Why wool performs in wet conditions

One of the most common misconceptions we hear and read about wool is to not let it get wet. Some say it because they think it will shrink, some say it because they think it will react like cotton and lose its thermal properties, and others are just afraid of smelling like a wet sheep. Fortunately, this isn’t the case, and one of the most ideal fibre types to wear during your favourite water-based sport is, in fact, Merino wool. So, before you head out on your next adventure, here are a two things to keep in mind:

1 Dress for the conditions – wind, water and air

The first thing to remember is to dress for the conditions in the area you will be in. This encompasses a number of factors including air and water temperature as well as the direction and strength of the wind as well as any tides or currents. The wind, tides, and strong currents will easily affect how rough the water is and how wet you are likely to get. Studies have shown that if it is windy or cold out, and you get wet, you’ll cool down up to 25 times faster than if you were dry.

2 Consider the water temperature

Whether you’re out paddling, SUPing or rowing, you’re dealing with two separate environments; the air and the water. It can be tempting to forget about the water temperature and just dress based on the temperature from your local weather forecast. The reality, though, is if you are surrounded by water, there is a good chance you are going to get at least a little wet. Tipping over and getting completely soaked is a possibility as well, even for those highly experienced.

Core Merino Neck Warmer - Why wool and water sports

Dress accordingly – with wool

So, keeping all this in mind, what should you wear for your next water-based adventure? Clothing for paddling and other water sports has similar requirements to other outdoor activities like hiking. You are looking for versatility, durability and comfort while you are on the move. You are also looking for protection for wet and sometimes cold conditions. In warmer conditions, your clothing choices become a little less important, but the key here is sun protection, which merino wool also excels in as it serves as an additional layer of protection against the harmful UV rays. Merino wool is ideal for active outdoor environments, including those on the water. It keeps you warm even when it gets wet. It is soft and comfortable next-to-skin and is naturally antibacterial, which actually helps to keep you from smelling like a sheep on your next paddle.

Here are our favourite items for water sports:

At Core Merino, we are all about getting out there and being active. Hiking is one of our favourite outdoor activities as it offers something for everyone to enjoy. However, also a hiking trip needs some planning and consideration. Therefore, we have put together this ultimate hiking guide for you to ensure you have a marvellous experience during your next hiking adventure. In this guide, you will learn how to plan, what to wear and pack as well as how to ensure your safety and a good experience for everyone. 

How to plan for your hike?

Even though things often don’t go according to plan, when it comes to hiking, planning does help ensure you have a good and positive experience. 

When is the best time to hike? 

First up, you should consider the best timing for your next hiking trip based on two factors. 

1 How many days do you want to spend hiking? You may just want to do a hiking trip over the weekend close to where you live, or you want to travel a bit further to a National Park. You will need a different number of days depending on the hiking trip, including arrival and departure times. 

2 When do you want to go hiking? Is the month or season when you are planning to go hiking suitable for the hiking trail you have set your eyes on? Some trails may not be accessible during the winter months, during a rainy season, or might be overcrowded during the peak season. Inform yourself about the local recommendations of the best time to hike certain trails. 

Who will join your hiking trip?

Some hikers prefer to be hiking on their own, but often hiking in nature with a good friend, your family or even a hiking group can elevate your experience even more. Find out who will join you and consider the number of people in your plan. Can’t find anyone to join you? Try searching for a hiking group on Facebook or Meetup or ask for guided hiking tours at the National Park or local tourism office.

Where to hike – South Africa Hiking trails in National Parks

You can find information about all the hiking trails available at our National Parks in South Africa by clicking here, but here are a few of our favourites:

Eastern Cape – Addo Elephant National Park – Alexandria Hiking Trail

Close to the home of Core Merino, the Alexandria Hiking Trail is a 32 km, two-day circular trail. The first day is 18.5 km and the second day, 13.5 km. The trail, located in the Woody Cape section of the Addo Elephant National Park, is a meander through untouched wilderness and almost unparalleled biodiversity. Hikers traverse three distinct environments: ancient forest, dunes, and coastline with magnificent views of the bay, Bird Island, and almost endless dune fields. Birders and nature-lovers can expect to be endlessly fascinated by the birdlife, changing scenery, and pristine environment. This coastal hike in the Addo Elephant National Park is for serious hikers who enjoy the natural beauty and open space of the Eastern Cape.

