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Rock Climbing Clothing

First Look: Smartwool Merino 150 Underwear

A First Look at the Smartwool Merino 150 performance underwear.

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MSRP: $29.95 – $44.95

BEST FOR: All outdoor activities

When it comes to performance wear we put a lot of thought into what we don before setting off into the mountains. We want moisture control. We want freedom of movement. We want comfort. We want warmth but we also want breathability. It’s a long list, but we pander to it. Why should our underwear be any different? Whilst exercising, especially in extreme environments, regular cotton undies are unlikely to cut it when it comes to moisture management, temperature regulation, moving with you and preventing chafing.

Wool and other technical wicking fabrics are hard to beat for next-to-skin performance layers and Smartwool has it nailed with their Merino 150 series. Smartwool has spun merino fibers around a nylon core thread, which improves durability but keeps the merino against your skin. The resulting merino fabric is soft, light and naturally temperature regulating, making the Merino 150 series an ideal choice for undergarments in both summer and winter.

Wool also is one of the most effective fabrics at regulating moisture—read: wicking your sweat away—but it also keeps you warm when it’s damp, therefore helping you avoid the chill at the top of the mountain or after a long, strenuous approach. There’s also little chance of chafing with the Smartwool Merino 150 boxers and briefs as they incorporate flatlock stitching (the sewn seam remains flat rather than creating a ridge) thereby reducing potential discomfort.

As with all good wool products, the Merino 150 undies also have natural odor-resistant and anti-bacterial properties, so you can wear them for multi-day missions and still feel fresh. When you do wash them remember that wool can shrink, so keep that temperature low and air dry them whenever possible. This will also improve the lifespan of your underwear.

The women’s bikini briefs are mid-rise and true to size. Likewise, the men’s boxer briefs are a medium length (six-inch inseam for size medium) and also true to size. Both styles stay put and don’t ride up as you move.

The price may appear prohibitive, but the investment will pay off after long approaches and strenuous pitches, or after wearing them for a few consecutive days.

Women’s Bikini Briefs

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Men’s Boxer Briefs

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Rock and Ice vigorously tests all gear it reviews for either 50 days or 50 pitches. This is a time-consuming process and limits the amount of new equipment we can present to our readers. Every year hundreds of new products hit store shelves, and most of these aren’t reviewed due to our stringent selection and review process. To better keep you more up to date on what is new, we present First Look. Gear in First Look has not always been field tested, but is gear we think you’d like to know about as soon as it is available. Some of the gear will be reviewed using our 50 days/50 pitches criteria, in future print and online editions of Rock and Ice. We have opted to use affiliate links in our gear reviews. Every time you buy something after clicking on links in our gear articles you’re helping support our magazine.