Base layers are important for keeping you comfortable and happy on any trip. They keep you warm and wick moisture away from your skin. After days and days of being against your skin though, base layers can smell terrible. Synthetic ones do at least.Merino is different.The bacteria that cause the smell aren’t able to cling onto the merino, leaving the fabric to smell great, even after days of you sweating in it. You, on the other hand, might still smell terrible. At least your clothes don’t.
Minus33 Acadian Merino Wool Boxers
Comfortable, durable merino wool base layers are worth their weight in gold. I’m always trying new brands to see if I can find the best set ever. Perfection in a base layer is always a tall order. Comfort, durability, fit and price all have to balance to create an amazing product. Usually if something is durable, it’s thicker and less comfortable, or it’s an amazing fit but more expensive. Minus33 have come pretty close with their Acadian merino boxers.
Acadian Boxer Specs
Price: $45 (CAD)
Material: 100% merino tool, 170 g/m², 17.5 micron
Inseam: 6.8 inches (on a medium)
Features: Flat lock seams, Total Easy Care for washing
Boxers have a tough job to do, they have to be superfine and thin to be comfortable but stand up to a lot abuse sitting on them and rubbing on pants. The Acadians are thicker than other merino boxers and I’m hoping that leads to more durability. Thick, 100% merino can be very durable as I’ve seen with older merino sweaters I have. For example, Icebreaker have turned to wrapping nylon threads with merino in their Corespun merino to get better durability.
The Acadians are a bit longer than the typical boxers compared to other brands like Icebreaker, though you can find a 6″ inseam in their Anatomica Long boxers now. Most are 4.5″. You may not like longer inseams but I found they bunch and ride up less for more comfortable hikes and runs. I have a bit bigger legs (lots of squats at the gym!) and the longer inseam is more comfortable to wear.
Total Easy Care
Total Easy Care (TEC) is a treatment that goes on the wool when it’s being made that helps keep the colour, shape and, most importantly for me, the size after drying. With TEC you can tumble dry merino on low. You’re supposed to wash it cold though which doesn’t really fit into my washing process but washing it on warm worked ok for me. Merino shirts that have accidentally gone through the dryer end up 6 inches shorter and basically garbage.
The waistband on these is quite thick. This will likely lead to extra durability which is good in the long run but comfort suffers a bit. With the Chocorua crew fitting a bit large, I was surprised to see the Acadians fitting tight for a medium but they do say Athletic fit on the website. I’m a 32 waist and they were a bit tight right out of the box. I’m hoping they’ll relax a bit as I wear and wash them more but a stretchier, softer waist band would be nice.
I’m not sure if it’s the merino thickness (17.5 micron), fabric weight (170 g/m²) or the preparation of the merino but it wasn’t as fine as I’d like it to be. It wasn’t enough to bug me on hikes or runs but I don’t think they’ll turn into an every day wear for me at the office or travelling because of the feel.
For the price and the longer inseam, I recommend the Acadian boxers, with a caveat. If you’re looking for very fine, soft merino, you might need to look for a model with a thinner, finer wool. The thicker merino is likely going to last longer but you get a fabric that isn’t quite as soft. I’ll definitely be wearing these more for hikes and runs where the long inseam and performance is what I need.
Disclosure: I received the Minus33 Acadian Boxers for free from Minus33 as coordinated by Deep Creek PR, an Outdoor Industry Public Relations Company, in consideration for review publication.
In other words, I get gear from companies to test and review so I can beat the crap out of them and recommend the good ones to you guys. The more free ones I get, the more testing I can do. The feedback goes back to the companies as well to help them make better products.