Merino wool has amazed me since the first time...

Merino wool has amazed me since the first time I tested it. Body temperature control, odor management, comfort and performance, I knew merino was the perfect fabric choice for KUIU’s base layer program.

I did a lot of research sourcing merino for KUIU.  What I learned, like other fabrics, not all merino is the same.  Just because a products uses merino wool and has a 17.5 micron rating, it does not dictate the quality or consistancy of the fibers in the fabric. As with Toray for outerwear, I wanted to ensure quality, consistency and performance for KUIU. General sourcing of merino from the global market would not guarantee this.

The Merino Company (TMC) based in Melbourne, Australia has been supplying merino wool for over 150 years.  TMC has deep-rooted relationships with merino growers throughout New Zealand, Australia, South America and South Africa.  This creates distinct supply chain advantage over their competition.

“The TMC approach ensures there is minimal variation in wool quality throughout a supply chain, with transparency, traceability and tight controls from sheep to shelf (S2S).”  states TMC


TMC is able to provide a more consistent micron rating in their fabrics.  This is important.  A 17.5 micron rating is an average and to meet this fabrics will contain a range of fibers from 19.5 to 15.5 microns.  TMC is able to supply a fabric with more 17.5 micron fibers.  19.5 micron fibers are not as comfortable and 15.5 micron fibers are not as durable.  Thus TMC is able to provide a more consistent fabric which is more comfortable, performs better and lasts longer.


In addition to the supply chain quality advantages, TMC uses the most advanced yarn spinning and knitting technologies available.  They offer their customers the widest range of merino wool fabrics on the market.  TMC is the innovator in merino wool and leads the market in new fabrics and merino developments.  They are eager to work with their customers to develop new products specific to a market.  This makes The Merino Company the perfect partner for KUIU.

I look forward to hearing your thought and comments on The Merino Company.

Jason


This article has 21 comment(s)

  1. Tye Abell

    Jason,

    If what they produce is as good as the first lite fabric I have, it will be great. I can’t imagine anything better than what I currently use, but I’m sure you plan to exceed what they have done. Looking forward to trying it out.

    • Jason Hairston

      Hi Tye,

      First Lite is great stuff, but I cannot comment on who supplies their baselayer fabric. What I can guarantee is TMC and their fabric quality is simply the best. You will not be disappointed.

      Jason

  2. beau purvis

    I recently purchased socks and a 150 base layer top and a 200 base layer top from Icebreaker. First, I have had a horrible foot odor problem for years…did not think there was anyway to tame it…Wrong….marino eliminated it…I can wear the same sock for multiple dys now….I now use it for all my sock needs.
    I really like the tops for the same reason plus just the right amount of stretch..very comfortable, they have really long sleeves..I like that.But, I recently noticed the need for a much longer fit so I don’t have reajust and retuck…very important! I hunt in Texas a lot and need even the 150 to be in some good camo such as the mothwing or digital,or ? for the afternoon heat.I prefer a long zip-T even on the lightest base layer as well.Rather than have a fairly heavy top,I prefer modularly adding multiple lighter layers..easier to fine tune. Merino rocks!
    Sounds like you are really working hard to get everything perfect

    • Jason Hairston

      Hi Beau,

      Your comments regarding merino are well noted. I am big on fit and short shirts do not work for me as well. We just added another 1.5″ to the length for production just to be sure they do not come up short. Thanks for the input.

      Jason

  3. todd smith

    Jason,

    Right on! I’ve been wearing Merino wool as a base layer for about five years. I’ve never seen anything better not matter how much it cost.

    I’ve used other outer garments and other clothing shells, but since discovering the Merino wool…

    I’d rather fight than switch.
    (THAT shows my age!!) :o)

    todd smith

    • Jason Hairston

      Thanks Todd, nice to have your insight. I hope all is well.

      jason

  4. Andrew

    Hey Jason

    Interesting read on the merino
    I did try to follow the link to the merino company bid it didn’t seem to work, i have provided a link that does work: http://www.merinocompany.com/ Very much looking forward to seeing the results of you intensive research hit the deck! I’ll be watching…
    Cheers

    Andy

    • Jason Hairston

      Thanks Andrew for the tip on the link. It should be fixed now. I look forward to showing you the line.

      Jason

      • Andrew

        Hi Jason, Im just looking to find out if you have had any problems with the word press site, i remember back when i posted a comment in this thread and some time b4 this, i had subscribed! I was getting some regular updates to posts and such but i have see anything come through for a very long time! I have jumped on my self and have been following on Facebook, im keen to confirm the subscription as id like to know if im in the running for the first round of orders? I think i may have signed up in September 2010…

        It looks as though its building into a great line of gear!

        Best regards

        Andy

  5. Brandon Hammonds

    I love the info on the TMC, being a whitetail hunter I have ZERO exposure to it and love all the Education on it,,,,,thanks Jason!

    • Jason Hairston

      Glad you like the information. More to come.

      Jason

  6. George Hicks

    Jason,

    After receiving a pair of your proto type base layers, it seemed too smooth and consistent to be merino wool. I wore it for 10 days under my backpack in fairly warm temps in Wyoming and was very impressed. It performed as well as any merino wool products I have used for comfort, temp and odor control, but was considerably tougher than the smartwool I typically wear. After washing it, it looks new. My smartwool gets wear spots from abrasion very quickly/easily. I have gone through base layers regularly in the past and believe your new material is much better and will last considerably longer.

    Keep up the research. Great job.