Northern Cape – Augrabies Falls National Park – Klipspringer Hiking Trail

There is no better way to truly experience the geology, flora, and fauna of Augrabies Falls National Park than hiking through the park itself. The Klipspringer Hiking Trail offers the chance to do just that, with 39.5 km of some of the most beautiful scenery you will find in the Northern Cape. After visiting the mighty Augrabies Falls, you can embark on one of the most breathtaking and satisfying journeys available in this part of South Africa. The trail consists of three days of hiking. The first day is 14 km, the second day is 13 km, and the third 12.5 km. This hike can be quite demanding, so it is necessary to plan for quite a rigorous trip.

Freestate – Golden Gate Highlands National Park – Rhebok Hiking Trail

This two-day hike takes you through the incredible 28 km stretch of the Maluti Mountains in the Free State and is only suitable for fairly fit hikers. The circular route passes numerous streams, rock pools, ravines, and waterfalls. Also, be sure to look out for plenty of wildlife in the park, which includes eland, black wildebeest, blesbok, springbok, and zebra. Hikers may also spot grey rhebok, mountain reedbuck, and oribi. The overnight hut is situated in an incredibly scenic spot next to a stream. Start early on both days and pack for changeable weather conditions – anticipate thunderstorms in summer or snow, sleet, and mist in winter. If this rigorous trail is not what you are looking for, Golden National Park has a number of other day trails, for those after a shorter walk. 

Inform yourself about the requirements to complete the hiking trail

Some hiking trails require some good planning ahead for you to successfully and safely complete the trail. Inform yourself about how many days are needed and what the lodging possibilities are, as you may need to bring a tent if there is no accommodation you can book in advance. 

Another important factor is water supply. This means you need to find out if fresh drinking water is available throughout the trail or if you need to bring water for the entire trip or have a water filter at hand. The same kind of planning goes for food. Finally, you also need to think about the bathroom situation. Most likely toilets will not be available along the trail, therefore inform yourself about the local loo etiquette and plan accordingly. 

Collect local knowledge and maps

Once you decided when and where to go, it is time to acquire some maps of the trail and surrounding area. Most likely mobile phone reception will not be available in the remote areas of the trail, therefore consider acquiring actual paper maps or download maps to your phone, but bring an extra set of phone batteries for the latter. In addition, do some research on the internet on local websites or blogs where fellow hikers have documented their experience of the trail you are considering. Any detailed knowledge about the area, the wildlife, things to see, places to eat will help you make the best out of your trip.

What to wear on your hike?

Another important factor to ensure you have a positive experience is planning what to wear. Keeping your body comfortable and well protected from cold, heat, sunshine, and rain has a direct influence on your energy level and your mind. There isn’t an ultimate list of what to wear as it depends on when you hike and for how long you are planning to hike. However, here is a list of essentials that will most likely be part of your hiking wardrobe from top to bottom. 

  • Hat to protect you from sun or rain
  • Sunglasses – even in wintertime when you are high up in the mountains or close to the ocean, you will need to protect your eyes
  • Sunscreen – despite if you are expecting the day to be cloudy, protect your skin from UV radiation at all times
  • Underwear that will keep your skin dry (merino wool is here a good option)
  • Merino wool t-shirt – short sleeve or long sleeve (or any other moisture-wicking shirt that keeps your skin dry in hot and cold conditions
  • An extra layer in case of weather change e.g. a rain jacket, or a windbreaker
  • Backpack
  • Hiking pants or shorts
  • Merino Wool Socks to keep your feet dry and free from blisters
  • Comfortable hiking shoes with good grip and support for your ankles

Also, read our blog post about why merino wool is ideal for hiking. We also offer a range of garments very suitable for hiking, have a look here.

What to pack for your hike?

