5 tips to reduce your energy bill and help the planet

Saving energy has always been important for our pockets, but also for the climate. Now, with the world being a bit in turmoil, our next energy bill will most likely be higher than usual. There are many ways how to save energy to reduce our energy bills. And guess what? There is a way of saving energy by wearing wool. Do you think this sounds crazy? Hear us out and read about the 5 ways how wool can help you reduce your energy bill. 

1 Wash less often

We have mentioned many times in some of our other blog posts that garments made from wool are odour resistant. This means your merino garments will not start to smell when you wear and sweat into them. You can easily get 3 wears out of your merino t-shirt before you might want to wash it. So, how does that save energy? If you wear a garment several times before washing, you don’t run the washing machine as much, which saves energy (and water and detergent by the way). 

2 Refresh without washing

Another energy-saving tip about merino wool is that a wool garment can be refreshed without actually throwing it into a washing machine. Wool can release smells into the air by just hanging in the fresh air. If fresh air is not an option, you can hang your wool garment in your bathroom after you have taken a hot shower. The moist air will do its magic of freshening your wool garment. If your wool garment has a stain, you can try removing it with a damp cloth as wool often doesn’t absorb stains, they just stay on the surface of the fabric. 

3 Wash cold 

Of course, once in a while, you do want to throw your wool garments into the washing machine. If you read the washing instructions carefully, you will notice that only a cold wool cycle is recommended. Wool cycles on a washing machine tend to either wash with cold or 30 °C warm water. Wool does not do well with higher washing temperatures, but rest assured, your garments will still get clean. The benefit of washing at lower temperatures is of course the saving of energy. In addition, wool cycles tend to run shorter than a regular cycle, which also saves energy. 

4 Air dry

Some drying machines have a special program for wool, however, wool dries best on a good old clothesline and this takes up no energy at all. Some wool garments like a heavy wool sweater will prefer to be lying on the clothesline, but most garments can handle the hanging on the clothesline.  

5 Reduce your heating temperature and stay cozy up in wool

Besides reducing the consumption of electricity, we can also reduce the energy used for heating. By reducing the room temperature in your home by one-degree Celsius, you can save up to 6% on heating costs. With winter just around the corner, however, freezing in your home may not sound so inviting. But, you can reduce your room temperature and stay cozy by putting on an extra layer of wool. This can be a wool sweater or a base layer, so you will stay comfortably warm, save some money on your energy bill and do something good for the planet.

 

Finally, you may argue, that saving energy is all nice and well, but if you need to spend more money on a wool garment compared to garments made from other fibres, the saving part is not really noticeable, is it? This may indeed sound counterintuitive, to spend more money on a garment to save money during the maintenance of the garment. However, research has shown that wool garments last longer compared to other fibre garments, this means you get more value out of the garment compared to having to buy something new again and again because the garment wears out easily. If you want to find out more about this aspect, you can read all about it in one of our other blog posts here and here

 

We hope you found these 5 energy-saving tips useful. Please let us know if you have another energy-saving tip to share when it comes to taking care of your laundry. 

 

Haven’t started running in wool yet? Here are 5 reasons why you should.

 

When people think of wool, many typically think of an itchy wool sweater — definitely not the type of material you want to be wearing when you’re going for a run. But hear us out because merino wool is soft, comfortable, and lightweight, making it the perfect go-to material for winter and summer running. Here are five reasons why you as a runner should consider wearing merino wool on your next run:

1.      Odour-resistant

Merino wool absorbs odours caused by bacteria, the structure of the fibre traps their smells and keeps them from building up. This makes merino gear great for multi-day trail runs and races. In fact, our brand manager rarely ever packs a second top when she heads out for multi-stage trail runs.  The other added bonus is just simply cutting back on laundry as you can air out and re-wear the same shirt to run in all week and save water and energy in the process!

