Spring is here, which means maps are rolled out on the kitchen table and the planning of the season’s first camping trip begins. Algonquin Provincial Park or Killarney is usually the place I head to first. Problem is, it seems every year I forget how terrible the weather can be during the first few weeks of spring.
To be better prepared this year, I’ve decided to gear up and be ready for the worst. I bought wool from the Canadian Outdoor Equipment Store’s booth at the Toronto Outdoor Show. I bought the typical base layers, including wool skivvies, plus wool socks and even a toque and balaclava.
I like wearing wool. I always have. Some may think it's because I'm too cheap to buy some of the "fancier" fabrics on the market, or that I'm too "traditional" to go beyond wearing an old wool sweater. But that's not it at all. Wool generally keeps you dry when wet, unlike a lot of other materials. It's also darn environmental (the animal doesn't die when the material is obtained so it's definitely a sustainable resource). The new-age stuff is also incredibly light-weight, so there's no need to dress up in an over-sized sweater your grandmother knitted you a dozen or so years ago for Christmas.
My favorite wool gear is a product called Woolpower. It's made with Ullfrotte Original, a material two-thirds fine Merino wool and one-third synthetic fiber, giving the product ultimate strength. It's also knit with a distinctive terry loop stitching, which gives it the best overall insulating capability. However, the layering system that this wool garment company has developed is why I started buying up their new wool products in the first place. It's not just one bulky sweater but a series of layered clothing that can be added or removed to stop you from sweating and becoming chilled.
The best part of any of the newer wool products coming out now is that even though wool generally doesn't smell bad due to its "self-cleaning" abilities, these newer wool products on the market now can be washed in warm water without shrinking. That's darn incredible. I absolutely love it.