What is Merino Wool? Your Guide to the Ideal Fabric For Travelers

What is merino wool? After a little experimenting with the unique fabric, I believe I’m qualified to answer that question.

See, I have a love-hate relationship with merino wool. Some merino clothing is stylish while offering a plethora of benefits for travelers. Other merino shirts look like trash and should be avoided be anyone who strives to not look like garbage on a daily basis.

While some travelers clothing looks fantastic, other pieces don’t. Still, there’s a lot to love about the unique fabric. So let’s dive in and learn a little more…what is merino wool?

P.S: Check out my favorite merino wool shirt if you’re looking to travel in style. 

Where Does Merino Wool Come From?

First and foremost, merino is a breed of sheep. Originating in Spain, the breed was sent across seas to Australia and New Zealand nearly two centuries ago.

Since then, farmers in both countries have taken to developing the finest wool from merino sheep. But what makes merino sheep different from regular ones and their wool?

Merino sheep have developed a fleece that is made for extremes. Their wool is insulating and warm in the cold winter months, but still breathable and refreshing in the hot summer months.

Regular sheep would freeze to death in the extremes where merino live, like the New Zealand Southern Alps.  But merinos flourish in the area due to their unique fleece that handles both temperature extremes, is extremely lightweight, and quite soft.

Why Travelers Love Merino Wool?

Travelers adore merino wool because the fabrics works. Nature can’t afford mistakes. The fabric was field-tested by animals living in extreme climates that are super hot in the summers and crazy cold in the winters.

If nature fails, the sheep will die. But nature didn’t make a mistake and merino sheep are still found in New Zealand and Australia to this day. Thus, travelers have the luxury of wearing merino wool clothing while on the road.

But what are the benefits of merino wool? Well, they’re vast:

Ideal in Every Climate

The biggest benefit of wearing merino wool clothing is temperature control. I can wear a merino wool shirt in 85 degree weather and not feel hot, but I can also throw the same shirt on a 45 degree day and still feel comfortable.

Due to the unique nature of merino wool, the clothing is ideal and hot and cold weather. The fleece was created by nature to protect sheep from hot and cold weather throughout some of the toughest regions on earth.

No Odor

Merino wool offers better odor control than nearly every other fabric on the market. You can hit a huge workout in the gym, cover the shirt in sweat, and then set it over a chair to dry. The next day the shirt will be good as new and you won’t smell a single foul odor from it.

Merino’s unique odor blocking properties stem from the fabric’s complex chemical structure that locks in odor and actively removes bacteria – which can cause bad smells. If you’re active on the road and looking to manage bad smells, merino clothing is a MUST.

Rocking that merino wool shirt!

Ability to Travel Light

Due to merino wool’s unique abilities, it’s easy to travel light while wearing the fabric. Merino allows travelers to cut the clothing they pack in half – if not more. You only need a few t-shirts and tank tops when traveling with merino wool.

Personally, I own three merino wool t-shirts and two merino wool tank tops. For regular shirts, I don’t need anything else. If I had to, I could travel with one merino shirt and one merino tank top and be perfectly fine.

Stay Dry Capabilities

Merino wool is the original “Dri-Fit” fabric. Nike is just too cheap to use it. The fabric transfers moisture away from the body, which allows you to stay nice and dry while rocking your merino shirt.

Merino fibers have the ability to absorb over 35% of its dry weight in moisture while still looking and feeling completely dry to the touch. Due to the nature of the fabric, you’re less likely to sweat and sweat is less likely to absorb into your clothing.

Easy to Care For

Merino wool doesn’t need to be washed often. You can wear each piece of merino clothing 3-7 times before you need to wash it. The fabric doesn’t smell and naturally removes bacteria.

When it is time to wash everything, you can wash merino in the sink or washing machine. Just make sure to use cold water and turn the shirts inside out. Then let them air dry and your merino clothing will be ready to roll the next morning.

Comfortable Fabric

While merino may seem perfect on paper, many have wondered whether the fabric is comfortable. I’m here to tell you it is. Merino wool is exceptionally comfortable. It’s soft and feels great draped over the body. Cotton and Dri-Fit fabrics simply cannot compete with the comfort found in merino wool travel clothes.

More merino wool style.

Merino Wool Clothing For the Road

What is merino wool? While the question may come to mind, you probably also would like to see some merino wool products and find out if merino clothing could be for you.

If that’s you, check out a few of my reviews on merino wool products:

What is Merino Wool? Your Go-To Guide to the Ideal Fabric For Travelers

Curious what is merino wool? The information above should answer your question while explaining while many a traveler loves the unique fabric. If you plan to hit the road or just want to live a minimalist lifestyle, merino wool is the ideal fabric for all your clothing.

P.S: This is still my favorite merino wool shirt.

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Jake D

Travel junkie turned blogger. Location independent. From the Midwest, but often based in Latin America. Big on beaches, rumba, and rum. Addicted to the gym. Committed to showing a different style of travel - one that involves actually interacting with locals and exploring different cultures.

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How to Wash Merino Wool: Your Go-To Guide - Nomadic Hustle - July 11, 2017

[…] it’s pretty easy to take care of your merino clothing. If you’ve ever washed clothes before, you’ll have no issues keeping merino wool so […]

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