Part of an ongoing series on Northeast-based gear companies. Turns out there's more than one company in the Northeast specializing in merino wool garments. WoolX joins Minus33 in the cadre of regional merino wool proselytizers. And, after testing out one of their midweight tops, I would say my conversion to wool junkie is well on its way to completion.
Warmth in sheep's clothing. Photo: WoolX
Wool is some fascinating stuff, as I recently detailed in The Science Behind Wool's Powers. And soft, plush merino wool makes for some extremely warm, comfortable, wear-it-all-the-time base layers. It's pricey stuff, but well worth it if you can stomach the cost.
WoolX is based in Endicott, N.Y., and offers a range of base layers and other garments made from Australian merino wool. I spent much of the past week wearing one of their midweight 1/4-zip tops—including a four-hour post-blizzard shoveling marathon—and can confirm that, yes, merino wool is delightful. In particular, I was struck by how well wool managed my shoveling sweat-fest. Unlike the polyester long underwear I often wear, it did not become clammy and damp from body moisture overload—one of the most noticeable drawbacks of heavy exertion in synthetic fabrics.
All that is true for merino wool in general, but what sets the WoolX garment apart is its thickness and heft (260 g/m2, roughly 10 to 20 percent heavier than comparable midweights). It's one of the beefiest midweight base layers I've worn and is noticeably warmer as result. An unusually high neck collar also offers extra protection for the jugular zone.
That being said, it doesn't run as long in the sleeves as other base layers I own—a drawback for gangly-armed 6-foot, 5-inch individuals like myself. And like many other 1/4-zip base layers I've worn, the inner seam on the bottom of the zipper was noticeably scratchy on my chest (which is why I generally prefer zipper-free crew neck styles and use a neck gaiter when necessary).
WoolX offers a range of other garments, including what must be an extremely hefty and toasty heavyweight line of base layers. If you're looking for maximum merino wool warmth, you'll have a hard time topping a WoolX garment ($90 to $150, depending on style and weight).
Support your Northeast gear companies! This post is part of an ongoing
(though recently dormant) series on Northeast-based gear companies. Here
are the 25 companies I've profiled to date: