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PostPosted: Wed Jan 19, 2011 12:59 am 
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Question:

Where is the best place to buy wool clothing durable enough for the great outdoors? Bonus for places that make/sell tall sizes.

Right now I know of

cabelas (Tall Sizes)
sierratradingpost.com (Tall sizes)

and companies that don't explicitly do tall but carry a wide variety:
backpackinglight.com
http://www.woolovers.us
woolrich.com
nicashooting.com
campmor.com [Big and Tall section, but not a single tall wool sweater sold]

Reason for Thread:

I recently got stuck on a mountain during a storm. It was cold and wet. I was wearing synthetic long underwear, cotton polo shirt, a very thick fleece and your typical waterproof/breathable shell. I (and others dressed like me) froze our butts off. On the other hand, the veteran tour guides were all wearing wool, merino wool & possum fur had they no problems.

So I'm stocking up on wool/fur warm wear and eliminating any cold weather gear that's made out of cotton. Despite the bad experience, I will probably still use fleece (primarily because of weight), but it will always have wool layered underneath it.

As I'm a tall and trim guy, I'm particularly interested in knowing who makes/sells tall sized wool clothing. Some companies make their stuff long enough that I can get by with normal sizes, but others are just way too short.


Last edited by ZombieKraft on Wed Jan 19, 2011 1:22 am, edited 2 times in total.

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 19, 2011 1:15 am 
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I have heard Dachstein Wool mittens are good for extreme cold..
Merino Wool is also good in my book. Although I have read that the synthetic materials are starting to become as good if not better than wool... for instance pile materials... but I will stick with wool.

I am always looking for old trapper blankets... but I don't need anymore competition. 100% Virgin Wool Trapper Blankets from arround the 1920's era, and if found in pestine condition would be my first choice as far as raw material... now do you have the heart to cut one up to make a pullover?? I don't

===Edit=====

Oh I almost forgot:

http://jas-townsend.com/product_info.ph ... cts_id=221 <- you might have to contact them about the big/tall questions but these are great!

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 19, 2011 1:27 am 
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An important thing is to make sure your base layer does not contain any cotton. I purchased some "thermal base layer" clothing from gander mountain before my winter camping trip but once I got home I realized that they were 40% cotton. Returned them and went to Boston store and got some synthetic cuddle duds and was never cold. I think a wool base layer would be too itchy.

Also try second hand stores for wool sweaters as a secondary layer. Make sure they're loose fitting.

Wool blankets are cheap at the army surplus stores.

I live about 1.5 hour drive from the wigwam factory and they have a wool sock sale every winter. My mom and I go there and stock up on less then perfect and surplus socks for $1 or $2 a piece. They make great Christmas presents.


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 19, 2011 1:37 am 
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I prefer Filson clothing. I have had stellar performance from their garments. They do run a little expensive but its worth it. I'm not sure if they have tall sizes though.

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 19, 2011 1:41 am 
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Wool is good as long as you play the %. I used to work outside all winter and I learned a lot about wool. One thing that is very important for truly staying warm is you want nothing below 80% wool. Socks as an example, you can get them at a lot of places but there not always 100% wool. As I said I used to work outside in all weather through the winters and I did very well with just the wool long-johns and socks and work cloths over them.

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 19, 2011 4:46 am 
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If you get base layer cashmere than you are doing alright. Unfortunately I know of know where in the Us that sells base layer cashmere cheap.


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 19, 2011 10:25 am 
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Smartwool is awesome stuff. Non-itchy, 100% Merino. I have a drawer full of it. It's usually expensive though. It's sold at a lot of outdoor/backpacking stores.

I'm having a major brain fart trying to come up with other options that are wool.


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 19, 2011 10:41 am 
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koolaidND wrote:
I prefer Filson clothing. I have had stellar performance from their garments. They do run a little expensive but its worth it. I'm not sure if they have tall sizes though.



Filson makes fantastic products and a lot of their clothes come in long sizes. Be careful when choosing a wool garment from them because many of them have to be dry cleaned.

Smartwool and Ibex are also good.


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 19, 2011 10:45 am 
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LL Bean. I'm fat and tall-ish. My wool sweater has been my outer layer for every WCT ZS has put on, and it's been fantastic. Their policy of replacing their products if it ever rips or tears is also a plus. Helps swallow the higher price a bit.

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 19, 2011 11:39 am 
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Ibex! Thanks, WhoShotJR, they're who I was thinking of along with Smartwool.


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 19, 2011 12:07 pm 
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i just went to the Goodwill and picked up a 80% lambswool sweater for $2.50 cant really beat that

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 19, 2011 1:04 pm 
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I also vote for Smartwool. I use everything from their socks and boxer briefs to t-shirts, they are amazing. I was always worried about them being itchy but I have found they are just not that way. Being merino wool, the fibers are a much smaller diameter and therefore not itchy like normal wool is. The only down side is the cost, they can run a pretty penny but they are worth it for a long term investment.


