Smartwool Merino 150 Bikini Review
Compare prices at 3 resellers Pros: Super comfortable, quick to dry, lightweight, breathable
Cons: Tight waistband, more expensive
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Smartwool Merino 150 Bikini
|Price||$30.00 at REI|
Compare at 3 sellers
|Check Price at REI|
Compare at 2 sellers
|$30.00 at REI|
Compare at 3 sellers
|$22.75 at Backcountry|
Compare at 3 sellers
|Pros||Super comfortable, quick to dry, lightweight, breathable||Silky fabric, stays in place, cute design, breathability, bonded seams prevent chafing and panty lines, quick drying||Most comfortable fabric, well-constructed design, quick drying, true to size||Lightweight, quick-drying, merino wool||Inexpensive, soft, quick-drying, no bulky seams|
|Cons||Tight waistband, more expensive||Expensive, runs large||Expensive, heaviest thong tested||Less practical fit, expensive||Imperfect fit for some|
|Bottom Line||Comfortable, light, and breathable, making it a good partner on lightweight adventures||Super comfortable, breathable, and a flattering fit that allows you to forget about your undies and focus on your adventure||This exceptional thong-cut garment is a super comfortable, well-designed product that excels in urban and backcountry travel||This is a high quality, flattering, and super comfortable bikini-cut model made out of quick drying and soft merino wool||Soft, stretchy, and quick to dry, this value-forward garment won us over without making us pay a high price|
|Rating Categories||Smartwool Merino 15...||Modern Travel Bikini||Icebreaker Siren Thong||Icebreaker Siren Bi...||Pure Stretch Hipster|
|Drying Time (25%)|
|Specs||Smartwool Merino 15...||Modern Travel Bikini||Icebreaker Siren Thong||Icebreaker Siren Bi...||Pure Stretch Hipster|
|Material||87% Merino Wool, 13% Nylon Core||82% Nylon, 18% Spandex||83% Merino Wool, 12% Nylon, 5% Lycra Spandex||83% Merino Wool, 12% Nylon, 5% Lycra||68% Nylon, 32% Elastane|
|Measured Weight (oz)||0.7 oz (S)||.8 oz (S)||.9 oz (M)||1.1 oz (S)||0.7 oz (S)|
|Cuts Available||Bikini||Bikini||Thong, bikini, hipster||Bikini, thong||Hipster, cheeky, thong|
Our Analysis and Test Results
While the Merino 150 Bikini is impressively soft and lightweight, and its merino wool fabric makes for a naturally odor-free and fast-drying product, we were disappointed by the fit of the waistband and would rather pack another wool option for more control and less adjusting during our next backcountry adventure.
What good is underwear if it's not comfy? Comfort is critical to success, whether you're deep in the backcountry or on a 17-hour flight across the Pacific, which is why we made this our very first scoring metric. For this category, we evaluated all things material: softness, itchiness, breathability, thickness, you name it. Our testers spent weeks hiking, climbing, running, and traveling in this underwear to truly test its limits.
These undies scored well in this category because of their thin and lightweight merino wool construction. We found it to be quite soft next to our skin, passing our first big test of travel underwear: forgetting we even have them on. Whether you're running to catch a bus or racking up miles on the track, the thin material of the Merino 150 Bikini felt weightless and smooth.
In addition to its silky smoothness, we loved that the Merino 150 Bikini kept us dry and cool. We found incredible breathability with this product, which becomes increasingly important the longer we stayed in the backcountry. The wool offers a noticeably different feel when compared to the synthetic nylon blended options available and we loved that the comfort offered by this pair of undies left us feeling luxurious and fresh.
Even though "fit" is closely linked to "comfort," we had to divide these metrics up into two categories so we could adequately describe all the ways these undies felt on our bodies. For this metric, we looked to cut, stability, and stretchiness to give us an idea of how the products helped or hindered our range of motion.
In general, we were satisfied by the cut of the Merino 150 Bikini. We found it to be modest yet flattering, and we appreciated the appropriately-sized leg openings and low-rise waist. However, the most significant problem we had with this product was the waistband's lack of elasticity. We found it to stretch decently once we had it on, but it was difficult to pull on, especially in cramped spaces. Compared to the never-ending stretchiness of some of its competitors, the Merino 150 Bikini left a lot to be desired.
The drying time of a product is as crucial for washing potential as it is for breathability and comfort. If we work up a sweat, we need to know that our underwear will dry incredibly quickly on our bodies, which is crucial when you have a full day of action ahead of you. We soaked these undies in a bucket of water alongside all of their competitors, wrung them out by hand, and hung them on a line to dry and these are our results. On a beautiful California day with 9% humidity and a light breeze, the Merino 150 Bikini was dry in about 45 minutes. The fastest pairs dried in roughly 30 minutes.
We know your space is a precious thing. Backpacking, traveling, or just trying to downsize? All that being said, we should also point out that the difference between our lightest (thongs) and heaviest products (hipkinis) was not much more than half an ounce, so we recommend using this metric as a secondary test after picking based on more important properties like the ones described above.
At just 0.7 ounces, this is one of the lightest products we tested and was about half the weight of the heaviest undies in this review. Its thin material also aids in its packability, letting you shove it into tight corners and spaces in your pack.
The Merino 150 Bikini is priced square in the middle of the many products we tested. For a more expensive price tag, we were hoping for a better fit. While we found far superior wool garments available for a slightly more expensive price, if you're on a tight budget, it's possible to get many (though not all) of the same benefits with the Merino 150 Bikini while saving a few bucks.
If it weren't for the tight waistband, we'd be completely in love with this product. The Smartwool Merino 150 Bikini is constructed out of a comfortable merino wool blend, breathable, and exceptionally light. This is a perfectly fine pair of underwear, but a few other models performed a touch better across the board.
— Lauren DeLaunay & Trish Matheny