We’re all well-versed on choosing free-range eggs over cage eggs, staying away from make-up that’s tested on animals, and helping endangered animals where we can.
But the reality is that most of us probably still have a down jacket stashed away in our wardrobe, and that jacket could be filled with feathers that were unethically sourced.
For those that are concerned about the ethical collection of down, distressed by the idea of live plucking, or just looking for a material that might be a better option, there’s an unexpected new contender that’s proving to be seriously valuable in the market – Australian Merino Wool.
Brands such as Australian-owned XTM Performance are leading the way on this one; 24% of the products available in their range happen to utilise the natural power of merino.
1. It’s 100% cruelty free
Merino comes from sheep, and the sheep actually like to be shorn; it helps them cool down in that harsh summer heat that every Australian knows all too well. Also, the sheep, unlike geese and ducks, don’t die for the fabric.
2. Down has its limits
Down might be the lightest and most compressible insulator on the market, but it still has its limitations – in particular losing its loft when it gets wet or damp.
Thankfully Australian merino is light, provides warmth and is extremely breathable. Plus it keeps its form when damp or wet, making it the perfect insulator for puffer jackets and vests that might be heading into some wild and challenging conditions.
It helps that merino is a naturally occurring, renewable fibre that is biodegradable.
3. MerinoLite is a natural alternative
All puffers produced by XTM are lightweight, water-resistant, durable and windproof; plus they feature MerinoLite thermal technology. This is all-natural versatile insulation that is made by weaving fine and coarse fibres, which keeps you warmer for longer.
The merino content also prevents overheating and makes it odour-resistant, which is important for those spring riding days that start off cold but quickly become almost too warm.
Just look for the “MerinoLite” symbol on the puffer apparel so you can be sure that you’re buying into a cruelty-free garment for your next outdoor adventure.
4. It’s well priced
Instead of spending upwards of $200, you can pick up an XTM MerinoLite puffer vest from just AU$129.99 and a puffer jacket from $159.99. Wear it for après, or layer it under your outerwear jacket on the slopes on a particularly cold day.
And if you’re running out of room in your wardrobe, or just looking to make a puffer upgrade, you can even donate your jackets to XTM’s Heat The Homeless Initiative. Just drop your jackets into a Heat the Homeless box supplied buy a participating retailer (see the full list of them here).