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Wool as an outer layer 3568

Zombie Apprentice Posts: 11,363
Wool as an outer layer
« on: September 01, 2017, 03:32:14 PM »
I've been seeing a bit of uprise in the line of thought that wool is a great outer layer for hiking, backpacking and other outdoor activities even in rain, snow and sleet.

While I understand that wet wool still keeps it's insulation value, tests have shown that it still acts like a wet piece of clothing when it comes to windchill. And I can personally attest to that.
So am I missing something with this wool outer craze? Or is it just a case of some traditional loving individuals going a bit overboard and a few too many following suit? I've always been taught to keep the warm layers under the water resistant layer, even when it comes to lighter puffy stuff (down or synthetic jackets, vests, etc.)

Solving problems you didn't know you had in the most obscure way possible

"And now, it's time to hand this over to our tame race axe driver. Some say, he can live in the forest for six months at a time without food, and he knows of a secret tribe of only women where he is their God. All we know is, he's call the Styx!" - TazzieRob
Global Moderator Zombie Apprentice Posts: 18,290
Re: Wool as an outer layer
« Reply #1 on: September 01, 2017, 03:42:29 PM »
I think you pretty much nailed it  ;).  Truth is there are some great breathable synthetics that are water proof.  Adding a warm wool layer under is the best of both worlds. 

Esse Quam Videri
Zombie Apprentice Posts: 16,849 I'm not a pessimist, I'm an experienced optimist!
Re: Wool as an outer layer
« Reply #2 on: September 01, 2017, 04:35:09 PM »
Wool is also more resistant to sparks from a fire



The cantankerous but occasionally useful member, formally known as 50ft-trad
Absolutely No Life Club Posts: 7,620 Smurf smash!
Re: Wool as an outer layer
« Reply #3 on: September 01, 2017, 04:54:15 PM »
Wool is best as a middle layer, with some breathable synthetic layer on top of it, not necessarily waterproof, but water resistant


My problem is I'm somewhat allergic to wool, so I mostly get merino wool stuff, which doesn't cause the allergic reaction :tu:
« Last Edit: September 01, 2017, 04:55:44 PM by Aleph78 »

"Hoarder of weirdness,
Always posting random things,
I'm AlephZero" :ninja:
Absolutely No Life Club Posts: 7,620 Smurf smash!
Re: Wool as an outer layer
« Reply #4 on: September 01, 2017, 04:59:00 PM »
Oh and nowadays, you can get merino wool underwear as well...

Not tried those yet ;)

"Hoarder of weirdness,
Always posting random things,
I'm AlephZero" :ninja:
Absolutely No Life Club Posts: 7,620 Smurf smash!
Re: Wool as an outer layer
« Reply #5 on: September 01, 2017, 05:02:05 PM »
And if you are doing any kinda of sweaty excercise, do NOT wear any cotton as bottom layer  :pok:

"Hoarder of weirdness,
Always posting random things,
I'm AlephZero" :ninja:
Zombie Apprentice Posts: 11,363
Re: Wool as an outer layer
« Reply #6 on: September 01, 2017, 05:47:32 PM »
Wool is also more resistant to sparks from a fire

Good point. Oilskin tarps are too. However the weight of it all leads me to a conclusion that it might be better suited for more static camp activities than active movement in wet weather

Solving problems you didn't know you had in the most obscure way possible

"And now, it's time to hand this over to our tame race axe driver. Some say, he can live in the forest for six months at a time without food, and he knows of a secret tribe of only women where he is their God. All we know is, he's call the Styx!" - TazzieRob
Zombie Apprentice Posts: 11,363
Re: Wool as an outer layer
« Reply #7 on: September 02, 2017, 03:18:35 PM »
Another thought that just got into my mind - overcoats are made of wool as well and they work. Hell I didn't freeze my behind off in a whiteout thanks to an overcoat

Solving problems you didn't know you had in the most obscure way possible

"And now, it's time to hand this over to our tame race axe driver. Some say, he can live in the forest for six months at a time without food, and he knows of a secret tribe of only women where he is their God. All we know is, he's call the Styx!" - TazzieRob
Hero Member Posts: 693
Re: Wool as an outer layer
« Reply #8 on: September 02, 2017, 04:45:58 PM »
I could see wool as an outer layer in dry conditions but not in wet. For all it's properties, waterproof/resistant it is not.
No Life Club Posts: 1,219
Re: Wool as an outer layer
« Reply #9 on: September 02, 2017, 05:58:42 PM »
I could see wool as an outer layer in dry conditions but not in wet. For all it's properties, waterproof/resistant it is not.

