By ioMerino customer, and adventurer, Lisa Murphy.
Until recently I had not really owned or tried out merino clothing for our hikes. I had bought a couple of tried and tested shirts and pants that were quick dry and did the job – synthetic and, well, a tad smelly really. But they washed well and with repeated use, after 8 years, they are still rocking (just).
I hadn’t really explored other options and so I just made do with what I had. I don’t mind looking like a dag, it’s more about the experience than what we are wearing. Admittedly I had bought my gear years ago and failed to update the wardrobe through complete lack of need and also fashion apathy. I was quite happy as long as I was warm/cool and comfy. Even my thermals were the stinky kind. I did own merino socks and often thought that while my boots were a bit whiffy the socks were always pretty wearable even after sweaty days. They dried fast and didn’t hold the odour.
I had seen some merino tops and also seen fellow Radelaidian Sputnik showcase ioMerino gear in his various adventures. I started asking people about their merino gear and it became pretty clear quickly that I had missed out on some finer smelling opportunities. I started with a merino tshirt and decided I wanted more sun protection and also something I could wear on cooler days and warmer ones. I kept finding the tight fit kind but I prefer a looser fit so with our Overland Track adventure looming, I made a last minute purchase and took a gamble on a Keystone long sleeve top.
Our Overland Track adventure was to be a 6 day hike in 4 seasons in the middle of February. This alpine Track is a challenging one in fine weather but we had everything thrown at us those first 2 days. Hail, sleet, snow and rain. It made for an adventurous start and definitely set the tone for our hike!
As there were five of us Wise Women Walkers taking it on, we shared camping gear and while we all had our own clothing preferences, I was super grateful for my long sleeve Keystone!! I was able to wear it as a base layer alone in the finer weather and still keep relatively cool – when I put my backpack down the sweat on my back would dry quickly or I could layer up in rain, or the cold weather we had, especially those first couple of days and be cosy.
The remarkable thing is that with hiking, it is all about packing light but having clothing that is also going to do the job! Merino is lightweight, warm/cool and after 6 days on the Track, well let’s just say, I smelled fairly horrible but my top was fine. I could have worn it another 6 days!
Our Overland Track Challenge was a difficult but rewarding trek. We needed to stay in the huts for the first 3 nights and we camped on our 4th night – after all why lug the tents all that way and not use them? After a wet few days to start with, we had the finest of clear skies on Day 4 for our Pelion Gap crossing and while we didn’t summit Mt Ossa on this occasion, the experience of trekking with 4 gorgeous friends who trusted me to organise them all (including all our food!!) was so rewarding.
We met some lovely fellow trekkers from France and other parts of Australia. Hut life was a whole new concept for our crew and sleeping in a shared room with strangers made it a whole new experience. To get a hut bed was a bonus.
We fundraised for Hutt St Centre and raised nearly $1800 for this amazing service that assists those living rough in Adelaide. To have this challenge every night is something many of us could never understand.
Travel changes us and can change the way we view the world. It’s why we do it. Adventure travel allows us to challenge ourselves, discover more about each other and fulfill through learning. A different kind of education really. One that is absolutely under-rated.
Now to get me some merino undies…….