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The Benefits of Merino Wool | Duluth Pack

When you think of traditional wool, it can often bring to mind sweaters and socks to keep you warm (and sometimes almost too warm) in the coldest months of the winter, like December and January in Minnesota. Today, however, we want to highlight the magical properties of merino wool instead of traditional wool. Merino wool is truly one of a kind when it comes to the wool material genre—it keeps you warm in the winter and cool in the summer while still maintaining its quality. Here at Duluth Pack, we wanted to give you a quick history and overview of merino wool, as well as the benefits of wearing this high-quality wool.

What is merino wool?

Merino wool is a type of wool that comes from merino sheep. Merino sheep live mostly in Australia and New Zealand and their wool is the softest and finest type of wool in the world. It is much softer than the typical wool that you may be used to, which eliminates the often-itchy factor of traditional wool. Merino sheep have lived all over the world throughout their history, so their wool can keep one warm in the winter months and cool in the summer months. It is even said that it can keep one comfortable in weather from -4°F through 95°F.

A Quick History

Merino wool is considered the crème de la crème of wool, and the sheep itself is often referred to as the “King of Sheep.” But how did merino wool get this reputation, and where did they originally come from? Let's delve in.

The merino sheep first developed in Spain around 600 to 700 years ago. It came from a crossbreed between sheep from North Africa and sheep from England. Ever since their conception, merino sheep were considered highly prized in Spain. Because of their high status, Spain did not allow merino sheep to be exported until the 19th century when Spain went through wars that almost entirely decimated their merino flocks. 

Around this time is when merino wool first came to the United States and specifically there became quite a large flock of merino sheep in the state of Vermont. Though there are no longer merino sheep in Vermont, merino wool had become just as popular in the USA as it was in Europe and continues to remain popular today. Around the same time that merino wool became popular in the US, it also became popular in Australia. Australia soon mastered the art of merino wool and created even finer and softer wool compared to the original merino wool material, solidifying it as the merino "capital" of the world.

The Benefits of Merino Wool

Now that we’ve learned the history of this special wool, it’s important to note the benefits that it will give you when you decide to buy your first merino wool product. The first benefit of merino wool that we have already touched on is that it is self-regulating and moisture-wicking. This means that it has cooling and heating properties depending on the weather outside while also regulating body temperature. This goes hand in hand with the fact that it is UV resistant, meaning you will be protected from the harsh sun in both the summer and the reflection of the sun on snow in the winter.

Merino wool is also odor resistant as it is incredibly absorbent. When wearing it in heat, the wool will absorb the odor and will be released upon washing. Merino wool is also flame-resistant, making it a desirable choice for apparel while camping or sitting around a campfire.

Finally, some of the most attractive benefits of merino wool are that it is non-itch and non-allergenic. For those with sensitive skin, wool can often be a nightmare since it is often itchy and not friendly to our skin, especially in the winter when it is dry. Because of how soft merino wool is, it proves to be extremely wearable for those with sensitive skin, and it is a hypoallergenic fiber for those who are usually allergic to wool.  

Here at Duluth Pack, we offer some merino wool products through Darn Tough if you are wanting to try some out for yourself. Check out the Hiker Boot Sock or the Good Witch Crew Light Sock to get you started on this special wool.

-From your friends at Duluth Pack