Trekking is an outdoor activity that requires appropriate clothing, capable of guaranteeing comfort, protection and breathability. Among the most suitable materials for trekking, there is merino wool, a natural fiber that offers numerous advantages over synthetic fabrics. Let's see what the characteristics and benefits of merino wool for trekking are.
The merino wool It comes from the fleece of Merino sheep, a breed originally from Spain and then spread to Australia and New Zealand.
What is merino wool used for?
It is a very fine and soft wool, which does not pinch or irritate the skin. Merino wool has a particular structure, made up of scales that overlap and create air chambers between the fibers. These air chambers allow the wool to have different properties:
- Thermoregulation: using merino wool garments for trekking allows you to adapt to temperature variations, keeping your body warm when it's cold and cool when it's hot. This is possible because this yarn absorbs or releases excess heat, depending on environmental conditions. Additionally, merino wool is fire resistant and will not melt or ignite when in contact with flames.
- Breathability: merino wool is able to absorb moisture up to 30% of its weight, without getting wet or heavy. This means that merino wool leaves the skin dry and prevents the formation of bacteria and bad odors. Plus, merino wool dries quickly, which is helpful if you're raining or sweating. It therefore has a higher absorption capacity than other types of wool.
- Comfort: Merino wool is a very soft and delicate fiber, which does not cause itching or allergies. Merino wool is also elastic and resistant, which makes it suitable for garments that must follow the body's movements without deforming or tearing. Merino wool is also eco-friendly and biodegradable, as it comes from a renewable source and requires no chemical treatments or harmful dyes.
For these reasons, merino wool is an ideal material for trekking, especially for the layer in contact with the skin, such as t-shirts, underwear and socks. This allows you to wear it for several days, which is not uncommon if you are out for a sporting activity such as trekking. In fact, merino wool offers superior comfort to synthetic fabrics, such as polyester or nylon, which tend to create a humid and warm environment on the skin, encouraging the proliferation of bacteria and fungi.
Merino wool, on the other hand, keeps the skin dry and healthy, preventing irritation, blisters and infections.
Merino wool can also be used for the intermediate layer, such as sweaters, sweatshirts or jackets, to increase thermal insulation and breathability. For this reason it is also excellent for other sports such as ski mountaineering or it is also used for more demanding sports, for example as decathlon merino wool garments. Merino wool can be combined with other natural fibres, such as cashmere and silk, to create garments that exploit the qualities of both materials.
However, merino wool also has disadvantages, including high cost, the need for special care when washing and attraction to moths. To overcome these problems, some precautions can be followed, such as:
- Choose quality merino wool garments, with a certification attesting to their origin and processing. Quality merino wool garments are more resistant and long-lasting, and have a lower environmental impact.
- Wash merino wool items by hand or in the washing machine, on a delicate program and at low temperature, using a specific detergent for wool or a neutral soap. Do not use bleach, fabric softener or dryer, which can damage the fibres. Wring out the items delicately, without twisting them, and lay them out on a flat surface, avoiding exposing them to direct sun or heat sources.
- Store merino wool garments in a dry and ventilated place, placing them in cotton or paper bags, or in airtight plastic containers. Add natural remedies against moths, such as lavender, cedar or mothballs.
In conclusion, merino wool is an excellent material for trekking, as it offers comfort, protection and breathability, adapting to different climatic conditions. For these uses the quality of the wool must be superior: the high quality of merino wool is undisputed for activities of this kind compared to any other synthetic fibre.
However, wool fiber garments require a certain amount of attention when choosing, washing and storing, to preserve their quality and durability.