Hmm, I'm not sure I agree. The Austrian Loden coats are at least a bit water resistant and something like a Harris tweed suit jacket will be able to handle a bit of rain before you get wet. I don't think they are very suitable for long term exposure or really heavy rainfall but it will take you from one dry point to another without you getting wet in my experience.
Zombie Apprentice Posts: 11,363
Re: Wool as an outer layer
« Reply #10 on: September 02, 2017, 07:51:38 PM »
as said this is somewhat confusing

Solving problems you didn't know you had in the most obscure way possible

"And now, it's time to hand this over to our tame race axe driver. Some say, he can live in the forest for six months at a time without food, and he knows of a secret tribe of only women where he is their God. All we know is, he's call the Styx!" - TazzieRob
Global Moderator He Who Has The Most Nuts, Wins! Posts: 54,589
Re: Wool as an outer layer
« Reply #11 on: September 02, 2017, 08:16:51 PM »
 :nothingtoadd:
No Life Club Posts: 4,708 Smurf it!
Re: Wool as an outer layer
« Reply #12 on: September 02, 2017, 09:08:56 PM »
As a base or midlayer then yes, but not as an outer layer, it's just not as wind or waterproof as modern materials

“Strong minds discuss ideas, average minds discuss events, weak minds discuss people.” - Socrates
"I'm not feeling very talky today, off you smurf". - Smashie
Complaining is mental preparation for failure.
Si vis pacem, para bellum
Zombie Apprentice Posts: 16,849 I'm not a pessimist, I'm an experienced optimist!
Re: Wool as an outer layer
« Reply #13 on: September 02, 2017, 09:18:55 PM »
Seems to work for sheep :shrug:





 :whistle:

 :P



The cantankerous but occasionally useful member, formally known as 50ft-trad
Global Moderator Zombie Apprentice Posts: 18,290
Re: Wool as an outer layer
« Reply #14 on: September 02, 2017, 09:19:31 PM »
I just dont see people in wet conditions choosing wool as their exterior layer.  If by chance you have wool on then so be it but to head out in wet/windy conditions, I'm thinking no. 

Esse Quam Videri
Global Moderator Zombie Apprentice Posts: 18,290
Re: Wool as an outer layer
« Reply #15 on: September 02, 2017, 09:23:30 PM »
Seems to work for sheep :shrug:





 :whistle:

 :P

The fiber we know as wool that comes from sheep is made up of amino acids, which are the building blocks of protein. As wool grows on a sheep, it gets keratinized, which simply means it hardens. Other examples of keratinized proteins are fingernails and hair.

Wool fibers on a sheep have flat, overlapping scales that always point away from the sheep's body. When these wool fibers get processed and made into clothing, however, the fibers are stretched out. The orientation of the scales gets mixed up and they can be pointing in any random direction.


As any shepherd will tell you, sheep do just fine in the rain and don't shrink like a wool sweater. This is because their wool fibers have scales that are all pointing in the same direction.

When they get wet, they can slide back into position without getting caught or locked into place. No felting takes place on sheep in the rain, so they don't shrink!

Sheep also produce a natural oily substance called lanolin. Lanolin covers the wool fibers of their coats, acting as a natural lubricant that prevents fibers from locking together. Lanolin also repels water, which makes sheep somewhat waterproof when they're out in the rain. This is good for sheep, since it prevents their wool from getting soaked and waterlogged, which would be very uncomfortable since they have so much wool!

