I’m a big fan of merino wool tops, which are superbly breathable to keep you cool in summer yet trap your body warmth to keep you toasty warm in winter. Naturally wicking and resisting odour retention, they’re the perfect solution for active day and multi-day trips and far better than cotton which traps and holds moisture next to your skin. While there are some synthetic fabrics that rival the performance of wool this is usually at the cost of breathability and odour retention.
The Kuhl Team 1/4 zip merino wool sweater is made from 100% merino that’s boiled to increase its softness. The Kuhl website doesn’t give the exact specification but I’d say this is a midweight weave (perhaps around 300g/m2) that’s warm and hard-wearing. It’s a little heavier (380g) and thicker than my trusted Icebreaker Skin 200 long-sleeved top that’s still going strong after a decade or so, and which I wear walking and camping for all except the warmest summer days in Scotland. At face value, then, I’d recommend the Kuhl Team 1/4 zip as a top for cooler and winter weather from late Autumn through to Spring.
It’s a well-designed and high quality top. The short 1/4 zip allows you to regulate your temperature and the flatlock seams mean that the Team is comfortable next to your skin. It features Kuhl’s classic thumb loops for added warmth in colder weather. The short collar can either be worn up or down, a useful and flexible feature. The top I’ve been testing is a medium size, in ‘brick’.
Kuhl hail from Utah and make a range of outdoor lifestyle clothing for men and women. The company has a strong outdoor ethos and their products are typically high quality, hard wearing and well made. They’re well suited to skiing, moutaineering, backpacking, cycling and global travel. I already own a pair of Rydr trousers and some Renegade shorts, as well as the Jetstream jacket that I’ve recently reviewed.
I’ve been using the Kuhl Team merino sweater during the Autumn on walking as well as cycling trips. I would find its midweight weave too warm for summers in Scotland but for cooler Autumn weather it’s been great.
On a cycle ride on a cool, crisp day of 8 degrees celsius it kept me warm enough – just – without needing a jacket. It was sufficiently breathable to trap any moisture from sweating even when tackling some fairly brutal short uphill sections. I’m looking forward to wearing it when skiing. This will certainly be my number one choice for winter walks, camping trips as well as for skiing.
The Team looks easy to care for, able to either be machine washed or hand washed. I’ll be keeping a close eye to see if it keeps its shape and appearance after several washes.
I’d recommend the Kuhl Team 1/4 zip merino top as a great choice for colder weather outdoor activities such as hiking, skiing and backpacking. Wool is the original performance fabric, helping to regulate your temperature effectively and soft enough to be worn next to the skin. I tend to walk ‘hot’ and have found the Team great as a single layer even on cool Autumn days.
What I liked:
- Merino is extremely effective in regulating temperature, naturally wicking and odour-free
- Soft, medium-weight fabric
- 1/4 length zip useful for extra cooling
- Thumb loops for colder weather
What I wasn’t so keen on:
Kuhl clothing is increasingly available at a range of UK outlets including George Fisher, Winfields and Tiso. You may need to shop around for the Team 1.4 length zip but I found it retailing for between £115 and an absolute bargain sale price of £34.
Note: The Team 1/4 zip merino top was provided to me to review for free by Kuhl. I have no connection with the company. I have provided an honest and impartial review based on my personal experience in using it.