Wool X - Merino Wool

woolx.com


Last updated: May 21st '15

Test environments: Early spring in Southern Ontario (2 to 20°C)

Size: All items tested were a size Small on myself (150lbs @ 5'9")

WoolX in the desert! Photo: Matt Sapiecha

Merino wool's one of the most versatile textiles you can wear for any outdoor activity. It's low maintenance, adapts well to temperature changes, and forms to fit the shape of the user.

I recently had an opportunity to test out some merino wool pieces from WoolX and found a few pleasant surprises that I wasn't used to with other merino wool pieces.

Some big things that stood out: 

  • buttery smooth to the touch
    • these are by far the most comfy merino wool layers I've worn - all the different weights felt awesome against the skin.
  • 30 day 100% no-itch guarantee
    • a strong guarantee to back-up my previous statement - they pay return shipping otherwise if it's itchy
  • super easy clean/wash instructions
    • the WoolX items I tested were washed with regular detergent and dried in a dryer - no shrinkage or other funkiness. For me, this is kind of a big deal, considering the special care we're often expected to follow for technical garments.

1/4 zip on sweet Ontario granite...

Tagless!

Solid 1/4 zip

Flat-lock stitching

Colours!

Features

  • tagless and flat-lock stitching to minimize chafing
  • 1/4 zip for dumping heat

Fit

  • fitted upper half and looser around the waist
  • snug collar around the neck

Application & Performance

I took this piece out for a few days at the cliff where I got to test it on approach, climbing, and idling about. The piece stayed on throughout the day and was able to regulate my temperature quite well, I only had to unzip the top for the steepest parts of the approach.

The build of the top was nice, long enough to fit under a harness and the merino was silky smooth, quickly becoming my most comfortable base layer. I was also surprised with the zipper and how it didn't catch onto my beard when zipped up. I normally keep 1/4 zip tops partially open to avoid this. 

In terms of durability, it held up well. After hiking with a pack over it, the merino didn't show any signs of premature wear, which was nice for something that isn't blended with synthetics. 

Overall, I really enjoyed the top, it was super comfy and found itself at home in a variety of different climates.


Grizzly Hooded Sweatshirt (400G/M²)

At home at the crag

Pull-tabs

Double-zipper

Thumb-loops

Interior media pocket

Concealed and unconcealed thumb-loops

Features

  • double front zipper with wind and chin guard
  • two large interior drop pockets
  • concealable thumb-loop cuffs
  • media pocket with headphone port

Fit

  • relaxed, with extra room at the hips
  • hood and thumb-loops cuffs were snug

Application & Performance

I tested this mostly around the city and day trips to the cliff, getting a feel for everyday uses. The sweater was comfy to wear, and adapted well.

I noticed that the double-zipper was something that took a little getting used to, since it wasn't a feature I was accustomed to on sweaters. You have to push down on both zipper housings before you can zip it up - if you already own pieces with a double-zip, you know the drill. The double-zip provided a lot of extra comfort when sitting down, as you can prevent the sweater from bunching up around the waist.

The drop pockets inside were a huge plus, and again, something I wasn't used to for a non-technical piece. You can access them without needing to completely unzip your jacket. It was just nice to store things in the jacket, without having to clutter your hand pockets and risk having them fall out.

Another feature I wasn't used to having was the media port. It's a nice small pocket that's meant to house your smart device. I find that I prefer to have immediate control over my phone when listening to music though, so it mostly stayed in the pocket of my dominate hand. This pocket primarily served as a nice space to hold small documents and change, similar to external chest pockets.

Continuing with the theme of surprising features, the sweater also features thumb-loops. I'm a huge fan of these for when it's chillier and I don't have gloves immediately available. The thumb-loop cuffs on this sweater are also concealable. I never really found that they got in the way though, so they generally stayed out.

Overall, this was (again) a very comfy piece, and I'd recommend it for chilly day hikes, kickin' around town, and campfire lounging.


Daily Boxers (160g/m²)

Comfyyyyy

Flat-lock stitching

Features

  • flat-lock stitching
  • buttery smooth merino wool

Fit

  • anatomical and snug

Application & Performance

Out of all the WoolX pieces I got to try, this had me most stoked. It's super comfy, and continued to feel great after many days of use (... without any washes). I wore this piece non-stop for a little over a week, sitting around, walking, training, climbing, and hiking. Pretty gross right? Well, it felt good! The merino didn't hold onto any of the greasy/sticky feeling that cotton does after you've sweat into it, and didn't hold onto strong odours. My co-workers during the week didn't say anything... so I'm pretty sure they didn't notice anything either. I may be wrong on that..

The cut is great and it fits better than other undergarment I own. The merino held up quite nice as well. My previous experiences with merino wool boxers has made me a little skeptical of the wear and tear on something with such a low fibre count. WoolX's piece seemed to hold up well though, as I couldn't spot out any micro holes developing.

I highly recommend the WoolX daily boxers for the frequent traveller and dirtbag. A couple of these and you should be good for the long haul.


OVERALL THOUGHTS

Merino wool's quite good at temperature regulation and covers more bases than many technical pieces out there. It's not a miracle textile, but it's nice to have some versatility. From my experience, WoolX separates itself from the crowd with its comfort and low maintenance. It can be a bummer to buy special detergents for waterproof/windproof membranes, down, wool, etc, so it's really nice to wash WoolX like any regular piece of clothing. WoolX gets a huge thumbs up in my books - totally stoked to get some more mileage on their pieces!

 

The pieces tested in this review were provided by WoolX  :)