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Merino wool base layers. Any good?

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Kramer, very suave Wink
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Megamum, I've already told you: Polartec 100 including silver in the weave. Icebreaker is good, but this is way better. End of.
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Megamum,

Polartec 100 or microfleece IS a very good base layer as GrahamN says. If you only have one type of base layer then get the Microfeelce/polartec option as it will absorb and dry quicker.
I carry 4 micros and wash them after a day's use. IMO Merino wool base layers are for very very cold days and it isn't so often you would want to wear both. But a micro is my staple base which I top off with a Polartec 200 and a shell as I said before.

Only you will know how hot you run and you don't want to be too warm walking to the lift if you work harder than that skiing, so I think Merino bases are an addition unless you freeze skiing in -5,-10, say.
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I've heard about the stuff GrahamN is talking about. Did a quick search on the tinternet and think it's called X-Static.

Quote:

X-static® is made with pure silver fibre, which provides permanent and unparalleled antibacterial performance. This makes it an ideal
fabrication for performance and expedition first layer garments.
http://www.mountaindesigns.com/Index.cfm?Action=staticContent&content=fabrics

I suspect GrahamN is talking about Polartec® Power Dry® with X-Static®.

Even spyder do some base levels for the fairer sex with X-Static (German version but perhaps someone can find the equivalent english internet page)
http://www.active-out.eu/catalog/SPYDER-Womens-XSTATIC-Seamless-Base-Layer-p-8121.html

http://www.active-out.eu/catalog/SPYDER-Womens-XSTATIC-Seamless-Capri-Base-Layer-Pant-p-8115.html


and there's a selection of X-Static for the men too ....
http://international.spyder.com/browse.new.asp?page=all&categoryid=9

They are even putting X-Static in race suits now
http://international.spyder.com/productdetail.new.asp?productid=138901
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DaveC the NZ nature website is a bit pervy isn't it? Possum wool nipple warmers?
Shocked Shocked
Their Merino base layers are pretty good value at £27.95 though.
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Merino/possum mix is unreal.
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UNreal indeed
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Martin Nicholas, Shocked
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rob@rar, this would just be my personal opinion (as most things are on this forum) but I find that my body does not seem to 'breathe' well in the man-made fibre baselayers. It feels like I overheat really quickly in them, i.e. within about 10 seconds of putting them on. It was particularly noticeable when I was trying on baselayers in a local mountaineering store so I had a direct comparison between polypropylene and merino. I definitely prefer merino, it felt more 'airy'. In terms of it being too warm a baselayer, they were perfect in -26 degrees in Canada. In France, I didn't need to wear a mid-layer over it and was perfectly comfortable. Merino is definitely a 'classier' looking fabric than the plastics so it doesn't look naff if it's the only top you have on apres, so that wasn't a concern either. Smells-wise, the merino stuff didn't pick up any nasty niffs over the duration of a week, the polypro with silver did, but you had to have your nose right up to it to smell anything so I wouldn't say it was all that bad (not a stink cloud following you around or anything like that spoo). I must add that all my merino is the lightweight stuff. I haven't had to wash my gear in resort so I have no experience of the air-drying time. I would guess that polypro would stuff merino for that though and I am sure others that have had more direct experience of this can comment.

In terms of what brand of merino, Smartwool is top-quality (nice attention to detail and good-looking weave) but you pay for it; Icebreaker is good but not as impressive to me as Smartwool in terms of appearance and a less generous cut (and the price is similar to Smartwool). I got some stuff from Howies (www.howies.co.uk) and was really impressed with the quality, price and the customer service (although it was on sale) would place it on a par if not higher than Icebreaker considering the price. Their longjohns are great as you can roll them up at the bottom easily, no tight constricting elastic, so you don't need to worry about going specifically 3/4 length. Chocolate Fish (www.chocolatefishmerino.com) are also good value and their customer service is also excellent, although cut at the time i purchased last year was an issue - short body and arms (New Zealand body shape) no good for me (6'2" and monkey arms). I was informed that they were aware of this issue and were resolving it with their suppliers. They have recently changed their suppliers so maybe sizing is no longer a problem.

Remember this is all my opinion and others are welcome to agree or disagree and you did ask wink.
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rob@rar, .... another vote for Merino wool. Icebreaker are the only ones I have tried, so I can't comment on the others. I bought some for last season and used them for about 90 ski days. (I did wash in between!) They were so great that I am buying some more for this season to have three sets. They wear well, wash well and look great - well on me anyhow ..... Toofy Grin
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Everything looks good on you Bernard Cool
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merino is naturally anti mircobial so doesn't smell bad like some man made fibres, it also absorbs moiture vapour from the body, stores it and then releases it in vapour form as required, this removes the need for heat to be involved in the transfer process where as man made fibres require heat to push the moisture through, i have used smartwool and icebreaker and while they are more expensive than man made fibres they are IMO well worth the extra....2 base layers and a mid layer is more than sufficient for a weeks skiing [without smelling like a tramp Very Happy ]
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can any long term users of merino comment on durability? i'm definitely a convert in terms of comfort, lack of stink and keeping you the right temp (there are some very lightweight fabrics out there) but i do doubt that they will last as long as my old Helly polyprops. would be interesting to hear anyone's experiences on this
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
My favourite base layer is Smartwool, although I have some isis base layers as well.
The smartwool is soft, warm, doesn't itch, and thus far, has been extremely durable.
The first time I bought Smartwool, I thought it was a bit pricey, but I've fallen in love with it and believe its worth every penny!(or pound)
https://www.smartwool.com/default.cfm
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Arno, not had a problem, the first piece i got is now 7 years old...no problems so far Toofy Grin
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Arno, I have Smartwool pieces older than CEM's, no problems. Prefer the X-static particularly for boxers, I've worn Pearl Izumi and Diadora ones since 1999.



