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Reviews > Clothing > Socks > REI Merino Wool Light Hiker > Owner Review by Derek Hansen

OWNER REVIEW: REI Merino Wool Light Hiker II Socks - Crew

DATE: December 12, 2007

REI Merino Wool Light Hiker II Socks - Crew

Photo courtesy REI


Name: Derek Hansen
Age: 32
Gender: Male
Height: 5’ 10” (1.78 m)
Weight: 165 lb (75 kg)
Shoe Size: US 9.5, EU 43, 27.5 cm
Email address: derek(dee-oh-tee)hansen(at)mac(dee-oh-tee)com
City, State, Country: Alexandria, Virginia, USA


I began serious backpacking in 2005 after becoming a Scoutmaster for a local Boy Scout troop. I overnight camp at least once a month with two or three week-long high adventure treks every year. I keep my multi-day pack under 30 lb (13 kg), including consumables. I use a hammock year-round.


Manufacturer: Recreation Equipment, Inc. (REI)
Product: REI Merino Wool Light Hiker II Socks - Crew
Year manufactured: 2006-07
Weight listed: N/A
Weight per pair (measured): 1.8 oz (51 g)
Size Reviewed: Large
Other sizes available: Medium, Large, Extra-Large
Color reviewed: Moss (also available in Navy/Denim)
Fit: Unisex
Fabric: 78% merino wool; 20% nylon; 2% Lycra spandex
Country of Origin: Made in the USA
MSRP: US$9.50

Sizing Chart

The following chart explains the sizing used by REI and is listed in US sizes.

Sock Sizes    S        M         L         XL
Women's       4-6      6.5-10    10.5-12
Men's                  5-8.5     9-12      13-15

Courtesy REI


The REI Merino Wool Light Hiker II Sock is a wool-blended crew sock referred by the manufacturer as “[a] lightweight cushioned [sock]…perfect fit for hiking and backpacking.”

The naturally wicking wool fibers are combined with nylon and lycra spandex for better fit and comfort. Most of the spandex material is located around the arch, which keeps the sock from sliding around and keeps the fit snug. The ball and heel are reinforced. The letters “REI” are woven prominently near the toe.


I have used the Light Hiker socks for the past year in all of my backpacking and camping adventures with and without the Scouts. Most of these treks were weekend hikes and camps in the Northern Virginia area at an average elevation of 200 ft (61 m) and temperatures ranging from 20 to 90 F (-6.8 to 32 C).

In addition, I used the Light Hiker socks during a week-long camp in Pine Valley Mountain (on the geologic boundary of the Colorado Plateau and the Great Basin) and experienced brutal daily temperature shifts from 20 to 100 F (-6.8 to 38 C) at an elevation of 4,500 ft (1,372 m). Trail conditions were very dry and dusty.

I also used the socks at another week-long camp in Northern Utah at the base of Mount Timpanogos, elevation 11,749 ft (3581 m), the second-highest peak in the Wasatch Range. Most of the activities were at base camp–elevation 7,000 ft (2134 m)–with a short 8-mile (12.88 km) hike to some local waterfalls. Daily temperatures ranged from 50 to 80 F (10 to 26 C). The terrain was well-worn dirt footpath with some minor rock scrambling over avalanche areas with some talus and scree.


I purchased the Light Hiker crew socks while trying to outfit myself for an upcoming trek. I was looking for a wool-blend sock at a good price point. The Light Hikers fit the bill and I have not been disappointed. These socks are my first pick when I go out on a trek.

I have always worn these socks with a wicking polyester liner and I typically wear a heavy all-leather boot. The socks breath very well and maintain a moderate temperature; I’ve never felt overly hot or cold in the field conditions mentioned.

One of the first things I noticed when I put the socks on for the first time was the spandex “snug” fit around my foot arch. It took a little getting used to, as I have never had a sock with this feature before. This fit, however, was ultimately very comfortable and I liked the feeling of added support.

When at base camp, I often switched into my lightweight Crocs shoes. The Light Hikers felt great, but I noticed that the toe would sometimes bunch up, due in part to the elastic fit around the arch.

Even after multiple washings, the socks maintain their size and fit.


The REI Merino Wool Light Hiker II Sock is an all-around well-balanced, economical wool-blend sock. The elastic fit around the arch adds support but can bunch up the toe material.


  1. Merino wool is cool, comfortable, and itch-free
  2. Snug arch-support
  3. Price


  1. Toe material sometimes bunches up in front of the arch-support spandex
Updated: Sat, Dec 22, 2007 at 09:03 AM

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Reviews > Clothing > Socks > REI Merino Wool Light Hiker > Owner Review by Derek Hansen

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