© 2012 Albert A Rasch and
The Rasch Outdoor Chronicles™
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Superlative Merino Wool Products for the Outdoorsman!
Wool, as you know, is an outdoorsman's best friend. Though it is capable of absorbing and holding one third its weight in water, its structure allows it to retain your body heat. I was invited to test a set of RedRam Merino Wool Thermal underwear, which I gladly took with me to Afghanistan for the winter.
RedRam, Icebreaker their parent company, and sustainability. RedRam is part of the Icebreaker family. It was in 1994, that Icebreaker pioneered the merino outdoor clothing category when its founder, Jeremy Moon, saw the opportunity to make natural performance garments when everything else around was made from synthetic fibers. Icebreaker designed and invented the world’s first merino layering system, and it was the first outdoor apparel company to source merino directly and ethically from the growers.
Sustainability has been a huge issue with me and something that I have been studying for some time. If we don't change our behavior, attitude, and our desire to desire, we will see an end to those things that we take for granted, but that are the most important things in our lives.
Luckily many companies, like Icebreaker, are taking these matters seriously and to heart.
My first impression of the RedRam Merino Wool Thermal Underwear was that it was really soft, not like my old Woolrich MacGregor tartan blanket that accompanies me everywhere. It is fine wool fiber with a softness that compares favorable to any nice fleece material.
Here is the information and specifications from their website.
- Breathable: I want you to be perfectly warm, not hot and sweaty. That's where RedRam shines. Merino thermal underwear stays drier because it naturally absorbs perspiration from your skin and releases it into the air.
- Natural Fibre: I like people warming, not global warming. So RedRam couldn't be more natural. The ingredients are grass, water and sunshine. I grow it and it's woven into your thermals. Unlike polyprop underwear which is made from petrochemicals.
- Stinkiness: You can ski, hike, or fish all day, or run up and down the sideline, whatever the weather. No matter how active you get in your RedRam, it won't get smelly. Synthetic fibres stink to high heaven but Merino is far more efficient than other fibres at releasing sweat and moisture.
- Comfort: Put on a silky smooth, super light merino garment and you'll enjoy the warmth of a heavy sweater. But you'll have none of the bulk. That's because of merino's finely crimped fibres, which create millions of air pockets to capture your body heat.
- Sustainable: No use making men's and women's thermal underwear if there's not going to be a world left to wear it in. Fortunately RedRam merino wool is renewable and biodegradable. We merino are shorn each year, then we return to the mountains to grow more underwear. Merino is biodegradable and unlike cotton and synthetics it uses very low-energy production processes.
- Pure Merino Wool: I am pure merino. And we merino spend our days roaming high in the spacious Southern Alps of New Zealand. Our coats are designed to naturally handle all extremes of weather. And that can mean -20 degrees Celcius in winter.
production ethics of Icebreaker and RedRam. Comfort is as comfort does, and these are comfortable. They run true to size, at least on me they did, and they are soft and warm. As to stinkiness, I didn't allow myself the privilege of testing that particular aspect of the RedRam Merino Thermals... having said that, the official socks of The Rasch Outdoor Chronicles, Darn Tough Vermont Boot Socks, are also made of Merino Wool, and are advertised as stink repellant.
Speaking of which, washing you wool garments require a bit of care if you want to make them last longer and retain their best characteristics. Use a soap product, not detergent. Use cold water. Wash them by hand or in a gentle cycle. Line dry them, do not use a drier! I of course broke every one of those rules while on base. Except the cold water rule. My socks and the RedRams have survived through it all.
Ok now for the nuts and bolts.
They are comfortable and they keep you warm. Temperatures varied between the high teens and low forties, with rain, sleet, snow, and bitingly cold clear days. My body and legs were comfortable; I never noticed the cold bothering me there. So that tells me they work, and work well. In the end, a tool that works well, is one you don't notice until its absence!
I rate the RedRam Marino Wool Thermal Underwear a definite buy.
RedRam Marino Wool Thermal Underwear
Long sleeve shirt $57.99
Short sleeve $47.99
Long pants for $57.99
Boxers for $29.99.
Albert A Rasch
Member: Lakewood Ranch Tent Club
Member: Hunting Sportsmen of the United States HSUS (Let 'em sue me.)
The Hunt Continues...
Though he spends most of his time writing and keeping the world safe for democracy, Albert was actually a student of biology. Really. But after a stint as a lab tech performing repetitious and mind-numbing processes that a trained Capuchin monkey could do better, he never returned to the field. Rather he became a bartender. As he once said, "Hell, I was feeding mice all sorts of concoctions. At the club I did the same thing; except I got paid a lot better, and the rats where bigger." He has followed the science of QDM for many years, and fancies himself an aficionado. If you have any questions, or just want to get more information, reach him via TheRaschOutdoorChronicles(at)MSN(dot)com.