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564 Merino Wool
Lightweight Crew

Merino Wool Shirts

For years I had been a holdout. I had read and re-read the product descriptions of the advantages of merino wool and glowing personal recommendations; but other than with socks, I had never worn a merino wool garment. Wool is itchy.

Instead of wool, I have worn Patagonia's Silkweight shirts. I love the shirt. The silkweight is what I consider to be the perfect undergarment. It is lightweight, easy to layer over, the slick fabric moves with over-garments, and dries incredibly fast. So, why even try the wool garments? The Capilene shirts hold odor. Oh, they are treated with some kind of odor guard; but after a few days; you can never reach above your head for fear of passing out from the stench!

Wool is not supposed to hold odor like the Capilene.

A few weeks back, I got a notice from Patagonia that their undergarments were on sale. At regular price the wool is twice as expensive as the silkweight shirt. The sale price made the experiment more affordable. I ordered a couple of lightweight wool shirts (and one silkweight : - ) ). So now, I have a few Lightweight Merino Crew shirt tips ...

The shirts are sized with a slim fit. I do not like slim fitting anything! I would always buy a full cut over a slim cut; but the shirt was not available in full or even regular cut. I ordered a size larger than normal and the fit was still trim.

When I pulled the tags and put the shirt on - it was itchy. It was not like wearing old Army surplus wool, but it was no where near as soft as the silkweight shirt.

So I ran in the garment. After working up a good sweat, I put on a jacket and allowed the shirt to work it's magic. It dried at least as fast as the silkweight.

The shirt also seemed warmer. I was trying to figure if my skin being irritated by the wool added to the warmth of the garment. Regardless, the shirt was warmer than a silkweight.

After running in the shirt, I wore the shirt for four more days without only taking it off (other than to run and to shower) and my wife did not complain. I am pretty sure I had not accumulated the odor associated with a week in the woods without a shower; but still the garment did not smell after five days of continuous wear.

The final test was to laundry the garment. One of the things I enjoy most about the silkweight fabric (and other capilene shirts) is there are no special washing instructions. The garment's ease of wash is especially helpful when you are on the road for the summer. The wool shirt had a number of garment care icons on the tag. I had to look online to interpret their meaning. Basically it is a wool shirt and you treat it as such. Wash it in cold water and dry it flat.

Overall I liked the shirt. The special care instructions and the fit were my biggest concerns. Maybe, I will lose a few pounds and then the fit will not be a big deal. The special care will still be an issue though. I am planning on using the shirts when I am on extended trips and not for around the town wear, so I will not be washing them very often. When I do wash them, maybe, my wife will help remind me not to throw the shirt in the dryer!

Also of note, I thought that the glowing ember (orange) and blue color scheme, would be great for me doing "Tebow" poses on top of all the mountains this summer! Now, that could be fun.

Happy wool shirt trails


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