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Over the past couple of years, I’ve become more and more fascinated with the idea of a minimalist way of life – and in particular, a minimal wardrobe.
Essentially, I want my life to be full practical stuff I need, but not brimming with pointless excess.
This fascination has stemmed from the amount of travelling I do. Over 2016 and 2017, I was bouncing around constantly – flying 80 times on commercial airlines.
Unbound Merino T-Shirt
The Unbound Merino T-Shirt is a minimalist, high-performance shirt made from ultra-soft, breathable, and odor-resistant merino wool. It’s perfect for travel, outdoor activities, or everyday wear, and requires less washing than traditional cotton T-shirts.
Over the course of these flights, I’ve paid for my luggage to be stored in the hold just once (when I was bringing a huge stash of Marmite back to Germany with me). And, baring in mind that the length of these trips ranged from a couple of days up through to an entire month, it’s clear I managed to figure out how to travel light.
Once you’ve dealt with airport security and cabin luggage on a regular basis, you change the way you see your personal items.
Do I really need this? Is it worth me carrying this around on my back for the next few days?
These are questions that I increasingly began to ask myself about the clothes I was carrying. Shoes are a great example of this problem. Ideally, you’d want to carry three pairs: sports, casual and formal, but they simply take up too much space. So, you need to combine your sports and casual, or find a versatile in-between casual and formal shoe.
The same applies to the rest of the clothes you want to take on your trip. You want stuff that is versatile and are ‘tweeners, i.e. stuff that you can wear day to day, but then maybe switch up for a business meeting or fancy dinner.
But hey, this is the Discerning Cyclist, not the Discerning Traveller, right? Where am I going with this?
Well, for starters, I ride bikes a lot when I’m exploring new cities. So I want versatile gear that is practical, comfortable and looks good. Second, cycling is a way of travelling. Duh.
Merino Wool T-Shirts
With that in mind, I’ve been on the lookout for stylish clothes that are great for travelling (and cycling) recently.
And as I’ve banged on about many times before, when it comes to t-shirts, Merino Wool is the king of the jungle.
What is Merino Wool?
Merino Wool comes from Merino Sheep and boasts remarkable properties: It’s soft, a little shiny and is very breathable.
One of the biggest benefits of merino wool is that it can keep you cool when you’re warm, and warm when you’re cool – perfect when you’re out on your bike or travelling a lot.
Unbound Merino T-Shirt – Review
So… merino wool t-shirts are the answer, right? Well, yes.
The Unbound Merino t-shirt is one such great example. The company was founded by three friends who had extensively travelled the world together. Unbound Merino was created with the idea of “Pack Less. Experience More.” – something I can definitely get on board with.
They understand you don’t want to be weighed down when you travel and instead want to travel light with stylish, practical clothes.
Over the past couple of years they’ve created a selection of merino gear: t-shirts, underwear and socks.
For the last few weeks, I’ve basically been living in the Unbound Merino t-shirt.
It’s a t-shirt that they say is anti-bacterial and odour-resistant. So, I’ve worn it pretty much daily in 30+˚C temperatures, and have yet to wash it. Grim? Maybe. But it remains odourless and people don’t seem to be avoiding me anymore than they usually do. Unbound Merino claim that you can wear this t-shirt relentlessly for two weeks before it gets stinky.
To give you an idea, the guys at Unbound Merino even tried out one of their prototypes for 46 consecutive days without washing, even wearing it in the gym and the sauna without it stinking. Either this t-shirt is incredible or these guys have no sense of smell.
- Reinforced stitching
- Core temperature control
- 100% ultra-fine 17.5 micron, 190g/m2 Merino wool
Importantly, especially if you’re travelling a lot, this Merino t-shirt dries quickly and can go from the washing machine to bone dry in under 24 hours if left to air.
The material is really soft – as is typical for Merino Wool – meaning it feels great against your skin.
While it’s not being designed specifically with cycling in mind, the Unbound Merino tee has quite a long fit on your torso, so you shouldn’t expose your backside while riding.
This t-shirt is also tough, largely thanks to its reinforced stitching. and although I’ve only owned it a few weeks – it feels like it will last for a long time.
Simply put, I love this Unbound Merino t-shirt – it looks and feels fantastic, it stays odour-free, has temperature control, doesn’t wrinkle and is just simply the perfect t-shirt for me.
But there’s two problems: 1) Unbound Merino are based in Toronto, Canada, meaning you’ll have to pay $35 (USD) shipping to Europe (plus many import charges) and 2) these t-shirts are not cheap, coming in at $65. However, for that you are getting an excellent product that should last you years.
For those who lead an active life – or those planning on travelling for extended periods – I couldn’t recommend the Unbound Merino t-shirt highly enough.
I opted for the crew neck collar in navy (because I’m a sucker for blue), but the Unbound Merino t-shirts are also available in black and grey, as well as with v-neck collars.