2.       Body temperature regulating

Merino wool is great at helping keep your body temperature stable. In the heat, the fibres wick the sweat away from your skin to keep you cool. In the cold, the natural crimp of the wool fibre trap air which ultimately insulates you and keeps you warm.

3.      UPF protection

Merino wool fibres can block out harmful rays from the sun. As a natural fibre, evolved over millions of years to protect sheep against the elements, Merino wool absorbs UV radiation providing protection from the sun. This makes it an excellent choice for running in.

4.      Soft and comfortable

It’s hard to run well when your clothes are uncomfortable. Merino wool fibres are extremely fine, enabling them to bend far more than traditional, coarser wool fibres. This makes Merino wool feel soft and luxuriously gentle next to your skin.

5.      Great for layering

Not sure what the weather is going to throw at you on your run? Not a problem, our base- and mid-layer styles will have your back! Wearing multiple layers of merino allows for more efficient wicking of sweat moisture to keep your body drier and more comfortable on your run. Whether it is allowing excess heat a quicker escape route or getting rid of sweat vapour to keep you warmer in cold weather an extra merino layer will have your back in volatile weather conditions.

Ready to give merino wool a try on your next run? Here are a few of our favourite styles for running: https://coremerino.com/merino-wear/running-collection/

 

 

Why Wool Matters: A short documentary produced with His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales for the Campaign for Wool

Against a background of misleading anti wool lobbying currently orchestrated by global giants of fast fashion, the Campaign for Wool decided to engage with leading academic experts in the field of land management and carbon sequestration to demonstrate the positive pastoral contribution the grazing of ruminants, particularly sheep, makes to the continued wellbeing of the planet.

 

These peer reviewed findings add to already well documented research revealing wool’s unique renewable and biodegradable end of life attributes and the contribution the fibre makes to the circular economy.

  • Wool is the most responsible fibre to choose for the well-being of the planet, with its eco and environmental biodegradable properties and longevity. 
  • Choosing Wool is healthy for the planet, for the home and for everyone 

 

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The Campaign for Wool enters its 12th year of projects, events and activities to continue the education and promotion of wool and its benefits to consumers and education platforms. 

 

Wool is an overlooked planet-friendly fibre, and the release of a new informative film by the Campaign for Wool aims to highlight wool’s natural eco properties, including its biodegradability, along with circular economy, regenerative farming and feed management in relation to reducing carbon and methane gas emissions. 

 

Everyone is made aware, and reminded daily, of the unbalance we are facing of the planet with the infusion and infiltration of plastics and micro-fibres since the introduction of plastic and Nylon in 1907 and 1935 respectively. 

 

Since this time it has become self-evident that material introduced with the intention to help the planet and its natural resources has, in fact, upset the balance of nature. The result is a mass of plastic and micro-fibre non-biodegradable pollution sat in the oceans and landfill for hundreds, if not thousands, of years to come. Wool biodegrades naturally back into the land adding valuable nutrients and devoid of micro-fibre evidence in oceans and waterways. 

 

Choosing wool clothing and interior products over man-made fibres assists the biodiversity of the land on which life exists, and as an investment wool lasts longer and is healthier for the skin and the home/office environment. Even small and minor gestures can collectively make a significant difference in assisting the planet in the rebalancing of nature, if everyone were to choose wool. 

 

“It is abundantly clear to me that we need to make changes to the way we think about the production, use and the disposal of clothing and textiles if we are going to get anywhere near to meeting the United Nations climate change goals set for the industry. A major part of that change has to be moving from a linear system to a circular one, where textiles and clothing are produced sustainably, enjoy long use, and are made using natural materials, specifically wool, which will biodegrade naturally and quickly at the end of their useful life”. His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales, Patron Campaign for Wool 

 

Ten Reasons Why Wool Matters and to Choose Wool 

 

