I love wearing wool. I always have. 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 lightweight, so there's no more need to wear an oversized sweater your grandmother knitted you a dozen or so years ago for Christmas.
For this coming cold season, I splurged on a brand I’ve never tried before but heard amazing things about. Ivanhoe of Sweden isn’t a new brand. The company has been manufacturing wool garments since 1946 in Gällstad, a district known as Sweden’s own knitting centre. The third generation now runs it. They make wool and wool-blend garments including base layers, mid-layers, jackets, socks, toques and more.
What caught my attention about their products was that they’re made from 100 per cent wool. They do still make some wool-blend garments, but I prefer the coziness and durability of pure wool.
A big bonus with Ivanhoe of Sweden is that they are beyond eco-conscious. Check out their NLS (New Level of Sustainability) line where they use zero dyes, zero chemicals, zero plastics and natural, renewable and biodegradable material. Basically, colours are adjusted by mixing dark and light wool. It’s also free of mulesing: a nasty procedure to ward off blowflies on a sheep, where the farmer cuts a crescent-shaped flap of skin from around its anus, creating stretched scar tissue which leaves no area for the blowflies to gather.
I got myself four Ivanhoe of Sweden items—purchased here—and field-tested them on my recent autumn trips. Here’s what I found.Kevin Callan
This 100 per cent boiled wool hoodie weighs a light 450 g/m² but keeps the chill wind out. The kangaroo pouch makes for a nice hand warmer, but I chose this design more for the hoody. Pulling it over my head before bed makes for a comfortable and warm night in the sleeping bag.
I found these hand gaiters longer, more robust and a lot more insulated than my older Woolpower style ones. They’re perfect when you need to work with your fingers but still keep some warmth in your hands. They are rib-knitted with a nice thumb grip.Kevin Callan
Wool hats are awesome. They wick moisture and keep you warm, even when wet. Ivanhoe of Sweden’s hat is a stretchy rib-knitted design. It’s not a tight fit but still snug enough to be comfortable and warm. However, I could possibly see how a brisk cold wind could blow through, so I picked up Ivanhoe of Sweden’s Windy Hat as well. It comes with a nylon lining (78 per cent merino wool and 22 per cent Tencel). I’ve got to be honest—the weather hasn’t gotten cold and windy enough to give this hat a good workout. But I’m sure it will outperform when the blustery weather arrives in a few weeks.