Best blend? Wool+Tencel vs Wool+Polyester?

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    Ike M.
    BPL Member


    Locale: Bay Area

    Does anyone have experience with both wool/poly blend shirts (like the Patagonia Capilene Cool Merino) and wool/tencel (like the Ortovox 120 Cool Tec)? Curious how they compare in terms of:

    1) heat retention / breathability (the cooler the better)

    2) durability

    3) stink

    4) drying time

    Many thanks!

    Chris K
    BPL Member


    I’ve worn the Capilene Cool Merino while running over the past year and really like it for hot weather:

    1) It does not retain much heat

    2) It’s not very durable (tore a hole in the back where I pulled on it to tuck it in?)

    3) It does not stink

    4) It dries fast


    BPL Member


    I am a big fan of wool/symthetic blends such as Icebreaker Oasis or Kuiu Ultra Merino 125/145/200 among others.

    I recently got the Kuiu 125 merino Tees for my birthday and I’m fully in love with them – Athletic cut (one of the only athletic cut brands in existence), extremely thin and cool, dries from dripping to dry in a few minutes in arid California weather. Only downside I see is the fabric is ultra thin and likely not durable, though I have had no problems so far. Good UPF too. Very comfy at home and on the trail.

    I know Nylon is not the first choice but I think as long as its a low-ish percentage I really like wool/Nylon or Tencel or Lyocell blends. For whatever reason I don’t have any wool/poly blends.

    So far I have not found a wool/synthetic blend I dislike. I also have plenty of 100% merino and don’t know which I like more. Blends seem to have zero itch factor amd are definitely the way to go in hot weather as they do dry noticeably faster. 100% merino has 3/10 itch factor to me and I find myself wearing it more in cooler weather, but that could just be because it seems lighter weight garments are more likely to have a synthetic blend.

    I find my blended shirts are not significantly more stinky than 100% wool either. Certainly nowhere near 100% synthetic which I can stink out in a couple hours.

    They’re kinda pricey but I’ve been very impressed with 4  wool and 2 peloton 97 garments from Kuiu. They are my new go to for premium/splurge purchases. I now like them better than the dead bird or patagucci and intend to add more. Though compared to other high quality brands like IB, SW, or even retail priced REI merino they are about the same price.

    Their sand color is light enough that it’s cool in the sun. The steel blue is a nice regular looking color which passes the wife-nerd test, and their Loden dark green is super stealth (I enjoy being hard to see to the point I like clowning with my hiking group by hiding in plain sight just off the trail and whistling at them from a few feet away when waiting for the slower ones to catch up. Nothing funnier than them staring right at you and not seeing you!)

    Christopher Yi


    Locale: Cen Cal

    I picked up Black Diamond Solution 150 Merino Zip Hoody last year. 78% Merino, 22% Polyester. Athletic fit with high arm holes. My size small comes in at 6.50 oz. Got it on sale, but it’s still expensive compared to other options. There’s not many zip neck merino hoodies out there though.

    1. Only used it on a handful of times on multiday backpacking trips. Doesn’t hold heat and breathes well. Only comes in two colors, a heathered black or heathered black/dark green, so it does get a little warm in the direct sun. Zip helps to dump some heat.

    2. No issues with durability and no holes yet. If I look up close, it does have some minor pilling in some areas. I’ve put holes in all my 100% Merino pieces, so only sleep socks and underwear gets 100% now. Blends for everything else.

    3. Longest I’ve had it without washing was only two days, but I couldn’t smell any stink on it. When I was handwashing it, it did stink a little. I’m assuming because of the lanolin, but went away after it dried.

    4. Dried fast, but I forgot how long it took. I’ll have to time it next time I’m out.

    Steve Thompson
    BPL Member


    Locale: Southwest

    I have a couple Patagonia Capilene Air hoodies and like then a lot. 51/49 merino/polyester. Very loose weave and probably too fragile for hiking in if carrying a pack.  I wear them in camp and to sleep in.
    <p style=”text-align: left;”>All other merino garments are the 150w corespun so not really a blend.  These are quite robust.  Too bad @Ike M that you find the mostly wool itchy.</p>

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