Merino is warmer, especially when wet, and more stink-resistant than petroleum-derived polyester and nylon. But those synthetic fibres are more durable and wick and dry faster. Historically, we’ve had to choose between them, but now Black Diamond and Helly Hansen are giving us the best of both. BD uses NuYarn, a super-thin merino wool fibre wrapped around a
nylon shaft. Woven into the Solution 150 baselayer top and bottom, we found it buttery soft and noticeably lighter, stretchier, more durable and faster drying than merino wool. With the help of a Cambridge University evolutionary biologist, Helly Hansen strategically placed merino and its proprietary Lifa synthetic fibres exactly where their attributes are most useful in the H1 Pro baselayers.
Known as body mapping, merino is placed for warmth in the upper back, chest and neck, and Lifa is used to move moisture away from the armpits and spine. HH top: $180; pant: $130; hellyhansen.com BD top: $139; pant: $119; blackdiamondequipment.com