KÜHL TEAM™ 1/4 ZIP Merino Wool Top Review
KÜHL TEAM™ 1/4 ZIP Merino Wool Top Review
If you have read some of my other articles then you may be aware that I think Merino wool is one of the best materials out there for keeping you both warm and cool on outdoor pursuits. There are over a dozen benefits to wearing merino wool and this lightweight sweater is a perfect example of them all. In this KÜHL TEAM™ 1/4 ZIP Merino Wool Top Review I aim to share all the ways this sweater can outperform and replace its competition while keeping you looking good at the same time.
The KÜHL TEAM™ 1/4 ZIP SWEATER is one of the thicker merino tops that I own and is perfect for replacing heavier, bulkier layers. I would say the performance is akin to carrying two or three mid layers, so it makes sense to pack one of these on backpacking trips. Swapping two or three bulky layers for one ‘all-rounder’ not only reduces pack weight but also saves you from constantly putting on and taking off layers during hikes.
Keeping you warm, cool, and comfortable seems like this jumpers only mission in life. The natural properties of merino wool in this sweater allow moisture to wick away from the skin and remain breathable while at the same time trapping enough warm air to stop you getting cold. The combination of heat regulation, breathability, and moisture management make the KÜHL TEAM™ 1/4 ZIP Merino wool top ideal for high-intensity outdoor activities. The fact that it is also smart and stylish enough to wear out to dinner is a big bonus too.
As a company that focuses on quality and fit, you can be sure that the comfort, attention to detail, and performance of this top all reflect KÜHL’s core values. If you have a look at their other products you will see that they use materials to their highest potential, often by blending performance fabrics together. The KÜHL TEAM™ 1/4 ZIP SWEATER, however, is made from 100% Boiled Merino Wool and uses the fibers natural qualities to its advantage. Let’s take a look at some of the design features in more detail below.
The non-itch qualities of merino wool make wearing this sweater a very different experience to those itchy Christmas jumpers you might be used to. Merino wool has a very silky smooth texture similar to that of Cashmere (but not the same) which makes it very soft on the skin and easy to wear. The way it regulates your temperature is very impressive, protecting you from the sun without overheating and keeping you warm when the temperature drops. KÜHL’s signature thumb loops, which they started way back in 1990, really help to lock in the heat and add that extra bit of comfort I look for in outdoor gear. The flatlock seams are frictionless on the skin, reducing bulk and weight at the same time.
The fit is accurate to size and doesn’t feel too baggy or too tight. I am quite picky about the tops I wear and I like the lower trim to be fitted rather than too loose at the back. The TEAM™ 1/4 ZIP fits the bill perfectly with a well-tailored design that is ideal for wearing over a t-shirt or base layer but can also be worn next to the skin. Because merino wool has a natural elasticity to it, you are in no way restricted in your movements when stretching your arms. The neck feels nice and snug when the zip is done up but I find myself wearing it open most of the time. Even when using the thumb loops you have complete freedom to reach, climb, and stretch without feeling restricted.
One of the many reasons the KÜHL brand has such a strong following is that their focus on materials and freedom of movement translates into its own unique and individual style. Designed to be rugged and hard wearing for everyday use but also smart/casual for wearing to work or out to dinner. This particular top looks great with jeans and makes a great outer layer on dry evenings and nights out.
Unlike many other outdoor brands, KÜHL doesn’t splash their logo all over the place and instead opt for very minimal branding, using the mountain symbol instead of branded text in most instances. On this top there is a small mountain badge on the arm as well as a small one on the upper back leaving the front totally unbranded. Nobody wants to feel like a walking billboard and I like to think that this is a sign of respect for their fans who show mutual respect by wearing their gear with pride.
Considering how lightweight the material is, the warmth of this jumper will surprise anyone who puts it on. With most merino wool coming from sheep that live in alpine conditions where temperatures can drop well below -10º c, this amazing fiber works better than almost anything else to keep you warm. With the zip done up and your thumbs through the signature loops, your whole upper body is taken care of. If it is really cold and you have to wear gloves, the thumb holes keep your sleeves tucked in and stops any snow from getting up there. Check out some of KÜHL’s other warm merino wool tops here.
The durability of this sweater again comes from the harsh environments merino sheep have to survive in. You can wear it hard and often without worrying about over using it and the fact that it doesn’t hold any odor makes it great for trips where public showers are few and far between. As well as wicking moisture away from the skin it also resists it, meaning you don’t get soaked in light showers and it dries very fast. Merino wool is also very stretchy, fire resistant, UV protective, and can be machine washed on a cold hand wash setting. All KÜHL gear is built to last and this highly durable sweater is no different.
The performance of the KÜHL TEAM™ 1/4 ZIP is very good and the fact that it is so lightweight makes it a very effective to always have with you. While it can be worn on a hot day to protect you from the sun, it is better suited to cooler conditions and thrives in very cold environments. As a base layer, it is probably too thick, but it is ideal for throwing on in a morning or wearing on an evening as a stand alone layer. As a mid layer, it is great because you really feel the warmth being locked in and all you need is a hard shell rain coat over the top for full weather protection. My favorite way to wear this top though is to wear it as an outer layer/over a t-shirt on cool but dry days where you really don’t need anything else but this top.
After reading this KÜHL TEAM™ 1/4 ZIP Merino Wool Top Review you should have a good idea of what to expect before you order one but if not I will do my best to finish with a concise summary. If you are looking for a lightweight top that is super warm, comfortable, reliable, and breathable then this could be just what you need. With a top like this, you don’t have to take 2 or 3 fleeces on every trip, this will replace them all. Because the natural fibers don’t hold any odor, so long as you don’t spill curry down the front you can wear it multiple times without washing (perfect for backpackers, hikers, climbers). The stylish and functional design gives this merino sweater an edge over the competition and the comfort means you won’t ever want to take it off.
Where to Buy
Get it directly from KÜHL on their website here.
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In this review we look at how well the popular KÜHL TEAM™ 1/4 ZIP Merino Wool Top and let you know how it holds up outdoors.