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 19, 2011 2:04 pm 
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Icebreaker is another company that works primarily with merino wool, but I feel like they're even more expensive than Ibex & SmartWool, so YMMV.

http://www.icebreaker.com/


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 19, 2011 2:12 pm 
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Check out Janus. Got my favorite 1st layer wool clothes from them, and some great wool clothes for my newborn (any manufacturer who manages to produce wool clothes that kids find comfortable is on to something, IMHO).

Apart from being extremely warm, comfortable, and durable, they are also quite stylish looking, often in an old-school kind of way.

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 19, 2011 6:17 pm 
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You want http://www.duluthtrading.com/home/home.aspx?src=G014099&admkt=&s_kwcid=TC|8004|duluth%20trading||S|b|2961483841

www.duluthtrading.com


I have several of their wool over shirts. Great stuff.


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 20, 2011 11:11 am 
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Takaaco78 wrote:
i just went to the Goodwill and picked up a 80% lambswool sweater for $2.50 cant really beat that


Second-hand clothing stores are the first place I look for wool. That's just me; my background is Scots/English, therefore I'm cheap bastard crossed with tightwad. Thick or thin sweaters, thick or thin pants, even shirts from time to time. My favourite trick is to find a pair of old-man pants: those thin wool dress pants that guys in their fifties wore thirty years ago. Get them for two bucks, wear them under jeans or BDUs, great for camping. When I win the lottery, I plan on dropping two grand at King of the Mountain Wool. But for now, it's St. Vinnies and the Sally Ann for me.

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PostPosted: Sun Jan 23, 2011 10:37 pm 
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Neville wrote:


This store looks like it's going to be one of my favorites.

The top link isn't working for me which one are you trying to link to?


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 23, 2011 10:46 pm 
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Lucretius wrote:
Check out Janus. Got my favorite 1st layer wool clothes from them, and some great wool clothes for my newborn (any manufacturer who manages to produce wool clothes that kids find comfortable is on to something, IMHO).

Apart from being extremely warm, comfortable, and durable, they are also quite stylish looking, often in an old-school kind of way.



This is a Norwegian company. Their stuff doesn't even show up on google shopper. Are you able to purchase them in your home country of Canada?


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 23, 2011 10:48 pm 
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ZK, it honestly sounds to me like you had an overall clothing problem, not that the clothing of the guides was made out of magical materials.

Synthetic base layers and mid layers, along with a waterproof/breatheable shell, are pretty much the gold standard in keeping warm and dry. You probably would have been good to go if you had not had the cotton layers or had thicker synthetic layers.

Like some other posters, I've had really good luck with SmartWool (only used their socks, but they're pretty awesome), and certainly wouldn't fault a person for going the wool route for outdoors clothing.

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PostPosted: Thu Feb 03, 2011 2:26 pm 
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Pendleton wool shirts. They are fantastically built, durable and personally my favorite outdoor shirt. Get on the fleabay and pick a few up for $15-30 a pop, you won't be disappointed.

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PostPosted: Sat Feb 05, 2011 3:01 am 
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I know you specificaly asked about wool, but I agree with a couple other posters, its not just "wool good everything else bad". (though "cotton kills") Many of the synthetics are really good insulators, and can work better than wool. Thinsulate is great, primaloft is very good also, both are excellent at retaining their warmth when wet. Goretex outer shell is great (other materials work well too). A HUGE part of staying warm in the situation you described is staying dry, and / or good wind protection. I do like fleece too, it is really a good insulator for the weight.

Underarmor makes some fantasticly warm base layers, that do well when wet too.

Wool is great, and works well when wet, but it is heavy, and there are other materials out there that are lighter, and / or work just as well when wet. Cotton kills, don't use it. :)

Good luck!

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PostPosted: Sat Feb 05, 2011 10:53 am 
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Takaaco78 wrote:
i just went to the Goodwill and picked up a 80% lambswool sweater for $2.50 cant really beat that


Just picked up 3 this week. One is an 80% wool sweater, an EMS 100% wool zip front sweater, and a very heavy handmade 100% wool. Just putting on the last one in the store I started to sweat.

Total cost = $15.97. Can't beat 2nd hand stores.

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PostPosted: Sat Feb 05, 2011 12:44 pm 
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none1 wrote:
Cotton kills, don't use it. :)
Went thread searching since I've been thinking about this stuff.

Detailed comment by crypto on how/why cotton can kill: viewtopic.php?p=993618#p993618
Notes by blackdog on when cotton might be appropriate: viewtopic.php?f=14&t=71143&p=1567502#p1567502
Discussion of nylon/wool pants with some more cotton comments: viewtopic.php?f=14&t=42233

So: The misuse of cotton kills, avoid wearing it for outdoor activities in temps below 80*F until you learn when it works and when it doesn't.

And for good measure, always give your gear (including those synthetics, fur, and wool wonder garments!) a test someplace safe--like a backyard with your warm and dry house/apartment 15 seconds away--before relying on it in the field.


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PostPosted: Sat Feb 05, 2011 1:59 pm 
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I can recommend Stoic and Backcountry. As for longjohns I went with Icebreaker Bottoms and Top. For lightweight socks DeFeet WoolEators rock.

As others have said I hit up the thrift stores as well. Got a 100% Merino sweater the other day and have found some nice items like Mamot Precip pants and some Patagonia fleece.


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