When you think of hot, humid, tropical places, do you think of Merino wool? If you don’t—you should! Merino wool does an excellent job of regulating body temperature, helping you keep cool when it’s hot and warm when it’s cold. It moves sweat in the vapor state, helping you stay dry and stink-free. These qualities make Merino wool great for travel in warm climates.
And since you can wear Merino multiple times without needing to wash it, you can save on suitcase space. A win-win.
Smartwool staffers Alicia and Cecilia traveled to Hawaii on a volunteer trip. They swore by their lightweight Merino wool to keep comfortable while trekking through lush jungle and sun-kissed beaches. Check out their tips on what to pack for your own warm weather adventure!
A Week in the Jungle with Merino Wool
(A Practical Packing List)
We brought one of these in every color. The mesh strip on the back provided much needed ventilation after that hundredth swing of the machete. Cecilia decided to wear a competitor’s lightweight top one of our volunteer days and experienced instant regret the moment she started to sweat and couldn’t dump her body heat. Merino wool = magic solution in warm weather.
Merino Sport Seamless Strappy Bra
Alicia says this is the most comfortable sports bra she’s ever owned, and that it’s the only sports bra she turns to for days on the trail.
Merino Sport Ultra Light Jacket
We each brought one of these lightweight, packable shells for Kauai’s notorious sudden rain showers (and were very thankful that we did!) Unlike other rain jackets, these are ideal for hot weather climates because of the mesh Merino wool zones that help keep your body heat from getting trapped inside.
Cecilia loved the fit, softness, and feel of this hoodie. Unlike the Merino Sport shirts, which feature a blend of Merino and synthetic fabrics, the Merino 150 hoodie keeps 100% Merino next to skin which makes it ultra comfortable. Bonus, this season the hoodies come in super cool colors and patterns.
Alicia wore this travelling on the plane, in the mornings making coffee, in the afternoons after it started to get chilly, and slept in it almost every night. Thank goodness it’s made of wool (which is naturally odor-resistant), because she practically lived in it on the entire trip. She actually raved about it so much that Cecilia immediately bought one the moment we got back home.
Technically this is designed as a neck gaiter, but we wore them all the time pushed back into a headband to help keep our hair and sweat out of our faces.
These are super classic wool hike socks in lightweight styles with really pretty printed designs and colors. They’ve been our go-to for years, and will be for years to come.
PhD® Outdoor Light Pattern Mini & Crew Socks
Game changer. These socks are the best trail socks in the world and anyone that hikes absolutely needs a pair or two... or ten. First off, they’re made of Merino wool, which helps keep your feet feeling fresh hour after hour. Then add in all the crazy technical features designed to enhance durability, provide the right cushioning amounts, help keep your socks in place, allow your feet to breathe, and fit nice and snug for a lady’s specific foot shape—and you just might have the perfect trail sock.
Things NOT Needed When Hiking in Kauai
(A Reverse Packing List)
Every trail in Kauai is filled with edible plants offering up freshly ripe passion fruits, guava, blackberries, flowering ginger flowers, and more. Learn from the locals or grab a trail guidebook and eat your way through the jungle as you explore, you’ll be happy you did!
Save them for the beach. Kauai’s trails can easily turn into steep, slippery, mud-covered mounds. We each had high-profile hiking shoes and still lost our footing a few times. You’re going to want sturdy shoes with good grip.
Plastic Water Bottles
Kauai is an island, meaning it’s surrounded by water. Leave the plastic water bottles unsold and out of our oceans by instead bringing your own reusable water bottle. Bonus, swing by the Kōkeʻe Resource Conservation Program (KRCP) and grab a sticker to put on it to show your support for this killer program!
Trust us, we know a thing or two on this one. Wrapping your feet in cotton feels just as good as wrapping your feet in plastic. At the end of the day when your socks are sweaty, stinky, over-stretched, and have holes in the making, you’ll be wishing you had grabbed a pair of Smartwool® socks instead.