SWISSWOOL by ORTOVOX – wool from the Swiss Alps

All the way up in the frozen highlands of the Swiss Alps, there are thousands of wooly ORTOVOX suppliers, grazing on the alpine meadows, living in their native and very spacious habitat, feeding from the natural source of fodder. The wool for SWISSWOOL is sheared twice a year, following traditional procedures, which means a lof of handcraft with and without sheep shears.

SWISSWOOL is an innovative initiative supporting the local alpine farmers and helping to preserve their jobs. Just a couple of years ago the farmers could not keep up with the international competition and could not recognize the value of their wool. The subsidies from the federation were reduced to minimum or completely taken away from the farmers, disabling them to sell their wool for the unreachable low market prices.  The highland alpine wool is perfect as a natural and valuable insulation material. The SWISSWOOL collection centers open their gates twice a year, so the farmer can trade their wool in fair conditions and collect over 1000 tons of fair-traded wool.

 

 

The wool is cleaned with soap and soda  in Belgium and than send to Germany to be mixed up with 10% of Ingeo – a corn-based microfibre. After that the wool is prepared into a wool fleece and distributed to various places in Europe just to be processed into highly functional ski touring outdoorclothing from ORTOVOX. This way the products are made with a very short transportation routes and low carbon footprint – ”from sheep to shop”.

 

WOOL – BETTER THAT DOWN FOR OUTDOOR ATHLETES


Sheep wool warms you up – anyone has probably had the chance to try this on their own – with a warm wool sweater from your granny, or soft house slippers made from sheep’s coat. But wool can do more than the warming up, it has underestimated thermo-regulating functions. Thanks to its frilled shape, wool fibers offer a unique structure with space for air, which than works as an insulation layer: it protects the sheep from cold weather in winter and from the heat in summer months. The merinosheep won’t be able to survive sometimes very hot summer days in Tasmania without this special wool. Other thing the wool can offer during warm summer days is the evaporative coolness. After your start sweating the wool fiber will store the moisture and release it back into the warmer air surroundings – offering you a refreshing feel.

In compare to down material, wool can insulate and keep you warm even if its moist – it is capable of absorbing more than one third of its own weight without making you feel wet. The moist is absorbed by the inside fiber, but at the same time the surface stays dry through its hydrophilic function – offering a warm feeling. Important is to make sure that your garment is completely dry before you put it on.

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WHO WANTS TO STINK AROUND?


Many people ask ”I’ve sweated in my wool shirt, but why doesn’t it smell?” And the answer is simple: such anti-odor function is enabled by the protein molecules in the merino fibers, which successfully fight against the odor-bacteria, the originators of the well known smell. After a hard tour, where you just have to sweat, just let your shirt hang in well ventialted area to breathe a little and you can put it back on the next day. A way to make your tour-companion and the environment happy! ORTOVOX offers three various SWISSWOOL collections depending on your activity – SWISSWOOL Light, SWISSWOOL Light Tec and the SWISSWOOL Collection. So where is the difference you ask?

 

SWISSWOOL LIGHT – LIGHTER PACKAGING FOR A MOVEMENT-INTENSIVE ATHLETE


The products of the SWISSWOOL Light collection were developed for the most intensive mountain-sports. The target was to bring the lightes possible clothing, with high insulation values. SWISSWOOL Light products offer filling as light as 90 g/m² made from sustainably produced wool, and its ability to be carried around in a very small packaging.

 

 

SWISSWOOL LIGHT TEC – THIN BUT TECHNICAL


With the 60 g/m² stuffing, stretch parts and winter- and waterproof and shell layer SWISSWOOL Light Tec Series is the lightest and the technically most demanding series of the SWISSWOOL product line. This series was developed according to the needs and demands of ski-tourers – for each gramm of wieght there is doble the value in performance.

 

SWISSWOOL LINE – WITHOUT COMPROMISE, SUSTAINABLE!


The SWISSWOOL Line is filled with the 150 g/m² homogenous wool stuffing. Or we can say it in other words: the 150 g/m² stuffing is the warmest series of all three and can be worn in the coldest conditions as a top layer. The water repellent nylon outer-material is also optimal for wind protection. This garment will make up as a super layer, great for anyone who is out there in the cold days, but don’t have as much movement – for example for you while securing your buddies while ice climbing or sportclimbing.

 


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Interested in more?

→ Sport Conrad Material Encyclopedia

Everything about down jackets

→ Merino: The allrounder among functional materials