Woolpower® long underwear is made from New Zealand merino sheeps’ wool that gets imported to Sweden, processes through their ultra hi-tech underwear-knit-bots and then imported into the US. Well, I imagine Woolpower gets sent all over the world as well, but we use a lot of it here in the US.
Wool as an insulator runs circles around any synthetic as an insulator. You can wet it and it still keeps you warm. Can’t do that with a bunch of synthetics. You can light it on fire with a spark that ends up making a hole in it that you can pat out. You can do that with synthetics but sometimes they melt, stick to your hide, and can allow the flames to spread. Wool really stinks when on fire and you know somebody is having an issue. Synthetics can melt just from heat. Wool tends to remain intact. When would you be exposed to sparks? Think “campfire” at hunting camp.
Wool used to be ridiculously itchy and it still can be. Merino sheep are used for these garments because Merino sheep have particularly long strands of wool that can be woven into a thread which in turn, is knitted into a “loop” like terry cloth on the inside of all Woolpower underwear. The ability to make “looped wool” (Ullfrotte’ in Swedish) is how they keep it from itching. The end of a wool fiber is the sharp, pointy part that sticks you lightly in the back. With short wool fibers, there are a million of these wool ends that jab you and make you itchy. Merino fibers are long enough to loop around several times so the smooth edge of the fiber makes skin contact. That part does not itch and then they ingeniously bury the end of the fiber in the cloth keeping it off of your hide. Because of the fiber length and the way they use it, there remain far less of them able to make you itch.
Some may know of Ullfrotte’ and to me, it will always be called that. They had to change their name in the US because calling something “looped wool” was like calling Kleenex “tissue paper” and they could not trademark “looped wool (ullfrotte’)'”. Briefly, they renamed themselves “Klar” which confused the hell out of everybody and then they finally settled on “Woolpower” with a sheep on the box which I don’t particularly find gripping or exciting, but if you know your product, you’ll know that Woolpower is Swedish for “the best that money can buy” in long underwear.
If you for one minute believe that wearing a cheap cotton hoody and cotton long underwear is ever a good idea in the winter, none of this post is going to make sense to you. Cotton is only good in the summer or in the house. It absorbs moisture and allows the cold outside to draw heat away from your body when you need it most. Cotton as an insulator is a completely worthless product and yet I see countless ice fisherman wearing hoodies under their also-worthless, cotton Carharts on the ice. Come on, people! Get some real clothing! No wonder why you are freezing your butt off out there.
Do you have to wear Woolpower for ice fishing only? Well, no. It can be worn for any activity that requires good insulation. I just felt that I needed to explain that. Sad, isn’t it?
The Best Stuff
I’m not making up “the best that money can buy” part. I have some 200 gram, & 400 gram pieces of
Ullfrotte’ Klar Woolpower that are well over 10 years old and I wear them all winter long, every single year in northern Minnesota.
- It doesn’t wear out very quickly.
- It doesn’t get stinky at all. You can live in it for 7 days if you have to. Try doing that with synthetics. Two days and you smell like a fat man’s armpit.
- You wash this stuff in as hot water as you can find and line dry it and it does not shrink even a tiny bit.
- You let it hang on the line for 30 minutes, and put it on wet if you must. In 15 minutes, you are warm.
I have the Woolpower 800 gram socks. They are expensive as all get out. They are the warmest socks I own. They, too, seem to last forever so in my opinion, they are easily worth the cost. I have yet to wear out any of my wool underwear. We DO have customers who live in Woolpower and it seems like they have about a 7 year replenishment program going on. About every seven years, they get some more. Will it wear like that for you? I dunno. Depends what you are doing with it, I guess.
If you are walking or moving, you want the 200 gram tops and bottoms. If you are sitting for prolonged periods, you are going to want the 400 gram. They make a 600 gram top and bottom, but that is WAY too hot for our uses. They use the 600 gram on the North Sea oil rigs. If you wear it here, by day’s end, you’d look like a bean pole from all that sweating. The 600 gram is also really expensive. I’m not even sure we can get it in the US. You have to have an “Oil-Rig Member” card. Can you imagine working a North Sea oil rig? I’m glad I’m not there.
I wear my 400 gram weight under a polyester fleece layer for excellent breath-ability, but zero wind-stopping power. That combination is great in a pop-up ice shelter. When I wear the 400 gram under my ice fishing parka, to even crank my Skidoo ( I still have a pull start -none of this panty-waist electric-start crap for me), makes me break out in a sweat if it takes more than three magnificent pulls. (Starts like crap sometimes. Lots of breathless cussing. I wish I had an electric start.) But, the 400 weight, in the pop-up which is heated but still cooler, is about perfect for sitting still in continual 20-40 degree temps that we have in the ice fishing shelter. If this sounds cold, remember that it is usually -10 below to 5 above zero (F) outside. Ice fishing, as least my technique, does not involve a lot of jumping around. Probably explains my layer of winter fat that so stubbornly refuses to leave. That and eating a lot of trout.
We could sell other brands of Chinese-made underwear and have done so in the past. It itches and fits well if you have toothpick-sized ankles. We also could sell the “trendy-among-millenials-because-they-get-sucked -in-by-pseudo-intellectual-buzzwords-like-smart-and-sustainable-and-hybrid” Smartwool, but what for? Very few of them ice fish and their idea of adventure is going to mall that has free WIFI. Our thinking customers tell us Woolpower is warmer and lasts longer plus, if we like something at Red Rock, we try to keep it around forever. “Trendy” is for non-thinkers. From our perspective, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
So, enough about me. Here’s the official scoop on Woolpower wool underwear.
WOOLPOWER UNITED STATES
Woolpower® under layers, mid layers and socks are produced in Östersund in Northern Sweden. We develop and produce 100% of our products. Woolpower® is sold worldwide to professionals, outdoor enthusiasts and anyone else who needs to stay warm.
ULLFROTTÉ ORIGINAL – OUR MATERIAL
All Woolpower® products are constructed with Ullfrotte Original, a technically advanced material made from a combination of two thirds fine Merino wool from Patagonia, Argentina, and about one third synthetic fiber so as to achieve the greatest strength. And Ullfrotté is knit with unique terry loop stitching in order to create the optimal insulating capability.
Wool has a unique ability to hold and transport moisture while keeping you warm in damp conditions.
Wool is, to some extent self-cleaning, and tends not to smell bad, even after long periods of wear. Because of this, the garments do not need to be washed frequently. In addition, all garments made with Ullfrotte Original can be washed in 60 degrees Celsius, when needed.
HIGH PERFORMANCE THERMAL UNDERGARMENTS
Woolpower is a collection of high performance thermal undergarments for the entire body that can be combined in different ways depending on temperature and activity level. The material comes in various weights, each of which has a different function and advantage. The weights of the material is expressed in gram per square meter and is available in 200, 400, 600 and 800 g/m².
All garments are made on specially designed machines, and all garments are constructed without vertical seams that can both rub and break.