Saying wool has been around for a very long time is quite the understatement. The archeological evidence of wools garments dates back prior to 10,000 BC. It’s one of those products that only gets better with time and different breeds of sheep produce very different types of wool. One breed’s wool may be suited for blankets and sweaters, while others are much better for base layers and socks. For centuries, the UK and New Zealand have been the world’s leader in wool textiles. The U.S. may be behind in numbers, but small US companies are doing something that’s surpassing the quality of what’s been done before.
One such company is Duckworth. Based out of Bozeman, Montana, Duckworth sources their wool directly from their own ranch of over 12,000 sheep. The Helle Rambouillet wool comes from sheep raised at higher elevations between 6k and 9k feet. Due to the colder climate and higher elevations, the wool has a highly crimped feature. This gives the wool a soft texture, added stretch, and great durability. On top of that, everything Duckworth produces is grown, spun, knit, and sewn in the US.
Over the last few months I’ve been wearing the Maverick Snorkel Hoodie on various outdoor adevtures and around town. When it comes to natural fibers, or even synthetics, wool wears the crown due to its amazing durability, breathability, warmth when wet, and anti-microbial properties. The Maverick Snorkel Hoodie makes no exceptions.
The fit and cut of this base layer is about as comfortable as it gets. The feel is soft and nothing like that ugly Christmas sweater your mom used to make you wear around the holidays. Due to the tight wool crimp, the top is exceptionally stretchy. Warm in the cold and cool in the heat, this base layer works in such a variety of climates it’s become a constant companion.
From skiing, climbing, backpacking, to hanging out around the campfire, it’s become comparable to my favorite ratty sweatshirt. Since wool doesn’t get stinky like synthetics, I’ve worn this top for multiple days in a row and could still stand to smell myself. The lightweight and thin weave allow the Maverick Snorkel Hoodie to dry quickly when exertion is high or wearing a pack.
Before shrink resistance evolved in wool manufacturing, it was almost sinful to wash wool products in an automatic washing machine. A large wool Christmas sweater would “accidentally” get mixed in with the rest of the clothes and magically come out an extra-small. This is because, at the fiber level, natural untreated wool has small, microfiber ‘barbs.’ When agitated in something like a washing machine, these barbs stick together like an insanely strong Velcro. Duckworth has figured out a way to not only fix the shrinking problem, but do it without any chemicals like the rest of the wool textile industry use. Their patent pending technique uses only water, heat, and pressure to create shrink resistant garments.
Overall, the Duckworth Maverick Snorkel Hoodie is the best multifunctional base layer I’ve ever used. It packs small, dries quickly, keeps my body temperature on an even keel, and is extremely comfortable. The price may be high for some, but its like getting two base layers for the price of one with its durability and no stink wear time. With the Maverick Snorkel Hoodie you not only get all the awesome features listed above, but a sustainable, ethically sourced, made in the USA product.
- Colors — midnight, lichen, DW orange, black
- Sizes — s – xxl
- Fabric — Power Jersey 140 g/m²
- Athletic Fit
- 10″ zip with semi-fitted hood — Fits well under a cap or helmet
- Raglan sleeves
- Thumb loops
- 100% USA Helle Rambouillet Merino
- MSRP — $120
(Featured Image Courtesy of Duckworth)