All-Women's Rowing Team Sets World Record, takes Ridge out to sea
All-Women's Rowing Team Sets World Record, takes Ridge out to sea

September 01, 2022

A little over a year ago, Sophia Denison-Johnston decided to say “yes” to an opportunity to launch into the unknown. With no experience on the open ocean and no idea how she would form a team or prepare for the adventure, she committed to row the Great Pacific Race - a 2,400 nautical mile unsupported journey from San Francisco, Calif. to Waikiki, Hawaii on a 29 foot, four-person row boat. The goal? Get there as fast as possible.

rowing from san francisco to hawaii

Leaving San Francisco. The crew begins their 2,400 mile journey to Hawaii.

Sophia recruited three friends, endurance athletes Libby Costello, Adrienne Smith and Brooke Downes to form Latitude 35 (Lat35) Racing's first all-women's rowing team. 

ocean swimming

Out for a swim in the open ocean.

Each team member played a specific role. As the team’s medic, Sophia understood that one of the most common ailments in the sport is bum sores, also known as "Rower's Butt." Each team member spends 12 hours a day sitting in the rowing seat, sweating and getting splashed with sea water. Seams in clothing make matters worse, grinding the salt water into the skin. The salt causes small breaks in the skin and pressure sores begin to form. It is next to impossible to dry out the wounds so they can heal.

The team knew the right clothing - especially underwear - would be crucial during the independent crossing. Sophia turned to Ridge for the solution and stocked up on Merino wool Bralettes and Boy Shorts for the crew. Her reasoning? The soft, natural fibers wouldn't irritate their already sensitive skin, and the salt would rinse out of the fabric easily with fresh water. The cut of the boy shorts also provided ample coverage, and the ideal design meant there was no seam under the sit bones, so no painful chafing. As an added bonus, the women's Merino underwear resisted odor and needed very little washing during their long journey.

What's more, the first couple of weeks on the Pacific proved to be cold, with large beam-on waves. The Ridge Natural Tencel Jogger turned out to be a perfect second layer – loose enough to pull on and off when wet, and warm even when splashed by the ocean. 

"The team rowed in shifts of two hours on, two hours off, for 24 hours a day, so realistically I have put my Ridge clothes through about 400+ hours of rowing on the open ocean!" - Sophia

 Sophia found the best rowing attire that worked for her and her crew: Ridge Boy Shorts and Bralettes

The Lat35 Ladies rowed under skies full of stars, dark nights where clouds obstructed the moon, through windy whitecaps, rain storms, and humid, hot, flat days. They learned, as Adrienne put so beautifully, to live in “abundance with less stuff," a principle they hope to cherish and take home to their everyday lives. 

The Lat 35 Crew experienced Mother Nature's beauty in every sunrise and sunset.

Their skill, planning, positive attitudes and perseverance paid off. The crew finished their row on July 25th after just over 34 days at sea, crushing the previous all-female team world record by more than 24 hours. Lat35 partnered with the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA) to raise money and awareness for mental health throughout the journey.

Happy in Hawaii. The Ladies of Lat35 - Libby Costello, Sophia Denison-Johnston, Brooke Downes and Adrienne Smith - celebrate their new World Record for fastest time in the Great Pacific Race.
Over the course of their adventure, they learned to love each other unconditionally, to cling to their values as a team, to support each other through rough and calm seas (literally), and to surrender control - because the ocean is always in charge. 

"It is said that rowing an ocean is a largely mental task. Sure it's physically tough, but having the ability to lose sight of shore and keep going, having the ability to bond with a team under extreme pressure, having the ability to dig deep in the darkest of's perhaps one of the most mentally challenging projects you can do." - Lat 35 Racing

Words/Photos: Sophia Denison-Johnston // Lat35 Racing // Great Pacific Race
Follow Sophia's Adventures: @sophiasadj and learn more about Latitude 35 Racing: @lat35racing 

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Five Backpacking Essentials
Five Backpacking Essentials

August 05, 2022

Backpacking is a sweaty activity, especially on a hot summer day. In the evening, when it's time to slow down and set up camp, sweaty clothes can chill you. This makes for an uncomfortable, and sometimes dangerous, situation in the backcountry.

Such is the story of cotton, which absorbs sweat and traps it, leaving it to rest on your skin. At best, this leaves you damp and cold. At worst, when the temperatures dip, hypothermia can be a real concern.

Merino wool backpacking layers are designed to offer personal climate control. As the perfect insulator, Merino respond to your body's needs, constantly regulating temperature so you're never too hot or too cold. (Kind of like a Thermos®.) The breathable, all-natural fibers wick moisture away from the skin when you sweat, so you stay dry. As a bonus, Merino wool is odor-resistant, so no showers, no problem! 


