As an avid traveler, I can’t say enough about the power of Merino wool travel clothing. And one of the top brands that create this clothing is Unbound Merino. Today, I dive into the history, sustainability, ethics, and products of one of the best Merino travel companies on the market. Please keep reading for our comprehensive Unbound Merino review!
“Unbound Merino will declutter your life, allow you to travel lighter than ever, and focus on the things that actually matter. Behind every simple piece we create there are three extraordinary benefits – Simplicity, Versatility and Performance.”Unbound Merino
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The origin story of many Merino brands tends to be similar; a group of lifelong friends and adventurers discovers the power of Merino wool. Then, uses their knowledge and expertise to craft a clothing company tailored to a specific purpose. And that’s basically the story of Unbound Merino.
Three Phish Heads took their love for concert road trips on a global scale. They discovered the power of Merino wool but didn’t like how all the available apparel was geared toward outdoor use. It seemed to them to lack the style and versatility necessary for their traveling lifestyle.
Subsequently, they researched, workshopped, and finally released an Indiegogo campaign. Thus, Unbound Merino was born.
They started small with a simple t-shirt but have since expanded their collection to include hoodies, pants, shorts, socks, and more! Unbound Merino wants you to be comfortable on the road and satisfied with packing less. Because the less you have in the luggage, the more you can experience in your travels.
Unbound Merino specializes in travel clothing, plain and simple. They craft all of their apparel specifically for those who are on the move. Not only is their collection of Merino wool clothing stylish, but it also functional. They understand the needs of travelers when it comes to wrinkle-free, packable, and quick-drying material—all without sacrificing fashion.
Unbound Merino Review: What We Like
I’m a one-bagger. For those unfamiliar with the term, it means that no matter where I travel or how long I travel, I pack everything into one bag. Sometimes, that means making sacrifices on clothing, but that’s not the case with Unbound Merino apparel.
All of their clothing is packable, anti-wrinkle, and odor-proof. Making it the perfect attire for city-hopping as a digital nomad. However, there are many more aspects of Unbound Merino that I love that go beyond their primary use for traveling. Let’s get into a few.
Minimalist Design and Stylish Fit
Take a look at any of Unbound Merino’s collections. You’ll notice that it doesn’t look like your typical Merino brand. Their clothing has a minimalist design that pairs well with almost any outfit. The cut is sleek, simple, and to be honest, their clothing has one of the best fits I’ve experienced with travel clothing.
Moreover, there are no obnoxious logos placed on Unbound’s clothing. In fact, it’s one of the main reasons they started their brand in the first place. They were sick of outdoor-style Merino wool clothing with flashy logos and lack of style. I have to say, they definitely have stayed on-brand with that promise.
Performance is often thrown around as a marketing phrase, especially in the Merino wool industry. But what does it really mean? Well, rather than spewing out the obvious dictionary definition, I’ve come up with my own way to define performance. It simply means clothing that doesn’t impede your desires. In other words, the highest-performing clothes are the ones you never have to worry about.
And that’s why we love the versatility of Unbound Merino’s performance. The design fits nicely, the fabric keeps you dry, it’s packable, and it’s wrinkle-free. Heck, you won’t even smell if you rock it for an entire week! So, yeah, if that’s not performance, I’m not sure what is.
Alright, you’re probably going to think I’m crazy here. Still, on the Merino wool price spectrum, Unbound Merino is relatively affordable, especially for the style level that you’re getting. In my experience, it falls right in the middle of your typical tee price range. However, I would venture to say that the quality is on the higher end of the spectrum. Thus, I think the price you pay for their apparel is well worth the value.
Unbound Merino Review: Areas To Improve
As we do with all of our Merino wool brand reviews, Unbound Merino has a few features of their clothing that we would like to see improved. It’s not so much that these are negative aspects (some of them maybe), but more along the lines of things to watch out for before purchasing.
More Attention To Detail
I know I’ve raved on about Unbound Merino’s design and performance. But these big-picture factors sometimes take precedent over the little details that can really make or break a shirt. For example, some users have experienced small pinholes forming after only a dozen uses or so. Others have had to deal with excessive pilling. Finally, it seems like Unbound Merino Crews are prone to the dreader bacon-neck after several wears.
Now, I understand these issues may deter you from Unbound Merino apparel. However, you need to know that all of these issues are common with all Merino wool clothing. It’s common for Merino wool to have inconsistent manufacturing issues and experience minor problems. This is why warranties and return policies are so important within the industry.
So, don’t get too crazy after hearing this. Simply read about Unbound Merino’s warranty and return policy below. And please, please, please, take proper care of your Merino clothing.
Limited Color Selection
Aside from their standard t-shirts, most of Unbound Merino’s collections come in limited colors. Almost every product has your classic black, gray, and blue, but there isn’t much selection after that.
This may not seem like a big deal to you, but some people (including myself) love the unique colors of Merino clothing. Sure, we’re a bit picky, but broadening their color spectrum is definitely an area for improvement.
Lack of Women’s Merino Apparel
Currently, Unbound Merino exclusively offers men’s Merino wool apparel. When you search for any women’s collections, the following page pops up.
