Author Topic: Merino & Coconut !  (Read 4185 times)

Merino & Coconut !
« on: October 13, 2011, 09:06:57 pm »
I'm a big fan of Icebreaker's merino tops for touring wear. Warm & comfortable to ride in and doesn't smell if you wear it for weeks at a time....

Rab have now produced a range of clothing which blends merino with a yarn made from coconut husks.  This is supposed to be just as comfortable & pong resistant, but tougher & faster drying.

Something to put on the Christmas wish list I think....

Review here http://www.outdoorsmagic.com/reviews/other-clothing/baselayers/rab-meco-165-long-sleeve-zip-tee/review/37322.html
Not fast & rarely furious

tweeting occasional in(s)anities as andrewxclark

Re: Merino & Coconut !
« Reply #1 on: October 13, 2011, 10:17:14 pm »
I was having difficulty imagining how coconut fibre - coir - could possibly be comfortable, but the site says it's "Cocona" which is carbonised coconut fibre combined with a synthetic yarn. They don't say in what proportions...
Pleasure spreads out on the map and the knapsack is full of joy.

Re: Merino & Coconut !
« Reply #2 on: October 14, 2011, 09:57:17 am »
I've got a coconut fibre top, it feels a bit like fleece, but also a bit like wool. Very odd to handle, but very comfortable and warm. Dries well too.

Re: Merino & Coconut !
« Reply #3 on: October 14, 2011, 01:35:41 pm »
Coconut fibre or this Cocona thing? Or some other sort of highly-processed coconut fibre? Given the amount of coconuts there seem to be, it's a good idea.
Pleasure spreads out on the map and the knapsack is full of joy.

Re: Merino & Coconut !
« Reply #4 on: October 14, 2011, 03:53:31 pm »
I dunno. Some of this stuff seems like marketing gimmicks.

It seems to me as if you start off with a fibre which is horribly uncomfortable, process the hell out of it to remove the properties which make it unwearable, then because it still doesn't have the properties you want blend it with another fibre which does. Why bother? Why not just use the synthetic yarn? There are a lot of uses for coir which hasn't been processed into something else, e.g. my doormats. When they start falling apart they get turned into compost bin insulation, & slowly disappear. Processing? Not a lot.

Or if the carbon (carbonised coconut fibre sounds to me just like carbon) adds useful properties, why not use whatever source of carbon is cheapest, most environmentally sound, or whatever rocks your boat?

[Edit]Cocona says it uses "activated carbon from coconut shells from food industry waste.". Hmm. Might as well be scrap wood from building industry waste, or anything else that can be carbonised & would otherwise go to landfill or incineration.

On a slight tangent, I just looked up how 'bamboo fibre' clothing is made. It's viscose. It just happens to be made using bamboo as a feedstock. I don't see how it'll be any different from any other viscose, & it still uses tons of caustic soda.
"A woman on a bicycle has all the world before her where to choose; she can go where she will, no man hindering." The Type-Writer Girl, 1897

Re: Merino & Coconut !
« Reply #5 on: October 14, 2011, 03:57:06 pm »
Quite.

Wool
Linen
Hemp
Silk
Cotton


Great fabrics in descending order of wonderfulness. No need for industrial chemicals.
<i>Marmite slave</i>

Re: Merino & Coconut !
« Reply #6 on: October 14, 2011, 09:07:04 pm »
To me, "carbonised coconut fibre" sounds like a euphemism for "charred coir"!
Pleasure spreads out on the map and the knapsack is full of joy.

mattc

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Re: Merino & Coconut !
« Reply #7 on: July 06, 2012, 12:11:06 pm »
On a slight tangent, I just looked up how 'bamboo fibre' clothing is made. It's viscose. It just happens to be made using bamboo as a feedstock. I don't see how it'll be any different from any other viscose, & it still uses tons of caustic soda.
This comment is about the only non-sales-material I can find about bamboo clothing!

Can anyone add to this? If I buy "bamboo arm-warmers" (such as On-One have) are they better/worse/same as 'normal' synthetics?

Your answer may reference eco considerations and/or garment performance. (10 marks)
Has never ridden RAAM
---------
No.11  Because of the great host of those who dislike the least appearance of "swank " when they travel the roads and lanes. - From Kuklos' 39 Articles

Re: Merino & Coconut !
« Reply #8 on: July 06, 2012, 12:26:27 pm »
I have some "bamboo" socks.  One pair, under the Bridgedale brand, is lovely and light and airy and unpongy and breathable and hard-wearing.  The others were a bit cheaper and are slimy, pongy, worn out, slow-drying and shed lots of bits everywhere.  That's all from him.

fboab

  • It's a fecking serious business, riding a bike
Re: Merino & Coconut !
« Reply #9 on: July 06, 2012, 12:38:37 pm »
I have a pair of bamboo socks which were a gift. They're lovely. Hand knitted, pink, soft, comfy. I love 'em.
TSS is not Total Sex Score, Chris!