    George

    • Jason Hairston

      Hi George,

      Thanks for the feedback on the protos. TMC’s wool is amazing stuff, glad you saw the difference.

      Jason

  7. Michael Sendrowicz

    Jason,

    Great info on the decision rules for your merino.

    As I’ve said in other posts, I’m a huge fan of merino wool for base layers. Nothing else has been as comfortable, scent free, multi purpose, or seems to work in as wide a temperature range.

    My merino layers seem to be used for everything – hunting, fishing, hiking, work, heading to the dog park, and lounging around the house.

    Because they are used in such diverse applications, I tend to purchase simple, solid colors. Tans and foliage seem to be my mainstay.

    Sitka gear seemed to be intended to wear much like Under Armour, in a compression style. Personally, I don’t care much for that fit. Additi0nally, Sitka sizing seems to run a bit small.

    I like hunting in camo, so when I purchased my Sitka Traverse Zip T, I went a size larger. That allows me to wear my merino as a base layer, and use a thin, synthetic over layer. I’ve felt that this gives me an increased range of comfort, as well as the ability to add or subtract camo, as I see necessary.

    I’m excited to see the camo pattern KUIU settles on. And you certainly have a buyer here. That being said, I’d be more inclined to purchase a NON camo pattern for my base layer than a camo pattern.

    Thanks for sharing your insights with us,

    Michael

    • Jason Hairston

      Hi Michael,

      You will have the choice of camo and non-camo in all of KUIU’s products. The non-camo will be available in earth tone colors that you can hunt in. The proto testing for the new pattern has been really positive. You will see some photos on the new site going live in the next couple of weeks. I have made a few color improvements from the proto pattern to the production pattern, which will make this pattern even better. Thank you for your interest in KUIU and I look forward to earning your business.

      Jason

  8. john

    Jason,
    I’m excited to try your products. I’m a huge fan of merino as well with smartwool being a mainstay of my hunting & outdoor apparel. However I’m concerned about durability issues. My merino socks and tops don’t seem to last more than a couple of seasons at most without gathering holes. Any comments on how your gear will be different? Also, I’m in the market for new rain gear and considering Sitka as I’ve got quite a bit of other Sitka gear. As a bowhunter I’m concerned about noise but I know that its tough to have truly waterproof gear thats quiet; cake and eat it too.
    Any comments how how quiet your rain gear will be in comparision to GoreTex Paclite?

    • Jason Hairston

      Hi John,

      I am excited you are excited about KUIU. The only downside to merino I can find is durability especially in the lighter weights. There is not a fix to this issue without sacrificing the benefits of merino by adding in a synthetic yarn.

      As far as rain gear, KUIU’s is a 3 layer fabric versus a 2 layer fabric such as Pack-lite. Three layer fabrics are significantly more durable. I have tested a lot of 2-layer waterproof breathable fabrics and have yet to find one that will not fail over time. KUIU’s rain gear jacket is only 17oz and pant is 13oz, which if very light for 3-layer rain gear. Plus it has the highest waterproof/breathable rating available at 20k/20k and 4-way stretch. The jacket comes with pit zips and the pants have full side leg zips for easy on and off plus venting.

      Regarding noise, for a packable solution it is the best I have found and tested. To make it silent we would have to laminate a fuzzy face fabric which holds water and adds weight and bulk. If you try KUIU’s and do not believe it is the best rain gear you have ever worn send it back and I will refund your money. I do not think you will be disappointed.

      Jason

  9. Steve Ameral

    Hi Jason,
    I just found your information and it is looking great. I was in Colorado hunting elk and could not understand why my base layer smelled so bad after just a couple days. I did some research and found the merino wool option.
    I have recently purchased a merino top and was very impressed with both the performance and it doesn’t smell at all.
    I am excited to try your products, especially if they are better than the first lite products I am currently using. I have been looking for a performance system that is light weight and will hold up for more than a year or so. I am also interested in your rain gear.
    Are you planning on a mid layer insulated jacket? Something like the Sitka Kelvin maybe.
    I look forward to trying your products.
    Are they made in the USA?

    • Jason Hairston

      Hi Steve,

      Thank you for your interest in KUIU. What I think you will really like about KUIU is the weight savings without giving up any performance due to Toray’s patented yarn technology. As far as Merino, The Merino Company supplies the finest in the world and I using a 17.5 micro fabric for the next to skin layer. It is amazingly soft and comfortable. Yes, I have a packable Primaloft jacket in the line with 80gms of Primaloft One insulation, which is their lightest and highest performance insulation.

      All of the apparel is made in Canada, unfortunately the manufacturing technology I need to use for some of my production does not exist here. Let me know if you have any other questions.

      Jason

  10. Brandon

    Jason,

    I’m a user of merino wool and love it as a base layer, not so much as an insulating layer (prefer polartec thermal pro high loft for that). I hope you do offer a merino beanie or skull cap though. As of right now i wear a justin charles cap while walking in and out of my stands. It does a great job of wicking moisture and it holds very little to no smell. The only gripe i have about their cap is the elastic band. It is somewhat uncomfortable and i feel it’s unnecessary too. It would be great if you could offer a merino beanie constructed similar to the sitka traverse beanie (no elastic) and in different sizes too.

    thanks.

    • Jason Hairston

      Hi Brandon,

      We do have a light weight Merino Beanie and neck gator. The neck gator doubles as a face mask as well. Let me know if you have any other questions and thank you for your interest in KUIU.

      Jason