Introducing – The Insider Series

by Amy O'Connell July 26, 2016

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We’ve heard you loud and clear.

While the team at Kitsbow is passionate about the quality of our products, we’ve heard from many friends who want to know why.

Well, we’re listening.

This week, Kitsbow is introducing ‘The Insider Series’.

Over the next few months, we’ll be collecting and sharing unique perspectives from inside the brand. We’ll share product insights and pieces from our journal that exemplify what it’s like inside the mind of an obsessive. Whether it’s a post from our founder, Zander or industry legend and pioneer of mountain biking, Scot Nicol of Ibis, we think these entries exemplify what we’re about, why we do what we do, and the passion that drives us to the trail.

Welcome to The Insider Series.

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WHY MERINO? – Zander Nosler, Co-Founder @ Kitsbow

When I was 17, my buddies Ian, Mike and I set off for some skiing in Tahoe. Mike and I sought out Patagonia or TNF fare in GORE-TEX® with mesh linings, but Ian showed up head to toe in what looked like 50’s vintage wool. He definitely looked sharp, but I’m not so sure he was that comfortable. I think he may have literally been wearing grandpa’s wool.

Fast forward 70 years in wool technology and we’re playing a different game. We’ve graduated past the warm, scratchy but tough sheep’s wool, and the buttery-soft, light but ultra delicate cashmere to the ultimate natural outdoor fiber: Merino wool. Fine enough to be comfortable against the skin, but durable enough to hold together past the confines of the chalet.

But despite Merino’s magical properties – warm even when wet, naturally odor-resistant (or interestingly, not odor producing). It still can suffer from some not-so-magical properties, like still being more fragile than you might want, and not inherently stretchy enough to move with you in all your athletic contortions.

This is where the magic of the mill comes in, and where we get excited. See, we’re not dogmatic in our pursuit of the glory of any one material… Rather, we’re looking for the best material for the job, period. Sometimes that may be 100% synthetic. Other times, 100% natural… Or as we have found, most often it’s a hybrid of many fibers – sometimes natural and sometimes not.

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Take our Ride Tee, for example. It’s a blend of 88% merino and 12% polyester. The polyester is there to give just a bit more strength, toughness, and recovery than merino can provide solo, but it’s not so much polyester that you begin to suffer the ills of that fiber. Marry the right kind of polyester with merino in the right construction and you improve the thermal management and wicking properties of both.

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Our Rudy, Divide, and Women’s A/M jerseys all use an interesting blend of merino, nylon, and elastane. In this case, the merino and nylon are spun together into a single yarn in a fashion called plaiting, where one fiber is on one side, and the other on the opposite – like a ribbon. Then through what many might consider magic, they knit the fabric is knitted with the ribbon oriented so the merino is against your skin and the nylon faces out to protect you from the world. Pretty cool, eh?

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And lastly, our Long Sleeve All Mountain Jersey is yet another hybrid – constructed of this time in a pique weave where two yarns are knit together – this time it’s a Cordura® yarn that creates the face of the fabric, and merino yarn that lays next to your skin.

These fabrics are (you guessed it) costly to produce, but when we find a fabric that you can actually feel working for you when you put it through the paces, well… we think that’s something worth bringing to the market. Even if it is more expensive than grandpa’s wool.

Shop Kitsbow Merino

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Amy O'Connell
Amy O'Connell

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