Jun 24, 2010 at 9:05 am #1260481
So as not to hijack the cotton shirt thread below, I'm wondering if anyone can comment on how the BPL UL 115 gram merino holds up under pack straps. The product description states thus:
Merino wool this light does not come without limitations. These garments cannot withstand the repeated abrasion of pack straps from a heavy backpack, and they cannot resist the attacks of thorns, briars, or devil's club. They are less durable than a synthetic (nylon or polyester) garment of a similar weight, and require the utmost care in washing for maximum life expectancy: use wool cleaner and hand wash only for best results.
I went on a hike last weekend, and had originally intended to wear my UL hoody, but then recalled the warning against pack strap abrasion, and went with a zip neck Capilene 2. It was in the low 80s and moderately humid. The capilene was okay, but I know from wearing it on runs that the UL hoody performs vastly better in these conditions.
I don't want to ruin my expensive top. I managed to tear a hole in the hood(repaired with needle and thread) just by putting my thumb through it when carelessly taking in off.
Am I limited to using the hoody only in Spring/Fall conditions when it's an ideal wicking layer under my houdini, or can I start wearing it in the hot humid summers so long as I'm carrying a light pack?Jun 24, 2010 at 9:35 am #1623004
@wandering_bobLocale: Oregon, USA
I've often wondered the same about the 150 and even 200 weight merino wool shirts from Icebreaker, Smartwool, and Artyrx.Jun 24, 2010 at 10:00 am #1623018
And I wonder about the same durability-under-a-pack's-shoulder-straps problem for light expensive jackets like the Marmot Mica, Marmot Essence, TNF Triumph Anorak etc etc..
I can report that an Outdoor Research synthetic wicking warm-weather hiking t-shirt (seemed really good quality) has started to show abrasion patches near the shoulders after barely 5 – 6 days out..Jun 24, 2010 at 10:21 am #1623023
@gardenheadLocale: Western NC
I wore an Icebreaker 150 T on the majority of my AT thru.
With a pack averaging around 20 lbs, it lasted a solid 1,000 miles. I think I wore it about 1,300 before deciding to replace it. The majority of this time I was using a poncho and carrying no other tops, so I think it held up pretty well.Jun 24, 2010 at 12:51 pm #1623063
I used an icebreaker 200 all winter with 20-30lb winter loads, and it still seems like new.
Probably put a couple hundred miles on it.
Can anybody comment about the BPL beartooth hoody's performance under pack straps?Jun 24, 2010 at 1:00 pm #1623064
@rcowmanLocale: Canadian Rockies
mine looks fine after 200 miles. I had an unrelated problem with one of the seams on my hood but easy fix.
i even machine wash my bpl wool ones and they hold up fine. the UL and the bear tooth.Jun 24, 2010 at 3:11 pm #1623109
You guys are doing better than me. My Beartooth sprang a couple of holes and I can't think how I contributed beyond looking at it a bit hard.Jun 24, 2010 at 3:58 pm #1623117
I don't know, but I would assume that the key words are 'heavy backpack'. I imagine the BPL merino top is suited to the lighter weights most people here try to achieve.
Regarding the comment about the durability of the Marmot Mica – the new Super Mica has reinforced zones around the hip belt and shoulders. Makes you look a bit like Tron, but I believe they aded them because of durability issues.Jun 24, 2010 at 7:52 pm #1623172
@florigenLocale: South East
Too answer your question about durability would say "Good" picked up the BPL UL Merino hoody last September (believe it's the same fabric your questioning) and has survived aprox. 48 days worn while UL backpacking since then with no significant signs of wear and tear from pack straps.
There are a few minor holes developing in different area's near bottom seams of the shirt but has held up fairly well.
Have mostly used under various shells in cooler temps (fall, winter, spring) in the SE.
Hope this helps
JimJun 24, 2010 at 9:57 pm #1623219
You put a hole in it with your thumb? You paid how much for this? And I'm assuming you returned it?
IMO, this is a prime example of going a little too far to save a gram.Jun 24, 2010 at 11:25 pm #1623234
@rcaffinLocale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
> You put a hole in it with your thumb? You paid how much for this?
Most of the wool thermals are fashion items, not hard-core walking gear. Bigger market. (Less intelligent customers?)
cheersJun 24, 2010 at 11:55 pm #1623236
Wasn't he talking about a BPL UL Hoody? BPL sells lifestyle clothing now?Jun 25, 2010 at 1:00 am #1623237
I wore through the shoulders of the beartooth hoody in about 2 months of daily use (1000 miles) last summer. Definitely not what I would consider durable. I wouldn't even bother with the lighter UL merino.