Esse Quam Videri
Zombie Apprentice Posts: 16,849 I'm not a pessimist, I'm an experienced optimist!
Re: Wool as an outer layer
« Reply #16 on: September 02, 2017, 09:51:06 PM »
The thought of a sheep shrinking and the rest of the flock trying to stretch it back to shape is amusing, please don't spoil it  :D



The cantankerous but occasionally useful member, formally known as 50ft-trad
Global Moderator Zombie Apprentice Posts: 18,290
Re: Wool as an outer layer
« Reply #17 on: September 02, 2017, 09:54:36 PM »
The thought of a sheep shrinking and the rest of the flock trying to stretch it back to shape is amusing, please don't spoil it  :D

 :rofl:

Or the sheep dogs hysterically laughing at shrinking sheep. 

Esse Quam Videri
Zombie Apprentice Posts: 11,363
Re: Wool as an outer layer
« Reply #18 on: September 02, 2017, 10:32:06 PM »
so you're saying that we would fair well if we put a sheep over our shoulders?

I do find it interesting that a traditional piece of clothing in the mountain regions of Croatia (and probably neighboring countries) was a vest called kožuh made from sheep fleece (now if someone would actually explain why the hell is fleece and wool sometimes interchangeable and sometimes not this might make sense) that was worn during the winter with the "fur" on the inside and in the summer with it on the outside (apparently).

Pic of the traditional garment

Solving problems you didn't know you had in the most obscure way possible

"And now, it's time to hand this over to our tame race axe driver. Some say, he can live in the forest for six months at a time without food, and he knows of a secret tribe of only women where he is their God. All we know is, he's call the Styx!" - TazzieRob
No Life Club Posts: 1,016
Re: Wool as an outer layer
« Reply #19 on: September 03, 2017, 04:57:44 AM »
so you're saying that we would fair well if we put a sheep over our shoulders?

I do find it interesting that a traditional piece of clothing in the mountain regions of Croatia (and probably neighboring countries) was a vest called kožuh made from sheep fleece (now if someone would actually explain why the hell is fleece and wool sometimes interchangeable and sometimes not this might make sense) that was worn during the winter with the "fur" on the inside and in the summer with it on the outside (apparently).

Pic of the traditional garment
(Image removed from quote.)

That kind of makes sense. The wool on the inside would trap warm air against the body and the flesh side would stop wind. Wearing it the other way round would insulate the body from warmer temperature and "feel" cooler with the flesh side against the body.
Zombie Apprentice Posts: 11,363
Re: Wool as an outer layer
« Reply #20 on: September 03, 2017, 11:08:18 AM »
Thankfully my grandfather is from that region. Not so thankfully, apparently the clothes didn't matter as much because people also used very strong liquor (from 45 to 50% alcohol content if diluted correctly, actual product was around 65%)

Solving problems you didn't know you had in the most obscure way possible

"And now, it's time to hand this over to our tame race axe driver. Some say, he can live in the forest for six months at a time without food, and he knows of a secret tribe of only women where he is their God. All we know is, he's call the Styx!" - TazzieRob
Zombie Apprentice Posts: 13,626 Hidalgo, Castillo del Hook
Re: Wool as an outer layer
« Reply #21 on: September 03, 2017, 11:34:10 AM »
Thankfully my grandfather is from that region. Not so thankfully, apparently the clothes didn't matter as much because people also used very strong liquor (from 45 to 50% alcohol content if diluted correctly, actual product was around 65%)
That seems like a rather large difference compared to a typical beer!  :ahhh :ahhh

Hooked, like everyone else. ;)

All hail the hook!
Zombie Apprentice Posts: 11,363
Re: Wool as an outer layer
« Reply #22 on: September 03, 2017, 01:18:24 PM »
I think most hard liquor goes between 35% and 45%. There are brands and types that go above that but I think that is the exception

Solving problems you didn't know you had in the most obscure way possible

"And now, it's time to hand this over to our tame race axe driver. Some say, he can live in the forest for six months at a time without food, and he knows of a secret tribe of only women where he is their God. All we know is, he's call the Styx!" - TazzieRob
No Life Club Posts: 3,484
Re: Wool as an outer layer
« Reply #23 on: September 04, 2017, 10:52:07 AM »
I used to wear a lot of wool sweaters/jerseys during the winter, mostly switched over to fleece due to price and bad quality woolen products for sale these days.

