When you think of merino wool, brands such as Icebreaker, Ibex, and Smartwool immediately come to mind. Two relative newcomers (at least to the US) are trying to challenge theses dominant players with deep offerings that include pieces from urban apparel to standard baselayers. Over the course of the winter, I had the chance to test out some baselayers from both WoolX and Super.Natural.
Patagonia took their popular Capilene 4 expedition weight base layers and made them even better this season by creating a full one piece suit. Extremely warm and comfortable, the onsie will quickly become one of your favorite pieces of gear this winter.
For their Spring 2014 line of RS Base Layers designed for training and racing in hot weather, Sugoi is introducing a new performance fabric called Energ-Ice. Using two complementary technologies, the fabric reacts to both your increased body heat in order to cool you down and your body’s natural emission of infrared ray energy to keep you going for longer.
After almost getting frostbite on a climb of Aconcagua, Swamy Karnam knew there had to be a better layering system for use in cold environments that would give you easy access to inner layers for keeping your hands, camera, or water from freezing. The resulting Cozy Layers Passage System consists of four layers of upper-body apparel (base layer, fleece, down jacket, and shell) that work seamlessly together.
With their latest green initiative, Patagonia has turned to their namesake, in a move that looks beyond just sustainability to complete regeneration of an environment and entire region in desperate need. In the south of Argentina, up to 90% of land is privately owned and used for grazing. Over the years, uncontrolled grazing management has led to extreme habitat loss of the fragile Patagonian grasslands. Now looking to reverse these effects of overgrazing, Patagonia has teamed up with The Nature Conservancy and local rancher network Ovis XXI to implement a sustainable sheep grazing protocol.