So you’re thinking of running the famous Ultra Trail Australia? Awesome!

As you well know, no one can do the training for you, so when it comes to all those miles and all those hills, you’re on your own. But as far as staying warm, comfortable, and safe, during your training and the race, we’ve got your back. And front. And legs. And head. With our trail tested and UTA compliant, natural, lightweight, Australian Merino thermal layers.

And let’s get something out there up front. We know we’re not the biggest Merino brand in the world. But with six generations of wool know-how, we’re no rookies when it comes to making some of the best Merino gear on the planet.

We also know how to walk the walk, and run the run. David Michell, the man behind ioMerino, ran this race a few years back. As did one of our ioCrew members. So when they give advice about what to take with you, what to wear, and how it’s going to work, they know what they’re talking about. Even more so because both of them are slower than elephants wading through treacle, so they were out there for longer, and needed their thermals more than most.

Now, let’s talk mandatory gear. Our range of thermal leggings and long sleeve tops are UTA compliant, approved and recommended. Sure you could buy cheaper, stinky synthetics. But these are way better. Breathable. Odour-resistant. Moisture wicking. Temperature regulating. Soft. Lightweight. Natural. What more can we say? You can find out more about the benefits of Merino right here. And these are as soft and comfortable as they come. Pack them in your kit and you’ll not only have a few mandatory items sorted, you’ll be ready for anything, not only during the race, but on future adventures as well.

The Altitude tops come in crew, zip neck or hooded, the choice is yours. They all feature flat lock seams and a tag-free design to make them ultra comfortable and chafe-free. The crew is your standard, ‘contact fit’ cut (ie. close fitting) and the 4% Elastane gives it a nice, easy, 4-way stretch for complete flexibility and freedom of movement. The Zip allows even more temperature regulation: sleeves up, zip down when it’s warmer; zip up, sleeves down, thumb loops on when the temperature drops. This allows you to whack it on late afternoon when it starts to really cool down and be comfortable well into the night, rather than having to add an extra layer later in the evening.

While the Altitude Tops are contact fit to maximise the thermal properties, the Keystone Tops offer more of a casual, relaxed fit – perfect for those of us who aren’t rocking six packs! These tops are made with 100% superfine Australian Merino and are slightly thinner than the Altitude range (but still fully mandatory gear compliant), so if you’re looking for all of the natural performance and comfort of our MicroMerino® thermal layers, but with a regular, everyday fit, then the Keystone is for you!

The Altitude Leggings are the same thickness as the Altitude top, and are fully UTA compliant, delivering a good level of warmth even if you slow down to a shuffle going up those hills or stop for a drink. But when you’re on the go, they’ll keep you warm without overheating or getting stinky and sweaty like synthetics will. Remember, almost all compression garments are simply compression garments and not thermals, and will not pass the UTA mandatory gear requirements. Save those for your post-race recovery because they won’t keep you warm when the temperature drops anyway. These also happen to be super lightweight so will fit in your pack nicely and not weigh you down if you don’t end up needing them, but keep you nice and warm if you do. If you’re expecting to be out there a while and really feel the cold, you might even consider upgrading to the Chaser leggings which are almost twice as thick and offer a lot more warmth. (They’re also more opaque so more suitable for wearing without the need for a pair of ‘courtesy shorts’ over the top.)

As always, our ioTeam are pretty helpful when it comes to answering questions, so if you have any that aren’t too difficult, send us an email any time and we’ll get straight back to you. (Unless we’re out hitting the trails ourselves in which case you may need to be a teeny bit more patient!).

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