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Ever on the edge of innovation, be it socially, ethically or technically, Patagonia steps up the game in the natural fibers world by introducing Merino Air. After years of research and development Patagonia discovered an air-jet process to help give existing merino fibers more loft than was previously possible with conventional yarn spinning technology. Patagonia claims this air-jet process give the wool outstanding warmth, increased breathability and a better fit.

“The result is a perfect blend of technical product with best in-class performance and sustainable sourcing,” said Jenna Johnson, Senior Director, Technical Outdoor in a press release. “Merino Air’s high-loft, efficient wool construction and excellent fit will keep you warm outdoors no matter what you’re up to. It’s the most unique baselayer on the planet, made with responsibly sourced merino wool.”

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The years of research brought Patagonia to three key elements in creating Merino Air. As quoted from their press release:

· We sourced merino wool directly from the grasslands of Patagonia using regenerative agricultural practices that actually reverse damage to the environment.

· The wool for each garment is then treated using an innovative air-jet process that creates yarn of greater loft and insulation value than conventionally spun wool.

· Using a computerized knitting machine, the lofted wool and 100% recycled-polyester yarns are knit directly into a seamless performance fit garment with minimal waste —especially compared to traditional cut-and-sew construction.

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Not described above is the zig-zag knit pattern that gives the garment a textured feel and is designed to create an uneven surface which Patagonia counter-intuitively claims will increase air flow. The end result claims to have a unique blend of warmth and breathability as well as a lightweight and packable merino baselayer.

Check back here at the Gear Institute as we get our hands on this new baselayer technology and compare it head-to-head against other merino baselayers.

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