  • Pure wool is 100% natural, 100% renewable, 100% sustainable, 100% biodegradable, if you love the planet – use more wool! 
  • It is warm but it is cool too because it adapts to the wearer – that’s why sheep are so snug and content! 
  • Wool is flame retardant and will often self-extinguish. Fire-fighters like it because it produces less smoke and toxic fumes – making it a safer choice for the home. 
  • Strong and long lasting – wool carpets and rugs can take lots of heavy wear and are known to look better for longer – quality always lasts! 
  • Sleep well wearing wool as well as with a wool bed, pillow, duvet and blanket – scientific tests show that wool will create a sleep climate perfect for you… deeper sleep, lasting comfort and sweet dreams. 
  • Wool has hypoallergenic and anti-bacterial properties – it makes the air that we breathe cleaner and better. 
  • Wrap your babies in wool so they breathe easy… wool will keep them cosy and warm but not too hot as it cleverly changes to their temperature needs and is good for their skin. 
  • Insulate with it, soundproof with it, wear it, walk on it, wrap things with it. The world’s oldest renewable fibre is also the most versatile and modern. 
  • Sheep are amazing – they graze peacefully, grow wonderful wool, we use it to make beautiful textiles and the whole process begins again… no depletion, just sustainable and sensible. 
  • Wool is smarter than any other fibre – it travels a long way on its journey from the sheep to finished product but it never loses any of its remarkable qualities and it looks and feels fabulous too. 

About The Campaign for Wool: 

 

The Campaign for Wool was launched in 2010 to educate consumers about the benefits of wool and help to support and grow the wool industry. Run by a coalition of industry groups convened by His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales, the Campaign works to engage consumers through exciting fashion, interiors, artisan and design lead activities centering around Wool Week each year. 

 

The Campaign for Wool is a global endeavour initiated by its Patron, in order to raise awareness amongst consumers about the unique, inherent natural, renewable and biodegradable benefits offered by the fibre in fashion, furnishings and everyday life. And importantly, that wool not only biodegrades in soil, adding nutrients back to the earth, but it also biodegrades in the ocean and water and therefore wool does not impact the planet with microfibre and plastic pollution. Choosing wool will help to safeguard the planet for future generations. 

 

The Campaign for Wool is jointly funded by some of the world’s largest woolgrower organisations. Key nation partners include the British Wool, Australian Wool Innovation/The Woolmark Company, Cape Wools South Africa and Campaign for Wool New Zealand. All have shown incredible support and contributed to the global success of His Royal Highness’s Campaign for Wool since its inception. www.campaignforwool.org

8 tips for no-impact camping

With the Easter holidays coming up, some of us may consider going camping. Camping allows us to emerge ourselves entirely in nature and experience the wild and basic life. Experiencing the great outdoors is a wonderful recreational activity that includes adventures, being active, whilst also calming our minds and nurturing our souls with beautiful memories. Being based in South Africa, we are also lucky to be living in such a beautiful country with many wonderful camping opportunities. 

However, like any activity, camping can also have a negative impact on the environment, threatening the habitat of wildlife and vegetation. If we want to enjoy nature in the near future, it is important to camp sustainably and to leave no impact. In this edition of the Core Merino blog post, we provide you with some hands-on tips on how to camp with care. 

Use what you have

Like with any activity we embark on, we have the tendency to invest in new gear and equipment that we only use once or twice a year, if at all. Instead of buying new camping gear, use what you already have or borrow equipment from friends and family. This is also relevant for your clothes. If you for example already own some merino wool garments for hiking or biking, you can make good use of the same garments during your camping trip, wearing them day and night and staying comfortable throughout.

Pack sustainably

It may seem convenient to pack disposable items such as plastic bags, cutlery, and cups as you can then dispose of them during the trip. But you guessed it, disposable plastic items are not sustainable and should never be disposed of in nature. Find sustainable and reusable items instead, and carry everything with you at all times. 

