Review: Justin Charles Expedition Weight Merino Wool

So, people at work are giving me the whole “You are crazy / Hardcore / Idiotic.” Then they say “Don’t you get cold?” If you bicycle commute in the winter, you know the routine.

Anyhow, no, I don’t get cold, because I have a secret weapon. This.

Expedition Weight Merino Wool Crew

It’s the most heavenly woolie ever. Wear it right next to your skin, no base layer. A (base layer would spoil the effect anyway.) Throw a windbreaker over it, and you’re all set down to about 20 degrees. Probably colder, but I can’t say for sure, since it hasn’t gotten below 20 yet this year.

It’s the least scratchy wool ever. The inside is kind of fuzzy, kind of like the inside of a sweatshirt. It feels like you’re getting a nice, big hug from big, fluffy polar bears the whole time you’re wearing it.

It costs a lot of money, but that’s probably because it’s THICK. There’s probably a whole sheep’s worth of wool in it. I’d guess it’s about three times the thickness of the Ktena stuff Rivendell sells (which is pretty nice stuff in its own right.)

It also comes in a 3XL size, which fits a bit looser than Rivendell’s “Jumbo” size, so it will actually fit over my beer belly!

Hooray!

The only downside it that it’s not really meant for cycling, and so it should maybe be a little longer in the back. Sometimes it comes untucked if you’re really bent over the bars. It also has a stupid little leather tag on the one sleeve, which is kind of annoying, but you could probably get that off with a seam ripper, if it bothers you.

One of these days, I might pick up the pants and balaclava from the same line, and then I’ll be able to ride to the North Pole on my bicycle.

7 thoughts on “Review: Justin Charles Expedition Weight Merino Wool”

  1. For me the challenge in the winter isn’t staying warm enough, it’s avoiding sweating too much. This looks like a nice garment, but too warm for me in most conditions, plus riding in a long-sleeved shirt, or on really cold days, a sweater, works just fine at a fraction of the cost.

  2. That looks really nice. I still sweat, but find that the wool pulls it away and makes for a pretty comfortable ride.
    With this recent cold spell, I’m looking for some decent shoes that I can wear over thick wool socks that will still “breathe” and allow me to pedal with reasonable coordination. I can wear the sandals down to about 35F before I notice the cold.

  3. I guess my commute is short enough, and my riding lazy enough, that I don’t seem to sweat too much, even when I’m overdressed a little.

    @doc:
    I’ve had good luck with trail shoes and thick wool socks. Bass Pro sells what they call Lifetime Hunting Socks or something, that are nice and thick and wooly. The trail shoes are pretty well ventilated, so sweat isn’t much of a problem, but the cold air can sneak in on fast descents.

  4. You may be interested in watching this Justin Charles video that explains the full line of Merino Wool outerwear … … unfortunately the website storefront just closed and I believe the only way you can purchase remaining inventory is through retailers or contacting Justin Charles support e-mail and hope they respond … You might contact Scheels All Sports for Expedition and Mid-Weight products still in stock. Oh, by the way … the stupid tag on the right sleeve is a suede rectangle about 1″x 2″ that has the company script logo on it. I think it is pretty cool actually … subtle and classy.

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