'm a cyclist, my thighs keep getting wider and wider, so someday I might reach a singularity and start rubbing. Most of the bulk seems to be going straight out, though; between my knee and my hip, there's a "hill" sticking like two inches out...

And E
(LunchANDYnner) - M

Locale: Pacific Northwest
+1 Smartwool Tights on 12/12/2013 09:56:32 MST Print View

I have the midweight tights too, and they're great.

My only "issue" is that my crotch seems to run hotter than the rest of my body. I could benefit from some midweight tights with like, a wool mesh or lighter fabric for the crotch area.

But, as far as durability, I agree. I've worn mine quite a bit hiking, sleeping in, and around town under my jeans when the mercury drops and they don't look any worse for wear.

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Re: Re: Long-Long-Long Term Test: Smartwool Long Johns on 12/12/2013 09:58:36 MST Print View

"Nick, why are you fixated on flies?"

Because it was the funniest thread ever. I should have posted a link to it.

Jon Leibowitz
(jleeb) - F - MLife

Locale: 4Corners
IceBreakers? on 12/12/2013 10:17:04 MST Print View

Hey max,

Have you ever given IceBreakers a try? I used to be huge smartwool junkie. After a few of my socks and a pair of boxer briefs developed holes rather quickly, I switched to IceBreakers. I've been exclusively wearing the same Icebreakers 150 weight long sleeve shirt on practically every hike (day hikes and backpacking trips) for the last 2.5 years. If you looked at it, you would think it was brand new.

I have some friends that work at Ibex in Vermont. Great company and incredible products, but they tend to be more expensive for, what I can tell, is similar quality as Icebreakers. They do make fancier stuff though...I'm talking really about baselayers here.

As a fellow lover of all things wool....my winter jacket is 100% wool along with almost of all of my layers for winter and summer....I can relate to your fondness of the best fabric ever created by nature! :)

Edited by jleeb on 12/12/2013 10:18:28 MST.

eric chan
(bearbreeder) - F
reference on 12/12/2013 10:49:25 MST Print View

as a reference point ...

i bought the MEC T2 boot cut logn johns old version 5 years ago ...

i wear em every 100+ days a year, 500-600 days total ... and i sleep in em every one of those days ... i wash em with regular detergent in a top loading washing machine with everything else ... and i throw em in the dryer at normal heat ... i climb in em under softshell pants .. etc ...

im wearing em right now

and theres simply no wear ... not a single hole or worn area yet ...

they cost me 20$ back then

what weight is yr smartwool max?

;)

Max Dilthey
(mdilthey) - M

Locale: MaxTheCyclist.com
Wool Lovers Unite on 12/12/2013 10:59:40 MST Print View

The Smartwool longs were a medium weight, which I believe is the heaviest they make for long johns. Ibex is more expensive than Icebreaker, but not by much; the Ibex long johns are $10 less than Smartwool at full price (I paid $85). I actually owned a pair for a few days, but reverted back to my Smartwool ones because there was nom reason to own two. Ibex is rib-knit, so I think they'll be a little stronger than the single-weave Smartwool tights.

I would like to get a longer life on the period of 600 days/nights, but realistically, $63 for that much longevity beats out every pair of cotton pants I've ever owned, and most of my socks/shirts as well.

We will see if Ibex is the saving grace.

Edited by mdilthey on 12/12/2013 11:00:54 MST.

jerry adams
(retiredjerry) - MLife

Locale: Oregon and Washington
Re: Re: Re: Re: Long-Long-Long Term Test: Smartwool Long Johns on 12/12/2013 11:29:05 MST Print View

"I should have posted a link to it."

Maybe better to be more obscure : )

Trying to ruin this thread...

Jon Leibowitz
(jleeb) - F - MLife

Locale: 4Corners
Re: Wool Lovers Unite on 12/12/2013 12:52:47 MST Print View

I'm wearing wool socks, wool underwear, and have my wool jacket with me. And I'm at work. I need wool dress shirts.

Just sayin.... :)

Max Dilthey
(mdilthey) - M

Locale: MaxTheCyclist.com
Nice! on 12/12/2013 13:04:19 MST Print View

Wool socks, wool tights, wool shirt, wool hoodie right now.

My pants pocket has an Icebreaker merino wool handkerchief. BOOM!

Ibex made some wool dress shirts last year and I missed them. Always expensive.

Edit: They're on Backcountry for like 15-25% off, neat!

Edited by mdilthey on 12/12/2013 13:14:19 MST.

Rick M
(rmjapan) - F

Locale: Tokyo, Japan
Re: Long-Long-Long Term Test: Smartwool Long Johns on 12/12/2013 16:14:25 MST Print View

Smartwool has a lifetime satisfaction guarantee. Download and fill out the Returns form from the Smartwool website and send them back. They will probably send you a new piece. It worked for me with their briefs.

You have nothing to lose except a few $ for shipping.

Max Dilthey
(mdilthey) - M

Locale: MaxTheCyclist.com
Lifetime Guarantee on 12/12/2013 16:20:31 MST Print View

NEAT, will do. Dang, I did not know that!

Eric Blumensaadt
(Danepacker) - MLife

Locale: Mojave Desert
Oh YEAH??! on 12/12/2013 20:06:50 MST Print View

Well, I have two pair of Cabela's polyester long john tops and bottoms that I have had for 18 years. Wore tehm XC ski patrolling, XC racing, hunting ans winter camping and now alpine ski patrolling for the past 6 years.

Top THAT one.

(And the elastic in the waist bands is still good!)

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Re: Wool Lovers Unite on 12/12/2013 21:33:30 MST Print View

Nah, just a worsted wool suit. Silk is better for the rest of the ensemble at work.

Katharina ....
(Kat_P) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Coast
Re: Re: Re: Long-Long-Long Term Test: Smartwool Long Johns on 12/13/2013 07:10:59 MST Print View

""I would think that if one's thighs rub together a lot they might wear out a little quicker."

THAT WAS DIRECTED AT ME WASN'T IT?!?! Sorry.... little sensitive today.

Carry on."


Nah Ian.....my thighs get bigger in winter too....we need a little xtra padding when it's cold :)

Katharina ....
(Kat_P) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Coast
Re: Going Big on 12/13/2013 07:16:54 MST Print View

"Katharina, since I'm a cyclist, my thighs keep getting wider and wider, so someday I might reach a singularity and start rubbing. Most of the bulk seems to be going straight out, though; between my knee and my hip, there's a "hill" sticking like two inches out..."



Nice! I used to have biker legs years ago....Ahhh! I want that again. I want to do it all really. At 46 I have days with a lot of energy and not much seems impossible, then Iy catches up and I get tired and have to recoup a bit..

just Justin Whitson
(ArcturusBear)
Re: Long-Long-Long Term Test: Smartwool Long Johns on 12/13/2013 17:04:37 MST Print View

Howdy Max,

The Wooly long johns, are they 100 % wool, or a blend, and if the latter, what is the other fiber(s) and percentages?


Wool with a good percentage of nylon, can be tougher and more durable when thinner and lighter.