Both of these fibers are known to be something high-quality, extremely warm and purely natural. But will many of us tell the difference between them if asked? Let’s dive into the origins and properties of merino and cashmere wool to better understand what is what.
What they have in common
Firstly, let’s state that both fabrics are wool and have similar properties. Their original purpose is providing insulation during the colder months. But being an insulating material, it can also help with keeping you cool during warmer temperatures. It is breathable and has an ability to wick moisture away, which helps keep you dry as well. Due to its antimicrobial and anti-odor qualities it is a great material for clothing that can be used as base layers. Wool is also water-repellent for a good amount of time and is one of the most long-lasting materials.
The source of wool
As for the differences, the first one lies in their source. Merino wool comes from a sheep of Merino breed. While Cashmere comes from a goat, a breed originated in the Kashmir Valley, near the Himalayas. Merino wool is primarily sourced through the shearing of sheep. Cashmere is taken from the under layer of the neck coat of goats, which has a fleecy-like feel and appearance.
Merino is well-known for its softness and great ability to regulate body temperature. It is lightweight and breathable, which makes it suitable for a wide range of active pursuits. One more thing that makes it perfect for activewear is the fact that it is naturally more elastic and durable than cashmere. It is also able to dry more easily than other types of wool. Merino has considerable ability to wick moisture away in quite an efficient way.
Cashmere is an expensive and luxurious fabric. Its direct source, the undercoat, produces only a small amount of cashmere wool. That is what makes it so expensive. Moreover, cashmere wool is softer and lighter than sheep’s wool. Cashmere sweaters and cashmere scarves are loved for their plush, lofty and airy-light feel. Aside from its ability to insulate and the softness, it is also quite lightweight and durable. Like Merino, it has both antimicrobial and anti-odor qualities, along with great moisture wicking ability and high breathability.
Which one is better?
So much alike and both having great properties on its own, but what is better?
- Cashmere is thinner but warmer and better at insulating.
- Merino wool is more durable, sturdier and resists pilling more effectively.
- Merino is better as a windbreaker material, and it is also a better odor-resistant material.
- Merino generally requires less care in washing. Cashmere requires gentle and specific detergents to clean and it is best washed by hand.
- Cashmere is a softer and more luxurious fabric with an elegant drape.
- Merino comes at a more affordable price.
So, since both are high quality and offer a high degree of comfort, it only comes down to your intentions for using it. Start with the OUT merino t-shirt for your next camping weekend!