Packing for your hiking trip is never easy, as you want to avoid carrying too heavy a load on your back, but you also don’t want to miss out on any essentials you may need. Watch the scene of Reese Witherspoon in the film ‘Wild’ when she packs her backpack for her 1000 miles hiking trip to better understand what we are talking about: https://youtu.be/3YBNNfPF7o8

Here is a list of things that may be handy depending on local conditions and length of your trip, these are in addition to the list above of what to wear: 

  • Additional layers of clothes for when the weather changes such as mid-layer garment, warm jacket, gloves, or beanie) 
  • Change of clothes (although with merino wool clothes you will need less items)
  • Maps, compass, or GPS device
  • Snacks or meals if required
  • Water bottle (and if needed a water filter)
  • A rubbish bag to collect and store your rubbish
  • First aid kit including an emergency blanket
  • Matches or firelighter
  • Tent, sleeping bag if needed
  • Insect repellent
  • Toilet kit (tissues/wet wipes or even a trowel)
  • Phone with camera

How to stay safe during your hike

After you did a lot of planning and are finally out and about hiking, there are a few things to consider on the trail to ensure you and your hiking buddies stay safe. 

  • Know your fitness level and hiking abilities. When you reach a point that may be too hard for you to complete, do not hesitate to turn around, safety always comes first. 
  • Tell someone where you are going and when you estimate to be back. Consider wearing a personal locator beacon. 
  • Inform yourself about the weather forecast and any local changes along the path that may alter your trip, e.g. a flooded or closed path.
  • Stay on the trail whenever possible. When you need to leave the trail, try to stay on durable surfaces like rocks, gravel, or sand. 
  • Camp on durable surfaces during the night. 
  • Inform yourself about local wildlife and appropriate safety precautions.

How to be considerate of nature and other fellow hikers

Finally, there are also a few rules to follow to ensure you protect the beautiful environment around you as well as ensuring everyone on the trail is having a good time. 

  • Never leave any rubbish behind and pick up any rubbish you find on the way. 
  • If you have to go to the toilet without there being a toilet, bury your waste in a little hole that is at least 60 meters away from any water source, trail, or campsite. On some trails, this is not permitted, and you will need to take your human waste with you.
  • Leave everything as you found it. This means avoiding damaging any plants or trees and leaving natural or cultural objects where you found them. 
  • As South Africa is in most regions a very dry country, you need to be careful with any campfires and reduce campfire impacts as much as possible. For example, use existing fire rings or consider using a camp stove instead. Never leave a campfire unattended and make sure it is entirely extinguished when you move on. 
  • Watch any wildlife from afar only. Move slowly and without making loud noises. Do not touch, feed, or pick up any wildlife as this can be harmful to the animals as well as for yourself. 

Besides nature and animals, you will also be meeting other fellow hikers. Just like you, they are there to enjoy themselves, therefore keep some basic courtesy rules in mind: 

  • Make way for anyone passing by including bikers. 
  • Say hello to anyone passing by to ensure a friendly atmosphere on the trail.
  • Make yourself be known if you are bypassing someone from behind, so they do not get startled. 
  • Ensure you have your dog or other pets under control at all times.
  • Avoid yelling, loud music, and any other loud noises on the trail.
  • If you are hiking in a bigger group, walk in a single line behind each other, to make way for other hikers. Never take up more than half of the path. Don’t walk next to the hiking path, so you can walk next to each other, as this damages the soil. 

We hope this hiking guide provides you with some useful tips for your next hiking adventure. Is there anything we missed, do let us know in the comments below. 

Take a look at our Core Merino hiking collection here.

 

The art of layering (wool) clothes

With June upon us, it is officially wintertime in South Africa. This means we are looking at 3 months of colder temperatures and the possibility of snow if you live in the mountainous areas of our beautiful country. 

Cooler temperatures also mean we dress differently in more long sleeve shirts, heavier sweaters, and winter coats and jackets. However, the struggle is to find the right balance between feeling comfortably warm and not becoming too hot and sweaty. So, at Core Merino, we were asking ourselves, what is the answer to reaching this comfortable stage? The answer is: Layering up!

