Ali Wood tests EDZ Merino wool leggings and top over the winter and is impressed
Sailing over the winter and autumn or at night in the summer can be chilly, so thermals are a good idea.
Merino wool is a natural fibre grown by Merino sheep, which keeps them happy in anything from -15C°C to 35°C. Oh to be a sheep…
Merino wool offers the best of both worlds: when it’s cold, the crimps in the fibre provide insulation, but when it’s hot, the pores transport sweat and moisture away from the skin.
Plus, after 12 months in the ground, Merino wool will decompose, giving back all the fibrous protein to the soil.
The Merino breed of sheep was established in Spain in the Middle Ages and was deemed so precious that anyone attempting to export them faced the death penalty.
It wasn’t until the 18th century that flocks were sent to courts across Europe, and word of their fabulous fleece spread.
Based in Cumbria, the heart of hiking country, EDZ is a Merino wool specialist, catering for sailors, skiers and other outdoor enthusiasts.
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Its mission, it says, is to produce ‘good quality functional products’. I’d go one step further, and say they’re pretty smart too.
My EDZ thermals proved invaluable this winter.
Being made of a superfine grade yarn, they’re soft and not itchy, and good at wicking away perspiration.
I first tried them on a narrowboat holiday in the Brecon Beacons.
Despite it being November, the climate was so mild I wore my top as an outer layer, even though it’s designed to be a base layer.
As winter set in, I wore my thermals on safety boat duty – this time under trousers, top and oilskins – and then during the minus-zero days of December and January under everyday clothes.
I interchanged my zip-neck top (£60) for the scoop neck version (£50) and found both to be warm and cosy.
The leggings are available in 200gsm (£55) or 260gsm (£60) and, as with the tops, can be worn as an outer layer or under clothes as regular longjohns.
The high-rise back provides that extra bit of warmth when bending over.
The sizing is accurate, though if you prefer a looser fit, I’d recommend going up a size, especially with the leggings, which have a high, waistband that I found slightly too tight after Christmas!
EDZ’s clothing is made for both men and women, and can be machine-washed at 30°C, though with Merino wool it’s best not to over-wash as that can weaken the fabric. Ironing isn’t necessary.
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