Obviously, it looks like they are in the process of releasing a few women’s items. Still, there’s nothing available as of now. I’ll be sure to update the review as soon as the Unbound Merino women’s line goes live. For the moment, it’s an area we feel they need to improve upon.
Don’t let “green marketing” tactics fool you too much. Merino wool as a fabric has both its pros and cons in the sustainability department. However, I will say it’s one of the more sustainable luxury fabrics available.
In Unbound Merino’s case, they are genuinely doing everything they can to amplify the environmental benefits of Merino Wool. Their raw wool comes certified by the Responsible Wool Standard, which helps to protect farmland from being overgrazed.
However, the best way Unbound Merino is protecting the environment is through quality control. It may not seem that obvious at first, but nearly 85% of all clothing ends up in the landfill. Thus, wasting precious researchers and continuing the vicious consumption cycle.
But, Unbound Merino wants to make clothing that will last you a long time. They use Woolmark-certified Merino, which is tested to the highest quality standards in the industry. Also, all of their collections are tested against the everyday rigors of travel. Thus, the end result is a higher-performing, longer-lasting garment. It’s an indirect but essential practice for better sustainability.
Ethics & Sourcing
The ethics within the Merino world can be a little, how do you say, gray. Mant woolgrowers and brands hide behind marketing phrases and terms to make themselves look good but ignore the obvious ethical issues within the industry. That’s why we here at Merino Wool Gear need to take a deep dive into the ethics and sourcing behind the brand.
Luckily, Unbound Merino is transparent mainly about how their wool production process. According to their website, they “only work with independent, mulesing-free wool farms in Australia.” Now, if you don’t know about mulesing, let’s just say it’s the most ethical practice. Unbound understands this and vows not to use wool from farmers who use this arcane method.
Unbound Merino follows the Responsible Wool Standard (RWS) in combination with their promise for mulesing-free wool. This comprehensive industry accreditation ensures that both the sheep and the land are treated well. They want to ensure that farmers are responsible for keeping their flock happy so that you can have a guilt-free conscience.
Finally, it’s important to note that Unbound Merino follows all the proper ethical guidelines in the sewing and manufacturing process. They are certified by WRAP, the World Responsible Accreditation Production. In other words, every step of their production is ethical. This is especially important since much of their clothing is manufactured in China, which doesn’t have the best track record for worker rights.
Unbound Merino Review: Our Favorites
It’s the shirt that started it all. Unbound Merino’s crew neck travel tee is by far their most popular product. It’s crafted from 100%, 17.5-micron soft Merino wool to keep you cool and comfortable on your travels. The 190 GSM lightweight thickness is perfect for layering or simply wearing as a standalone piece. Also, Unbound offers a v-neck style and long sleeve crew if those are more your speed.
Featured In: 22+ Best Men’s Merino Wool T-Shirts of 2022
A simple, minimalist travel short that goes great with any outfit. The Unbound Merino Essential shorts are, well, an essential piece for any traveler. The Merino-cotton blend is soft and odor-proof, so you can get away with multiple wears without doing the laundry. Also, they are packable and wrinkle-resistant, so you don’t have to worry about stuffing them in your luggage.
Featured In: Top 10 Men’s Merino Wool Shorts of 2022
Every traveler needs a solid hoodie. Something that not only feels comfy and warm but also a sweatshirt that can be packed neatly without taking up half the bag. That’s where the Unbound Merino Compact Travel hoodie comes into play. It’s 97% Merino wool with 3% Elastane for some added stretch. In addition, the 250 GSM midweight fabric thickness is excellent at regulating your temperature. All frequent flyers should check it out!
Featured In: 12 Best Merino Wool Hoodies For Men
How To Find Deals on Unbound Merino Apparel?
It’s challenging to find good sales and deals on Unbound Merino apparel, mainly because they sell exclusively from their website. However, there are a few options for you to save on their clothing.
Firstly, you can check out the sales page on Unbound’s site. They typically list high-quantity items or last season’s collections at a ~20% discount.
Secondly, suppose you want to purchase several different pieces of travel clothing. In that case, Unbound Merino offers incredible bundles of their most popular products at a decent deal. For example, you can purchase a 2-pack, 3-pack, and even 5-pack bundle of their famed Merino tee, all at a modest saving.
Lastly, it may be best to sign up for the Unbound Merino rewards program if you plan on becoming a long-time customer. You get points for purchases and referrals that you can redeem toward clothing. For those interested, you can sign-up here.
Warranties, Returns, & Exchanges
Unfortunately, it doesn’t look like Unbound Merino has a comprehensive warranty on most of its products. There is not a space on their site that mentions any coverage against manufacturer defects or fabric issues. That’s not to say the guys at Unbound won’t exchange or refund you if there is a glaring issue, but it’s disheartening that there is nothing written in stone.
The return policy, however, is a bit more clear.
“You can return clothing that you purchased directly from unboundmerino.com as long as it is unworn, unwashed, and in the original condition in which it was delivered. We are happy to offer a full refund or exchange for any reason within 90 days from the ship date.”Unbound Merino – Return Policy
Still, as they mention on their returns page, this policy is not valid for socks and underwear, marked as ‘Final Sale’ for sanitary seasons.
In short, if you want to avoid any potential returns issues when it comes to sizing, I highly suggest you check out the sizing charts below. If not, just make sure you return everything within three months.