By: Blonde Two
From time to time we Blondes are sent free outdoor products to field test and promote on our blog and social media. We will always be honest about our findings and any products we don’t keep for ourselves find their way into our expedition stores. Great for us, great for you and great for our youngsters!
It is no secret that we Blondes love merino outdoor clothing or that it suits our outdoor life. After years of trying out all sorts of other fabrics, merino stands out. It is natural, keeps you cool in warm weather, keeps you warm in cool weather and really does stop you getting smelly after sweaty days on the hills. We love merino base layers, merino underwear, merino thermals and merino gloves. Mr B2 even has a jacket that is filled with merino wool. All of which is why we were thrilled to be asked to try out the new merino outdoor range from Isobaa (I know, clever eh?) There can surely be no better way to give a pair of merino tops a trial than to take them out for a two-day, wild camping, wild swimming outing on Dartmoor? Unless of course, you happen to choose to do that on a particularly rainy night in August! Here’s how we got on.
Merino tops for walking
Even in the summer I love merino for walking and my new Isobaa zip neck hoodie was no exception. It gave me all the covering I needed to protect me from the sun (we did find a small amount) and any biting creatures that happened to be around. When the rain came, it fitted snuggly under my Paramo jacket and the hood (sometimes an issue in wet weather) tucked neatly out of the way.
Merino tops for post wild swimming
The River Dart was surprisingly warm for our wild swim/jacuzzi experience. The breeze when we got out however, was not so friendly and, once a bit of drying had happened, I was glad to reach for my hoodie afterwards. Some people find wool tops a bit uncomfortable against the skin but I love the clinginess and warmth. Merino isn’t great at keeping the wind out so I popped my waterproof on again and was warm until bedtime.
Merino tops for wild camping
You might be about to notice that I went to bed that night in all my clothes. We both did. The night and the later heavy rain had turned the air chilly meant that the only item I took off was my jacket and that was because it folds into a rather neat pillow. We were both warm all night despite the open nature of our bivvy bag and tarp arrangement. Merino scored again here because, I smelt like a beautiful flower in the morning (well perhaps a lesser-known Dartmoor bog flower!)
Merino tops from Isobaa
What else can I tell you about the Isobaa range of women’s merino tops? Well, they have enough different weights and styles to create an effective clothing layering system, their colours are pleasing and not too ‘girly’, and their prices are similar to those of other quality merino suppliers. They source their merino from Australia, care about ethical issues and send out their packages in easy-recycle cardboard (a bit like an egg box). I would say that their sizing is on the smaller size so order up and I found that mine was a bit shorter in the body than I wanted it to be. This, however is a problem us bigger busted ladies often have. All in all I was very pleased with this new addition to my outdoor wardrobe and am looking forward to taking it on a van expedition very soon.