People often ask the difference between our FullWeight and MidWeight Fabrics, and which would be more suitable for their uses.
After making only FullWeight for our first few years, we found that FullWeight was often more than was needed. So we developed MidWeight.
FullWeight will likely be more than you need more frequently than MidWeight will be less than you need. This is a broad generalization, of course. But if you are looking for the garment that you'll wear most often, it's usually MidWeight. MidWeight is more of a 3-season garment. In higher latitudes, people wear MidWeight even in summer (partly because bugs can't bite through the wool).
Compared to FullWeight, the MidWeight, by design:
- weighs less
- is less bulky
- breathes more
- stops less wind
- handles less rain
- is not as warm
Maybe it's natural, but people often seem to think they are buying WeatherWool to handle cold weather, so they'd may as well buy the FullWeight. But many times the MidWeight would serve better ... and that, of course, is why we made MidWeight.
Fabric weights are properly presented in ounces per square yard (opsy) or grams per square meter (gsm).
Our FullWeight Fabric thus far has weighed 19.4 opsy (658 gsm) and our Batch 6 MidWeight Fabric is 12 opsy (407 gsm).
Previous Batches of MidWeight have been as heavy as 14 opsy (475 gsm).
So the Batch 6 MidWeight is 39% lighter ... or ... the FullWeight is 62% heavier ... depending how you want to look at it.
(It's worth mentioning at this point that weight of wool fabric is usually quoted by the running yard ... and the running yard has no standard width. So, such numbers don't mean much except within the mill where the fabric was made. You can't properly compare weights unless numbers are quoted in square yards, or square meters. When people quote the weight of a woolen fabric in grams, they usually mean gsm and will often specifically say so. But when people quote the weight of wool fabric in ounces, unless they actually specify "per square yard", they usually mean "per running yard", and that's not indicative. But anyway, the idea is to use better wool fiber and better processing to get more performance from less weight.)
MidWeight and FullWeight are made from the same raw fiber, but the yarn is spun, woven and finished differently.
MidWeight is quite substantial. People who have never handled our Fabrics may well think the MidWeight is the FullWeight.
Here are some examples that might help with a decision:
- Until Batch 9, currently going into production, MidWeight Fabric was available only in Solid Drab Green and Lynx Pattern. With Batch 9, we are introducing Natural White (Cream/Undyed) Fabric, in both MidWeight and FullWeight. Going forward, we will offer FullWeight Fabric Solid Colors True Black, Drab Green, Classic Brown, Natural White (Cream), and in Lynx Pattern. So if you want Black or Brown, the only choice for the foreseeable future is FullWeight. We won't have quantities of any Natural White garments available until early 2024. BUT, we have some Natural White MidWeight Scarves available now, and made some Natural White CPOs and Anoraks in 2023.
- Instructors at the US Air Force Arctic Survival School (the Cool School) at Eielson Air Force Base near Fairbanks, Alaska, preferred the MidWeight. BUT they were young guys in fantastic physical condition, used to the cold and supremely confident and knowledgeable
- Here in New Jersey, I wear MidWeight Pants almost exclusively, including for virtually all my hunting. The MidWeight Pants have been fine in temps down to about 10F/-12C, without long johns. My typical outing lasts a few hours. But also, for hunting, I almost always wear my original (from 2012) All-Around Jacket (FullWeight), even in warm weather. The old AAJ rides in my truck all year, and it's always ready-to-go. So that's what I wear, even when its warmth is not really needed
- A Military Contractor was very happy with his MidWeight Anorak in Lynx Pattern, but wanted to switch to Brown Color. However, when he heard that Brown is available only in FullWeight, he stayed with the MidWeight Lynx
- Most people will be fine in MidWeight on top, over a light base layer, in temps down to freezing or lower, so long as they are not sitting still. If you are not going to move at all, you'd may as well go FullWeight, even in fairly warm temps. But if you plan on hiking or working you will probably like the MidWeight just fine
- If you are going to be doing some winter errands, going from house to car to store, etc., you'll probably want the MidWeight
- If you are thinking about sometimes using the WeatherWool as a mid-layer, the MidWeight will be better
- If you are concerned with heavy wind or heavy rain in cold weather, go with FullWeight
- For hiking a few miles in temps just above freezing, with a stiff wind, I was fine in MidWeight CPO Shirt over a long-sleeve cotton shirt. (I was hiking in a county park in suburbia where I really could not have gotten in serious trouble even if I somehow broke both my legs, else I would not have worn cotton.)
- In warm, HEAVY rain, I was fine with a MidWeight CPO Shirt and no base layer. In cold, HEAVY rain, FullWeight is the ticket. Please visit our Rain Page for more info.
- Canadians are very likely to order MidWeight
- One customer reported he was fine while walking in his MidWeight Anorak in temp-plus-windchill of -15F/-26C with three wool base layers. He also said when the wind kicked up to 20mph/32kph he felt a chill. The MidWeight isn't made for this but some people like to buy garments large enough to enable them to deal with much more severe weather than I had in mind for the MidWeight. And actually people will do the same thing with FullWeight
- People concerned with moisture management have used MidWeight Fabric to line their sleeping bags
- Some people like to test fabric by holding it up to a light source. We have a page with some thoughts and observations on the Light Test. The main point is that the color of the fabric will have a strong effect on the results, and that comparisons can only be made if the fabrics are the same color
- Durability Comparison ... We have not had anyone complain about the durability of the FullWeight or the MidWeight Fabric. But MidWeight will not stand up to wear and abrasion as long as FullWeight simply because there is not as much wool. I do know of people who have worn out their garments. So far, only three of them:
- Advisor Tanner Buller beat his MidWeight Anorak to death in a year-and-a-half. He is an extremely active young guy, spending a lot of time in Nature. He wore it hard, year-round, almost every day, and even slept in it regularly.
- Advisor Fisher Neal pretty-well destroyed his MidWeight Hoodie (the forerunner of the Hooded Jacket) in about four years. Fisher is a professional outdoorsman, a Nature and hunting guide, and he put the Hoodie through a huge amount of wear.
- A farmer/rancher customer from Indiana bought one of our earliest All-Around Jackets (always FullWeight) in 2014. In early 2022, he sent it back to us to see if we could do anything about some of the heavily-worn parts. I don't remember exactly what Debby told him, but she was unable to do much, if anything. He wanted the AAJ back, and intends to keep wearing it. But he now has three AAJs, so ... he likes them!
- About three years ago, a guy sent me a photo of his AAJ with both elbows completely worn through ... and the AAJ has doubled elbows! I immediately text and called him back, but he didn't respond. And he hasn't responded to a bunch of attempted contacts since. I think he must have done a lot of elbow-crawling to do such damage to his AAJ. That, and my difficulty getting in contact with him suggests he is Military.
3 February 2024 --- Ralph