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What Is Merino Wool?

Written by
Meredith Spencer
PHOTOGRAPHS BY
Germanicos

Warm, breathable and soft, merino is a mighty textile that can do it all. Its fibers have been a staple in fine fabrics since the 12th century! Discover what makes merino so versatile – and why it’s the ideal fabric for accessories like our eye mask and travel kit.

Ancient Origins

Sourced from a hearty, ancient breed of sheep, merino has (quite literally) been field tested with flying colors. Originally domesticated in Spain and North Africa, the eponymous flocks can now be found all over the world, thanks to the sheep’s reputation for producing extremely versatile fleece.

Finest Fibers

While cashmere may be synonymous with “luxury,” merino is certainly no slouch. It’s snuggly and soft thanks in part to thousands of years of selective breeding. Fine merino fibers measure between 18-15 microns in diameter – for comparison, a strand of human hair is about 40 microns (or nearly three times as thick). This ultra fine raw material is woven tightly, creating a super smooth feel to the touch. Merino is also easy to care for as it has a reputation for being static and stain resistant.

Nicole LaMotte for Parachute

Satisfyingly Cozy

In addition to home textiles, merino has become a popular choice for high performance active wear, valued for its comfort and natural antimicrobial properties (meaning it won’t trap sweat and won’t hold odor). Plus, it can retain up to 30% of its own weight in moisture, while still feeling dry to the touch. Though merino is super insulating (thanks in part to a natural crimp in fibers that traps air), it isn’t just a cold weather material. Its breathability allows for heat and moisture to pass through both ways, making merino garments a great option year round.

It’s easy to see why this natural textile is one of our faves: It’s durable enough for everyday use yet satisfyingly cozy. We’re quick to reach for a Merino Throw at home or while en route to our next destination – case in point: Our Merino Travel Kit and Eye Mask.

[Ed. note: The Merino Travel Kit is sold out.]

February 1, 2017
  • Tags
  • history
  • merino
  • travel kits

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