As I review the readiness of my layering systems in preparation of the upcoming hunting season, I bear witness to the primary shortcoming that is inherent of traditional merino wool - Durability. Whether the wear originates from time spent in the wilderness or my wavering discipline with laundry control settings, the delicate nature of this natural fabric and its standard manufacturing processes remain clearly seen. When SITKA released their latest merino wool collection this summer with mention of ArmorSpun technology, they succeeded in capturing my curiosity. What were the manufacturing differences, and perhaps more importantly, what were the advantages? With that in mind, I set out to explore SITKA’s new merino wool collection for the enhancement of future outdoor experiences for myself and others when afield.
How Is It Different?
SITKA has successfully released a “new breed” of merino wool that incorporates what’s known as ArmorSpun technology, the science behind their toughest merino ever. How does this technology differ from others you may ask? Well, SITKA has successfully bolstered the durability, and consequently longevity, of its merino wool products by wrapping the natural merino wool fibers in reinforcing nylon. This ultimately produces a fabric composition that (1) achieves the traditional odor mitigating properties associated with merino wool, (2) achieves the traditional warming properties when damp provided by merino wool, and (3) capitalizes on the robust durability of nylon against abrasion and other destructive occurrences. Also, it doesn’t hurt that the nylon wrap feels “soft and smooth” when worn as a next-to-skin layer and removes the occasional “itchy and scratchy” feeling that often accompanied lesser merino wool products of the past. It also permits their new merino wool offerings to be layered quickly and with ease, as the fabric passes well over its like-self without maddening resistance
What Are The Seasonal Use Applications?
If your layering preferences are anything like my own, then you likely include merino wool in just about any seasonal layering application. With this latest release, SITKA has done an incredible job of taking that into consideration. They’ve included a full spectrum of merino wool denier ratings that include 120, 220, and 330 variants to complement the earliest of archery pursuits through late-season adventures spent in blizzard conditions. It also doesn’t hurt that they’ve released a very tasteful variety of modern hunt solids in their new merino wool products, so wearing these pieces and benefiting from their technical advantages year-round is also an option, whether than be on the local ski slopes or at that secret bend in the river.
The Core Merino 120 - Why It Matters
The Core Merino 120 is very lightweight, moisture-wicking, and naturally odor-resistant. When combined with the latest introduction of ArmorSpun technology, the Core Merino 120 can be worn as a dedicated outer layer during those early-season hunts without the added worry concerning its durability against “trail abuse”. This increased durability in SITKA’s latest merino wool product line also carries over to the laundry room, which is an added bonus for the majority of us, as it can be added to any normal load of laundry without much cause for concern. And when the temperatures begin to cool off on those September evenings, especially at higher elevations, it doesn’t hurt to have this base layer in your setup due to its better warming properties, compared to synthetics of a comparable denier rating of course.
The Core Merino 220 - The All-Around Workhorse
The Core Merino 220 is perhaps an ideal midweight and suitable for use as an outer layer during those cooler September mornings or as a next-to-skin layer when the water in your Nalgene begins to freeze…especially when that begins to happen mid-day! Regardless of the time of year or the seasonal conditions at hand, the one thing that remains certain is that the Core Merino 220 should be with you out there, whether on your person or in your backpack. Again, the natural odor resistant properties of merino wool help ensure that your position remains a secret to the game you’re pursuing…so long as the wind direction and thermals don’t shift unexpectedly. After all, merino wool isn’t magic although when compared to other common fabrics, it kind of is.
The Core Merino 330 - The Heavyweight Specialist
I would venture to suggest that no merino wool collection is complete without a heavyweight specialist, such as the Core Merino 330 from SITKA’s latest release. As these type layering pieces are often worn when the temperatures really drop and the snow begins to accumulate, having a piece of mind that you can throw on another layer and retain warmth even when damp can be priceless. Here, it doesn’t hurt that the latest ArmorSpun technology, with its nylon-wrapped merino wool fibers, glides well over its like-self when adding or removing layers. I think most can agree that it’s frustrating when adding a layer and having to align the seams along the sleeves, or better yet the neckline, with layering fabrics that catch and bind with one another.
What To Do?
As your seasons approach and you begin to review the readiness of your own gear, whether you’ll be ambushing whitetail deer from a treestand or running ridgelines (and consequently canyons at times) out West, take a close look at those pieces that may need replacing. If those pieces are the merino wool products from past adventures, then consider looking at SITKA’s latest merino wool release with its innovative ArmorSpun manufacturing technology. Thriving in your time spent as a modern mountain man and making an investment last a bit longer aren’t something to bat an eye at, and with the latest hunt solid offerings from SITKA you’d be set for year-long wear in a variety of applications! Have a gear-related question we may help you with? Contact us at GearFool.com and our team of Gear Consultants would be happy to help!