What does layering up mean? It’s a method of combining different layers of clothes that ensure good warmth and breathability but is also flexible enough to adjust whenever your activity level or your environment changes. 

The layering method is very commonly used in countries that have cold weather during most of the year such as Northern Europe. To get in-depth insights into layering, we contacted a wool friend in Norway about how Norwegians dress in cold weather. This is the reply we got:  

“Think three layers. Wool in two layers and a wind-proof third outside layer. Think air – not too tight. Feet and head need to be toasty.”

Keeping this in mind, let’s peel apart the layering system layer by layer to find out how to stay comfortable without getting too hot in cold weather. 

1st layer or base layer

The first layer of a winter outfit is next to the skin. This layer will regulate your body temperature and transport any moisture away from your body, so that you stay warm, but not overheat and don’t feel wet. The most important here is to choose next to skin items that are super soft and don’t irritate your skin. Some people are more sensitive than others, so make sure you can test the fabric to see if you would find it itchy or not. 

Wool Long Johns or Leggings

A base layer to keep your legs warm would be a pair of long johns or wool leggings which can be worn underneath your jeans or trousers. 

Have a look at the Core Merino leggings.

Long sleeve wool t-shirt

Another important 1st base layer is the long sleeve wool t-shirt. Same as the long johns, it regulates your body temperature and manages your moisture in such a way that you don’t feel wet.

Long sleeve wool t-shirts come also in all different styles and fabric thicknesses. Choose a lightweight one if you don’t freeze easily and a heavier one if you get cold quickly.

Take a look at our long sleeve crew t-shirt for women and for men.

Wool Vest or Singlet

Another 1st layer is the wool vest or singlet, which is a sleeveless undergarment worn underneath a long-sleeve t-shirt. This additional first layer might not be for everyone, but is a good tip for when it is icy. For this base layer, we strongly recommend that you choose wool and not cotton. Cotton worn as a first layer would absorb any moisture from your skin and feel wet. The wet fabric on your skin will feel uncomfortable and may also make you feel cold. If you choose wool instead, the moisture would be transported away from your skin into the air and ensure your skin stays dry.

The Core Merino collection also offers a sleeveless tank for women and men.

Wool socks

We all know cold feet can ruin every outdoor activity. As our friend from Norway wrote that it is important to ‘keep your feet nice and toasty’. Therefore, it is important to invest in a good pair of wool socks. Make sure you try the thick socks together with your boots. Your boot should not be too tight when you wear your thick socks as the wool needs a bit of air to do its job of keeping your feet warm.

We are currently working on a range of merino socks so look out for them later this year!

2nd layer or mid-layer

The second layer goes on top of your 1st next to skin base layer. This is a layer that gives some extra warmth, but it is also the layer that can easily be taken off if you need to as temperatures or your activity may change. 

Wool Jumper

A wool jumper is, of course, a classic wool item to wear. As jumpers tend to be a bit bulkier, they can trap much more air which is what essentially keeps you warm.

Mid-layer shirts

Depending on your outdoor activity and your third layer, you might find a wool jumper too heavy and prefer a heavier wool shirt. These tend to have a heavier fabric of 250 g per square meter than the base layer which is often around 130 to 200 g per square meter. These shirts often come with a zipper to be easily worn with the base layer and also be taken off or put on more easily.

The Core Merino long sleeve 1/2 zip is a perfect mid-layer to check out. 

3rd layer or outer layer

The outer layer is the layer that needs to protect you from the elements and therefore needs to be wind and/or waterproof.

Wind resistant trouser and jacket

The jacket and trousers need to be made of a wind and waterproof fabric that will most likely be made of synthetic fibre. For freezing temperatures, your third layer may even be filled with padding made of downs, polyester fleece, or even wool fleece. There are more and more jackets and trousers available that are filled with wool wadding, but you may have to hunt for them a bit more. 

For wind and rain protection check out our Core Merino Jacket waterproof softshell jacket for men and women

Gloves

Your gloves also need to be wind and waterproof and should have some extra padding to keep your hands warm. Typical skiing or snowboard gloves will work well in snow and icy weather.  

