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Reviews > Clothing > Underwear > Woolx Merino Boxer Briefs > Test Report by Larry Kirschner

Woolx Merino Wool Boxer Briefs

TEST SERIES BY LARRY KIRSCHNER

Woolx boxers
(Image Courtesy of Woolx)


INITIAL REPORT - May 20, 2014
FIELD REPORT - August 17, 2014
LONG-TERM REPORT - November 8, 2014



TESTER INFORMATION

NAME: Larry Kirschner
EMAIL: asklarry98 at hotmail dot com
AGE: 50
LOCATION: Columbus, Ohio
GENDER: M
HEIGHT: 5' 9" (1.75 m)
WEIGHT: 210 lb (95 kg)

I've been an intermittent camper/paddler since my teens, but when my kids were avid Boy Scouts, I caught the backpacking bug. Now that they have grown up, my wife and I plan to continue our adventures on the trail. I consider myself a mid-weight backpacker because I like comfort, but I can always learn to go lighter and longer.


INITIAL REPORT
May 20, 2014

PRODUCT INFORMATION & SPECIFICATIONS

Manufacturer: Woolx
Year of Manufacture: 2014
Country of Manufacture: China
Manufacturer's Website: http://www.woolx.com
MSRP: USD $35.00

Sizes: Small through XXL.
Color: Black
Weight: Measured 3 oz/85 g (size Large, non-digital scale)


ITEM DESCRIPTION

Woolx is a company that is engaged in producing adventure-quality clothing from 100% Australian Merino wool. (Is Merino wool from Australia better than Merino wool from other places? I have no idea.) The company produces base and outer layers, and in this test I will be testing the Men's Merino Wool Boxer Brief, a lightweight baselayer pair of underwear.

According to the manufacturer, this product has the following benefits:

  • 100% Australian Merino Wool
  • Washable/dryable
  • Non-itch
  • Odor-free
  • Moisture wicking
  • Breathable
  • 100% satisfaction guaranteed

In recent years, I have gone from traditional briefs to boxer-briefs for hiking and biking, because it reduces chafing between the legs. From the design of these boxer-briefs, they will clearly fit my bill. They have a small logo sewn onto the bottom of the front left leg, as well as a screened version of the logo inside the back.
woolx screened logo
Unlike many current athletic products, there is also a tag in the underwear which has washing instruction and some other less important info.

The underwear itself appears well made, with a traditional fly in the front. The waistband and leg openings are double stitched with flatlock seams, so there are no places to rub and create a hotspot.


INSTRUCTIONS and WARRANTY

As noted above, the washing instructions are included on the tag, and can be summarized as: turn inside out and machine wash cold on gentle cycle. Tumble dry low. For those who like to iron their underwear, this pair can be ironed as needed. Interestingly, the washing instructions recommend against the use of softeners (presumably fabric softeners) and also note that the Woolx boxer briefs can be dry cleaned using a short cycle.

There was no guarantee in the package, but the website simply states: "Our sheep are so sure you'll love their wool simply return any item you're unhappy with any time for a refund or replacement. They don't want you to have any item you're not 100% satisfied with." Although I appreciate the sheep's sentiment, they clearly have never learned that they should not end a sentence with a preposition. Sigh. A phone number for customer service is clearly provided on the website so contacting Woolx would seem straightforward.


INITIAL IMPRESSIONS and TRYING IT OUT

I received the underwear at the end of the week, and is my fashion, I planned to go bike riding on Sunday. The fabulous Mrs. K suggested I give the Woolx's a try, so I did. The first thing I noticed is that the underwear is very soft and lightweight. I was worried about wearing wool underwear, but I can easily say after 1 afternoon that this is no longer a concern. I was a little concerned about the sizing, since I purchase size 38 underwear and pants, which (according to the website) would make me a size "Large". The waistband of the underwear seemed like it might be too small, but it expanded easily and I felt quite comfortable wearing these. I rode about 32 miles/50 K averaging a moderate pace (16 mph/22.5 kph) on a day that was cool, with temperatures in the mid 60's F (17-19 C). The underwear was comfortable, and although I sweated on the ride, the underwear did a nice job of moisture wicking. Overall, they are lighter than my other wicking underwear, and easily as comfortable, if not more so. However, when I took them off, I did note some fraying of the seams at the waistband-uh oh. I have tried to show an area where the stitching came out, but I'm not sure how well it comes across in this photo.

uh-oh: fraying seams here

The waistband remains elastic, but if there is a lot of fraying, I'm not sure the elasticity will be retained. I did not notice any fraying at the leg openings.


EXPECTATIONS for the Woolx Boxer Briefs:

I wasn't sure what to expect from wool underwear, but after wearing them for one day, I'm expecting they will get a lot of use, both on the trail and on my bike. As the summer heats up, I'm expecting to remain cool and dry under my hiking pants and bike shorts.


THE STORY SO FAR
    Impressive
  • Merino wool fabric is soft and very lightweight
  • Comfy, comfy
  • Excellent wicking
    Concerns
  • I'm quite worried about the fraying at the waistband
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FIELD REPORT

August 17, 2014


FIELD CONDITIONS and EXPERIENCE

Over the past two months, I took the Woolx boxer-briefs with me on an 10-day, 100 mi/160 km canoe trip to the Atikaki wilderness in Manitoba, as well as a weekend backpacking trip in Germantown, Ohio. Over this period, I wore them a total of 9 days.

