My next stop saw me exchange the humid heat of Hong Kong for the Highland chills of Scotland. The narrow streets of Tsim Sha Tsui and endless steps of Macau put up a great challenge, coming away impressed and passing the Unbound Merino Challenge. I packed my Unbound Merino gear once again and embarked on my 580+ mile adventure across the Highlands of Scotlands!
My time wearing Unbound Merino in Hong Kong was a positive one, making its way up my wardrobe list to become my trusted travel shirt, underwear and socks for the occasion. Part of my core backpack, this time it would be different. It was time to put it through contrasting conditions of Scotland and the expectations of Unbound Merino to perform.
The weather conditions were perfect to try it out as the Scottish Highlands didn’t disappoint – heavy, grey clouds let off a raucous downpour in Pitlochry, blistery winds 1,245m high on Cairn Gorm mountain; the intense heat shining down on the edge of Scotland in Kyle of Lochalsh. Would Unbound Merino be up to the task?
During my trip to Eilean Donan Castle in Kyle of Lochalsh, the morning sky cleared as the sun shone in full brightness. I wore my black Unbound Merino shirt during that day. As you know, black tends to absorbs more heat than any other colour, meaning things could get toasty pretty quickly. If I wore a cotton shirt, the sweat I would accrue would press onto my body and leave very visible sweat patches, leaving me to feel unpleasantly damp.
This is where my Unbound Merino shirt excelled, as merino wool wicks sweat to the surface away from my body. No visible signs of sweat can be seen all while keeping me comfortable in the scorching heat.
Another quality of merino wool used in Unbound garments is the ability to regulate body temperature. So even if I got caught out wearing my black shirt under the direct heat of the sun, the material stays breathable to release trapped heat to keep me cool as much as it can. And although my head and arms could have benefited from it too, the merino boxers and socks did their part very well.
Having worn the boxers and socks several times now and I’m between Hong Kong, I’ve gotten a better gauge on how they have fared since my first impressions. The boxers continue to perform well as the extra leg length gives me greater coverage, while intense hikes pushed the absorbency tolerance to the limit. And even if to the touch they were very damp, I couldn’t day the same for my legs as they were as dry as when I started the day. The socks have been pretty robust for a mixed blend, even with noticeable signs of pilling after heavy wear.
Washing them with a pair of jeans helps reduce pilling threads so keep that in mind. The extra thickness of blend on the sole and heel making even my thin plimsolls more comfortable over long walks which is impressive. The ankle length has also been great to use when wearing shorts and provide enough coverage when wearing trousers. If there is something to callout, it’s that the socks are on the thicker side and could feel my feet warm up than usual.
St. Andrews was windy and wet when I visited with spells of sunshine. I wore my grey Unbound Merino shirt that gives a lighter combination, together with my black trousers and navy plimsolls. The grey has grown to be my colour of choice as it suits both a casual stroll and smart evening dinner out, all-in-one.
While lighter colours can easily expose sweatpoints underarm or along the backline, I never had that issue with my Unbound Merino due to the material. I can travel intensively (as my itinerary showed) without worrying about looking like a state when passing by locals.
Flashes of rain right by the sea meant the air stayed moist for the most part. To the touch, my Unbound Merino felt a bit damp at the surface, but none that seeped underneath.
I haven’t mentioned much about the fit and size yet have I? Essentially, these contoured along my body, from the back and shoulders to the chest. It has a modern style that fits well but not tight. I find it fits to my liking that loosens towards the bottom of the shirt – liberating when in motion and added ventilation without the shirt feeling drapey. It’s weightier than traditional shirts due to the material, but never cumbersome. Overall, I’m echoing my earlier sentiment that my Unbound Merino looks great, feels great and fits great.
Since my last time wearing Unbound Merino in Hong Kong, it has pretty much been my daily wear at the office, week-in, week-out. Attire at work is smart casual, so Unbound has been perfect as I switch between the grey and black shirts for variety.
I also walk to work for 20 minutes, keeping my layers to the minimum as I know my body will warm up under the sun or on chillier days. Sometimes I would walk in tricky conditions with just my shirt and find it still keeps me warm. Many times my friends would ask me “How can you wear just a shirt? It’s freezing.” But it’s not just any t-shirt – it’s an Unbound Merino shirt.
Breezy days are the best as the cold winds usually go through layers and straight to the bone(s). Bulky coats are super warm, but also very bulky and cumbersome if the weather brightens up and you no longer want to wear it. Unbound Merino -within it’s abilities – performs in the widest parameters of normal conditions which is impressive.
If there’s something I would like to see, it would be a long sleeve version for greater coverage. On a cold day, my arms feel the bitty cold bite and usually why I may end up bringing an over jacket. A longer version would be perfect in those instances without the bulk or weight.
Unbound Merino continues to be my choice of wear. Period. Comfortable from the first day to the last day, it feels great on the skin with that smooth texture and looks great for any occasion. I pushed it harder on my travels this time as I explore 8 places in Scotland over 6 days, and it succeeded without glaring faults.
I’m increasingly finding a need for a long sleeve variant for the tricky weather conditions that are commonplace in the UK. But for the most part, when it comes to shirts, Unbound Merino is my definitive choice. I’m looking forward to the new Navy and upcoming Heather Grey colour for my solo travels ahead!