Keep in consideration we have a mild climate, wool and fleece perform about equally for me when wet & cold......typically while fishing.
Zombie Apprentice Posts: 11,363
Re: Wool as an outer layer
« Reply #24 on: September 04, 2017, 02:58:21 PM »
Well only thing I've figured out is that I gotta start drinkin' more

Solving problems you didn't know you had in the most obscure way possible

"And now, it's time to hand this over to our tame race axe driver. Some say, he can live in the forest for six months at a time without food, and he knows of a secret tribe of only women where he is their God. All we know is, he's call the Styx!" - TazzieRob
Zombie Apprentice Posts: 13,626 Hidalgo, Castillo del Hook
Re: Wool as an outer layer
« Reply #25 on: September 04, 2017, 03:26:05 PM »
It's a not such a large step from 65% liquor to pure alcohol.  :ahhh :P

Hooked, like everyone else. ;)

All hail the hook!
Zombie Apprentice Posts: 11,363
Re: Wool as an outer layer
« Reply #26 on: September 04, 2017, 06:19:03 PM »
that's why it gets watered down

Solving problems you didn't know you had in the most obscure way possible

"And now, it's time to hand this over to our tame race axe driver. Some say, he can live in the forest for six months at a time without food, and he knows of a secret tribe of only women where he is their God. All we know is, he's call the Styx!" - TazzieRob
Absolutely No Life Club Posts: 8,594
Re: Wool as an outer layer
« Reply #27 on: September 04, 2017, 07:39:16 PM »
It's next to impossible to find any wool clothing in North America now, short of some boutique/outdoor brand (i.e. super expensive). I've tried some wool mid layer for winter sports but gravitated towards primaloft type, wool doesn't have good warmth/weight ratio in comparison. I'm sure it's much more durable though if you crawl in and out of trees all winter long.
Zombie Apprentice Posts: 11,363
Re: Wool as an outer layer
« Reply #28 on: September 04, 2017, 10:21:17 PM »
It's next to impossible to find any wool clothing in North America now, short of some boutique/outdoor brand (i.e. super expensive). I've tried some wool mid layer for winter sports but gravitated towards primaloft type, wool doesn't have good warmth/weight ratio in comparison. I'm sure it's much more durable though if you crawl in and out of trees all winter long.

last wool shirt I saw in US (they ship to Canada as well) went for $280. sounds like a lot

Solving problems you didn't know you had in the most obscure way possible

"And now, it's time to hand this over to our tame race axe driver. Some say, he can live in the forest for six months at a time without food, and he knows of a secret tribe of only women where he is their God. All we know is, he's call the Styx!" - TazzieRob
Hero Member Posts: 693
Re: Wool as an outer layer
« Reply #29 on: September 04, 2017, 10:38:42 PM »
When talking about wool in respects to layers I think of modern wool blends such a merino wool. Those fabrics are engineered to be used as base layers in order to wick away moisture from your skin. Many wool products used as mid layers for earth retention as well but are heavier than modern synthetics and not as warm as down.
So any wool product that is used in moisture wicking will not distinguish between moisture in the skin or from precipitation. It will absorb it. The only way to protect the wool is to use a DWR coating to help shed water. This really isn't an advantage of the wool bc you can really coat anything with this DWR coating for a similar result.
So comparing a wool item to another coat or fleece material really depends on more factors than just water resistance. Many synthetic materials will be better suited to use in wet weather vs wool (as well as down). For example, suppose you were hiking and found yourself completely wet from a sudden rain storm or falling in a creek and you outer layer brackets soaked. If you are wearing wool it's becomes wet and now is a heat delink sucking away you body heat. A down coat becomes utterly useless. But a premium synthetic like primaloft/thermoball will retain warmth every when soaked.
The benefits to wool over synthetic are the ruggedness and somewhat fire retardant qualities compared to synthetics. However wool
Is heavier for the amount of warmth.
Also wools like merino are excellent at odor control.
Just like any clothing choice you dress for the environment/conditions. If you where in a cooler environment that wasn't expecting a lot of rain, wool would be a fine choice. If there was rain in the forecast just add a shell over it as your outer layer as with any other situation.

 

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