Beanie

The importance of keeping your head warm goes without saying. You need a beanie that covers also your forehead and your ears. When you are out in the snow, your jacket should also have a hood to protect you from snow and wind. If possible the hood should have some fake fur at the edges as that works best with keeping the snow and wind out of your face.

Scarf or neck warmer

While your jacket will close up nicely around your neck, you do also need a scarf for extra protection and warmth. Depending on the wind you might even wish to pull your scarf over your chin to protect your face as well. A normal wool scarf will do, or you might prefer a neck warmer. 

Have a look at our neck warmer as well. 

 

Hopefully, this little explanation of how the layering system works is of value to you and that you have a great winter while staying warm, comfortable, and toasty. 

Don’t forget to check out our Layering Bundles to secure yourself a special winter deal. 

Core Merino Layering Bundles for women and men

 

 

Covid-19 special edition

At Core Merino, we have been promoting our new Merino Wool Neck Warmers as an alternative to wearing a face mask during the Covid-19 pandemic. As we are promoting wool face masks as an alternative to single-use face masks or face masks made of cotton or other fibres, we want to make sure we address some of the concerns you may have.

So if you are thinking about wearing our merino wool neck warmer as a face mask or already do but are unsure if it is safe, this blog post is for you.

 

Biggest concern: wash on a cold wool cycle only

Whenever you read the care label on all of our merino wool products, you will notice that it says: wash on cold wool cycle. This also holds true for our neck warmers. The reason is that hot water temperatures combined with the tumbling in the washing machine can lead to unwanted felting effects. Depending on your washing machine this means a wool cycle reaches between 20-40° Celcius.

Now, all of us have learned that we need to wash our clothes (and re-usable face masks) at 60° C in order to kill viruses and bacteria. So what does this mean for safely cleaning our merino wool face masks if we cannot wash them at high temperatures? The answer is that we need to dig in a little bit more into what actually kills the Covid-19 virus.

Do you wash your hands at 60°C?

The easiest way to understand what kills off the Covid-19 virus is to look at the recommendations for regularly washing our hands. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that we regularly wet, lather and then scrub our hands with soap for 20 seconds followed by rinsing our hands with water and dry them. Nowhere does it say that we need to use water with a temperature of 60° C as anyways that would hurt our skin.

Combination of water, soap, temperature, and movement

Like many things in life, it is the combination of things that do the trick. In the case of disinfecting our hands (and face masks), it is the combination of soap, water, movement, and temperature.

Research shows that a fat cover with proteins surrounds the coronavirus. The inner part contains the RNA (genetic material). Soap molecules have two ends: One attaches itself to water molecules (H2O) and the other end to fat. The soap molecules break open the fat cover of the coronavirus. Without a protective cover, the virus can no longer multiply. When rinsing your hands (or clothes) with water, the virus residues are then washed away. The movement of your hands ensures the soap and water gets to all parts of your hands.

When we wash our merino wool neckwarmers on a wool cycle in our washing machine or even when we wash it by hand in the sink, we combine all of these four elements as well and therefore ensure the Covid-19 virus is destroyed and removed from our neck warmer. So, we do not need to wash our neck warmers at 60°C, as already soap, water, movement and warm water temperatures of our wool cycle are enough.

Last but not least, all of this of course only works if you wash your merino wool neck warmer or reusable face mask on a regular basis.

We hope we were able to answer any questions or concerns you may have had about the safety of wearing wool as a face mask like our Core Merino neck warmer.

If you have any further questions that we can answer, make sure you get in contact with us anytime. We are always happy to talk wool 🙂

 

Gift a little comfort, warmth, and softness this year

We don’t want to hear it and we don’t want it to be true, but let’s face it: This Christmas 2020 will be different, strange, and not what we are used to. Why? Because the Covid-19 pandemic is still a major health threat and continues to disrupt our lives including this year’s Christmas. At this time as we write this blog post, we don’t know yet, what the health and safety measurements are going to be like during our Christmas and Holiday season. Will we be able to travel and meet our family members? How many households will be able to come together? Can we visit family abroad or have family from abroad visit us? The uncertainties are plenty and we need to brace ourselves for an emotional rollercoaster, willingness to stay flexible, and adapt our plans as things become clearer closer to Christmas. 

