August 22, 2022 4 min read
As with any backpacking trip, there’s only so much one can control when it comes to weather, so one of the most important pieces in planning for a successful trip is packing the right gear. Queue Merino Wool layers for both cold and warm weather, which check these boxes: they dry quickly, keep your temperature regulated, and can last multiple wears without becoming smelly. Duckworth’s made in the USA Merino Wool clothing - from wool baselayers and Merino Wool socks to Merino Wool sweatshirts - hits all of those needs and more which is why they are my go-to when out in the backcountry.
So, as I woke up bright and early Saturday morning, feeling excitement rush through my body as I anticipated the long weekend in the backcountry ahead, I reflected on how there’s something special about having everything you need stuffed into one bag that you can carry on your shoulders: food, shelter, clothing (in this case, almost entirely Merino Wool layers),and maybe a good book or a sketch pad. Better yet, I had no worries knowing the wool layers I did have packed would have me prepared for any weather conditions we faced.
While I can’t tell you where in my beautiful home state of Montana we went backpacking in (my secret!), I can tell you a bit about my favorite Duckworth Merino Wool layering system (a strategic combination of women’s wool layers) and everything you need to know about each individual piece.
as a solo layer while underneath my backpack, especially as I break a sweat when hiking throughout the day. It’s not an exaggeration when I say that once I removed my pack, the sweat that had accumulated on my back was almost completely dry in about 30 seconds; Duckworth’s Vapor fabric is uniquely crafted so that the tri-blended yarn (wool, polyester, Tencel) work together to create a moisture-wicking, quick-drying wool layer masterpiece.
Let me explain a little more about this extraordinary fabric: First, the polyester gives the material needed strength and durability, which is certainly crucial when rubbing underneath a backpack. Second, the Tencel and/or modal, which is essentially a wood pulp fiber, allows the fabric to breathe, wick moisture from your skin, and dry crazy fast - always a must while in the backcountry. Third, the Merino Wool has countless remarkable qualities such as its natural ability to temperature regulate (thermoregulation) and keep from smelling because it is antimicrobial and antibacterial. This is definitely a must when wearing multiple days.
I immediately put this Merino Wool hoodie on once we make it to camp for the night. It checks all the boxes: This women’s wool layer is warm and cozy, and the high neck hood is super convenient if there is wind or a light rain. I also put it on a few times for brisk early morning hiking to keep me warm. What I love about this layer is - because of the bi-ply technology of the fabric - it does great at wicking away my sweat and keeping me warm while hiking.
To get into some of the science (I am not a scientist but it’s basic enough stuff for me to understand!), since the inner layer is polyester, which is hydrophobic (doesn’t like water), it will pull the sweat off my skin and push it to the outer, 100% Merino layer of the fabric (which is hydrophilic, meaning it will attract moisture to some degree). The wool will absorb the sweat, keeping you dry, but also when wool encounters moisture, it actually begins to heat up on an atomic level, eventually evaporating the moisture off of the layer. How cool is that? Whenever I wear this layer, I always know I’m going to be warm and dry.
I can’t say enough good things about this Merino Wool jacket! This outer layer is incredibly lightweight (11 oz) and packs down super easily. I love to bring this jacket backpacking because the extra warmth is astronomical and disproportionate compared to the light weight of it in my backpack.
While on my trip, we encountered a few thunderstorms. Even though this jacket was wet, I was significantly warmer because the wool batting serves up the heat (remember when I told you about wool atomically getting warmer when wet?). Imagine the same scenario with a regular down jacket. The down would get wet and mushy, making you colder AND it takes a lot longer to dry compared to the wool batting in the Duckworth WoolCloud Jacket. This is personally my favorite top layering system while out backpacking. I know that when things don’t go as planned (which usually they don’t in the wilds of the backcountry), my Duckworth Merino Wool gear has me covered!