JT, have you tried Polartec Power Stretch? THE microfleece for legs IMO.
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Definitely a vote here for merino... I bought mine to ski in, and have ended up wearing it to university almost every day during winter cos it's so great.

As far as I can tell, the silver in my Arc'teryx Rho baselayer do nothing to stop the smell and I wouldn't dream of wearing it for more than a day. My Icebreaker, on the other hand, I can happily wear to uni for 3 or so days before i feel the need to wash it as it starts to feel a bit greasy (still doesn't smell).

Merino, as mentioned, absorbs more water than polyester. As a result, it does take longer to dry. Being wool though, it will still keep you warm when wet.

In terms of durability, i don't see any real reason why polyester would last that much longer than quality merino. You certainly don't have to worry about not washing it with your jeans or anything like that
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Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
one other fact [which may or may not influence decisions] is that merion wool is self extinguishing whereas polyester type fibres will burn very happliy and stick them to your skin really nicely.... people have been know to acidentally set themselves on fire with camp stoves, candles ciggarettes etc etc the wool will smolder a little and go out the fleece and man made fibres keep on burning [scary when you see the experiment done on maniquins] Skullie Skullie
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CEM,

Quote:

merion wool is self extinguishing


.... this will be an added bonus to those rabid snowHead speed freaks ..... Toofy Grin
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comprex,

No, haven't tried those but one or two of my tops have those panels and I love those tops, they are toast. I will have to use a base layer for my shell pants but have never needed anything more than a lining to take away the nip in the morning. I would think microfleece on the legs would be too warm for me. I will look into that

I don't see use merino as a base in a layer of 3, but I would in a base of 4 if cold enough. I usually carry it in my pack as an emergency.

I prefer to wash stuff in resort and rotate to keep the packing weight/space down so I don't see the need to not have a fresh top each day. ha ha
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Martin Nicholas wrote:
DaveC the NZ nature website is a bit pervy isn't it? Possum wool nipple warmers?
Shocked Shocked
Their Merino base layers are pretty good value at £27.95 though.


Haha - that is a bit pervy...

My baselayers arrived from them yesterday (they were on sale at half price, dont know if they still are) - no noticable difference to my icebreaker baselayers. Really pleased.
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Martin Nicholas wrote:
UNreal indeed

Can I post those in the What I want from Santa thread?
Shocked
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After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
SnowHot, I don't see it rubbing anyone the wrong way.
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comprex wrote:
SnowHot, I don't see it rubbing anyone the wrong way.

Not yet Wink
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Has anyone worked out what it is pictured in the right hand part of that piccy?
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Megamum, .... the product name is a small clue .... Toofy Grin
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 And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
Megamum, Puleeeeeze don't make me say it!
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So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
SnowHot, Ah.....Then I gather it is what it looks like? Rather an odd perspective to take it from though - it looks more like a thumb!!
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You know it makes sense.
SnowHot, .... Laughing Laughing Laughing
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Megamum,
Quote:

it looks more like a thumb!!

If your thumbs look like that I'd love to see you sending a text!
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Well, OK then a thumb displaying the fluff in question.
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No wonder dendix thumb is so painful Shocked
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Getting vaguely back to the OP - sorry Sad - I'm in a similar position in terms of thinking of getting proper thermals this year, after managing reasonably well with just a microfleece and down jacket before. I'm familiar with merino as I already have a couple of pairs of socks of the stuff, but have to admit to being intrigued by these Skins things. Anyone got educated feedback on them?
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PhilG, see http://snowheads.com/ski-forum/viewtopic.php?p=711464
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PhilG,many australian cricketers and AFL players have been wearing them for a few years now... You will see the footage of them training that they are wearing them.... Also some wear on aeroplanes as they help prevent issues from the flights (important when they play soon after flying - the AFL guys can be flying 1 week in 2 for their matches)....

My friend swears they stop her early season calf pain (first 3 days or so) which was crippling her for the first week on snow...

I wear them as my base layer on legs in all but teh coldest weather and find them quite comfy.... then again I'm not super sweaty... but I do feel the cold and don't usually have a problem..
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Megamum wrote:
SnowHot, Ah.....Then I gather it is what it looks like? Rather an odd perspective to take it from though - it looks more like a thumb!!


I've heard of the phrase "Tits for hands", but that's ridiculous Neh Neh
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Steep and cheap has a merino wool Ibex t on at 40% off
I really want to buy it but my husband is getting concerned that I have a thing going with the UPS man since I've had three boxes resembling the shape of skis delivered to my door.
Please talk me out of this.
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CEM,
Quote:

it also absorbs moiture vapour from the body, stores it and then releases it in vapour form as required, this removes the need for heat to be involved in the transfer process where as man made fibres require heat to push the moisture through,


Have they patented a method for overcoming the Latent Heat of Vapourisation Puzzled

PS Not pure merino but M&S Merino containing thermals are pretty warm, non smelly and reasonably priced. Not exactly sexy looking though.
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Check this offer out - claims to be 100% merino - see description. £15 + postage for long sleeved top

http://www.climbonbikes.co.uk/products.php?plid=m10b19s172p2113
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I've been using only Powerdry thermals (cheap ones at that) and they work fine so i haven't really felt the need to spend more on merino ones. However, i started using Bridgedale socks, that have a high merino content, and they seem much better then my older socks (expensive ones, too) so i'm starting to wonder...
Anyway i guess that if you're on a budget, powerdry cheapos are fine, really.
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