Many seasoned campers and hikers love Merino wool due to its exceptional trait to stay warm even while wet. Keeping you warm is the primary reason why many people want to buy it. The other purpose is that it doesn’t smell bad even after a week of hiking. But even with all these exceptional properties, being itchy is one issue that many consumers are always thinking about.
So, is Merino wool itchy? If it’s regular wool, then the chances of being itchy are high. However, Merino wool is very high-quality wool, and thus it itches very little or none at all. The main reason for its very low itchiness is because Merino wool has smaller and more delicate diameter fibers. These fibers are very flexible, which makes them perfect for long-wearing.
In particular, hikers like Merino wool a lot because of its warmth and properties to manage sweat and body odor without getting too smelly. Your skin sensitivity is a significant factor to consider. But for the most part, you won’t feel any itchiness with Merino wool products. We will tackle this question even further in the following sections of this article.
Additionally, we will also discuss topics that most campers, backpackers, and hikers have in mind when it comes to Merino wool products’ qualities and traits. We’re also going to discuss maximizing this fabric’s lifespan as well as certain Merino wool products. Lastly, we will teach you how to wash and care for products made with Merino wool to guarantee the most extended lifespan.
What Is Merino Wool?
Merino wool is a natural fiber acquired from Merino sheep. This fabric is thinner and softer compared to your traditional sheep wool, which makes it more comfortable.
In particular, it is a type of wool with thinner and longer fabrics, which makes it a perfect material for many clothing. However, because of its outstanding properties and limited resources, its price can be significantly higher than other wool items; this is the very reason why everyone doesn’t wear Merino wool clothing, even if it has many advantages.
The Pros of Merino Wool
The best advantage of Merino wool is its natural and renewable fiber. One sheep alone can grow about five pounds of wool each year.
This wool also helps regulate your body temperature at a stable level, which is why they are used for many thermal garments. If it gets cold, the folds and bends in the Merino wool fiber traps air and effectively insulate you. If it gets warm, its fibers help transport your sweat immediately away from your skin, which makes you cool and feeling dry.
Lastly, Merino wool has an exceptional ability to keep you dry and sweat-free due to its porous properties. This material can effectively absorb a considerable amount of moisture before becoming completely saturated. Being porous helps it continue to stay warm even if it’s very humid or a little bit damp, which many other types of fabric like fleece can’t do.
Is Merino Wool Soft or Itchy?
The softness or itchiness will mainly depend on the overall quality of the source of the wool used to craft the clothing. Specifically, the itchiness of wool is generally acquired by the quality of the fibers used and spun to craft the material. Even though the wool community’s opinions seem to differ, it looks most people are not that affected, especially if they don’t have sensitive skin.
Furthermore, wool is measured in something known as “staples”. The longer the staple is, the less likely it would be to irritate your skin. During the spinning of fibers into wool, they need to be twisted very tightly around. So, if the manufacturer were to use short staples, which are much cheaper, those many tiny ends will stick out when the fibers are spun. These small fibers sticking out is the main reason for the itching sensation since hundreds of ends are probably rubbing against your body consistently.
The ideal staple length you would want should be at least a 64 staple or as long as possible. However, most manufacturers don’t provide this information on their product’s label since it isn’t required.
Is Merino Wool Ideal for Hot Weather?
Merino wool is an ideal fabric against hot weather since it enables the evaporation of vapor out of the garment without waiting for it to turn into moisture. Its outstanding versatility helps wick away sweat or moisture more efficiently than most traditional fabrics out there. Moreover, this enables your body to perform at its peak at heat exchanging to maintain your freshness. But keep in mind that Merino wool also comes in different thicknesses based on your needs. Two of the most common Merino thicknesses are 150g/ms and 250g/ms.
Washing And Caring Of Merino Wool
When you begin using new garments, just like any other item, you want to know how to maximize its lifespan. Thus you need to treat the clothing right and keep it clean. A lot of consumers have inquiries on how to manage their Merino Wool items. But here are the two most common questions you’d hear:
Can You Machine Wash Merino Wool Items?
Of course. Merino wool can be washed in a washing machine in most cases. Though, sometimes checking first the product labeling can help you do the best steps to clean the garment.
Does Merino Wool Clothing Shrink?
Yes, it is possible for your Merino wool clothing to shrink if you use hot water to wash your clothes. To avoid shrinkage, you must always wash your Merino garment in cold water.
Dos and Don’ts When Washing Merino Wool Gears
- Turn the clothing inside out.
- Machine-wash but make sure to set to gentle/cold cycle to prevent shrinking of the garments.
- Don’t use any fabric softener and especially bleach. Fabric softener tends to coat the Merino wool fibers, which naturally reduces their ability to control heat and moisture. On the other hand, bleach directly destroys Merino wool fibers. Only use mild detergents when washing your Merino items.
- It is ideal to air-dry your Merino wool clothing to maximize its lifespan as much as possible. However, you can also tumble-dry them if you don’t have much time to do air-drying.
- If you choose air-drying, make sure to lay them flat, or else your garments may distort in shape if you leave them wet and hanging.
- Lastly, if you opt for tumble-drying, be sure to set the settings to “low” only. We also advise checking the label of the garment first to guarantee that there are no specific instructions for washing or drying.
Is It Possible To Make Merino Wool Less Itchy?
Depending on who you buy your clothing from, Merino wool may feel slightly itchy, and this turns some people off as they generalize all wools. But in reality, most of the itchy sensation that the wearer might feel is because of the loose strands within the clothing, usually from low-quality wool. These loose strands of fibers rub against your skin and thus making you feel itchy.
To solve this issue for both Merino wool and low to medium quality wools, some people have washed their gears in the first month to remove the loose strands. Most of them got to feel more comfortable, and they love their clothing even more.
We hope that you’ve learned some useful information about Merino wool clothing today. It’s always a good idea to grab some Merino wool gears for your backpacking base layers or thru-hiking. Another good thing about Merino wool items is that most of them come with a 7-day return policy on Amazon, which helps you notice that your skin doesn’t suit the fabric of the product. But you don’t need to think about the return policy because overall, Merino wool is not itchy.
Even though Merino wool is already a high-quality material, treating your gears well will guarantee that it will last you for many years to come, even if you went through extreme backpacking and hiking. Certainly, Merino wool items will keep you warm and comfortable through wind and rain.