Carpool to your destination

Another point to consider when camping sustainably is how to actually get to your camping destination. Try to use as few cars and camper vans as possible to keep carbon emissions low. Besides, fewer cars driving on the road means a smaller abrasion of rubber from wheels that end up as microplastic in our beautiful environment. You may also research public transportation options if available. 

Stay on trails 

Once you have arrived at your destination, be sure to only stay on existing trails. It might be tempting to go off-trail to catch a particularly beautiful view or feel more adventurous. Unfortunately, you may inspire others to follow suit. This will lead to trails getting wider and side trails developing. This means that soil is compacted and erosion progresses. In addition, slow-growing vegetation will get damaged and may not grow back, while insects will find it harder to move on the compacted soil. Most likely the existing trails will anyway lead you past the most beautiful spots, so just stick to the paths most traveled. 

Camp on campsites

The same can be said about campsites. Only set up camp in designated campsites instead of camping in the wild. Setting up a tent, shuffling around your camping chairs, and cooking all have an impact on the soil, vegetation, and wildlife around you and should therefore only be limited to pre-defined areas. 

Respect wildlife

One of the magical moments in nature is when we encounter wildlife. Be sure to always give any animal you encounter on your trip enough space to not disturb them unnecessarily and to keep them and yourself safe. Another important point is to not leave any food lying around. On the one hand, food may attract wildlife such as baboons, which can get quite annoying or even dangerous in case it attracts more dangerous animals such as a lion. Finally, human food is unhealthy for most wildlife creatures, and they should not be exposed to it. 

Be fire safe

A little campfire might seem quite romantic, or might even be more comfortable during a cold night. Nevertheless, fires can not only be unsustainable, but also very risky. Inform yourself about the fire policy within the camping grounds you are in. It may be a severe dry season when fires are not allowed at all. If campfires are allowed, be sure to only use an existing fire pit and do not start a new one. 

Leave things better than before 

Finally, when it is time to leave, make sure you do a proper clean-up. Sweep the entire camping grounds to ensure you did not leave any garbage behind. Even pick up garbage that is not yours, take everything with you, and leave things better than before.  

 

We hope you will soon start an adventurous, magical and sustainable camping trip. Do you have another tip on how to camp sustainably? Do leave us a comment and share your camping insights with us. 

 

 

We have to be honest, none of us at Core Merino are experts on bikepacking. But we have been fortunate to regale in stories with quite a number of our customers who have taken our gear out on their own bikepacking adventures, which has left us with a deep desire to give it a try because you can cover a lot more ground more quickly than a normal hiking trip. Now, with quite a lot of research under our belts, we thought we should share some of our tips with you.

Start out small

It is easy to start planning a bikepacking adventure and plan for weeks and weeks of endless cycling to explore new places. Although this can be aspirational to build up to for, say a bucket list bikepacking trip across Europe, but for starters, we would suggest starting off small. Kick things off with a short overnight adventure to test out your new skills.

Planning your route

To plan a bikepacking adventure or to find new roads, we propose utilising a variety of websites and planning tools. Bicyclesouth.co.za is helpful for finding routes in and around South Africa and bikepacking.com can be a great resource if you are looking a little further afield. Being new at bikepacking it can be wise to geek out a little on route planning and utilise technology to help plan better routes, but once you are comfortable, you can have just as much fun by heading out your door and exploring.

What should I pack?

Your packing list will be a combination of what you’d need for a mountain-bike excursion and an overnight hiking trip. Don’t fret if you’ve never been backpacking or don’t have your own stuff. Although we all would love to have the latest and greatest gear, it honestly is not necessary when you are just starting out. You don’t have to have the newest, nicest bike or the latest gear to have a good time on your bikepacking adventure. Plus, if you are already a hiker you probably have just about everything you need with the exception of a bike and a few tools!