At the Core Merino office, we try to apply some lessons we learned in our Yoga and Meditation classes: Living in the moment and accepting the things around us that we cannot change or influence in order to feel calmer and happier. Maybe this mindfulness practice will help you as well if thinking about the upcoming Christmas season makes you feel uneasy and anxious.

However, there are a few things we can already plan and prepare as December is almost here such as finishing our Christmas shopping online. Like last year, we have put together some ideas that might inspire you to find the perfect gift for one of your loved ones. 

Here are our 2020 Core Merino Christmas gift ideas:

 

Neck Warmer – A practical face mask

Speaking of the Covid-19 pandemic, our neck warmer is a practical gift that can be worn as a face mask. The advantage is that when we put it around our neck once we go out, we always have it handy when we need to cover our face. This neck warmer is a sustainable choice, as it can be worn throughout the year and not only during a pandemic. 

Neck Warmer

Pajamas – Or a better night sleep

PJs for Christmas? What a boring gift idea. Point taken, but hear us out! Our merino wool summer and winter sleepwear bundles are not just something to wear when you sleep, they actually help you sleep better by enhancing your overall sleep quality. Research shows that sleeping in merino wool helps you fall asleep faster, have longer periods of a deep sleep, and help sleep longer. So are you going to gift pajamas or a better night’s sleep with our sleepwear set? We let you decide. 

Core Merino Sleepwear Bundle Women

Yoga Wear – Or a calmer mind

As mentioned in this blog post earlier, all of us are living through troubling and uncertain times. This requires us to adopt some strategies that help us stay calm, motivated, and resilient. Research shows, that regular yoga or mindfulness practice can help us build a resilient mindset. Maybe you know that one of your friends or family members has started practicing Yoga or is thinking of joining an (online) yoga class. In this case, gifting them one of our Yoga garments or even the Yoga Bundle can help them stay motivated to start and continue practicing.    

Merino Wool Yoga Bundle

Polo Shirt – Or a smart sharp yet comfortable look

We just received a new order of Men’s Polo Shirts and as we unpacked them in our warehouse and had our male colleagues try them on, we knew we had a winner. Our polo shirts magically make you look well dressed. The polo is suitable for leisure and more official events while always feeling comfortable due to the merino wool benefits. So if you are looking for a present for a man, you cannot go wrong with this merino wool polo shirt

Polo Shirt

Hopefully, our 2020 gift ideas were helpful for you. If you decide to buy one of our products, make sure you place your order before 12 pm on 18 December 2020 in order for us to deliver the gift just in time before Christmas. 

 

5 reasons to wear merino wool underwear all year round

With the days warming up you may have started to pack away some of your Merino garments in place of cotton and linen summertime alternatives. But there should at least be one Merino style that does not get packed away no matter the time of year, your wool undies. At Core Merino, we get asked a lot – why Merino wool underwear?

All of the same great benefits you get from your other Merino apparel apply to our underwear styles. Wool doesn’t hold onto moisture, so it dries quickly. If you’re looking for underwear that may not feel as sweaty in warmer temperatures or while you exercise, merino wool underwear will keep you drier than cotton. Now, there’s no way to sugarcoat it, wool undies are more expensive than those made of cotton or synthetics but have been made to be long-lasting and durable. The South African Merino wool used in our products is extremely fine and soft, so it won’t itch. It is hypoallergenic and it is an environmentally sustainable material. And because they are so lightweight, quick-drying and easy to clean, they are great for packing them for summer trips.

 

Here are five reasons why Merino underwear is worth the cost:

Wicks well: It is a strong, natural material that performs well in terms of wicking moisture away from your body, keeping your skin dry and chafe-free.

Climate control: Merino wool is very insulating for its weight. That means it feels very thin, yet it insulates you better than thick cotton would. As a result, you’ll feel warmer in colder conditions (even if the fabric is wet). Conversely, in warmer climates, you won’t feel as hot.

