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  1. #1
    Registered User Braves#6's Avatar
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    Default Wool or wool blend?

    I need some education. When most folks talk about wearing wool clothing, (socks, shirts, jackets, whatever), is it wool or a wool blend? Most retail sites I have looked at seem to have wool blend items and not 100% wool. Help me out. I need some layers for a NOBO next spring and plan on going to REI this weekend to try on items and get familiar before starting to hunt for "deals." I even found one pair of wool socks that is 31% rayon from bamboo.?. Is there any item that should be 100% wool?
    Also, REI has Marmot Plasma 15 for $399. Is this a good choice if it fits, or could that money be better spent on a different bag?
    Thanks for any help. chiggabite

  2. #2
    Registered User ChinMusic's Avatar
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    My shirts are 100% merino wool from Icebreaker. My socks are a blend from Darn Tough
    Fear ridges that are depicted as flat lines on a profile map.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Braves#6 View Post
    I need some education. When most folks talk about wearing wool clothing, (socks, shirts, jackets, whatever), is it wool or a wool blend? Most retail sites I have looked at seem to have wool blend items and not 100% wool. Help me out. I need some layers for a NOBO next spring and plan on going to REI this weekend to try on items and get familiar before starting to hunt for "deals." I even found one pair of wool socks that is 31% rayon from bamboo.?. Is there any item that should be 100% wool?
    Also, REI has Marmot Plasma 15 for $399. Is this a good choice if it fits, or could that money be better spent on a different bag?
    Thanks for any help. chiggabite
    if youre willing to spend that kinda money on a bag, take a look at western mountaineering.
    +2 on darn tough socks

  4. #4
    Registered User Tuckahoe's Avatar
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    Labeling will generally tell you if the item is wool or wool blend.

    Today many are going to be blends simply to give the the wool longevity and affordability. Wool socks perform best with 15% to 20% nylon added to the fiber content.
    igne et ferrum est potentas
    "In the beginning, all America was Virginia." -​William Byrd

  5. #5

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    I like a little blend in the warmer months. But mostly 100% merino.

  6. #6
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    I picked up a Marmot Plasma 15 from Dicks for about 280.00 It was on sale, and I had a coupon, and it was September and HOT! May troll the clearance section and check.

  7. #7
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    Many shirts are 100 percent merino wool and socks are a blend. This is because socks are a higher wear item and wool by itself isn't that durable. You'll pay a premium for full merino clothing but it's worth it. Check out eBay for smart wool- can't beat the prices on there.

  8. #8
    Registered User Wise Old Owl's Avatar
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    WOW... OK 100% merino has wear issues... yes its soft... don't expect a year or two of service... It is the finest thinnest natural hair and for the most part doesn't itch.


    If you go thinner it has to be microfiber (Polartec) then Down. (underfeathers).. each gets lighter as the fibers get smaller they trap more air... Smart socks are blends they almost have to include Dupont Lycra to survive. The cheapest is Hunter Socks at Walmart and they achieve better than Smart Wool for service and price.

    Wool still has its place... But I stopped using it over 15 years ago. Some just like it...and when I was a Brit - I loved the Scottish heavy sweater...it was a favorite Christmas present in bright red.
    mraXzMSfg4m8JzWRpJI012Q.jpg
    Dogs are excellent judges of character, this fact goes a long way toward explaining why some people don't like being around them.

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  9. #9

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    If I'm looking for a merino wool top I expect it to be 100% merino wool. With base and mid merino layers( though I use so called mid layers as outer layers quite often) I drop the do re mi and go for Ibex, Icebreaker, Smartwool, Minus 33 and a few GoLite pieces - all 100% merino wool. Merino glove liners and beanies I want 100% merino when I'm looking for 100% merino. Merino blends in a base or mid layer piece is another thing IMO. Socks, you're not usually going to find 100% merino which is a good thing IMHO when used for hiking. My merino socks(which is what I use for hiking 90+ % of the time) have varying %'s of merino depending on the three brands that I go to for merino socks - Smartwool, Darn Tough, and Bridgedale and the various models made by each of those companies. You'll notice a few trends with merino content w/ those three companies based on what they are aimed to be used for. WATCH OUT THOUGH. IMHO, some marketing BS is going on in regards to what constitutes merino wool. All that is getting advertised as merino wool is not 100% merino wool. IMHO, there's some market fudging going on with down as well. It's to be expected. Marketers know the current popularity of merino wool and down and they'll seek to profit from that in ways that may not be readily apparent. I will not list names here though of a few companies and specific products or gear that I'm saying WHOA wait a minute.

    As far as Marmot and the Marmot Plasma 15* it's a company I trust and a sleeping bag that looks solid IMO. I had a Marmot 2006 version Helium 15* that provided many trail nights and more than a few airport layovers of high quality sleeping. That Marmot Helium provided the best overall balance in a 15* conventional sleeping bag of wt, features, durability, compressability, and quality of materials and workmanship that I could afford when I bought it in 2006. I would still be sleeping in it if some dirt bag hadn't robbed it. I consider the Plasma 15* to be the replacement to the Helium 15*.

  10. #10
    Registered User Braves#6's Avatar
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    Thanks folks. I understand about the wool. As far as affording the plasma, I thought a good bag was paramount? The weight seems to be good and since it's on sale, it's a better deal than the WM 15 degree bags (badger mf sure looks nice, but500+). Plan to check the fit at REI this weekend. Thanks again. chiggabite

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    Quote Originally Posted by Wise Old Owl View Post
    WOW... OK 100% merino has wear issues... yes its soft... don't expect a year or two of service... It is the finest thinnest natural hair and for the most part doesn't itch.
    I have some 100% merino IceBreaker long sleeve shirts that are about 5 years old. They get worn a few times a week during the winter for trail runs. They get washed once a week and have never seen the inside of a dryer. I admit they are starting to feel a bit thinned out though. I haven't thru-hiked with it (or without it for that matter) to talk about that kind of wear.

