View Poll Results: Do you wear wool while hiking?

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  • Yes, it's all I use.

    9 10.84%
  • Occasionally.

    49 59.04%
  • No, but I'd consider it.

    16 19.28%
  • No way. Bah-ah-ah-ah-d idea.

    9 10.84%
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Thread: In Praise of Wool

  1. #1
    Senior Member Artex's Avatar
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    In Praise of Wool

    How many people wear wool as part of their hiking clothing? I wore a heavy wool shirt as a middle layer during a 3-day trip recently, and it performed great. Usually, I wear fleece (with a goretex shell on the outside and a polypro shirt for a base layer). I thought the wool wicked away moisture even better than fleece, and was warmer.

    This was brought up on another thread and it got me curious as to what extent, if at all, others choose wool.
    Last edited by Artex; 03-22-2005 at 06:02 AM.

  2. #2
    Senior Member dr_wu002's Avatar
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    I have no qualms about wearing wool but it's waaaay too warm for me. Even on the coldest day that I hiked this year (-20F) I wore only windpants and t-shirt w/ silk underlayer and on top of the t-shirt I wore my light weight fleece vest & probably a windshirt over that but I remember taking that off. I even pulled down the side vent zips on my windpants that day. I like wool but I think it'd be too warm for me hiking. Maybe better for an overnighter during winter but I haven't done any so far! Waiting for next season for that.

    -Dr. Wu
    To argue with a person who has renounced the use of reason is like administering medicine to the dead.
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  3. #3
    Senior Member sardog1's Avatar
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    I used to wear wool in all but the hottest times of the year. When the synthetic materials arrived and improved nearly each year, I started switching over. I quit wearing wool socks after I immersed my feet one winter, wrung out the socks, and found them wanting in comparison to the synthetic ones I had immersed on another similar occasion. I wear wool now only on occasions when I don't care about the weight and know that I won't be getting the garment wet. I do like the feel of wool more, but the wicking properties, light weight, and wring-ability of the synthetics are superior.
    sardog1

    "Å! kjære Bymann gakk ei stjur og stiv,
    men kom her up og kjenn eit annat Liv!
    kom hit, kom hit, og ver ei daud og lat!
    kom kjenn, hot d'er, som heiter Svevn og Mat,
    og Drykk og Tørste og det heile, som
    er Liv og Helse i ein Hovedsum."

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  4. #4
    Senior Member percious's Avatar
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    I have a Llama wool sweater I bring for camp sometimes. COZY!!!
    Anyone else ever tried Llama wool?

    -percious

  5. #5
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    I voted wrong! I do wear wool hats/ and sometimes mix blend wool socks.
    Also I do wear wool on local hikes but not in the Whites.

  6. #6
    Senior Member spencer's Avatar
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    I love wool!!!

    I have two pairs of Johnson pants that I wear on the coldest days for hiking and skiing. I have a mackinaw I often bring as backup for really cold days too. when I'm not hiking I wear the mack almost every day in the winter.

    The only significant disadvantage, in my opinion, is that snow sticks to wool and forms little snowballs all over. This means wearing the pants in very deep snow can be tricky b/c it gets heavier as the day wears on.

    spencer

  7. #7
    Senior Member RGF1's Avatar
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    Maddy I was wondering if wearing a wool hat counted. I wear one and it sure is warm . . It also seems to block the wind beter than polyporo. Another adavantage is that Unlike polypro wool last longer and does not eventually stink form bacteria finding a nice place to live in it.
    Hey it has worked for sheep ,llamas and other animals for thousands of years.

  8. #8
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    I use wool socks, long underwear bottoms and tops, T-shirts, gloves, hats, boxer briefs and sweaters. Smartwool, Ibex, Icebreaker, Fox River, Pendleton, Wigwam and Duofold all make good wool garments.

  9. #9
    Senior Member arghman's Avatar
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    Argh! You left out an option for the poll: "usually" or "often"
    I switched from cotton socks to wool socks about 5 years ago after trying a pair of Smartwool socks. Not just for hiking, I mean any use every day of the year. The new wool socks (in several brands) are much more comfortable than those old thick scratchy things & they now have different weights so I wear them in summer too.

    (LL Bean had a sale one year on Smartwool undershirts, I bought 3 and wish I had bought a few more, as I can't find them & undiscounted Smartwool prices are kind of high.)
    --Jason
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  10. #10
    Senior Member Dugan's Avatar
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    I love the stuff. Used to be standard hiking layers but after developing an allergy to it approx 10 years ago I'm now very glad I live in the synthetic fiber and polar fleece era.

  11. #11
    Member Trekkin's Avatar
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    My Arcteryx Diplomat (a wool Windstopper softshell with a fleece lining) has become daily wear for me Aug-April, and has gone on every backpacking trip I've embarked on since its purchase. It's so versatile - definitely one of my fave pieces of gear. I'm a huge proponent of wool, and often prefer it to my well stocked closet of synthetics. I second Ibex (very nice, albeit costly) and Smartwool stuff. For Winter trips I absolutely love my Dale of Norway wool sweater.....I believe it weighs almost 5lbs, and I've never been even remotely cold with it donned (although it too has a Windstopper lining). Gotta love the Windstopper.

  12. #12
    Senior Member SAR-EMT40's Avatar
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    I still only use wool socks but everything else I use is synthetic now. I used a wool shirt and wool scarf and sometimes wool pants to fend off the German winters when on patrol and thought the world of that equipment. Still wouldn't hesitate to use wool if I didn't have any fleece.

    Keith

  13. #13
    Senior Member lumberzac's Avatar
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    One of my favorite hiking shirts is a 50% polyester and 50% Merino wool blend. It gets worn as a base layer in winter and as an insolating layer in summer. It's hard to beat it for breathablity and warmth for its weight.

  14. #14
    Member MarshallM's Avatar
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    Wool still has its place

    I still love wool too! While most of my winter hiking clothing these days are synthetic, I would have no problem going back to the older wool clothing that sits in the closet. Still use ragg wool and Dachstein boiled wool mitts, though.

    The huge advantage that wool has over synthetics, IMHO, is around fire. For stovepipe tent camping in winter or cooking over small fires on canoe trips, it's mostly all wool clothing for me.

    FWIW, my wool Filson Mackinaw Cruiser jacket is my most treasured article of clothing -- period. It's over 20 years old and I'll be surprised if that jacket doesn't last at least another 20!

    Marshall
    So far the portage is toil and bloody sweat; fine for the cultivation of a bullneck and very bad for the intellect. Elliot Merrick, "True North"

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  15. #15
    Senior Member Halite's Avatar
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    My vote: all the time, but only for my feet. I love the comfort of SmartWool socks, but otherwise have gone synthetic for the rest of my clothing layers. I just used my REI rebate and 20% discount to subsidize the purchase of a thin SmartWool long sleeve zip top. Haven't used it yet, but looking forward to seeing how it performs versus synthetic.

    I don't think I would ever use any really heavy wool insulating layers anymore--down or synthetic fill garments do a better job at a lot less weight.

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