Re: Merino & Coconut !
« Reply #10 on: October 05, 2012, 10:16:46 pm »
I thought bamboo was  a type of grass?
'Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence'.

Martin John Rees.

Re: Merino & Coconut !
« Reply #11 on: October 06, 2012, 09:02:37 am »
I was having difficulty imagining how coconut fibre - coir - could possibly be comfortable, but the site says it's "Cocona" which is carbonised coconut fibre combined with a synthetic yarn. They don't say in what proportions...

I've just bought a few bamboo items and reading more about the production methods I get the impression this ambiguity applies there too. So if something is 70% 'bamboo', that probably means 70% a mixture of bamboo charcoal and whatever synthetic fabric it's mated to, plus 30% of whatever else is there. . . all somewhat confusing to me.

I bought this item:
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Gelert-Bamboo-Charcoal-Short-Sleeve/dp/B004VJOUUM
It says on the site 50/50 bamboo charcoal and polyester but on the label says '100% bamboo charcoal and polyester'. So does that mean the 'bamboo charcoal' is fused with that polyester or that the bamboo charcoal is itself a fibre that has something synthetic in it, plus the polyester? I think it's the latter as the feel of the fabric is very different from a '100% bamboo' bed sheet I bought. But then if bamboo fibre is a composite of charcoal and something synthetic then it could have widely differing properties anyhow.
Then there's bamboo which isn't from charcoal and is produced entirely differently, at much greater cost.

Re: Merino & Coconut !
« Reply #12 on: October 06, 2012, 05:16:43 pm »
Whether coconut or bamboo charcoal is used has no effect on the quality of the fibre. It's marketing hype. All the differences between the 'bamboo' & 'coconut' textiles & any other bit of cloth are down to the processing, not the raw materials.

Coconut husks are sold for fuel, for charcoal making, for turning into coir for matting, & for numerous other uses. There's a ready market for 'em. I don't know anything about the bamboo charcoal market, but I see no reason why one shouldn't be able to tap into standard Chinese industrial feedstock sources, as with bamboo-based viscose pulp. For the viscose, I think it'll just be a question of which pulp mill one buys from, at which time of year.

Anyone thinking it is significant is being conned. The charcoal isn't going to have any magical qualities, & the viscose pulp will be just like any other. Bamboo cellulose, wood cellulose - all cellulose. And once it's been steeped in caustic soda, shredded, aged, & mixed with carbon disulphide, any chance you might have had of telling the difference has gone.

The firms that I've seen claiming "70% bamboo" specifically refer to bamboo fibre, which means viscose. This is very, very polluting stuff. Look up how it's made. As for the "bamboo charcoal yarn" - I'd like to know what 'bamboo charcoal yarn' is. I can't think of any way of making a t-shirt out of 70% charcoal. BTW, the Gelert website says that t-shirt is 50% polyester.

I will actively avoid buying from any firm that claims special properties for these materials because of the plants used as charcoal or cellulose sources. Their marketing people are either insane or crooked.
"A woman on a bicycle has all the world before her where to choose; she can go where she will, no man hindering." The Type-Writer Girl, 1897

Rhys W

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Re: Merino & Coconut !
« Reply #13 on: October 11, 2012, 02:07:41 pm »
I have a pair of bamboo socks which were a gift.

If you go camping, remember to tie them up in a tree away from your tent, so that you stay safe from hungry pandas.

tiermat

  • According to Jane, I'm a Unisex SpaceAdmin
Re: Merino & Coconut !
« Reply #14 on: October 11, 2012, 02:12:07 pm »
I buy the Pringle ones when they have them in TKMaxx, as they are cheaper than all cotton ones (usually 70/30 bamboo/cotton)

They work nicely for me, keep my little piggies warm and my feet don't stink after a long ride, unlike when I wear other "sports" sock.

To me they are a poor man's merino socks, and that's good enough for me.
I feel like Captain Kirk, on a brand new planet every day, a little like King Kong on top of the Empire State

Re: Merino & Coconut !
« Reply #15 on: October 12, 2012, 11:36:01 am »
I've now found one manufacturer (a Swiss firm called Litrax) which says it's actually extracting the fibres from the bamboo plant, rather than just making viscose from the cellulose, or adding a bit of charcoal made from bamboo to polyester - though it also sells fibres made in both those ways.

Its website makes a point of rubbishing the eco-friendly & anti-bacterial claims of viscose made using bamboo as a feedstock, i.e. most 'bamboo' fibre out there, which is indistinguishable from viscose made from any other feedstock.

The process for making the Litrax L1 bamboo fibre involves mechanical crushing & soaking in a load of enzymes, to get rid of all the stuff which makes bamboo hard. This should be (depending on the energy used in the mechanical processing, how the enzymes are produced, what's done with the solution afterwards, etc.) less polluting than making viscose, so its claims to (relative to viscose) 'greenness' probably do have some merit. But this is a very small part of the 'bamboo' fibre market.

