The epitome of responsibly sourced and made outdoor garments that are a true sign of the times. Oh, and they perform well too!
Here in the UK I’ve always felt that I can learn a thing or two from our Scandinavian cousins. I’ve found that items designed and sourced from them are well suited to out climate – although our winters are milder. There are other reasons I like to buy Scandinavian too: the companies I buy from are some of the most socially and environmentally conscious in Europe (and have been since before it became fashionable); they are stylish and functional and as just as importantly their customer service is second to none. I have never received anything other than outstanding customer service from any company I have used (including my work and casual clothing) – I remember sending a pair of gloves back to Hestra once for repair as I’d put a hole on the thumb from placing ice screws when they got wet. They came back immaculate with a hand written note from the lady who had done the repair telling me off for over waxing them!
So, when the chance came along to try out some more Scandinavian outdoor wear I jumped at the chance. Woolpower are a small, family owner company who specialise in Merino wool baselayers. They are popular with a whole variety of outdoor enthusiasts from hikers and mountaineers to bushcraft folk. I have used the Ullfrotte 400 Full Zip Jacket, the lighter Ullfrotte 200 Zip Turtleneck base layer and a pair of Classic 400 socks. They are made with a terry style knit to lock in warmth and provide maximum wicking when working hard. The responsibly sourced Merino wool is mixed with 28% Polyamide and 2% Elastane which add durability and a little stretch. This combination means that the Ullfrotte 400 is warm, very warm!
You can use the two garments together as they are designed as a system: the 400 Jacket and the 200 Zip Turtleneck, this combination has proved to be very versatile as the 600 is a little too specialist for the average hiker or mountaineer (it never really gets that cold here in the UK, but if you are planning expeditions to extreme cold climates then I would seriously take a look at the 600). I have been using the 200 Zip Turtleneck for most of our colder spring conditions and then topping up the warmth by adding the 400 Jacket on really cold days where I might be standing around for longer periods (taking photos for example).
The Ullfrotte 200 Zip Turtleneck is nice and light with a neat, athletic fit. It has minimal seams and the only ones I could see were the arms, the ribbed cuffs and the ribbed neck. These seams are entirely flat for outstanding comfort . I’ve been wearing this under a windproof jacket all Spring and have found it really breathable and warm when worn under a windproof. The looped, terry knit does a great job of wicking sweat and the 25% Polyester additional material helps with drying out. I do find that 100% Merino does hold moisture a lot longer that Merino/ Polyester mixes. There is also 13% Polyamide and 2% Elastane that you find in the 400. I think that the mixture is great for high output activities such as hiking uphill with a pack on. I liked the ribbed cuffs as they could be turned up to shorten the sleeve lengths under a jacket.
The 400 Full Zip Jacket is a more serious cold weather layer that can either be used on it’s own as a mid layer or to boost the warmth of the 200 as Woolpower is designed as a system and there are plenty of lighter baslelayer options if you prefer a higher merino content and with a more standard weave. The 400gsm terry knit fabric is a serious heat retainer and thick, double layer collar really seals the heat in. There are more seams that the 200 as the sleeves are sewn, but they are super flat and the stitching is excellent. The ribbed cuffs have thumb holes in them so they act as wrist warmers and the full length YKK zip means that you can vent it as much as needed as well as take it off when you warm up. I also really liked the Woolpower logo on the on the back of the collar. I personally found the terry style knit had a very slight itch/tickle when worn next to skin but as soon as I layered it with a t-shirt it was fine.
The sizing was excellent for my standard body shape. I’m slightly shorter than average with a 40” chest and the medium fitted well. I often have to use a size large for baselayers and I can take a medium or large depending upon the brand. The fit was athletic without being overly tight so this is definitely a brand that I be using again as the medium fitted spot on. I also used a pair of the Classic 200 socks which have performed just as well as the tops, keeping my feet warm and, just as importantly, dry.
So, performance wise the Woolpower Ullfrotte range is excellent but what also sets them apart for me are the very high social and environmental standards they adopt in both sourcing and manufacture. They control the whole supply chain from the merino sheep herd to the yarn spinning and garment manufacture. All this completed in Ostersund in Norther Sweden, the garments are all made in house and the entire garment is made by the person whose name is on the label of the person who made it. So you can be 100% sure that the garment maker is being paid a fair wage with fair conditions and that the supply chain is the absolute minimum needed.
In conclusion the Woolpower Ullfrotte 400 Full Zip Jacket and the Woolpower Ullfrotte 200 Zip Turtleneck are great additions to anyone who is serious about staying warm and dry in the mountains. The performance of the merino wool mix is excellent and the fit (for me) was perfect but what really sells the Woolpower brand for me is the environmental and social ethic and that is something that we will see play out more and more in the future of outdoor retail.
The Woolpower Ullfrotte 400 Full Zip Jacket comes in 2 colours Green and Black and has size options ranging from XXS to XXXL with an RRP of £145.
The Woolpower Ullfrotte 200 Zip Turtleneck also comes in 2 colours Green and Black and size options from XXS to XXXL. It has an RRP of £93.
The Classic 400 socks come in sizes 36-39, 40-44 and 45-48 (European sizing) and the RRP is £19 per pair.
They can be purchased from various specialist retailers.
Disclaimer – CGR reviewers and writers are never paid to provide a review and the website does not take advertising or link to affiliate sales. We are a bunch of keen climbers and travellers that accept sample products and offer an honest and independent review of the item. The reviewer will often keep the sample after reviewing it for both hygiene and safety reasons and more often it’s in no fit state to return!