Clothes are what protects us humans from the elements. We don’t have fur to keep us warm. Exposing our skin to the sun is also not healthy in the long run.
So when being outdoors for several days, good protection is utterly important. We decided we wanted to add high quality clothing to our high end equipment. It was not clear for us yet, but merino wool was the answer.
There are three things that we would like to have in our wearable equipment:
- That it’s comfortable for the long hours of usage, for many months.
- It also needs to be somehow versatile, meaning we can use it in different conditions, saving space and weight in our panniers.
- And definitely, it’s important to be resistant, because we have to minimize the chances of damaging something when we are on the way.
But most of the time, you can’t find these three characteristics together. Most of the time…
the answer was (very) near
Verena had a bit of knowledge about merino wool, so the research and considerations started. It was just the perfect material! Warm when it’s cold, fresh when it’s hot, besides many other advantages we listed below.
Better than that: there was a company producing top quality merino clothing just thirty minutes away by car from home. That’s how we got to contact SCROC, who received us very well and explained many of the textile’s benefits.
let's talk about THE WONDERS
1. Temperature regulating: Merino is perfect for the four seasons.
You’re wondering just like we were in the beginning: How can the same textile be both cooling and warming? It’s almost magic. As if the merino T-shirt had neurons and felt what you needed at that moment.
Already our grandmothers knew that wool keeps you nice and warm in freezing conditions. So probably that’s not so surprising to you.
The rippled structure of the fabric provides micro air chambers where your body heat is stored. Therefore, ideal insulation can be ensured.
In warm temperatures, your body’s moisture vapors are absorbed by the merino fiber and then evaporate from outside of the textile, ensuring you’ll stay fresh.
The hot ambient air makes the moisture dry faster, creating a coolness effect. By the way, you’ll look like a sexy tiger with your sweat being absorbed by the shirt.
If our grandmothers had access to merino wool in the old days, maybe they would have also made woolen T-shirts, not just jumpers.
2. Odor neutralizing: You won’t smell for a week. Trust us, we tested it.
It’s probably our absolute favorite quality of this superhero textile. When you want to go for a world bike trip, obviously you don’t want to carry heavy weight.
And you also don’t want to wash clothes every day. But how can you sleep in a tent with your lovely partner after a whole day of cycling? Right, it would probably not be so nice.
Merino wool T-shirts don’t smell. It’s a miracle. We have really tested them to their limits, believe us. We were riding the whole day in up to 40 °C areas and when doing the classic Armpit Smell Self-Check, it was just fine. We usually hung our T-shirts on a tree branch overnight and the next day we used it again.
Here’s why: On the one hand, all odor molecules are absorbed by the merino textile and only released upon washing. So there is less sweat on your skin being built up.
On the other hand, merino wool has an antibacterial effect. Its surface has a similar slippery effect to roof tiles, preventing bacteria from sticking to it, which are responsible for producing an uncomfortable smell out of our sweat, from entering the fabric.
3. Easy to care of: it basically needs fresh air
At the end of your day, you just need to hang your merino wool shirt outside to dry. The merino fabric releases water fast, resulting in quick drying. In extreme cases or after a long usage, you can wash merino clothes at low temperatures between 30 and 40 °C, when needed.
4. Not itchy: You will love the softness of this wonder wool.
Many people have issues with wool due to its itchiness. It’s an endless scratching. You remember how itchy the woolen jumpers were when you were young?
Well, no worries with merino wool. The fibers are extremely thin, in fact way thinner than human hair. “Show me science!”, you might be thinking. Compare the thickness yourself:
- Human hair: 60 to 180 microns
- Merino wool: 17 microns
Have you known about the micron measurement before? We also haven’t, but we did our research.
The size matters because it being so small, it doesn’t really irritate your skin, avoiding the scratchy feeling.
5. Durable: You will have a long-lasting merino shirt
Merino wool is six times stronger than cotton. Cotton fibers break after being bent about 3,200 times, whereas the lucky merino fibers can be bent 20,000 times. Meaning it lasts at least six times longer.
In this way, you’ll also contribute to a sustainable fashion industry. Plus, if you think that the initial investment is somewhat high, then the longevity is another point that sums up to a high value product.
6. UV resistant: Merino wool gently protects your skin
The merino sheep have evolved to withstand intense sun exposure and UV radiation. The secret lies in their wooly dress. The Ultraviolet Protection Factor (UPF) of merino shirts ranges from 20 to 40, depending on the quality of the wool and product type.
Just to compare: A white cotton T-shirt has a UPF of 10 only. UPF 40 means that 97.5 % of the harmful sun rays are blocked.
As we are exposed to these dangerous sun rays almost from sunrise to sunset every day, for us this was an important aspect.
7. Sustainable: Your merino shirt is renewable and biodegradable
What is merino wool actually made of? It’s the wool from the merino sheep mainly found in Australia and New Zealand. The sheep are shorn once or twice a year and grow the fluffy coat again afterwards.
In the end, what is needed to grow merino wool on the sheep is grass, water and fresh air. In comparison, synthetic materials as well as cotton require quite a lot of treatment and processing.
Merino wool is also biodegradable and after about 12 months the wool is decomposed into the earth’s ground. We all know that there’s enough plastic on our planet already, so we can make a smaller impact wearing natural clothing. Our skin will be happy as well.
SCROC QUALITY, VALUES AND SUSTAINABILITY
For SCROC the highest quality is very important, which is why they get the merino wool from the experts themselves: directly from Australia, where the farmers have acquired a high expertise on merino wool over generations and where the conditions are perfect for these animals.
Only the wool from those farms where the sheep are treated respectfully and without suffering are used.
Australia is on the other end of the world, that doesn’t sound so climate friendly, you might think. We also did. But SCROC ships the wool only once a year and in the best CO2 friendly way possible.
Of course what naturally happens is that some products are sold out, since SCROC rejects overproduction, which is a thing to praise because unfortunately that’s the common way to go for the fast fashion nowadays.
Then the shirt itself is produced in Europe in order to provide short transportation ways. When it comes to coloring, which is one of the most harmful steps in the production process, SCROC is keen on making this process the most sustainable they can.
For example, the warmth that is being produced during the fabric coloring is used for heating the company building. Heavy metals are not used and the impregnation is PFC free.
If you would like to have further information on the production of your SCROC merino shirt, you can read up here on the transparency of SCROC products.
Don't be ashamed of sweating!
We are really happy with our SCROC merino shirts and think that they are wonderful and faithful companions for this trip. What we especially like about them is that they also look cool so we can directly go to a restaurant for dinner after a cycling day if we want.
And we don’t feel ashamed of our smell!