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Re: Wool and/or synthetics?

I’ve been backpacking through multiple generations of gear and clothing options. A lot of “latest and greatest” clothing materials have come in and out of popularity over the years. I’ve sworn by some choices that did the job, and sworn at others which performed poorly at inopportune times. I’ve developed a few clothing preferences for backpacking in cold, wet weather. For example, I always pack at least one wool layer for upper and lower body and feet: a wool stocking cap, long sleeve wool shirt, wool pants and wool boot sox. I usually wear a thinner inner layer under the wool, which varies as to material (but no cotton of course). I’ve watched wool  go in and out of popularity a few times, and at times have even been criticized for choosing to wear it. Having been in situations where I have stayed warm, clear headed and functional in my wet wool, while others have suffered the onset of hypothermia in their synthetics, it’s hard for me to leave wool at home. But maybe I’m overlooking something that is truly a better choice for when you just KNOW that no matter how good your outermost layer is, you WILL be wearing wet clothing for a few days. What are others choosing for days of unavoidable cold wet weather (besides staying home), and is wool one of your choices? 

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10 Replies

I'm currently all-synthetic, except for my wool socks, which provide the right amount of heat and moisture control as well as cushioning.

I've been doing well in both warm and cold conditions by layering synthetics, but based on the info here will consider wool base layers!