We are all adjusting to the new normal, and isolation has been rampant over the past 18 months. So, I thought it would be nice to spread our wings and fly into something new: the best men’s Merino wool shirts for travel.
I’ll first go over why Merino wool is such a fantastic fabric for travel clothing and then dive into our top 10 favorite Merino wool travel shirts. Hopefully, there’s a piece of gear that piques your interest and reignites your eternal travel frame.
- Best Overall: Unbound Merino Crew
- Runner-Up: Olivers Convoy Long Sleeve
- Most Versatile: Ridge Merino Solstice Hoodie
- Best Button-Down: Western Rise Limitless Merino
- Best Travel Polo: Woolx Summit Polo
- Best For Hot Climates: Icebreaker Merino Sphere
- Best For Cold Climates: Smartwool 250 Base Layer
- Most Stylish: Wool & Prince 130 Button-Down
- Best For Adventure Travel: Ibex 24 Hour LS Crew
- Best Value: Merino.tech tee
FTC Disclosure: To maintain genuineness and authenticity, Merino Wool Gear DOES NOT sponsor products. Yet as an affiliate, we may earn a commission from qualifying purchases.
Why Is Merino Wool The Best Travel Fabric?
My first ever experience with Merino wool was a lightweight wool buff I used for an eight-country Eurotrip over ten years ago. So for the last decade, traveling and Merino wool have gone hand-in-hand for me.
The level of comfort, odor resistance, versatility, and performance of Merino wool gear makes it the top choice for weekend warriors and digital nomads worldwide!
So, let’s take a close look at some of Merino’s top-notch travel properties. And hopefully – in combination with some of the travel shirt suggestions – you’ll be able to find a shirt that fits all your adventure needs.
No more “layover” stink. You know what I’m talking about. When you get to a new city, the first thing you should be doing is exploring, not showering. With Merino wool, your clothes will stay fresh all day long.
But why? Well, it has to do with Merino’s moisture properties. Basically, nasty odors for your skin get trapped in the moisture within the fabric, not the material itself. Thus, you can go a solid week (or more) without smelling like the inside of a gym bag.
Still, that doesn’t mean you don’t stink. Pack some travel wipes, for crying out loud!
In my not-so-humble opinion, Merino wool is the softest everyday fabric on the market, hands down. The ultrasoft next-to-skin feel is due to the fine, low-micron fibers. Plus, the natural crimp of wool provides both stretchiness and support, so your clothing moves when you do.
And, I always hear many people saying: wool is itchy, right? No, not Merino wool, at least. The fibers are so tiny that your skin doesn’t view them as irritants. And since wool fibers are composed of keratin – just like human hair – it’s improbable that you are allergic to it.
All in all, it’s the comfort of Merino travel clothing that truly makes it a cut above the rest. In other words, it feels like you’re wrapped in a cloud while you’re flying through the clouds.
You may not think of Merino wool as the most fashionable of travel fabrics, but there are many styles to choose from. I usually like to travel with a couple of basic Merino tees and – as you will learn in a bit – a fantastic wool sun hoodie.
However, the overarching moral is that Merino wool comes in all shapes, styles, sizes, colors, and patterns. It’s versatile enough to wear as a layering item or just a standalone piece. Heck, even some of the Merino wool travel shirts I’ll cover may be considered formalwear!
So, whichever your travel style, there’s a functional, versatile piece of Merino wool gear for you!
Note: Although many Merino wool travel shirts claim to be wrinkle-resistant, that’s never 100% the case. Everything wrinkles, and with Merino, many of the lighter-weight shirts tend to wrinkle more. The best way to avoid this is to look for a heavier shirt or just use the military roll – or what I like to call the Chipotle Roll while packing. Image adapted from Unbound Merino website.
Finally, you truly can’t beat the performance of Merino wool clothing in the travel-sphere. Wool does an excellent job at regulating your body temperature. Therefore, you need less clothing to achieve the same level of protection.
In other words, traveling with Merino wool allows you to pack less to adventure more. What more could you want?
