Aclima Light Wool, the wool you should wear this Summer.
Everyone who has read any of our blogs before will know we love wool. Even with our borderline obsession with this natural high-tech fibre, we couldn’t possibly be suggesting that you should wear wool in the Summer. Well that’s where your wrong! The natural qualities of wool make it far superior than cotton or synthetics for many summertime activities! Read on in this blog to learn just why wool is the perfect choice for base layers in the Summer months.
Right off the bat we need to face an unpleasant truth. Summer in the UK isn’t Summer. We can get all four seasons in one day and that’s only if we’re lucky. Mostly it’s just a slightly less grey Autumn. With this in mind you need an adaptable base layer that can perform in a variety of conditions.
Now we aren’t suggesting you go out everywhere in the summer wearing a heavy wool overall that your Granny knitted you. There are a wide variety of kinds and weights of wool and they all perform different jobs. For the Summer, our recommendation is always going to be a merino wool baselayer. Numerous brands have delved into the merino wool market including Houdini who are one of the most innovative outdoor brands on the market, however due to their history and experience we always find the most impressive Merino Wool baselayers come from our friends at Aclima of Norway.
Why wear Merino Wool during Summer?
Merino Wool is the perfect fabric for the Summer months thanks to it’s natural properties; specifically the Aclima Woolnet material and Lightwool material are ideal for the warmer times of year. When buying any Aclima wool product you can be assured that all of the garments produced by Aclima are certified according to Oeko-Tex which certifies that no hazardous materials appear in the end product or are created during its use and washing.
Setting aside the natural and sustainable benefits of wearing wool in the Summer months there are also some more practical benefits of Merino Wool which we have listed below.
- Aclima Light Wool is only 17.5 micron which makes it probably the lightest and most comfortable wool product you have ever worn. At only 17.5 Micron this is softer than your favourite cotton T-Shirt.
- Merino wool does not hold on to odours meaning you can wear it for strenuous activity or for days on end without any smell on the garment. This reduces the need to wash your Aclima products so regularly which is not only better for the environment but gives you more time to enjoy the outdoors!
- Merino Wool helps keep the heat out thanks to its breathability – for centuries the Bedouins of the Middle East have been wearing wool throughout the Summers to help regulate their body temperature.
- Did you know your cotton T-Shirt doesn’t entirely protect your skin from the damaging UV rays from the Sun and Merino wool is more than twice as effective as protecting your skin from the Sun! Have you ever seen a sunburned sheep?
- Merino Wool is hydroscopic which in layman’s terms means that it can absorb moisture vapour from sweat etc and move this away from your body. Another amazing quality of natural wool is that is can hold up to 30% of its weight in moisture before it begins to feel damp!
What is Merino Wool?
While you may just be used to seeing garments described as being constructed from ‘100% wool’ here at Nordic Outdoor we have a favourite variety which is perfect for both the Summer and Winter months; Merino Wool. The name comes from the Merino sheep who are originally from Spain but are now bred worldwide (today over half the worlds sheep are pure merino or merino cross). Widely regarded as the highest quality wool available due to its softness and fineness merino wool is also resilient to dirt and water which means that this fabric doesn’t hold on to odours. When picking a base layer or T-shirt for the summer months we highly recommend that you look for products constructed from merino wool as these will provide you with better moisture wicking, breathability and comfort.
Our choice of Light Wool is ideal for the warmer months of the year and when you are purchasing a Merino Wool garment from Aclima you can be assured the fabric has been collected in a sustainable way with a focus on the animals welfare. Aclima have a six point promise with regards to their wool products which assures that the sheep that produce the wool are;
- Free from thirst, hunger and malnutrition
- Provided with appropriate comfort and shelter
- Protected from disease with rapid diagnosis and treatment for any injuries
- Free from distress
- Able to display normal patterns of animal behaviour
- All animal rights are assessed by qualified inspectors with audits provided by third party auditors.
Where is Aclima Wool Sourced from?
