At SKRE, we offer a couple of different base layers for hunting. We have our merino wool base layers and we have a polyester blend base layers. Our merino wool base layers are the Kaibab series. We offer that in a 150 weight, which is really lightweight merino wool, and a 300 weight, with a little bit of spandex added for comfortable wearing, and that is our mid-weight merino wool.
Our polyester blend is the Wasatch. It is one weight - kind of a lightweight, in between a light and a mid.
Today, I'm going to compare merino wool versus polyester. I want to go over a couple of things about each one, how you might use them, why you might use them, and that sort of thing.
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When To Wear Base Layers
You might ask yourself, you know, do I even need to wear base layers? Well, I think one of the things that you have to understand when it comes to performance layering systems and all performance gear, the base layer is doing a lot of work.
The outer layers are designed to be just that - they’re outer shell layers. They're designed to keep the elements out and allow the layers on the inside to do their job.
So when you get into a situation where you are layering, you need something that's performance-based against your skin, whether it's two layers or just one layer, underneath your outer.
Whether you're wearing merino wool or polyester, or any combination of the two, you need a high-quality base layer to get the best performance out of your layering system.
I personally almost always wear a base layer of some kind unless it is really, really hot. But once the season gets going and we get into cooler temperatures, we're pretty much always going to do something on base layers.
Differences of Merino Wool Versus Polyester
Our polyester blend is a very silky, soft, comfortable fabric. We use polyester in almost everything in the clothing world. So everyone's pretty familiar with it. I feel like the Wasatch in the polyester blend is probably a little bit more durable, but it doesn't perform nearly as well, in terms of what a base layer should be doing. And I do feel like in a way the polyester kind of holds in more. It kind of works more as a barrier type of base layer.
Merino wool actually comes from a Merino sheep. It's super fine and it's a super fabric the way it wicks moisture, it’s anti-microbial, it doesn't hold on the scent. It is a fantastic product, but merino wool requires a little bit more attention when it comes to taking care of and even when using it.
When to Wear Merino Wool Versus Polyester
I always use the lightweight merino wool next to skin. Pretty much exclusively, always wearing that. And even when it's warm, I like to wear the lightweight merino wool because it wicks moisture off my skin. So, even when it's warm, I wear the lightweight next to skin. If I'm doing anything mobile or I'm walking any distance, I always wear merino wool. Because it breathes better and it wicks moisture. Wicking moisture off your skin is a very important thing when it comes to how your base layers perform.
I love to use the polyester Wasatch top as a mild temperature, long sleeve t-shirt. But I like to use it as a mid-layer as well. Sometimes I'll wear it kind of as an in-between. Like I said before, I feel like it holds in body temperature a little more, so if I'm not moving a whole lot, if I'm not going very far, I'll wear polyester because I kind of feel like it's a little bit warmer.