Merino Wool boasts countless natural properties that render the fiber a top choice for anyone looking to work or play in the great outdoors. Most notably, Merino Wool's unparalleled breathability, warmth-generation, softness (softer than regular wool due to finer micron fibers), moisture wicking abilities (literally vacuuming sweat straight from the skin, keeping you warm), and anti-microbial (odor-free) qualities rank it the world's best natural fiber. And unlike synthetics or cotton, there is an extremely finite quantity of Merino Wool in the world, which explains why many companies opt for the easier, cheaper route. Not Duckworth.
Some additional info, below:
IS MERINO WOOL ITCHY?
Duckworth's 100% Montanan-grown Merino Wool will not itch, as high-quality Merino Wool sports a fine "micron diameter" and long "staple length."
THE BEST FIBER FOR YEAR-ROUND USE
It's a common misconception that Merino Wool apparel is only applicable to cold weather and cooler climates. But somewhat counterintuitively, Merino Wool apparel also keeps a wearer cool in hot weather. In fact, desert nomads around the world have donned wool clothing for millennia, as its lightweight nature and breathability make wool far more comfortable in warm conditions than cotton or synthetics. Plus, the quick drying and moisture wicking properties are a no brainer for keeping sweat a non-factor.
Think about it this way: our sheep live in high-altitude conditions 365 days of the year, and in temperatures ranging from -40 to 90 degrees Fahrenheit. Such a range requires them to grow a natural fleece adapted to both sets of conditions, along with all the variable weather elements that arrive across all four seasons in between.
MOISTURE WICKING & QUICK DRYING
Duckworth has pioneered the art of creating fast wicking and quick drying Merino Wool fabrics, proprietary items you won't find elsewhere. Wool is naturally "hydrophilic," meaning it is chemically attracted to water and water vapor. The end result? A garment that doubles as a sweat vacuum, pulling potentially life-threatening, chill-creating sweat and moisture from the skin and into the wool fabric. On a warm day, the effect is just as worthy, keeping you sweat-free and dry despite the heat and exertion. Merino Wool is the the sensible choice for anybody who works up a sweat running, hiking, skiing, hunting, biking, climbing, etc.
WOOL BECOMES CHEMICALLY WARMER WHEN WET
Ready for some science? Merino Wool is made of what are known as "cortical cells" wrapped in a cuticle, which is then wrapped in an epicuticle (a fibrous skin that helps repel moisture). This epicuticle skin helps draw moisture vapor into the center of the fiber where it is then processed by a chemical reaction: the hydrogen bond of water is broken, generating heat when combined with pockets of trapped air. The end result? Clothing that will literally become warmer the damper it gets, a game-changing asset in wet and high-humidity conditions.
NATURAL & SUSTAINABLE
Since our Merino Wool grows perennially on our sheep's backs - no different than the hair on your head - Merino Wool is widely considered the world’s most sustainable fiber. Our premium Merino Wool fleece is shorn once a year by skilled shearers and, as if by magic (in our bald coworkers' eyes, anyway), it grows back over the course of the following 12 months, producing a new batch of fiber destined for environmentally friendly clothing material. Eco-friendly fabric techniques are then integrated at every possible step of the process, a tradition of sustainable excellence our fans and customers have come to appreciate deeply.
MERINO WOOL IS ODOR RESISTANT
The natural moisture wicking profile of Merino Wool denies odor-causing bacteria the moist environment they need to thrive and multiply. In other words, because Merino Wool is constantly drawing moisture up and away from your body, it prevents sweat or water molecules from bonding to the surface of your clothing. Natural antimicrobial goodness.
DURABLE AND FLAME RESISTANT
Bent back and forth repeatedly, a strand of polyester fiber will snap in approximately 3,000 iterations. By comparison, Merino Wool is more than six-times more durable, breaking once bent roughly 20,000 times over. The choice is simple for the savvy investor in fine outdoor apparel.
And it's flame-resistant to boot: Merino Wool’s inherent fire resistance is derived from its naturally high nitrogen content, and because of this natural rarity, Merino Wool requires higher levels of oxygen in the surrounding environment in order to burn. Merino Wool may be ignited if subjected to a significantly powerful heat source, but does not support flame easily, smoldering for short periods instead – usually only for a short time. Even more remarkably, Merino Wool’s cross-linked cell membrane structure will swell when heated to the point of combustion, forming an insulating layer that prevents the spread of flame. This also means Merino Wool produces less smoke and toxic gas than synthetic fibers when in contact with open flame. Campfire aficionado? Merino Wool is the sensible choice.