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Polyester or Wool?
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Oct 29, 2015
Rock Climbing Photo: Me
What do you prefer? What specific piece do you wear for winter climbing, what activities do you do, what kind of conditions do you typically find yourself in, and why do you prefer one over the other? I'd love to hear some input! Andrew Maver
From Rumney, NH
Joined Mar 26, 2013
165 points
Oct 29, 2015
Rock Climbing Photo: Summit of Tiffany Mountain, Okanogan County, WA.
In my experience wool stinks less, but polyester wicks better. On warm or mild days I wear a thin enough layer that the wicking isn't an issue, so I go with wool to prevent stink when I sweat. On cold days when I wear a thicker baselayer I go with polyester so that I get the benefit of better wicking (also prevents me from getting too cold from my sweat building up on my baselayer when I stop). Gavin W
Joined Feb 19, 2015
134 points
Oct 29, 2015
Rock Climbing Photo: cowboy ridge
The other downside to thinner merino wool is that it tends to be less durable. My thinner wool climbing shirts are full of holes. I've had better luck with wool/poly blends for climbing at least. fossana
From leeds, ut
Joined Apr 30, 2006
13,062 points
Oct 29, 2015
Lookup the MH Integral Pro I believe it's 60% wool 40% polypropylene- my personal favorite synthetic material (although it is extra stinky). Good thing it's 60% wool Chris Schmidt
From Grand Junction
Joined Nov 29, 2012
0 points
Oct 30, 2015
Anecdotal:

People who feel they run hotter than average during exertion and colder than average while sedentary seem to like polyester more because they place a premium on breathability (I count myself in this category). These folks usually seem leaner.

People who are older and / or less lean seem to like wool better.
jaredj
Joined Jan 30, 2013
150 points
Oct 30, 2015
Poly base layer. Wool middle layer. Windproof on top djh860
Joined Dec 28, 2014
105 points
Oct 30, 2015
jaredj wrote:
Anecdotal: People who feel they run hotter than average during exertion and colder than average while sedentary seem to like polyester more because they place a premium on breathability


I'm in this group, but it's because my polyester base layers will dry out quickly whereas damp wool stays damp all day long. Sure it's a "warm dampness" but I prefer warm AND dry.
Gunkiemike
Joined Jul 29, 2009
2,617 points
Oct 30, 2015
Poly base layer. Wool middle layer. Windproof on top djh860
Joined Dec 28, 2014
105 points
Oct 30, 2015
Rock Climbing Photo: cartoon
Poly, generally.

Pro's: Lightweight, doesn't shrink if you leave it in the dryer too long.
Con's: Doesn't resist stink like wool. Not as durable in my experience.
Who Dat
From Spinning Rock, MW
Joined Dec 11, 2014
6 points
Oct 30, 2015
Rock Climbing Photo: FAIL
I like both equally.. wool is great for cold and I usually have wool socks regardless. The thing about wool is after a full day with sweaty feet the wool makes my ankles itch. I wear Patagonia bottoms and usually a soft shell pant and a shell pant which has always been plenty. As for tops I go with poly.. I would rather carry an extra top or two and deal with the stink rather then itch or spend the extra money.. I wear Under Armour heat wear tops most of the year, they are light and wick very well. wool hats if it's really cold but a poly buff or balaclava don't itch as much.. KENtucky
From Louisville, Ky
Joined Jan 17, 2009
73 points
Oct 30, 2015
Rock Climbing Photo: FAIL
I like both equally.. wool is great for cold and I usually have wool socks regardless. The thing about wool is after a full day with sweaty feet the wool makes my ankles itch. I wear Patagonia bottoms and usually a soft shell pant and a shell pant which has always been plenty. As for tops I go with poly.. I would rather carry an extra top or two and deal with the stink rather then itch or spend the extra money.. I wear Under Armour heat wear tops most of the year, they are light and wick very well. wool hats if it's really cold but a poly buff or balaclava don't itch as much.. KENtucky
From Louisville, Ky
Joined Jan 17, 2009
73 points
Oct 30, 2015
Rock Climbing Photo: Escalante Canyon
I'll take wool next to skin every time. It's way more comfortable, can be worn for days without stinking and I've not had a problem with the wicking\drying. I just hate the feeling of polyester and the smell. I have some holes in my well worn thin wool garments but the sacrifice in durability and the cost are still worth it to me. Icebreaker seems to last longer than smart wool. Ralph Swansen
From Denver CO
Joined Nov 24, 2012
338 points
Oct 30, 2015
Rock Climbing Photo: ice'n
cotton thrills christoph benells
From tahoma
Joined Nov 14, 2014
239 points
Oct 30, 2015
poly smells like shit and can feel weird to me. buy a couple or a few stoic merino shirts on steep and cheap for 30-40 dollars and you are totally set. mine have been reasonably durable and for that price i'll take that all day. plus I can wear for a week and not smell like poly I wore for 5 minutes Mike Collins
Joined May 18, 2013
40 points
Administrator
Oct 30, 2015
Rock Climbing Photo: OMG!
Whatever i find cheap at the local thrift.
Cotton kills, wool pills, capalene thrills.
Muscrat
Joined Oct 27, 2011
3,553 points


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