If you’ve read this blog before you’ll know that we are big fans of using wool not only in the winter but during the summer as well. As such, it might not come as a surprise that the sight of staff wearing Aclima LightWool is a regular occurrence around the office here at Nordic Outdoor. Because of this, I thought it would be a good idea to take a closer look at some of those products and offer an insight into why we like them so much.
Cassis is located just east of Marseille, along the French Mediterranean coast. It is a picturesque little village, but the main attraction is the calanques. These lime stone cliff formations are probably as close as you’ll come to a fjord without it being created by a glacier. The fact that they are located on the Riviera rather than the more northerly fjords means that they offer a different appeal though. Summers here tend to be dry and hot – certainly not the type of climate most would associate with wearing wool.
I’ve been to Cassis a few times – and it has invariably been hot, and I’ve invariably been wearing wool. The LightWool T-shirts from Aclima that I own are some of my most prized possessions, because of their adaptability. The ability of wool to insulate is what makes it unique. The fact that this is good in cold weather is quite obvious to everyone, but the fact that it also works wonders in hot conditions is not as widely known. The same insulation that in cold conditions keeps warm air in, works the opposite way when the air on the outside of the garment is warmer than the air on the inside. So instead to insulating against cold, it is all of a sudden insulating against warmth.
Another unique aspect of wool is that it can hold up to 30% of its own weight in water – which means that the water can be held away from the surface of the fabric, and through this also away from your skin. While perhaps even more important in winter, where cooling moisture can be downright dangerous, it adds to comfort during strenuous hikes over French lime stone cliffs. While cotton fibres collapse when they become saturated with moisture, wool fibres retain their structure. That’s why you don’t get that same sticky feeling you get from a sweat soaked cotton T-shirt when you wear wool.
But it is not just the material, even if that is of course a big part of it, that makes the Aclima shirts so special to me. It is the well thought-out details that really makes them stand out. During summer hikes, you are likely to wear a backpack directly on a single layer. This can quickly become a source of chafing – but not with the Aclima T-shirts where the seams have been moved to further down the shoulder to avoid rubbing against the strap of your backpack.
Wearing a backpack also naturally pulls your shirt up as you are walking. Thanks to the longer and slightly slimmer fit of the Aclima T-shirts you still have your lower back covered – rather than exposed to sun and the not so gentle lower part of your backpack.
Your wallet won’t complain about a summer shirt that during the colder months of the year performs just as well as a base layer either.
So, while the wool might not be the first thing you think of when you are packing for the summer holidays maybe it should be. And once you have it packed safely in your suitcase – head over and check out Cassis as well for a necessary taste of fjords, even during your Mediterranean holiday.