This was with 10-12 lb base weight and peak weights around 30.Jun 25, 2010 at 6:42 am #1623273
@sharaldsLocale: Gallatin Range
I believe the original question was regarding the UL Merino clothing but I have used both the UL and the Beartooth Merino products extended amounts of time and feel confident in commenting on the durability of both. I will limit this post to the UL material.
I've worn the UL Merino Hoody almost exclusively as my single piece of clothing on all summer/fall/spring backpacking trips starting late last summer and up to the present so I've put between one and two hundred miles of walking (and subsequently pack strap pressure) on that piece of gear. Although there is a slight sign of pilling of the wool where the straps rest the fabric has not begun to show signs of wearing yet and there are no holes present in the fabric.
Please keep in mind I am a paid staff member of BPL but my comments above are my own opinion based on my use of this item.Jun 25, 2010 at 9:43 am #1623323
I like the disclaimer at the bottom.Aug 30, 2010 at 5:01 pm #1641665
I'll revive this because I'm thinking of getting this over the Smartwool microweight. Anyone have any more comments on durability?
How about the management of back sweat? Does the superfine wool make a big difference in comparison to nylon or polyester?Aug 30, 2010 at 5:31 pm #1641669
You might know this, since you are thinking of getting the BPL UL Merino over the Smartwool Microweight, but the Smartwool microweight is the same 150 gram/m wool as the BPL Beartooth, vs the 115 gram/m of the UL Merino.
I have to say that I really like the way the UL merino manages sweat. It never gets heavy and feels clammy the way even the microweight stuff does. I really do find it to be my favorite baselayer when the temperatures allow it to be worn under something sturdier like a wind jacket. Which is pretty much every season but East of the Mississipi summers.
I actually wish BPL made their merino boxers out of the same weight of fabric. I have a pair of the 150 gram/m make I got in the big sale last year, and they just retain a lot of perspiration and get clammy in a region of the body that tends toward that. I wore the underwear and the UL merino hoody as baselayers all winter riding my bike 12-15 miles every morning in Central Park. The shorts went under powerstretch tights and the hoody went under a powerstretch jacket, and the difference is sweat management was drastic, in my experience.
When I 'put my thumb' through my hoody, I was taking it off after a morning run, and I was really sweaty, and since the fit is athletic(read: skintight), one has to be careful taking it off. I realized this and was just careless once. I've also ripped the collar seam on a golite drimove t shirt in the same situation.
My experience has been that the sweat management of the UL Merino is comparable to my Golite Drimove t-shirt, with the wool being my more soft against the skin and the polyester seeming a bit more durable.Aug 30, 2010 at 6:11 pm #1641680
>> Does the superfine wool make a big difference in comparison to nylon or polyester?
IMO, absolutely YES. The UL Merino hoody is one of my favorites. Will get damp but retains warmth. Also odor control is much better. Good thermoregulation by pushing the sleeves up and pushing off the hood. No zippers. Very well designed.
I was pleasantly surprised at its durability. I am very careful with it.
I learned a valuable lesson when I ripped my UL merion long john pant leg while being careless. I still wear them. Was a L shaped rip about 4-5 inches.Aug 30, 2010 at 6:19 pm #1641683
Hey James and George, very informative posts. What do you think of the UL Merino in summer, worn as a stand-alone layer? I believe the wool would still manage heat and moisture very well, no?Aug 30, 2010 at 7:32 pm #1641710
@robertm2sLocale: Lake Tahoe
To protect my BPL merino Hoody, I used a few stitches to hold on a patch of Gorilla Tape on each shoulder, and I like the way it protects it. DISCLAIMER: They pay me to NOT post on this site, but I am foregoing this month's stipend.Aug 31, 2010 at 6:16 pm #1642046
What do you think of the UL Merino in summer, worn as a stand-alone layer?
Eastern US summer: tried once on fairly warm day, but felt uncomfortable
West US summer: was ok except when exerting myself
IMO, the higher humidity makes a difference (East vs West)
I've read alot about synthetic materials and understand that they are technically better than wool, but I prefer wool anyway. Especially really thin wool. Don't know if it is psychological or not. Don't care. : )Sep 1, 2010 at 8:11 pm #1642422
Thanks George. I think the "technically better" aspect of synthetics are a personal comfort thing. I might just have to get a lightweight wool t-shirt and hike around in it to see.
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