Because it's durable, insulates when wet, and is naturally stink-free, wool has long been a favorite material of outdoorsy folks of every stripe. If you're reading this, chances are high you own at least a few pairs of merino wool base or midlayers. Over the last decade, companies have also been experimenting more with nature's wonder fabric, as these four new sweaters and jackets demonstrate.
Icebreaker Realfleece Nano Kodiak Zip: Icebreaker treats this cozy, mid-weight merino wool fleece with water-resistant nanotechnology. Conventional water-resistant fabrics use chemical coatings that can interfere with wool's natural breathability. Realfleece Nano jackets contain tiny nanoparticles that attach themselves to the wool, leaving tiny pockets of air which won't interfere with airflow. The water-resistant nanoparticles have a ridged surface that prevents water, oil or mud from adhering, so they simply run off. While we haven't been mountain biking in a Kodiak yet, it's proved itself in light rain and snow. Stretchy side and back panels will make the Kodiak your new favorite sweatshirt. And it's probably a little nicer looking than the one you already own. Available July 2012, $250, us.icebreaker.com