If I haven’t mentioned it before, I am obsessed with wool. I have wool cycling jerseys, wool shirts, wool tights, wool socks, and now wool long johns.
Before we get into the review proper, I’ll just wax poetic about my love for wool. Hang in there with me, it won’t take long. Wool is amazing for a few reasons:
- It’s warm when wet. (Please, leave the cotton behind already!)
- The technology is now on point — even my sensitive baby skin is a-ok with the feel of super-soft merino.
- It keeps you warm and cool. It’s not even just a marketing ploy! It really does.
- Best of all, it doesn’t smell.
It’s the best, and I think everyone should have some.
The lovely folks at Watson’s sent me some thin, merino wool long johns to test out in November. It’s March, and I’m still wearing them nearly every time I go on a hike, which is often because I’m actually training for the Pacific Crest Trail (for real! It’s so cool!).
When I got the long sleeve shirt and long tights, I was wary about a few things. Right off the bat I noticed this wool was thiner than anything I’ve tried. I wondered how well it would insulate me on my winter hikes (even if winter has missed Seattle this year). The second thing I noticed was the overstitching on the long sleeve shirt. It has a sort of raglan thing going one way and then a shoulder to nip thing going the other way — I was unsure if it would work with a pack. Lastly, the long sleeve shirt has a mock neck. I am claustrophobic about shirts squeezing my necks (but also weirdly obsessed with handkerchiefs [which I never knew was spelled that way!] and scarves… I don’t know), so I was afraid.
I tried the whole getup on, and my fears were almost immediately assuaged. The thin wool is ideal for sustained activities like hiking — it’s cool when working up a mountain and insulating when trucking down. Check. The seams that I was so worried about are actually perfectly placed (avoiding pack straps) and flattering as heck! I feel cute in wool underwear… I wasn’t expecting that. Check. And finally, the mock neck is short enough that it doesn’t freak me out and long enough that it keeps breezes from shooting down my back when I bend over into the wind. Check!
I feel that I must say something bad about these long johns, because I am reviewing them, but I really don’t have much. The small I received was a little large on me, fitting more loosely than I wanted and sagging at the knees. One wash fixed that problem.
The only other problem I experienced happened two days ago. I was finished with hiking and (with this blog in mind) I took a big whiff of my pits to see how the wool was holding up. I almost fell over backwards. Disgusting. I thought that it must be some horrible blend of merino and poly that held in the smell. This morning, half-asleep and trying to get dressed for my early departure, I grabbed the shirt and sniffed again. Nothing… it was all me.
The bottom line: I’m taking this set on the PCT with me. I don’t know how I can give a more ringing endorsement than that. It will be my second outfit… for five months!
Get your own here.
**Also, although I received this product, all opinions are most certainly my own!