    My cheaper merino wool blend (not sure which brand) is itchy enough that I dislike wearing it next to my skin.

  12. #12

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    Braves, if the Plasma 15* fits you make note of the measurements, length, shoulders, hips, foot box, etc, so you generally know what to look for in measurements in other brands or models that might appeal to you. Think about if you might wear anything lofty inside the Plasma and how often you might do that so you might get a bag with a bit more room. Think about how that balances out in the bigger scheme of things(thermal efficiency, wt, etc). Make sure you get into whatever sleeping bag you are considering, zip it up/play with the zip(does it stick or snag, does it have a zipper stiffener/backer), check out the draft tubes if your bag has one, roll around, tighten up the hood, put the type(s) of sleeping pad(s) under you that you'll be using the sleeping bag with in the field, etc. Most competent professional gear stores, like REI, allow you to do all that.

    Also, recently I noticed a couple of used Marmot Plasma 15* and Western Mountaineering Versalite 10* on sale below retail price on Ebay, BackPackingLight, here on WhiteBlaze, and at one or more other gear selling sites.

    Personally, I didn't go with the Marmot Plasma 15*because I already had a WM Versalite 10*, decided the Marmot Plasma 15* was too close in temp rating to that WM bag, and I knew I wanted a Feathered Friends Swallow UL20* sleeping bag. I also already had a GoLite 20* down quilt.

  13. #13

    Default Wool or wool blend?

    save some money and go with the north face hightail 2s/3s bags;you can find em cheaper and they are the same weight and will keep you plenty warm, i am very fond if mine, kept me warm way past the rating

  14. #14
    Registered User Wise Old Owl's Avatar
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    OK the statement "WOW... OK 100% merino has wear issues.." WAS not directed at Dogwood or anyone.. It was based in, I spent a unusual amount, I bought my dad one for a Christmas present in bright red and he wore it every other day and it wore out in a year!. It wasn't personal.


    Please continue with the regular dialogue. It's all about focus folks.... I hope I did not hurt feelings here.
    Dogs are excellent judges of character, this fact goes a long way toward explaining why some people don't like being around them.

    Woo

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    Registered User Just Bill's Avatar
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    contrary to the rest- I prefer a blend. I like Patagonia's Merino 1- which is around 30% synthetic. Pure wool starts to stretch (looses it's shape) in between launderings, wears faster, and can pill badly in wear spots. I think it's an excellent blend that captures the best of both worlds. For you icebreaker fans- BPL did a pretty decent article about the blended fabrics and they were onboard too. Don't knock it until you try it- they are pretty nice.

    Once you get past your baselayer- 100% wool is good- but i'd have to be out in serious cold for a pretty extended time to buy a piece like that. I would much prefer my typical Merino 1+ merino 3, and puffy combo to any serious wool insulating layers.

  16. #16

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    I get a kick out of those who set themselves up as Gear Gods on sites like BPL of which I frequent. In one article they'll be hyping SUL very fragile gear or fabrics used in something like a shelter or a pack(which IMHO are much more critical overall to long distance hiking) making little mention of durability giving durability a low priority or less ink and then turn around and prioritize durability or give more ink to durability issues of something like a 100% merino wool shirt(which IMHO is less critical overall to long distance hiking). I've noticed this before and I suppose it's to be expected as different people prioritize different things differently under different conditions and different threads take on different slants/priorities. BTW, even though I do like 100% merino base and midlayers(they are just about the same in my usage) I also have merino wool blends like the Pat Merino 1 and yes I too don't think it pills as much AS SOME of the 100% merino torso pieces but that doesn't explain the totality of why I opt for merino wool blend torso pieces at times. It's funny, some ULers will be quick to lay out the do re mi for the latest greatest wee bit lighter wt piece of gear simply because it's a few grams lighter than what they previously had and it's still functionable/usable yet will complain about laying out the do re mi for a new 100% merino wool piece because of durability. And, I did read the BPL blended fabrics article and got a lot out of it so I'm not saying something bad about what they said just that I see some waffling of priorities.

  17. #17
    Registered User ChinMusic's Avatar
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    2 minutes I will never get back
    Fear ridges that are depicted as flat lines on a profile map.

  18. #18
    Registered User Braves#6's Avatar
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    Here's a WOW for ya. Attempted to try on the Pinnacle (Plasma N/A) and discovered I am a lot bigger than average. Tried a Big Agnes Lost Ranger 15. A little big, but at least I could zip it with my arms inside. I have more studying to do! chiggabite

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    Quote Originally Posted by ChinMusic View Post
    2 minutes I will never get back
    +1

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  20. #20
    Registered User Wise Old Owl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mobius View Post
    I have some 100% merino IceBreaker long sleeve shirts that are about 5 years old. They get worn a few times a week during the winter for trail runs. They get washed once a week and have never seen the inside of a dryer. I admit they are starting to feel a bit thinned out though. I haven't thru-hiked with it (or without it for that matter) to talk about that kind of wear.

    My cheaper merino wool blend (not sure which brand) is itchy enough that I dislike wearing it next to my skin.

    Just a thought traditional dress never really had wool right against the skin since the death of the British union suit. In Britain, this garment has often been known as "combinations". When made from the traditional wool as recommended by Gustav Jäger, these are "woolly combinations"—sometimes abbreviated to "woolly coms". The invention was truly American and was flannel here-not wool


    Oh I just saw the above post - I would never claim to be a gear god... not my style.
    Dogs are excellent judges of character, this fact goes a long way toward explaining why some people don't like being around them.

    Woo

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