Overview: If you spend any amount of time outdoors, it's likely that I don't need to sell you on the benefits of Merino wool. Sure, there are some that prefer synthetics and I will concede they have their place, but it's hard to argue the benefits of Merino.
From naturally helping to regulate body temperature, transporting sweat away as a vapor, and canceling out odors, wool is the wonder-kid of materials and Merino is the wonder-kid of wonder-kids because, unlike other wool products, it is soft. Really soft.
The 275 gsm Comet Crew from Duckworth is marketed as a heavyweight base layer and combines a pure, 100% Montana-grown, Merino wool outer layer with a recycled polyester inner layer for optimum performance. Because Polyester is hydrophobic, it wicks sweat and moisture off your skin and into the hydrophilic wool layer. The wool then chemically begins to get even warmer when introduced to the water vapor, adding a whole new degree of heat to the Comet Crew's high-tech performance.
Duckworth is a Montana-based company that delivers 100% Montana-grown and 100% American-made products, holding the title as the world's only source-verified, single-origin Merino Wool clothing company. Starting at their fourth-generation ranch in Dillon, the Duckworth team manages every step of the process, from raw fiber to finished garment in their Sheep to Shelf™ supply chain.
The Comet Crew retails for $130.
What I like: I've had the Comet Crew for two full months now and, in that time, I have put it through its paces from a base layer on winter float trips, upland hunts, long big-game sits, hikes, wood splitting, and dog walks to a solo piece lounging at the cabin or in front of the fireplace with a book and even to the office. I am not exaggerating when I say I could easily wear it every day in the cooler months. Here are a few things I really like about it.
Warmth: It is warm. As a base layer it is outstanding, keeping me warm and dry whether I am passively performing (think long immobile big-game sits) or extremely active (think hiking up and down trails with the pack). The Comet Crew seems to regulate to keep me at the perfect temperature.
Comfortable: I've mentioned that Merino is soft, the Comet Crew takes that to the next level. The polyester inner layer matched with the Merino outer layer combine to make this one of the softest and most comfortable pieces of clothing I have ever owned. It's not scratchy or annoying in any way. In fact, you can barely notice it, other than the fact that you are staying perfectly comfortable despite the temperature outside.
Versatile: As I have mentioned, the Comet Crew is considered a heavy-weight base layer and it certainly performs well in that regard -- under a flannel, a sweatshirt, a vest or even my camo or waders BUT it also works as a single layer that is perfectly suited to grabbing a cocktail after a day on the slopes or wearing to the office -- casual Friday or not. I've even been known to throw it on with an old pair of grey sweats when lounging around the house.
Sizing/Fit: One complaint I often have about clothing is sizing. It seems to be all over the place. Sometimes a medium fits like an XL and sometimes the XL is too short in the arms or torso and fits like a circus tent. This is not the case with the Comet Crew. I am 6'1", 185 pounds and have a 42" chest. While I'm more on the slender (I prefer the term athletic) side, I have a long torso and arms so I often find myself needing the slimmer cut of a medium but the length of an XL. I typically end up as a "large" and find myself disappointed on one end of the spectrum or the other. With the Comet, the large fits me perfectly. Not overly snug but not baggy either, with plenty of length in the arms and torso.
American Grown and Made: Starting at their ranch in Dillon, Montana, Duckworth's open-range Montana Merino sheep live between 5,000’ and 9,500’ elevation, grazing on natural grasses and Montana wildflowers found on remote mountainsides. It's also there that every single shorn Merino Wool fleece is graded for quality before traveling to the Carolinas for spinning, knitting, and dyeing. Although the U.S. textile industry has been on the decline for decades, with competitors seeking cheaper opportunities oversees, Duckworth's Sheep to Shelf™ supply chain brings jobs back to small American communities, keeps technical knowledge close to home, and assures maximum life-cycle sustainability. To me that's important.
What I don’t like: If you've made it this far in the review you probably have a pretty good idea that there isn't much I don't like about the Comet Crew. That being said, there are two traditional "knocks" on Merino and they hold true here as well.
Price: Yes, Merino is expensive. It is a resource and labor-intensive product to manufacture and that is reflected in the price. That being said, if properly cared for Merino can be very durable, and quite literally over perform its price tag. Beyond that, all of Duckworth's products are American grown and produced and that, in my opinion, is worth paying for. And if all of that isn't enough, Duckworth is currently offering 25% off your purchase if you sign up for their email list, bringing the Comet Crew down to under $100. At that price, I'd grab a couple.
Fussy: What do I mean by fussy? I mean that you have to take care of it, especially when washing. This isn't a piece you chuck in the washing machine with all the rest of your clothes and then toss in the dryer. You need to be a little more "delicate" with it. It is recommended to wash in a mesh bag on a gentle cycle, cold rinse, and hang dry. Yes, it's a bit of a pain, however, because of the oder resistant properties of Merino, the good news is you have to wash the garment far less often so, it all comes out in the wash, so to speak.
Perfect for: The Comet Crew is the perfect "do-all" pullover. It performs superbly as a base for active or passive outdoor interests or solo for a day in the office, a drink with a buddy, or an evening with a good book. It is insanely warm, well built and well fitting. On top of all that it is a comfortable as anything I've ever owned and made right in the USA.
Stars: 5 out of 5