There’s wool and then there’s power wool. Yes, they get the sheep that pump iron.
We’re big fans of merino wool and its many endurance sport benefits: it wicks, regulates temperatures well, it’s non-synthetic and it never stinks.
Merino wool is part of cycling’s rich history and the modern updates have brought it roaring back. Half the cycling apparel companies have a wool offering or two. The rise of urban commuting and cycling lifestyle fashions have all been good news for merino.
That brings us to Garneau’s Power Wool jersey. It’s not your usual 100% merino construct because Garneau does a mix of merino and polyester. A technical twist on the classic wool, as it were.
The polyester gives the jersey a little stretch and a consistent shape — wool on its own, especially the lighter gauges, can lose its shape over time. The polyester worked into the outside of the jersey gives it a more tailored and fitted appearance. (Garneau says the smoother polyester facing also makes it easier to layer a jacket over top.) Meanwhile, the power wool on the inside goes about doing what it does best — heating and cooling the organic way. Garneau has designed the jersey to create channels that help pull moisture away from your skin.
That’s a best-of-both-worlds argument that seems to work pretty well. We’ve been wearing the Garneau Power Wool Jersey for a few months. The wool and polyester mix certainly helps make this a three season jersey and the classic styling and understated gray color gives you a versatile look on and off the bike. It’s the kind of jersey that works for your road bike and mountain bike and that single speed for the morning coffee run.
Our experience is that you sacrifice just a bit of the thermoregulation in return for a more fitted, sleek look that the polyester brings in. You still get the warmth of wool, just a tad less compared to a medium weight wool jersey. Factoring in your own body temp, you might find that level of merino wool just right — and depending on base layer and jacket, you have flexibility for a wide range of conditions.
We find that merino wool is particularity great for days when the weather is in flux — sunny, then cloudy, windy, then warmer, a bit of rain, then a sudden temperature drop. The Garneau Power wool jersey is made for those kinds of situations.
The jersey has all the manitoryies covered — full zip, three angled pockets in back, multimedia pocket that lets you slip the ears cable inside the top. There’s an extended collar that seals out the chill and a reflective graphic on the backside.
Drawbacks? The styling is intentionally classic and retro so the wrist cuffs are short in width and just your basic elastic. We would have voted for something a little more polished to give the jersey a visual upgrade.
We’ve seen the Garneau Power wool jersey on sale at several places for around $90. Which seems like a great deal for such a versatile jersey with such powerful merino sheep’s wool.