For my trip to Manitoba, the weather was generally nice, with temperatures in the upper 40's to mid-50's F (9-12 C) overnight, and daytime highs in the mid 70's to 80 F (24-27 C) with a lot of sun.

The beautiful Atkikaki wilderness

I wore the Woolx boxers for the first 3 days on the trip, when we had the beautiful weather described. I decided to switch to another pair of underwear after that, and the weather turned colder, windier and rainier for the next few days. As soon as I started wearing the Woolx's again-bingo, beautiful weather! Now I'm not saying this pair of underwear can control the weather, but the thought has crossed my mind. In any event, I found the underwear to be quite comfortable to wear. I had no chafing. Because they are so thin, they dry very quickly. Here's a photo of me going for a swim (I'm under the red arrow),

swimming in the river!

and the boxers subsequently drying on the line.

drying on the line

By the end of the trip, I will say that the waist band and the leg bands had stretched somewhat so that they were definitely looser. This did not make the boxers any less comfortable to wear, though. I examined the seams that I had noted previously, and they were basically unchanged, without any evidence for new fraying or slippage.

I think it is also worth noting that they appear to be quite odor resistant. Despite the fact that I wore them for nearly 7 full days of backcountry canoeing, they did not have any significant smell when I got home and threw them in the washer. Washing did seem to restore some of the elasticity to the waist and leg bands.

During my trip to Germantown, we hiked 12 miles/19 kilometers over 2 days on the Twin Valley trail, doing most of the work (10 mi/16 km) on day 1 and the remainder on day 2. The first night was cool with a low of 49 F/9.5 C, but it warmed up nicely to 77 F/25 C during the day. Although the day started out sunny, it rained part of the afternoon and evening. The second night was warmer and humid, with an overnight low of 64 F /18 C and a high of 75 F/24 C, with threatening skies which did not rain on us.

During this trip, I slept in the underwear and found them quite comfortable. As during my canoeing experience, I found them quite comfortable, which is to say that I barely noticed them at all. They don't slip, ride up or down, and they do a nice job preventing chafing.


WEAR AND TEAR

As mentioned, there is some loose stitching around the waist band, but this has not progressed. The underwear otherwise look pretty much the same as when I unpacked them, with no obvious signs of wear in the fabric itself.


FIELD IMPRESSIONS

To date, I am very favorably impressed with the Woolx boxer-briefs. I never thought wool underwear would be a good idea, but I'm sold on these! They are very lightweight, and extremely comfortable on the trail.


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LONG-TERM REPORT
November 8, 2014

FIELD CONDITIONS AND EXPERIENCE

During the final two months of the test, I wore the Woolx's on an additional weekend backing trip on the Wildcat Hollow trail in Corning, Ohio in mid-October. It was cold and rainy on Friday night, with low temperatures down to about 47 F/8.3 C. However, it had cleared off by the morning and the two days of hiking weren't bad, with sunny and cool weather with a high of 62 F /16.6 C and a low of 39 F/4C overnight on Saturday, and temps up to 62 F on Sunday. Total mileage over the weekend was 15 mi/24 km. The hunters were a little rambunctious that weekend!


I also wore them on 38 mile/61 km Twisted Pretzel Tour bike ride in late September, accompanied by the fabulous Mrs. K.


We started riding shortly after dawn when the temperature was about 56 F/13 C but once the sun came out, it warmed up quickly (not to mention the heat generated from riding) to about 75 F/24 C by the time we were done.

Like in my previous experiences, I found the Woolx boxer-briefs to be very comfortable, whether worn beneath my bike shorts or my regular hiking pants. They are cool and the wool fabric is very comfortable against my skin, even in very sensitive body parts. The wicking is excellent, and as I noted before, they do appear to be quite odor resistant.

I have washed them at least 4-5 times since starting the test, and they have held up quite well. I find that by the time I am done wearing them (and it doesn't seem to matter if it is one day or multiple days), the underwear is a little 'saggy' although remains very comfortable. After washing, the seams appear to tighten up a bit so that they don't have that loose feeling when I start wearing them. I assume that if my physique were more like the underwear model's physique, then I wouldn't have even noticed any stretching during wear.



SUMMARY

Overall, I really like the Woolx boxer-briefs and expect that I will continue to use them as one of my primary pairs of underwear for wilderness adventures, particularly longer ones. The fact that they are so light and dry quickly makes them a snap to rinse them out (or to swim in them) and expect they'll be fully dry and ready to go shortly. They are a little pricey so may not be for everyone, but if cost were no object, I would fill my backpack up with these babies.

Things I liked about the Woolx Boxer-Briefs:
  • Comfortable and lightweight
  • Excellent odor resistance
  • Superfast drying
Things I disliked about the Woolx underwear:
  • Seams tend to get a little loose with extended wear

Thanks to Woolx for providing these cool boxer-briefs for testing, and to BackpackGearTest.org for giving me the chance to participate in the evaluation process.


-larry kirschner


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