If you are needing any additional packs for your bike or other accessories, check out a few of our stockists for some great gear to kit out your bike for your next bikepacking adventure: Safarisusters.com or gravelandtour.co.za

Insights from the Vasbyt Expedition Race

 

Zane Schmahl is another one of our Core Merino field testers. Zane, who calls himself an Adventure Bunny, recently took part in the Vasbyt Expedition Race. We had a short talk to him to learn more about his latest Vasbyt experience. 

 

Core Merino: Tell us about the Vasbyt Expedition Race. 

 

Zane Schmahl: The Vasbyt Expedition Race strives to bring international quality races to the South African adventure racing community, by doing so they create “hardcore” events to set the bar. This has been my second failed attempt of completing a Vasbyt. 

 

Core Merino:  Not having finished for the second time, does that stop you from trying again?

 

Zane Schmahl: Certainly not, we all strive to be better, and sometimes we have to ask ourselves where that line of “better” starts or ends. I don’t know the answer to that yet and while I still search for those parameters I will continue to push my limits into the unknown. The Drakensberg are relentless mountains when you push your limits, from extreme heat to extreme cold and harsh terrain to traverse. 

 

Core Merino: You wore Core Merino during all of these extreme temperatures. Tell us a little more about that, please. 

 

Zane Schmahl: I started the race with a Core Merino garment, hiked for 17 hours up to 3400 m above sea level to find our first Checkpoint of the race, got onto our bikes to do a 25 km ride in the heat of the day to put in our Kayaks into the Umzukulu River for a 50 km paddle down white water rapids, getting drenched every time we hit a rapid. All of this in the same T-Shirt, helping to regulating my body temperature. 

 

Core Merino: Vasbyt is difficult for any athlete to finish. Where did you leave off? 

 

Zane Schmahl: I completed my journey of the Vasbyt course with a 110 km Mountain Bike ride. There were 2 more legs off this expedition race left, leaving me wanting.

 

Zane is a remarkable and motivational athlete, and we love him for taking Core Merino to all different extremes. Our field testers like Zane help us develop our product line with the goal of keeping you comfortable during whatever activity as well as allowing you to travel lightly, as one set of garments can take you a long way.  Find out more about Core Merino’s benefits for outdoor activities and light travel in our other blog posts: 

 

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Cross-Training tips to reach your personal training goals

 

Do you ever find yourself doing the same workouts over and over again and not getting the results you are hoping for? It could be because you are not mixing up your exercises enough through cross-training. If you think about it, how can you expect to become a better runner if all you do is run? The same applies to cycling, swimming or any of your other favourite exercises that you may prioritise over mixing it up and trying new things.

However, it can be quite hard to break an exercise routine to start including other forms of training. Our Core Merino Brand Development Manager, Monica, for example, is an avid runner. She loves nothing more than starting her day with a quick run on the beachfront or her favourite trails. If the weather doesn’t play along, she tends to hop on the treadmill instead of opting for a stationary bike, a swim or even a quick yoga class despite knowing that this should be the perfect opportunity for a little cross-training. 

Here is an overview of what combination of exercise will be beneficial for you, along with some tips on how to build cross-training into your routine.

Cycling

Not only can runners benefit from a bit of cycling, but cyclists can also benefit from running. So do yourself a favour and grab a bike and go for a pedal outside. Or if the weather isn’t playing, head over to your local gym and hop on a stationary bike or better yet join up with a spinning class. It is important to remember varied speeds and resistance create a heart-pumping, leg-burning workout which is significantly different from going on a run, even if you are doing hill sprints or other speed work.

Hiking/Walking

Walking itself actually makes for a great form of cross-training – especially if you are moving with purpose. A slouchy walk around the block will be more minimal than a hike on a local trail so keep that in mind and use it as an excuse to explore an area you might not have otherwise.

Swimming

Swimming makes for a great cross-training exercise because it won’t jeopardise your cardiovascular fitness. It may even help to prolong your cycling or running longevity. Start out slow, with just a few laps around the pool to help gain your sea legs if you are not used to swimming. Work to build up to do more laps overtime or if you have any arm or shoulder problems we suggest you try running with a flotation device. This exercise will offer similar benefits to running without the impact on your lower body. 

