Everything you need to know about the advantages of Vulpine merino wool, and how to care for it.
Merino wool. The most technically astounding fabric for cycling. Yet it grows on sheep. Nature is way cool. Why?
Merino prevents odours like no other material. Sweat is wicked off the fabric very quickly, rather than hanging on a garment, essentially rotting and therefore smelling. The fatty acids on it's surface are anturally antibacterial and the internal wool layers bind with acidic and sulphourous compounds to render them inert. Posh.
Its natural to expect wool to make you hot. Well yes, it is a superb insulator. Super toasty. But merino also accelerates cooling. We cool ourselves through sweating. Merino is hydrophilic against the skin, pulling hot moisture off your skin. But it is also hydrophilic against the air, thus wicking moisture off the garment fast. Dumping moisture into the air dumps heat energy: you cool.
Warm and comfy when wet
Merino can absorb a lot of moisture (sweat, probably, ack) and stay just as comfortable. The moisture is stored off the skin, thus still insulating the body and feeling good. That is why it is awesome for wet situations. Sweaty hot days. Freezing rain jaunts. And if you're riding in the cold, you should always aim to stay warmer and risk wearing a bit too much. You can do that with merino. Over-dress. You'll still feel good. And not freeze.Heh, now you see why sheep in cool wet climates developed this stuff along with Mr. Darwin?
Merino wool fibres are really really thin. That means softness. Ours are exceptionally high-grade and therefore tiny. Bingo.
Fire resistant (do not try this at home) and hypoallergenic
Dust mites hate merino. Merino wool isn't made from petroleum. Its generally smolders and goes out. We really really hope there's never a reason for this to be tested. Especially on a bike!!
Wool grows on sheep. Grass in, wool out. Simple really.
Merino sheep thrive in harsh cold wet climates. These conditions case the best sheep with the finest, softest merino in the world.
Tasmanian merino is the very best we found, in our most humble and amply tested opinion. Its super soft and shawn from happysheep – ethics are an important issue for us. Mulesing is a nasty practice and not something we want to support. Our sheep are not mulesed.
You don't need to be too careful with merino wool; go use it and wash it when you need to. Shouldn’t need to be too often – its good like that. Ideal for long touring expeditions. Its a plush, classy fabric with fairly simple care needs. However if you don't care for it, it can pill and lose its softness…Read on…
So here is our merino care bible:
- Hand wash if you can. The yarn is vulnerable to pull and tear once its saturated with water. So hand wash avoids the risk of damage and keeps it aware from sharp or pulling objectys like velcro and cheap zips. None of Vulpine's other garments will affect merino.
- Wash at 30 degrees ('cool') and no higher. Just like lambs wool merino willshrink and “felt” if washed too hot.
- Use the right detergents. Absolutely no biological cleaners. In the same way as they eat fat and stains, enzymes in biological cleaners destroy the natural lanolin content in the yarn. It then becomes dry and will develop holes. Keep it supple with gentle cleaning agents.
- Specialist cleaners are available from companies like Nikwax and Grangers. Whilst reintroducing natural oils to the yarn they can also add a cedar extract to deter moths. They're by no means essential, but a hand extra bit of care for the merino enthusiast.
- Drip dry flat or on a clothes horse. This will avoid your top becoming stretched and mis-shaping whilst drying. If it is, don't worry, it'll bounce back when washed.
- No sharp objects in the washing machine. If you have to machine wash don’t add in items with velcro or zips in the same load. The sharp edges could catch and tear the merino yarn.
- Store clean. Moths like to feed on sweaty wool. So clean your merino stuff before you put it away for the Summer.
That's it. We chose to make so many of our garments out of merino wool for a reason. Well, a lot of really really good performance and comfort reasons.
Now please do lounge, ride, race or just be, in merino.