One of Merino wool’s most remarkable properties is that it’s perfect for almost any kind of weather. Because Merino wool is a reactive fibre it’s perfect for every season. No matter the weather conditions of your destination, you can wear your favourite pullover or trousers and know that you’ll remain comfortable and insulated against the cold and the heat.
It enables this by absorbing moisture vapour from the environment to generate heat. Furthermore, pockets of air are trapped within the wavy Merino wool fibres, trapping body heat and acting as a buffer against the cold air, keeping you warm against the elements. By contrast, in warmer climates Merino clothing helps keep you cool by storing moisture vapour from the body within the fibre. As your body heats up, the transfer of the moisture vapour out into the environment acts as a ventilation system to cool down the body.
Merino wool also offers protection against UV. So even if you’re travelling involves spending a lot of time in the great outdoors, Merino wool is the perfect fabric to protect you not only from shifts in temperature but the damaging effects of the sun. For all its incredibly lightweight softness, Merino wool is one of the strongest fibres in clothing. Merino wool fibres can bend over 20,000 times before breaking.
On a practical level, Merino wool is the ideal fabric for travel because it’s incredibly low maintenance and resilient. Seen through a microscope, Merino fibres look like fine, coiled springs. This gives it a high level of elasticity.
While there are some very good tutorials with brilliant tips on how to pack to avoid wear-and-tear, some materials remain more prone to creasing than others. Merino wool can be folded, rolled or even scrunched and still return back to its original shape with minimal signs of wear. This cuts back on time-consuming tasks such as ironing, meaning you can hit the ground running and get the most out of your travels.
Photography Courtesy of M.J. Bale | Illustration Barry Allen Patenaude