Travel Pro Tip: Merino wool is not as quick-drying as synthetic clothing, so always allow a couple hours for your laundry to dry on the road. We prefer flat-drying on a towel, but I’ve been known to hang a travel clothesline or two on my hostel bunk from time to time.
Best Overall Men’s Merino Wool Travel Shirt
|Literally designed for travel|
|Some user-reported shoulder seam issues|
Sizing may run small*
100% Merino | Lightweight (190 gsm) | 17.5 Microns | Slim-to-Regular | Multiple Colors | $$$
Made for travelers – by travelers – Unbound Merino flies in first-class on Travel Gear airlines. Okay, that was a pretty lame attempt at humor, but you get the point: if you want Merino wool travel gear, you can’t go wrong with Unbound Merino.
And, their crew-neck Merino tee is a must-have in any traveler’s kit.
The ultrasoft Merino is comfortable and odor-resistant! And while early versions of this tee had some seam irritation issues, I think Unbound has finally designed out that issue. It’s pretty cool to see the development of these travel tees over such a short amount of time. True innovation.
Yet, the thing we love most about the Unbound Merino crew neck is the simple, no-frills design. It’s a t-shirt. A d*mn comfortable t-shirt that you can wear anywhere, anytime. What you see is what you get. And what you get is one of the best Merino wool travel shirts on the market.
Runner-Up: Men’s Merino Travel Tee
|Ultrasoft Merino fabric|
Functional & stylish shoulder cut
|Fabric tends to wrinkle under chest|
Length a bit long
100% Merino | Lightweight (165 gsm) | 18.5 Micron | Regular Fit | Black & Gray | $$$
There’s something just so sleek and stylish about the Oliver’s Convoy LS Tee. The drape and cut are some of the best I’ve seen. Plus, the regular fit makes it a perfect standalone shirt or an integral part of any layering system.
And, how can I forget the ultrasoft, uber-comfortable, 100% Merino wool fabric? I mean, the material has to be sourced from the best Merino suppliers. I’d even venture to say it’s one of the softest tees on this list. But again, I’ve found that metric to be hard to define, so take it with a subjective grain of salt.
Although, suppose you’re deterred from the long-sleeves because you are more of a tropical traveler. In that case, you should know that the lightweight does a fantastic job at regulating your body temperature. And in my experience, wearing Merino wool sleeves in hotter climates can actually help cool you down. Still, that’s a topic of debate for another time. Instead, test out the long-sleeve convoy tee and let us know!
Most Versatile Merino Travel Shirt
|Cloud-like drape & feel|
Oversized hood is versatile
Ultralight yet surprisingly durable
|Arm length is long due to thumb holes|
Slight wrinkles after several uses
87% Merino / 13% Nylon | Ultralight (145 GSM) | 17.5 microns | Relaxed fit | Seasonal colors | $$$
If you’ve read any of our reviews before, you may know how much we love gear from Ridge Merino. They always have some of the best-fitting, high-quality wool apparel, all at a solid price. So, it’s only ‘fitting’ to include their Solstice Hoodie as our “Most Versatile” Merino wool travel shirt.
Honestly, this is it when it comes to the “key” to my travel capsule wardrobe. I know it sounds strange, but the Ridge Merino Solstice Hoodie is the swiss-army knife of travel shirts. The oversize hood is an excellent eye cover for an airplane snooze. The ultralight fabric weighs next to nothing if it’s in your carry-on or as a base layer in chilly climates.
Plus, I can acceptably wear it anywhere. It’s got a bit of a “high-end” outdoor style that does not look out of place in an urban setting. Oh yeah, and it’s relatively affordable – unlike anything at the airport.
Anyways, I’m not going to dive into too many tech specs with this one. The only thing you need to know is that I never travel without my Solstice Hoodie. Period.
Best Merino Wool Button-Down
|Classic yet casual style|
Fantastic all-around performance
Packs down small
|Wish there was more Merino wool|
Limited color options
53% Merino, 47% Polyester | Lightweight (175 gsm ) | Slim fit | Gray (light & dark) | $$$$
A simple wool tee may not suffice, depending on where you’re visiting. And Western Rise knows this. That’s why they created this functional Merino wool button-down to cater to all your travel needs. The overall design is professional yet fashionable. And, you just can’t beat the comfort from Merino wool!