Strength Training

Strength training comes in the form of both upper and lower body exercises. Both are equally important to help avoid muscle imbalances, which can adversely impact your performance in the exercises you enjoy most, but also can lead to injury. Some great upper body strength training exercises include bench press, bicep and tricep curls, and pull-ups. As for your lower body, we propose various types of lunges, squats and jumps to ensure you work different muscles all while engaging your core.  By adding in a bit of strength training each week, you will build overall body stability and help strengthen your bones, which you will thank yourself later on.

Running

If you are a cyclist who has never run before it probably isn’t worth going all-in on the first outing, but with a decent pair of running shoes you can slowly ease into running. We recommend starting off with short distances with walking intervals. This way, you won’t burn yourself out on running by attempting to jump in and immediately run a five km.

Golf

Golf can actually be a great form of cross-training, as long as you walk the full 18 holes without using a caddy.

 

These are just a few exercises you might consider adding to your routine, especially if you are typically singularly focused on one form of exercise. Just remember, adding cross-training into your schedule will take time, so start off slowly by just adding in one day a week when you mix it up. Once you determine what you enjoy most, you can start adding those cross-training exercises more regularly. 

Are you a big fan of cross-training? Let us know in the comments what your favourite cross-training exercises are!

Also, check out our post on how to include outdoor activities in your workweek.

Our Women’s Leggings offer exceptional comfort and versatility to meet all of your needs. Whether worn underneath outer layers or as a layer on its own, merino’s natural softness, breathability and odour resistance gives you the freedom to wear them day after day on your next adventure. Some of us in the Core Merino team wear these leggings all year round, either as a base layer underneath jeans in wintertime or as yoga pants during summer months.

FEATURES

  • Updated waistband for added comfort
  • Naturally insulating and moisture-wicking
  • Breathable and odour resistant

MATERIALS
90% Merino wool 10% Nylon, 145gsm single knit jersey fabric

SIZING
Regular fit, true to size

CARE
Machine wash cold gentle cycle. Do not bleach. Do not tumble dry. Cool iron as needed. Exact instructions on the care label.
Read more about how to care for your leggings by clicking here.

Our short sleeve crew neck top combines the moisture management, temperature regulation, and odour resistance of merino wool with the quick dry time and durability of nylon. This style will take you seamlessly from the trails to nights out with friends. A great all around top that you can wear day after day.

FEATURES

  • Crew neckline for extra sun protection
  • Raglan sleeves for extra comfort and mobility
  • Screen printed care label inside garment

MATERIALS

  • Body: 85% Merino wool 15% Nylon,
  • 125gsm single knit jersey fabric made of 17.5 micron merino wool

SIZING
Regular fit, true to size

CARE
Machine wash cold gentle cycle. Do not bleach. Do not tumble dry. Cool iron as needed. Exact instructions on the care label. Read more about how to care for your garment by clicking here.

Hike, run, climb or even hop on your bike in this go-to, versatile zip-neck top. Regardless of the activity, the merino wool and nylon blend is built to regulate your temperature as you work up a sweat. The design of this style is perfect for layering over another top or can be worn on its own. The quarter length zipper allows you to stay comfortable even in fluctuating temperatures.

FEATURES

  • 1/4 zip design
  • Flatlock stitching to eliminate chafing
  • Integrated thumb-holes
  • Embroidered logo detail
  • Screen printed care label inside garment

MATERIALS

  • Body: 90% Merino wool 10% Nylon
  • 145gsm single knit jersey fabric made of 17.5 micron merino wool

SIZING
Regular fit, true to size

CARE
Machine wash cold gentle cycle. Do not bleach. Do not tumble dry. Cool iron as needed. Exact instructions on the care label. Learn more about how to care for your merino wool garment by clicking here.