Hello, Paddler!

It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!

Wool or Fleece?


  • For me, it depends on the application. I make no apology for loving wool, but when some kind of under-jacket is needed, and space and weight are important considerations, a fleece jacket wins. For socks and shirts and pants, I still prefer wool, no matter what. And even for that under-jacket situation mentioned above, I often prefer wool if I'm not worried about the extra bulk and weight. I have one of those wool "shirt jackets" that were popular all through the 40s and up through the early 70s, and I love the feel, and even the way it "smells natural" when it gets wet (unlike pre-60s versions, it's only 85-percent wool, but the wool character is largely intact). I don't think fleece holds its insulation quality as well as wool when wet, and certainly it's no contest when soaked (I know, that's what rain gear is for, but sometimes I'll put up with some light rain when wearing wool, and that "soaked" situation can sometimes happen to us boaters). Fleece just seems sterile and inert no matter what, even when wet, while wool has history and "soul" which seem magnified in rainy weather. I hope you weren't looking for an emotionless evaluation!

  • I use both, plus other synthetics. I love my Merino wool socks. I don't care how much they cost, and even if I did they last many, many times longer than cheap cotton "tube socks". I have thick insulating ones and thin wicking ones. Both are extremely comfortable. Did I mention I like these socks?

    One thing wool has going for it over synthetics is that it tends not to retain body odours. Synthetics such as polypropylene can get pretty bad after a while and there's not much I've found that does an effective job of bringing them back to original.

    I don't have any top items that are wool, but I have first hand experience of getting drenched in fleece. I was able to shake a lot of the water out, put it back on, and it kept me nice and toasty on a cool overcast (Canadian) spring day.

  • I use Smartwool socks but it has been quite a while since I have used wool sweaters, shirts, or pants. Back in the day I used to canoe using old wool sweaters for insulation and as I recall they got quite stinky and seemed to take longer to dry than fleece.

  • Wool long underwear. Merino of course
    Wool hat. Warm even if damp
    Wool blanket shirt for real cold
    Woo guide shirt for fall cold
    Fleece for summer coolness
    Tried fleece pjs. Too HOT!

    Wicking layer wool. Insulation usually fleece

Sign In or Register to comment.
Message Boards Close

Hello, Paddler!

It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!