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 to the bone. 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 Today.com, 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."
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." - TravelNibble.com