With a focus on traceability and sustainability Aclima are entirely transparent regarding where they source their high quality Merino Wool from. Due to the country’s climate and tradition of farming New Zealand is one of the best countries in the world to produce Merino. Sheep farming is so ingrained into the history of New Zealand that from the 1850’s until the start of the 20th century wool was the country’s main export, making up almost 90% of the total export income. The Awapiri Station in Malborough, New Zealand is a family operated merino breeding company and is only one of Aclima’s approved growers, the below graphic shows all the Aclima wool partners in New Zealand.
How does Merino Wool become an Aclima Baselayer?
Now that we have established both the many benefits of wearing wool in the Summer and also examined the traceability of Aclima’s merino products we can begin to look at the production process and how every step of the way the brand can help create a quality product. Below we have looked at the seven steps from sheep to shirt!
Shearing – By working with family owned farms and maintaining a strong relationship with their suppliers Aclima can be confident that all their shearing is done with the quality of the final product and the animals welfare in mind at all times. To make their garments durable Aclima need long fibres and for this reason the shearing process is paramount to the creation of a quality product.
Classing – The next step in the wools journey is to be classified which is when the wool is sorted, classified and graded into certain criteria to allow it to be priced for market. This is a critical step in the wool process and allows Aclima to use the highest grade wool products.
Scouring – Once the wool is graded it is then scoured which involves cleaning the wool of its greasy lanoline coating. During this process the wool can lose 30% of its weight and is also stretched in one direction to make it ready for spinning.
Spinning – Several treads of wool are spun together to yield yarn with even texture. Elastic and strong enough for modern knitting machines. Aclima keep a close contact with their European spinners to get the quality they seek.
Knitting – Possibly an area where Aclima’s expertise is at its strongest. Due to their 80 years of experience creating Merino Wool garments the brand know the different advantages and disadvantages of different knitting methods and are constantly trying to find new ways to work with wool to improve construction of their garments.
Washing / Dyeing – All fabrics are washed to remove oil residue from the knitting process and stabilized. Most of the fabric is also dyed in the seasons colour only using ingredients that confirm to eco-tex standards.
Cutting/Sewing – Aclima control their own factory in Estonia and all employees are committed to ensuring all Aclima products are of the highest quality. By being fully involved with the production process the brand can ensure that every stitch is perfect and checked by the companies quality control before leaving the factory!
Aclima Light Wool
Aclima Light Wool garments are made in a superfine 17.5 micron yarn and weigh only 140g/m² meaning they are probably the softest woollen garments you have ever tried and are ideal for activities like running, cycling or golf during the summer months or as soft, warm every day clothes.
The garments also resist shrinkage from washing and have longer arm, body and leg lengths so there are no draughty gaps in your thermals. Aclima utilise knowledge of the market, fibres, knitting and design to develop functional clothing for use by outdoor people.
Merino wool undergarments are moisture wicking, comfortable and work in a multitude of situations. Hard wearing and durable as they are comfortable, Aclima are hands down our favourite base layers. One of our favourite aspect to the company is the attention they pay to seemingly smaller details. For example, 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.
For a Merino wool base layer which and be used all year round, check out our full range of Aclima Light wool now.
A unique creation from Aclima the woolnet garments are one of the brands most innovative creations and also one of their biggest success stories. A mesh base layer created from Merino Wool the inventive design is breathable while it can also trap pockets of hot air to protect you from colder climates when worn as a base layer. Ideal for high intensity activities the Woolnet construction means that the fabric holds almost no odour meaning you can sweat without worrying! During long hikes in the mountains, taking extended expeditions or tackling a long cycle woolnet is the obvious first choice for base layer. The fabric is also ribbed at the shoulders, elbows and knee joints for added comfort.
Nordic Outdoor are proud to have one of the biggest selections of Aclima Woolnet available Online with everything from long pant baselayer to light T-shirts and long sleeved crew necks.
You can see the full range of Woolnet products from Aclima Online at Nordic Outdoor here or head into one of our stores to try them in the flesh!
Now that you’ve learned about the Summer properties of Wool will you be giving it a test this season? Head to our Instagram or Twitter to let us know and make sure to sign up to the email list to stay informed of all the latest arrivals at Nordic Outdoor.