REI Co-op Merino Midweight Bottoms Review
Cons: Not very durable, tend to stretch
Manufacturer: REI Co-op
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Our Analysis and Test Results
The REI Co-op Midweight Merino is a comfortable and quality pair of 100% Merino wool bottoms that do well in cool to cold conditions.
These bottoms are a typical midweight bottom in every way. They can keep you warm in frigid temperatures when paired with an insulated pair of bottoms or serve you well alone on a warm summer evening in the backcountry. They do a good job of regulating body temperatures through varying temperatures and levels of activity, and the naturally hydrophobic Merino fibers do a great job at wicking sweat and keeping you dry so that you can stay warm once you stop moving.
Like any quality Merino wool, these are going to breathe well, dumping heat on the uphill battles and wicking sweat so that when you start the downhill cruise, you're not putting wet bottoms into a freezing wind tunnel. These bottoms did a great job of keeping us dry when we were a hot sweaty mess trail running or skinning under blue skies.
Comfort & Fit
These bottoms generally fit really well, and the Merino is super cozy next to skin — not itchy at all. They have nice long legs, a simple seam pattern that stays out of the way and a crotch that has a little sag but nothing too offensive. The stretchy Merino wool fits all types and thickness. If you have skinny legs, the legs run a little loose, but not baggy. Still snug enough to layer under a pair of jeans without them bunching up badly. The waistband is sewn on and doesn't have any added features to make it extra comfortable. The tag in the back of the waistband is itchy if worn next to the skin. Like most Merino layers, these bottoms do tend to stretch out during use, especially anything active. They regain their original dimensions after a wash.
Merino isn't always known for its durability, and these are 100% Merino. They stretch out after active use, and they don't hold up to abrasion well. Our abrasion test burnt a hole through these pretty easily. That isn't to say that if you take care of them and don't drag them across pavement and granite like we did, these bottoms can last you a good long while. These bottoms aren't going to be as durable as some of their synthetic counterparts. While they're not the most fragile, they are far from the most durable.
Considering the price of other full-Merino options in our review, the price of these are very much middle-of-the-road. Not the most valuable base layer based on performance, but if you are looking for a midweight layer with an all-natural knit, these are certainly worth their weight in warmth.
A great weight and a simple and comfortable bottom that works well across a spectrum of activities and temperatures. 100% Merino wool allows for great thermoregulation and breathability. Not the most impressive of the bunch but a quality pair of blue-collar bottoms.
— Roland Mott