Beanies of wool, mittens of wool, socks of wool, sweaters of wool, even underwear is now made of wool! You can find it dark, light, soft and rough. Merino, angora, mohair and different mixes.. I will never forget the woolen base layers I was given as a present every Christmas. Wool, wool and wool! But why?
What makes this soft (and sometimes itchy) material so good for outdoor activities?
Warmth from the nature
Wool is 100% natural product. You can find it all kinds of different types, from camel to alpaca, but most commonly known it is a textil product made of sheep wool.
If you take a closer look at sheep and other hairy animals, you might notice that their hair is curly (and maybe also to the fact that they don't use Gore Tex). Wool is so warm, because of this curly structure, which creates a system that holds heat inside it. At the same time the material breathes, which is why your body temperature doesn't rise even when doing physical activities and sweating. Technology from the nature!
It keeps you warm, even if wet
If I ask you what you would wear if you get cold, what would you say? Wool socks? Maybe a warm cardigan.
Thanks to its warming feature, wool is one of the most popular materials in producing clothing. For example, a woolen base layer can be the best competitor to one made of completely technical materials, thanks to the warming system mentioned before. Sweat is removed from your skin and transferred into the fibers of the textil, which means that wool keeps you warm even if it gets wet.
In outdoor adventures where you will make fires and spend time around them, wool is excellent option also because it doesn't burn easily! (I am also guilty for burning my sleeves while fixing the fire)
How to take care of my woolen clothing?
I have often heard people say: "No way I'm buying woolen clothes, they are too difficult to wash."
Most of your woolen products is better to hang outside in fresh air, instead of washing it. I hang my woolen base layers, beanies, mittens - sometimes even wool socks, outside for at least 24 hours. This is how you get unpleasant smells out and the end result is fresh and natural. Even after spending time around fire, the smell of smoke comes out by hanging the cardigans outside - especially in cold weather!
What about the classic spaghetti sauce -situation? (If you know what I mean..)
You can also wash woolen clothes in the washing machine, in low degrees and with mild washing products. Most machines also have a separate program for woolen clothing. The most careful ones wash their woolen clothes by hand. Remember to always dry your woolen products flat, because when wet the fibers of the textil can stretch easily and your lovely cardigan loses its form.
When wool makes you itch
For many, wool unfortunately is not an option, because it itches and scratches uncomfortably. Your beanie leaves an awful mark on your forehead and the collar of your cardigan feels like needles.
As mentioned, there are many different types of wool. If you are the itchy kind, I would recommend to try merino or soft alpaca wool. Often it is enough to use mixed materials of wool and other artificial textiles. This is when the amount of wool is lower which makes it less itchy. Mixed materials are often more durable too and therefore amazing option for outdoor activities!
In the photo above we are on a snowshoeing adventure to the Pihka Outdoors secret cabin. Under the outer layers, we are wearing base layers of merino wool, woolen socks and cardigans made of wool. Beanies, mittens and neck warmers are also woolen.
Wool is an amazing material for outdoor activities - especially in the cold of Lapland!
Wear the right gear and head outside to enjoy the fresh air!