We've taken the guesswork out of packing for your next adventure. (Spoiler alert: Merino is the clear winner.) When choosing essential backpacking items for your next trip, consider bringing along these five multi-use, must-have Merino pieces. 



First up is the piece that you can wear while you're hiking and even as a lightweight layer in your sleeping bag - The Solstice Sun Hoodie. With natural 30+ UPF protection and a longer hem in the back for more coverage, the breathable and lightweight Ridge Solstice Sun Hoodie is the perfect layer for long days backpacking in the sun. 
"I have over 30 miles on this hoodie while backpacking so far. It has performed perfectly. From mid 40's to mid 70's, this is my go to layer."
- Jameson R


Maximum ventilation and airflow is the name of the game with the Women's Jovi Tank. It's super soft and silky in feel thanks to our TENCEL + Merino blend, but strong, making this a multi-purpose muscle tee that stretches and breathes. Recently seen on, the Jovi is recommended as one of "27 expert-approved hiking essentials for your next adventure."

"This tank is perfect for running (enough coverage that your hydration pack won't chafe) and it's the most comfortable thing to sleep in"
- Jenny W


Inspired by our home in Mammoth Lakes, the Minaret Hiking Sock features a silhouette of the Ritter Range - Mt. Ritter, Banner Peak and the iconic Minarets. This Merino sock offers year-round comfort and will soon be a favorite for everyday wear.

"I've worn these socks in every conditions so far and they've held up amazingly. I've always gotten some sort of blister by the end of my backpacking trips in the past but these socks prevented that, went about 42 miles over three days and zero feet problems!" 
- Tiare K.

The High Trail Merino Tech Hat is all about performance and portability. Its lightweight natural fibers make it foldable, packable and quick drying. It really is your go-anywhere and do-anything adventure hat. 

"I've been wearing it non stop, from walking my dogs to hikes on weekends. It's super soft and feels amazing on my head, probably thanks to the Merino/silk blend, which is the first that I've ever seen out in the world. I can safely say this is the comfiest hat I've ever owned."
- PM

The benefits of Merino Underwear are clear: odor resistance, quick-to-dry, temperature regulating; plus our thoughtful design make our men's and women's Merino wool underwear a must-have first layer for the most extreme adventures, as well as everyday life. Choose from several styles, including two lengths of Merino wool boxer briefs for him and Merino boy shorts, bikinis, thongs and bra tops for her.

"I'm a bigger guy that loves hiking and I normally chafe after a couple miles, not with my Ridge undies! Put in a 10 mile day this summer with no chafe!"
- Wayne S


When you're working your way to the summit, you need a layering system that makes you want to keep going and won't weigh you down. Ridge Merino's hiking and backpacking layers make the toughest adventures comfortable.

"The Solstice pullover hoodie—as with the rest of the collection—was designed and tested at one of the best proving grounds for activewear: California’s Mammoth Lakes. There, the clothes are put through their paces with the high desert and deep snow conditions found in the Sierra Nevada mountain range, guaranteeing that those that make it through will perform just as well with their customers’ adventures." -


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Pro Tips from a PCT Thru-Hiker
Pro Tips from a PCT Thru-Hiker

July 27, 2022

Every year, 4600 permits are issued to Northbound PCT hikers which starts in San Diego along the Mexican border, and ends in British Columbia, Canada. This year Ridge has welcomed many PCTers as they make their way through Mammoth Lakes to pick up supplies on their way to the Northern Terminus.

Day 1: Let's go! Emily stands at the Southern Terminus of the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) ready to take on the 2,650 mile journey to Canada.


We were thrilled to meet up with Ridge Merino Trail Ambassador, Emily (@emilyhikes_pct), who started her journey on March 30th and arrived at Ridge Merino’s HQ in Mammoth earlier this month. We caught up with her to see how the 906 mile journey has been going so far.


Ridge: Tell us a little bit about where you’re from and the organization you are raising money for while hiking along the PCT.

Emily: I'm from Hampshire, UK and super excited to be in Mammoth Lakes finally! While I'm hiking, I'm raising money for a charity - @koto.vietnam, a non-profit that empowers at-risk and disadvantaged youth to pursue a life of dignity by providing training, life skills and opportunity through its hospitality training programs. Pre-PCT life, I had lived in Vietnam while working in hospitality with a degree in Food Science and saw how the lifelong skills acquired in these industries can help the youth lead a healthier lifestyle. 

Ridge: The PCT is no easy task to take on, you’re averaging 15-20 mile days. Back at home in the UK, what did you do to prepare? Do you have any tips for first time thru-hikers or any recommended prep that worked for you?

