Recent winter forest MUni rides have been a LOT more comfortable due largely by a change in clothing. I’ve discovered Merino wool!
I’ve been riding a lot more this winter in cold (0-10 degrees celcius) and drizzly weather and my standard combination of (old and smelly) polypropylene thermal, t-shirt and wind/rain shell often left me chilled to the bone during longer rides. Maybe not related but I came down with a heavy flu earlier this winter, the first in many years.
All in all, it seemed like it was time to look into dressing better for winter unicycling. Reading around online and visiting adventure stores the consensus was to go with merino wool for its light, odour-resistant, breathable, warm and comfortable properties. e.g.
The special quality of merino wool is that its fibres are a fraction of the diameter of natural wool and hence do not have the barbs that make you itchy when it is next to your skin. Merino wool also allows moisture to go in and out, creating a breathable garment and hence maintains a more constant temperature zone for your body.
I have to admit I’ve never been a fan of wool clothing — memories as a kid of super itchy, bulky, uncomfortable (but warm) woolen jumpers — so even after I purchased the woolen clothing it took some time to ditch my old smelly thermals and give it a go.
My winter clothing setup is now a Merino wool base layer which is less bulky than my old synthetic thermal, much softer and more comfortable on the skin to wear. On top of the base layer I’ve been wearing a KUHL Merino pullover. Again very little bulk or weight and super comfy.
Do the two layers of Merino work ok? You betcha, it’s been a revelation of warmth and comfort.
On a recent MUni ride in the Wombat Forest I left my rain shell in the van thinking the Winter’s day would stay cold but fine. As it turned out the sky closed in and it rained, and rained. Over the 3 1/2 hours of MUni riding I never felt cold at all when riding or (more importantly) during breaks, even though the woolen clothing was wet inside and out — inside from sweat, outside from the rain.
Just like Goldilocks my temperature throughout the ride was JUST RIGHT 🙂
Like all good outdoor gear the only downside is cost, but looked after well the two pieces of Merino clothing (which btw is easy to clean) should last a long time. Throw a minimal wind shell in the back pocket of the Camelbak and it’s job done.
No more chilled wet back during breaks. BAA BAA!