First impressions 5/5
I have had my fair share of thermal undergarments and could instantly see they looked like a good quality Merino product. I was instantly taken by their appearance, their small purple badge and waistband with cool logo to boot. To hold up you could see effort had gone into tailoring these and I was looking forward to seeing how they fit, hoping the days of army issue saggy and itchy garments were a thing of the past.
Design, build and functionality 4/5
In 2011, the founder was watching images of soldiers returning from Iraq and Afghanistan with avoidable burns and injuries from the clothes they were wearing. Armadillo Merino is clothing that does ‘not melt or drip’ if it burns, should not smell with its antibacterial properties, and the other key feature of Merino is keeping you warm when it is cold and helps to cool you when it is hot.
The wool itself was nice and soft and the garments overall had a really good cut. By this I mean the fitting, but also the flat seams that are placed so as not to be in locations where they would rub or irritate when carrying a pack or wearing protective clothing. I have never been sure about the long sleeves with thumb holes in them, but they are easily rolled up out of the way. In fact, for those cold, early starts that we are now seeing, they come in very handy until you have got the circulation going!
A note on sizing, I am normally a medium in most sizes and did feel like a size small would have been better, but it does come down to personal preference. I like thermals to be well fitted and these seem to be big in size. The socks were nicely padded and fitted along with the Kojak Beanie which was warm enough but thin enough to wear under any protective head gear.
Field Test 5/5
I wore the full gear on many days taking part in different activities. Whether it was out walking, shooting in wetter weather or wading in the River Test fishing for Grayling. It performed well in terms of comfort but also in regulating temperature. One thing I hate during these winter months is layering up. At the first sign of increased activity, walking or carrying kit around, you get overheated and sweaty and suffer that feeling of staying damp. I found these merino garments did go a long way in regulating my temperature and unlike other materials it was clear to see the natural fibres did their job, either keeping you dry from the sweat, keeping you warm or cooling you down. The hollow fibres create a small pocket of air between your skin and the surrounding air, so it keeps the air from cooling your body. And as above, this also works with water. It is still warm and comfortable to wear when damp, much more comfortable than cotton or nylon.
Value for Money 3/5
These are definitely a premium product and more expensive than others I have tried on the market, but I did notice a real difference in the quality and the cut of Armadillo Merino products. But, for a lot of people the RRP may just be too much. For someone who uses this type of clothing a lot and for the activities I do, I am happy to pay a premium and with the correct care and careful washing they will last long enough to be a decent investment. More so for professionals that will benefit from the safety and design aspects of the garments as well as the street cred. NASA astronauts wear these in space!
I really did like these products. For someone who can overheat easily and doesn’t like to wear lots of layers it is a great foundation for many conditions, and I found myself reaching for them most weekends when out in the field. Now more than ever with the frosts setting in. I did feel the sizes were on the large side so keep that in mind when buying but apart from that, I really could not fault them. You can see why they are so popular with military and astronauts alike. I would highly recommend these to anyone and with the discounts I found on a favoured website (if they have your size) it puts them along side other brands, but with a superior quality and kudos from all who wear them.
- My sizes – Height – 5.9” | Waist – 34” | Leg – 31” | Chest – 38” | Shoe -UK 9
- Top – Falcon – Raptor Long Sleeve Crew Neck (Size Medium). Fabric: 100% Merino Wool, Rib Knit. RRP £90.00
- Bottoms – Johnnies – Long John Bottoms (Size Medium). Fabric: 100% Merino Wool, Jersey Knit. RRP £80.00
- Socks – Stamina – Boot Sock (Size Large), Composition: 61% Merino Wool 16% Nylon 16% Elastane 7% Acrylic. RRP £25.00
- Hat – Kojak – Beanie (One Size) Fabric: 100% Merino Wool, Jersey Knit. RRP £25.00
- Benefits & Suited Conditions – No melt no drip, no smell and super comfortable 365 days a year
- Washing – Machine wash 40°C (warm), line dry or tumble dry low heat