It's often marketed as 'bamboo linen', & the processing is deliberately compared with that of flax. It ain't going to have the same environmental impact, though, even assuming that the linen is made with chemical retting rather than the traditional bacterial method. Getting fibres from flax is vastly easier than getting them from bamboo.
"A woman on a bicycle has all the world before her where to choose; she can go where she will, no man hindering." The Type-Writer Girl, 1897

Re: Merino & Coconut !
« Reply #16 on: October 12, 2012, 12:00:54 pm »
My take on it is this, at a basic level: In places where bamboo and coconut grow abundantly they have many uses, such as matting, building materials, fuel - if the fibres were any good as clothing it would have been done too.
Pleasure spreads out on the map and the knapsack is full of joy.

Re: Merino & Coconut !
« Reply #17 on: May 07, 2013, 06:51:59 am »
FWIW I recently bought a RAB Meco longsleeve baselayer and it does live up to its claimed superior performance  :)
Unlike pure Merino it is fast wicking , feels very soft and comfortable and is very quick drying. Unlike synthetic baselayers it is not pongy after one ride; eg RAB A/layer is also great but not nice after use ....for others !
The Meco layer is quite a generous fit too---my large is a good large size---feels fairly cool fabric to wear also. Worn so far at cool temps <10c under a winter jacket, will see how it goes when warmer as a layer under a s/sleeve top; loosely cut sleeves mean they can be rolled up easily. So far though impressed with it
....after the `tarte de pommes`, and  fortified by a couple of shots of limoncellos,  I flew up the Col de Bavella whilst thunderstorms rolled around the peaks above

Re: Merino & Coconut !
« Reply #18 on: May 10, 2013, 10:05:19 am »
Nobody is saying there's anything wrong with the fabrics or the garments, only that their qualities are not due to either bamboo or coconut husks being used as feedstocks for the carbon and/or viscose used in them. They'd be as good (or bad) if straw, scrap wood, or any other of the normal sources of cellulose or charcoal was used. Except for the very small share of the market which actually contains bamboo fibre (see above), calling them bamboo or coconut is marketing bullshit.
"A woman on a bicycle has all the world before her where to choose; she can go where she will, no man hindering." The Type-Writer Girl, 1897

LEE

Re: Merino & Coconut !
« Reply #19 on: May 10, 2013, 11:03:07 am »
Where are they going to get Coconuts?  They're tropical and this is a temperate zone.

Re: Merino & Coconut !
« Reply #20 on: May 10, 2013, 08:10:08 pm »
Maybe a migrating swallow carried the coconut?
Miles cycled 2014 = 3551.5 (Target 7300 :()
Miles cycled 2013 = 6141.4
Miles cycled 2012 = 4038.1

Re: Merino & Coconut !
« Reply #21 on: May 31, 2013, 09:37:41 pm »
I saw these Rab MeCo baselayers in Cotswold Outdoor the other day. I was told by a shop assistant they were "merino and coconut". Rab's website says
Quote
MECO BASELAYERS
These baselayers make best use of 100% merino wool mixed with recycled polyester with Cocona technology in a 65%/35% mix. This produces a fabric that offers all the benefits of merino wool but that dries up to 5 times faster than 100% merino wool.
So it's actually only two thirds merino. They don't say what Cocona technology is but a bit of googling turns up that it's a technique, or one of several, developed by a Colorado-based company. http://cocona.com/technology/

So these merino and coconut garments might be great stuff, but they are made "with" rather than "of" coconuts. And it's slightly misleading to describe them as simply "merino".
Pleasure spreads out on the map and the knapsack is full of joy.

Re: Merino & Coconut !
« Reply #22 on: June 16, 2013, 01:14:07 pm »
Can't see it on the website now but Cocona used to say that its 'active particles' were 'activated carbon from coconut husks from food processing industry waste'. That means charcoal, which happens to be made from coconut husks. Any other charcoal should work just as well, but presumably the factory which makes their polyester can get coconut husk charcoal easily.

The Rab MeCo garments are therefore -
65% merino wool
35% polyester with charcoal particles (made from coconut husks) embedded somehow

I don't know whether the charcoal particles do any good, but a lot of people say they do. Note that not all polyester is equal, just as not all wool is equal. Depends on the denier, cut length, surface, whether hollow or solid, etc. of the base fibre, & what it's then spun into.

I see a lot of fuss over raw materials, when a lot of the qualities which one notices are due to what's been done with that material.
"A woman on a bicycle has all the world before her where to choose; she can go where she will, no man hindering." The Type-Writer Girl, 1897

Re: Merino & Coconut !
« Reply #23 on: June 17, 2013, 10:18:26 am »
The Rab MeCo base layer I have definitely gets smellier, quicker than pure merino, but not as much as 100% polyester. It feels fairly good on the skin.
Pleasure spreads out on the map and the knapsack is full of joy.

Re: Merino & Coconut !
« Reply #24 on: March 19, 2014, 10:47:15 pm »
Has anyone here had any experience with Tencel / lyocell?