wool underwear source

Where’s the best/cheapest place to buy quality wool underwear.

try smartwool from rei.com

Not sure that cheapest and quality
can be used in teh same sentence with wool underwear. That said, SMartWool is as good as you are going to get, possibly with the exception of that Scandanavian brand who’s name escapes me.

Check Cabelas for less expensive items.



– Last Updated: Nov-10-08 1:47 PM EST –

check out this site..not too bad for price for Ulfrotte.


Never base wool purchases on price alone. It is an investment and a quality garment should last you forever.

Merino Wool?
I found some merino wool by internet searches. Icebreaker makes some nice stuff. SmartWool a little better quality, but more expensive. I’m not familiar with Ibex - it seemed the most expensive. Work requires 100% wool, so I can’t speak about the blended stuff.

You can find some nice deals on last year’s close outs on the camping gear websites like backcountry, altrec, e-omc, etc. Amazon will point you toward some of those sites. It’s all expensive and it’s an investment.

I use the base layer (undies) for work and camping as well as long johns and sweaters when weather requires, and I love the stuff. It really keeps the stink down and thermoregulates well.

My Icebreaker t-shirts and briefs are starting to show some wear after a year, but I’ve cycled 4 pair through 180+ days of work and seakayaking/camping.

Hope this helps a bit.


Columbia Merino Wool
I just found some incredibly soft (maybe even softer than Smartwool!) merino wool long underwear tops and bottoms (Columbia brand) at my local TJ Max, men’s dept. I don’t know if you live near one, but they had lots and they were about $17 for each piece. They also had some wool/poly blend Kombi stuff at Marshalls.

Be careful
Wool underwear could be a Baaaaaaaaad decision is you get wettttttt.

What makes you saaaaaay thaaaaat
Hi Joel,

That’s not been my experience with the merino wool. Curious as to any experience otherwise?


Thanks for the help. Great sources!

Holds Moisture
I quit wearing any type of wool or cotton because of a cold water incident that left me cold and soaked far from a warming area.

I believe in wicking fabrics in layaers un der a good dry suit. It may cost more, but then you get what you pay for.

Try www.wickers.com

The first time you hit the cold water and have a while before you can warm up you’ll see that you end up enjoying your day more.

all wool is not created equal
and because wool is not hydrophilic it acts totally diffenent than cotton which is.

Cotton actually is your friend in cold dry weather. Tightly woven cotton is used in Arctic clothing.

Wool is in many forms and used also in extreme cold weather where there is the possibility of getting wet. I dont discount your experience because the wool must be tightly woven and pardon me there is a lot of crappy wool out there.

"Cotton kills" is a common saying. In northern Iowa where I live wool is best in the cold winters.


– Last Updated: Nov-13-08 10:11 AM EST –

Hi Joel,

Not to discount your experience, but I used the merino wool undies and long johns for almost a year now both on and off the water. Whether sweat soaked or wet, I found my icebreaker or smartwool clothing maintains some insulating properies while wet.

I agree - there are some good synthetic materials out there. Work requires some fire resistent base layers and most synthetics don't do that. You don't want to get too close to the campfire with the synthetics either - yikes! Also, I found that once I get a good, stinky sweat in the synthetic material, the stink comes back very easily, even after washing (I guess that doesn't say much about me).

Joel, I noticed in other threads that you were in the Army. During your cold water incident you didn't happen to be using your Army-issued "wool" long johns? I noticed I kept getting cold in my Army wool long johns after a good sweat. After reading the label (duh-imagine that) I noticed the "wool" long johns were 50% wool and 50% cotton.

Like I said, there's alot of good materials out to choose from. Merino wool just seems a better fit for my current uses.

101st Airborne, Air Assault (Dope on a Rope)

look at this website.

Cotton is the only way to go for winter outerwear for active people in snow country.


that phrase “cotton kills” is a generality and oversold. Think about why it is sometimes true and sometimes not.

have pretty much ceased using any poly products and have gone to Ulfrotte Merino Wool products. We generally think of SEALS running around like little madmen all the time but in fact a large percentage of their tactical life is spent laying perfectly still. Staying warm and dry is pretty much a luxury and the men with green faces love Ulfrotte.

If Ulfrotte is good enough for SEALS it is good enought for me.

kayamedic: "cotton kills"
That is a great website. Many great products. But you need to point out that the cotton is used in shell layers and not as insulation. The site has many great wool insulating garments, but none in cotton.


Cotton kills
well yeah as an insulator. But it outperforms Goretex for outerwear for cold conditions as it can keep up with passing sweat vapor through and Goretex freezes.

Dont mean to confuse people.

Cotton is great for preventing overheating. I often wonder why nylon shirts are worn by canoeists in the summer as they hold sweat in. I find a tight cotton woven twill ideal on sticky sweaty portages.

So think about that oversold phrase “cotton kills”… It can prevent overheating, and if you do not sweat you are less likely to get chilled.

Wool is a fantastic year round insulator. It was historically worn in the desert for thermoregulation. In Saudi Arabia temperatures are extreme from 100 to freezing the same day. Wool rules!

I was under the impression that a wet cotton shirt has much less ultra-violet protection than a wet polyester shirt. At least that is what the ads say.

Im impressed enough to consider ordering one of their anoraks for snowshoeing.


Cotton for Wind-Shell Fabric

– Last Updated: Nov-18-08 2:56 PM EST –


"But it outperforms Goretex for outerwear for cold conditions as it can keep up with passing sweat vapor through and (when?) Goretex freezes." I said something like that about Gore-Tex when I first came on these boards, and the burns from that discussion are still healing! The worst I have ever been flamed here was when I said that every time I go hiking in cold weather with a Gore-Tex jacket, the inside of the jacket ends up being caked with frost. A few people here said that since it has never happened to them, I must be mistaken. Never mind the laws of physics regarding what happens to the moisture within warm air when it contacts something cold, and never mind that the makers of the fabric clearly state that vapor won't pass through it if it condenses then freezes along the way, I guess I must have mis-identified thick frost about a hundered times by now. I wonder what else it could be? Oh well.

Goretex sux
There ya go, I’ve said it. I say it with some reservations. I have several Gore products and the only one that works is a wind shirt. Think about it, the water vapor must be driven through the PTFE using body heat. As the distance from the body heat source to the PTFE increases, the size of the water vapor molecules increases. Goretex for outer wear is BS because the water vapor molecules are too large to pass through the PTFE. Using it over a lighweight merino wool shirt will guarantee the moisture will be transported away from the skin.