It’s what’s on the inside that counts
“Wool against the skin” is a good old-fashioned rule of thumb which many of us use when deciding what to wear in the winter, but wool is worth its weight in gold throughout the whole year, in both hot and cold weather.
Wool is a renewable natural material which has properties that high-technology, synthetic materials struggle to match. Did you know for example that wool has a “cooling” effect in hot weather? This is because of wool’s fantastic ability to transport and absorb moisture. In fact, wool can hold up to 30% of its own weight in moisture. If you wear a wool garment against your skin when you are active, the wool will absorb sweat and wick the moisture away from your body. The result is that your skin feels dry and cool.
If you wear a thin woolen garment against your skin during summer hikes, you will also benefit from the rapid-drying properties of wool, as well as its insulation properties when damp.
Imagine you’re heading off on a summit hike. The fact that you stay warm for as long as you’re climbing is no great surprise. The challenges come as soon as you’ve reached the summit and want to take in the view and enjoy your lunch pack. When your body’s activity level and heat generation drop, even the slightest breeze will cool you down if for example you’re wearing a cotton garment against your skin.
With wool against your skin, all you have to do is put on a lightweight and windproof outer garment and let the wool do the rest. Depending on how sweaty you got on the way up, the wool will rapidly absorb moisture from your skin, wick it away and dry your skin, while at the same time insulating you and keeping you at the perfect temperature.
Our message is therefore not a new one, but it remains just as relevant today as it always has been: It’s what’s on the inside that counts - choose wool against your skin. Good hiking!