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The Hole Truth

August 01, 2018 3 min read

The Hole Truth

We live in a disposable society, I get that. But it’s worth remembering it wasn’t always this way, and the fact that everything from drink containers to marriages gets cast aside with frightening ease and frequency doesn’t make it right or normal or OK.

By Sputnik, ioMerino Outsider


Having spent quite a bit of time living in Cambodia for extended periods over the past five years, I’m always horrified by the amount of trash laying around. And I have a theory that one of the causes of this is that not so long ago their packaging was predominantly made up of things like banana leaves and bamboo etc, so casting it aside was the perfectly natural thing to do. But not anymore. Now it’s all plastic and Styrofoam. So their attitudes to what we do and don’t throw away needs to move with the times.


Crashed my mountain bike in Dead Horse State Park, Utah. Tore my Altitude Long Sleeve top pretty badly. The blood washed out and it still keeps me warm and comfortable.


And so do ours. It seems we have this idea that even the slightest imperfection now renders something useless. And if we’re being really honest, let’s just come right out and say it: Merino as a fabric is not as durable as a lot of synthetics. The thing is, it’s that exact feature that makes it more than, not less than. You see, durable is great while you’re wearing it, but not so great when it’s destroying the planet as landfill for the next few thousand years. Merino, on the other hand, is awesome while you’re wearing it, and awesome for the planet when you’re done with it and the natural fibre breaks down and goes back to where it came from. (Even the Prince of Wales is on board with this one.)


This Keystone is probably my old faithful. It’s been to Nepal and survived a helicopter rescue. Been on adventures around Australia, America, Bali, Cambodia, New Zealand and probably a few others. It has a few small holes in it now. But I will not be retiring it any time soon.


The downside is, of course, you’re more likely to notice wear and tear, and yes, even small holes, in your Merino gear from time to time. No matter how carefully you look after it, or how well it’s made, it’s going to happen. And it’s time we stopped looking at that as a bad thing. As a problem. Because it’s exactly the opposite. Small holes don’t make it any less useful or effective. If it happens to your gear, just think of it as a sign of use and adventures had. As a reminder that when you’re done with it, you won’t be polluting the planet any more than necessary. Think of it a bit like a scar on a person. Not perfect, but a sign of tales to tell. It’s a sign you’ve lived.


I tripped running back down from Hazard’s Peak in California. Managed to negotiate a relatively soft landing in a bush but tore my sleeve (and some flesh) in the sharper branches. Top works just fine.


So next time you notice a small hole in your Merino, whether it’s ours or someone else’s, don’t be too quick to feel let down or be disappointed. That’s old thinking. And likewise, don’t be too quick to think its time is up. That’s disposable old thinking as well. We know you probably don’t want to get around looking like a homeless person, but it’s time we celebrated the fact we’re wearing fabrics that are good for the environment. And that we wear them because of the purpose they serve and the performance they deliver, and that a few holes here and there don’t really affect any of that. Sure you can repair and darn it if that’s your thing. Otherwise, just wear it with pride. Let those holes represent the trails you’ve travelled and the adventures you’ve had. And be happy knowing you’re not only wearing one of the best natural fibres for when you’re out in the natural environment, you’re also helping to protect it.