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jon

How long is your Smartwool or Icebreaker lasting?

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I'm curious how long people's merino tops and bottoms have been lasting from Smartwool or Icebreaker? Most of the stuff I have is Icebreaker and around 10 years old, I've been really happy with them, but in the last few years they have totally deteriorated. Lots of small holes mostly on the thinner stuff. I generally don't wash them a lot and hang dry them. Part of the reason I'm asking is while I haven't seen any other signs, I wonder if I have carpet beetles in my house and want to rule that out before buying more.

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I think if you've gotten 10 years out of one, you're ahead of the pack. My merino base layers always do that, thinner stuff especially. I've taken to laundering them very carefully and air drying.

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I have about 5 years of pretty hard use on multiple pieces and they are all full of holes and in need of replacement.  I would be pysched to get 10 years!

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I've wondered about the holes in my circa 2010 smartwool base layers, also considered some kind of critter was responsible in some way.  Sounds like it could be just normal planned obsolescence for these things.  Still useable but getting a bit long in the tooth.  Definitely always air dry these things as well.  The icebreaker stuff I have is not holding up nearly as well.

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Granted I think 3+ years of those were busy with baby/kids and not getting a ton of usage. I originally thought wool products lasted "forever" but I think the fibers are much much thinner in these garments, and lets face it not the greatest business model to make something that never breaks down. 

Glad to not be the only one to consider critters. They started falling apart after I moved into a new house, but that also coincided with getting out much more often.

Which brand are people having the most luck with now? I noticed there are about another dozen brands in the marketplace now.

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I've never found wool to last as long as synthetic.  Nor have I found it to wick as well.  But it certainly smells better!

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The smartwool stuf I have is still working from 10 years ago...I have some moth holes till I got a cedar chest to put stuff in. I also have bought some wool for hunting from First Lite and that stuff is pretty good, but some of it isn't as thick and isn't lasting as long as the Smartwool stuff. 

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I've had moths show up more with sweaters, rugs, and other coarser wool items. Of course, my wife is a fiber artist with a basement full of wool fleece, felt art pieces, wool quilt batts, and other assorted such things. Large ziploc bags for storage of wool items works pretty well.

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Sounds like moths to me.  I haven't lost any smartwool/icebreaker items to them but definitely sweaters from time to time.

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I have some Merino dress shirts that are fine, and a 320 Icebreaker that does have a few holes in it, but it's also odd and I wear it quite a bit. Thinking about it a bit more I think it's mostly the age, usage. My other hypothesis is because I don't wash them frequently, the build up of salt is weakening the fibers.

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My Icebreakers boxer briefs came out of the drier full of holes after wearing only once.  I know they should not be dried in the dryer, it was an accident.  My Icebreakers
GT 250 shirt sustained a hole when a pine needle from a tree grabbed it.  After wearing it for a couple hours under a pack, the shoulders developed big holes.  I think merino in general is very fragile, that is why you see manufacturers blending it with bamboo (cool) and polyester (defeats the purpose).  Maybe a 50% merino, 25% bamboo, 25% silk blend, properly spun, would have better durability and wicking properties?

My Smartwool socks wear out in the heals very quickly, but I will only wear merino liners under VBLs.  On Denali, I had a pair of Smartwool liners and a pair of synthetic liners. After a few days the synthetic liners smelled like death, the merino smelled fine.

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