“Looks like an Oxford, is more comfortable than a t-shirt, and outperforms your activewear.”
Yet, if you want a 100% wool shirt, you’re a bit out of luck with this one. The overall material construction is about 50-50 Merino-polyester. While this does help with the long-term durability, we tend to find it not as comfy as a pure wool button-down.
Still, when you’re on the road, the Western Rise Limitless Merino button-down gets the job done. You won’t stink, you won’t wrinkle, and your body temperature will stay regulated. Now, that’s all you can really ask for in a travel shirt, right?
Best Merino Wool Polo For Travel
|Comfy rglan sleeve construction|
Simple, classic style
Great blend of performance and fashion
|Attracts lint, pet hair, etc.|
85% Merino, 12% Nylon, 3% Spandex | Lightweight (150 gsm) | Slim fit | Black, Blue, & Tan | $$$
To be honest, I’ve never been a fan of the casual business aesthetic. Perhaps it’s because I dressed in bland-colored khakis and a navy polo for nearly a dozen years. Still, there are some situations where a t-shirt is just too informal. So, a solid “business casual” Merino travel shirt is the Woolx summit polo.
The Woolx Summit polo is crafted with ultralight 150-gsm fabric, so you don’t sweat when running to your gate. It’s honestly like a performance tee with a collar, which I absolutely value. That way, I can both look good – and feel good – if I’m traveling for work. Plus, since it comes in three distinct colors, it’ll match any pair of work slacks.
And when it comes to the fabric itself, I really like the overall durability. The 85% Merino blend is comfortable and stretchy, but the corespun synthetics add extra strength. Woolx has found the proper combination of long-term performance and style, especially for those always on the go.
Best Merino Wool Shirt For Hot Climates
|Breathable, ‘featherlight’ fabric|
Offset shoulder seam = less chafing
Drop-tail hem for coverage
|Material may be see-through |
Fabric may wrinkle over time
52% Merino, 35% TENCEL, 13% Nylon | Featherweight (130 gsm) | Regular Fit | 4 colors available | $$
If you’ve read our best Men’s Merino t-shirt review, you’ll know that the Icebreaker Tech-Lite tee topped our list. However, in the world of tropical travel, we think Icebreaker has a better t-shirt option: the cool-lite crew.
Many of the ultralight Merino shirts you’ve seen have a thickness of at least 150 gsm. Yet the Icebreaker Cool-Lite tee is even more ultralight, coming in only 130 gsm. And sure, you may have long-term durability concerns (since we do too). Still, Icebreaker has an excellent warranty policy, and the fabric is corespun with TENCEL for extra strength (and sustainability). So, in reality, there’s not too much to worry about.
All in all, I find it a bit ironic that a brand named Icebreaker has one of the ‘coolest’ Merino wool tees out there. But, that’s the thing about irony: it’s true! And if you like wearing long sleeves in hot climates – don’t judge because I do – Icebreaker has the same shirt in an LS version, too.
Best Merino Wool Shirt For Cold Climates
Engineered fit & updated features
|Slightly more expensive than alternatives|
Not suitable in warmer weather
100% Merino | Midweight (250 gsm) | Slim Fit | Multiple colors and patterns available | $$$$
It seems like in these review lists, I always come back to the Smartwool 250 Merino base layer. It’s vital for any cold-weather traveler as a layering piece and even a standalone shirt. Sure, maybe I am biased toward the Smartwool brand, but I think my liking is warranted.
The functional midweight baselayer is tight enough that a mid-layer won’t bunch but relaxed enough to be worn as an everyday shirt – especially in chillier climates. For example, you throw on this shirt with a packable down jacket, and you’ll be warm down to temperatures below freezing.
Honestly, it’s my go-to utility layer when I’m backpacking, and the same performance qualities transfer to the travel world. And, since Smartwool is consistently releasing new colors and patterns, you may want to grab one before you get frozen out from your favorite style.