Emily: I realized in my planning and daydreaming of the PCT, that I had quite a long list of things I didn't know how to do or was worried about so I worked through my list over two years to try and prepare myself. On that list was hiking in snow, so I went to Scotland in winter conditions and took a snow skills course. I'd also never attempted to walk more than 20 miles in a day with my heavy pack so I planned a 100 mile route to see how I felt and what I could improve on.

One of the snow fields Emily faced along the journey, after a late spring storm in the Eastern Sierra.

A big aspect of thru-hiking is knowing your body and your capabilities. I chose different weather conditions and terrains to hike and camp alone in so I could really get to know my gear and be aware of my own abilities. For example being tired and hungry but continuing to hike is a key skill out here on the PCT.

PCT Pro Tip: Prepare for different weather conditions and challenges before tackling the trail. 

There’s something special about cowboy camping: being able to settle down wherever you are and sleep under the Milky Way.

A lot of people have not hiked much or even set up their new tent before starting the PCT so intense preparation is not essential but having the right frame of mind and perseverance is important. I've found all my multi-day hiking and camping trips in the UK have sped up the trial and error process that I've seen a lot of hikers go through in their first month. 

PCT Pro Tip: Bring a tarp for the ground, especially if there's rain the forecast, to keep you protected and dry.

Ridge: Let's talk gear. What are the essential and non-essential items? Do you have a favorite piece of gear that helps you get through the day? What is your favorite non-essential/feel-good item you have to have with you on the trail?

Emily: Some may not see this as an essential item, but for me chocolate is necessary, everyone should keep a 'happy-snack' with them at all times. Otherwise my Solstice Sun Hoodie helps me stay protected from the sun and mosquitos this time of year. The big hood is THE BEST. Now with my new High Trail Tech Hat I feel like my Merino kit is complete. Merino on my head while I'm hiking and sweating feels so good. Honestly, everything I've worn on the trail from the Minaret Socks to the Aspect Base Layer in March and April helped me get through the colder nights. 

PCT Pro Tip: The essential spring hiking kit includes feel-good, lightweight Merino - the Solstice Sun Hoodie, Aspect High Rise Base Layer, Minaret Socks are Emily's faves.

Ridge: Favorite food on a zero day (rest-day off the trail).

Emily: I crave salads and fresh juices when I get into towns. Eating lightweight processed food on trail takes a toll on my body, and I really want proper nourishment with fruit and veggies. Breakfast is my favorite meal so I always find a good breakfast place in town. 

Emily took a quick detour to hike the highest mountain in the contiguous United States at sunrise, 14,505 foot-high Mt. Whitney. 

Ridge: Tell us about life on the trail: meeting other thru-hikers, trail names, personal hygiene, and trail magic...

Emily: I've been surprised at how easy it is to make friends on trail. Everyone is so friendly. We all have the same goal and it's easy to connect with other PCT hikers on trail or in town. There are some fun trail names out there that make it easy to remember people. I've been walking with a German lady called "Beast" because she got that hiker hunger for a burger and fries in the first few weeks and had to 'feed the beast.' I've been given the trail name "Dim Sum" because of my love for food and my career in a Dim Sum food factory. 

Exploring new areas is more fun with friends!

Hygiene is important, to me at least... Wet wipes are essential but I've gotten used to the hiker trash stink after a few days on trail, we're all in it together so it's not so bad.

Trail magic, for those that are unfamiliar, is an act of generosity from a trail angel who is not thru hiking but enjoys being a part of the thru-hiking community. The best trail magic I had, so far, was in Onion Valley after Kearsarge Pass. A man had cold beers at the trailhead as we were getting off trail to head to Bishop to rest. He even gave us a lift into town. Nice guy!

PCT Pro Tip: Hiker hygiene must-have - wet wipes. 

Ridge: If you had only one word to capture what you love most about the PCT, what would it be? 

Emily: Change. Scenes change, people change, everything is changing every day. I enjoy the constant stimulation of change, and I am hiking the PCT to experience a temporary change away from normal life.

PCT Pro Tip: Be open to change - seasons, conditions, people, terrain. Nothing stays the same on the trail. 

Smiles and miles - what the PCT is all about!

PCT Pro Tip: Everyone should pack a "happy snack," something to keep them going for long days on the trail. 

Ridge: Thanks for stopping in Emily, enjoy the rest of the trek to Canada!
Emily: I'm so excited to be in beautiful Mammoth Lakes, thanks for everything Ridge!


To learn more about Emily's journey and fundraising along the PCT visit 

Learn more about the Pacific Crest Trail HERE

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