Gear Junkie: Rocky Mountain raised sheep provide wool for apparel startup
Stephen Regenold reviews Voormi for apparel startup
Sheep raised on the open pasturelands of the Rocky Mountains have tougher, more durable wool. That is the theory new Colorado company Voormi claims will set its line of clothing apart.
As longtime merino wool junkies, we were excited to test out Voormi's made-in-the-USA line. Pronounced Voor-me, the company is based in Pagosa Springs, Colo.
It's just ramping up now, with a line coming out later this year. We got a look at a couple pieces last week on a ski trip, including a high-end ($229) wool hoodie.
Like Ibex, Icebreaker, SmartWool, and others, Voormi relies on the natural insulating and wicking properties of merino wool. But the brand does not source anywhere beyond the Rockies.
The "high-altitude sheep" must adapt to harsh weather, Voormi states, thus growing durable and warm wool. Once shorn, the wool is woven in U.S. factories into outdoor and performance garments.
I tested the Voormi High-E Hoodie during a recent ski trip on a warm spring day near Silverton. I was impressed with the wicking and temperature regulating properties of the garment, which I wore during both hot, sunny spring skiing conditions and chilly, below-freezing nighttime air.
On a day that was hot enough to induce sweat condensation inside my hardshell pants, the High-E stayed bone dry. That same night, the hoody was plenty warm for a snowmobile ride and stargazing session in 20-degree temps.
The garment is remarkably well detailed, with a fitted hood that has a face covering. There's a zip-close pouch pocket and an eye-pleasing, Earth tone color selection. The hoodie is made from a "dual surface thermal wool," including a synthetic blend outer and a soft interior. The outer face is tough and highly water resistant with a DWR coating while the inside is soft and silky against the skin.
A special knitting process blends the soft merino wool interior to the synthetic exterior in a single construction. The two surfaces feel and behave very differently yet are seamlessly blended like two sides of a coin. The High-E Hoodie is among the first products that Voormi will release this coming fall. They will sell at boutique outdoor retailers for a pricey $229.
While this is a high-end product, judging from its robust construction and quality materials, I expect it to be one that will stand up to many years of use. Voormi plans to release a full line of products — from base layers to wool-blend shells — during the next year. We're impressed with the debut hoody and excited to put more of its Rocky Mountain wool to the test.