Odour free: Wool is naturally resistant to odour-causing bacteria, which helps keep it odour free even after consecutive days of wear. Normal fabrics such as cotton or synthetics will start to smell bad after you sweat into them.

Long-lasting: Merino wool is almost seven times as durable as cotton. Your wool underwear will stay with you long after your cotton undies have fallen apart.

Comfort: Our underwear styles have been designed with your comfort in mind and put to the test to make sure they are completely itch-free. They are made of the very best superfine South African Merino wool to ensure they are the most comfortable pair of briefs you own. 

 

Go ahead and try something new – you won’t regret it. And if you’re really ready to take the plunge check out our Brief Underwear Bundles for Men and our Bikini Brief Bundle for Women.

 

Merino Wool Briefs Bundle Men

 

 

 

Keeping safe, keeping warm and keeping it sustainable

You spoke, we listened and now we are so excited! Ladies and gentlemen, let us introduce to you the new Core Merino Wool Neck Warmer!

Over the past couple of years, many of our returning customers provided us with their very helpful feedback about our garments to help us improve our products. Among these valuable customer insights was also the wish to add a neck warmer to the collection. We always thought it was a good idea, we just never got around to it. Until now.

While all of us in South Africa as well as in other countries abroad were in lockdown during the pandemic crisis it got us thinking. How can Core Merino be of value and support during these sad, scary, and testing times? How can we turn some of the restrictions and difficulties into an opportunity for our customers as well as for our business? This was our thought process:

  1. Face masks would sooner or later become a requirement for all of us to wear when we go out into public spaces as we could see this already happening in other countries.
  2. Face masks made out of merino wool would be great, as wool is breathable, manages moisture well, and is even antibacterial.
  3. We should try to develop and manufacture some with our suppliers abroad. However, with the less and more restrictive movement of cargo ships and planes, it would prove difficult to get merino wool facemasks to South Africa soon enough. Besides, our own online sales were down and so was the Rand, it would be quite an economic risk to our business to invest in face masks.
  4. Besides, face masks can be quite restrictive and uncomfortable to wear and might not be an item we would want to wear for years. What could be a safe but better alternative? Neck warmers pulled over our nose and mouth!
  5. The advantage, once neck warmers no longer need to function as face masks they still serve a purpose to keep us warm and protected during winter, chilly summer nights, or for UV protection.
  6. If the solution is neck warmers, how can we make neck warmers quickly? We have a lot of Core Merino garments in unpopular sizes in stock, of which the fabric could easily be used to sew neck warmers.
  7. South Africa has many talented seamstresses who have more time on their hands during the lockdown.
  8. Bam – Lightbulb moment! Let’s create Core Merino Neck warmers out of our unwanted garments and support our local community.

Yes, you read right, we cut up our own Core Merino garments and had them sewed into neck warmers by wonderfully talented local South African seamstresses.

Now that you know the background to these Core Merino neck warmers you will understand why they are so great:

  • Safe – Like with all other face masks or neck warmers, covering up your nose and mouth will help reduce the spread of the Covid-19 virus.
  • Comfortable – A neck warmer made out of merino wool will ensure you stay more comfortable while covering up your face as the wool is breathable, manages moisture better, and regulates temperature.
  • Versatile – A Neck warmer can serve multiple purposes, which makes them a good and long-lasting investment. During the pandemic, it serves as a face mask. During winter time it protects against the cold wind like a scarf. The lightweight merino also adapts well to hot weather when you need to protect yourself against a strong daft, sun or mosquitos. Last but not least you can also wear it as head protection or bandana.
  • Sustainable – merino wool is already a sustainable fibre. In addition, we created these neck warmers out of unwanted garments from our existing stock. These neck warmers are putting existing resources to better use.
  • Supporting our local community – all neck warmers were cut and sewn in South Africa by local seamstresses, which ensures an income during difficult and uncertain economic times.

That’s the story about our new merino wool neck warmers. We hope you enjoy them as much as we do. Let us know your feedback and other ideas, as that is how great things start.