Most Stylish Merino Wool Travel Shirt
|Classic, professional look|
Dozens of colors, patterns, and designs
Multiple fabric thicknesses available
|Fabric doesn’t ‘feel’ entirely durable|
A bit more expensive than other options
100% Merino | Ultralight (130 gsm) | 17.5-18.5 Microns | Classic fit | 12+ styles | $$$$
If you need something more fashionable shirt rather than a simple tee or base layer, you can still rock Merino wool. A perfect example of this is this stylish button-up from Wool&Prince. You get the high-end luxury look plus the enhanced travel properties of Merino wool. What more could you want?
Moreover, the one thing about Wool&Prince that makes them elite is the sheer selection of styles and fabric weights available. Their classic Merino button-down comes in all shades of blue, gray, checkered, plaid, etc. Plus, you can even get it in multiple fabric weights: 130 gsm, 170 gsm, 210 gsm, or blended with linen!
Think about it like this: there isn’t a “professional” outfit or classy look that can’t be achieved with one of these Wool&Prince shirts. And while I don’t pack mine on outdoor vacations, I always have one in my carry-on when city-hopping. In all honesty, it’s probably the best-looking piece of Merino wool travel gear that I own. So, yeah, I recommend you take a look for yourself.
Best Wool Shirt For Adventure Travel
|Designed for all-around performance|
Versatile layering design
Fantastic moisture management
|Need something thicker for freezing temps (or more layers)|
Micron fibers could be ‘softer’
100% Merino | Lightweight (165 gsm) | 19.5 microns | Regular Fit | 5 Colors available | $$$
I love adventure travel. The thrill of exploring the outdoors in an unfamiliar country has always appealed to me. But one major issue I’ve always had is packing for both the travel and adventure parts of the trick. Usually, that means two separate bags and lots of disorganization. However, I’ve come to learn that Merino wool serves both the travel and adventure roles during my trips. And one piece of gear that does this exceptionally well is the Ibex 24-hour Long-Sleeve Crew.
The reason is that I can wear the 24-hour crew for, well, 24-hours! So, whether I’m killing time on a layover or jetting off for a foreign backpacking trip, I know that I have a versatile, functional piece of gear for whatever the road throws at me. It’s sort of like a safety blanket, but much, much more comfortable.
So, I won’t bore you anymore with the tech specs since I listed them out above. Also, if you need a Merino wool shirt to meet all your adventure needs, consider Ibex. The 24-hour long-sleeve crew is an essential piece for any one-bagger. Moreover, if you like the design but are looking for a different style, check out some other Merino wool gear that Ibex offers.
Best Value Merino Wool Travel Shirt For Men
|Excellent price-to-performance ratio|
Surprisingly comfy fabric
Multiple colors available
|Pilling expereinced in laundry|
Long term durability concerns
100% Merino | Lightweight (165 gsm) | 17.5 Microns | Tapared Athletic | Multiple Colors | $
Yes, I know that some of these Merino wool travel shirts are pricey. Still, there is affordable gear out there without sacrificing quality. One of my favorite brands that fit these criteria is Merino.Tech. And their basic Merino tee comes in at a solid price, giving you just enough money to buy the seat with a bit of extra legroom.
Personally, I have not worn this tee since I have found alternative options. However, my life loves the women’s Merino.Tech tee and I feel the men’s shirt is similar. The fabric is ultrasoft (17.5-micron fibers), and the lightweight 165-gsm material is exceptionally breathable.
So, why if this shirt is so great, why do I have it as a “value” pick? Well, it’s simply because Merino.Tech offers a great price point. And sure, I have long-term durability questions. But to travel on a budget, I don’t think you will find a better choice for an affordable Merino wool travel tee.
Final Note: Best Merino Wool Travel Shirts For Men
And that’s that; the top 10 men’s merino wool shirts for travel. From tees to polos, button-downs to sun hoodies, I think I’ve covered nearly every style you could want for in a travel wardrobe. All so that you can find that one piece of Merino Wool Gear that genuinely fits your needs.
I hope you enjoyed reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it! Honestly, it helped me itch my travel scratch – for at least another few months.
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