Nepal - Tested first-hand, part 4


Merino and the Himalayas seen with four eyes

What did you find most surprising about merino clothing?

Jitka: It was so pleasant to wear that I didn’t want to take it off even after so many days in the mountains. I was worried if two short-sleeve and two long-sleeve T-shirts were enough for a nearly three-week trip. In the end, I found that it would be enough for me to have just one of each. What is written about merino everywhere really works.

Ondra: The biggest surprise came at home, when I started wearing clothes from different, not always natural materials, and after a three-week interruption, eczema appeared again on my hands. This is when I realised that my hands were all right throughout the trip ... I only wore 100% merino throughout the holiday.

Photo: Ondra and Jitka


What do you like best about Crawler garments?

Jitka: I enjoyed the opportunity to design clothes exactly to my taste. Do you want each sleeve to be different colour? No problem. Both Ondra and I have really original T-shirts to our taste. And the detail that I appreciate most is the small label sewn onto the side seam, proudly saying that it’s a Czech hand-made product. That is something I support.

Ondra: I totally agree with what Jíťa said. Except maybe that thinking about the right colour combination was more of a punishment for me :D

Photo: Ondra and Jitka


Merino or synthetics?

Ondra: Merino, although it has its limits, such as the fact that it gradually stretched when worn, which is something I don’t like. But it bounces back into its original shape after washing. My hands without a rash are worth investing in though.

Jitka: There are activities where I will probably prefer synthetics, such as a tough cardio workout or gym. This is where I’m kind of used to those fitness tank tops and T-shirts. But the T-shirt usually ends up in the washing machine after the first use. Maybe it’s just a matter of habit. But wherever I want to feel comfortable for a long time, typically when travelling or on a whole-day trip, merino wins hands down. And like Ondra, I’m also thinking about getting everyday pieces to wear to work.

Photo: Ondra and Jitka


What do people wear on the Himalayan hills?

Jitka: Merino of various designs by world outdoor brands surely leads among tourists, across nationalities. The world has really discovered it. Which is good – it’s nice not to smell bad when having dinner in the evening …

Ondra: On the other hand, the Nepalese often wear very simple clothes and you can see that their gear has been through a lot. The other extreme is young porters with perfect hairstyle, wearing jeans and modern branded T-shirts. But you can mostly see quite a big paradox – you pass tourists dressed in the top sportswear with a small backpack on their backs, with poorly dressed Nepalese porters behind them, lugging several tens of kilo of their clients’ gear on their backs, often only in slippers.

Photo: Ondra and Jitka


How did you manage to pack your bags for the whole trip? Was there anything you missed on the trek?

Jitka: A few weeks before I left, I tried to pack my backpack a few times to see how much I would carry with me during the trek. I reassessed almost every single thing several times if I’d really need to have it with me and, if so, how many. The result was that I didn’t carry any extra weight and I didn’t really miss anything. Perhaps only the merino neck warmer like the one Ondra had. The fleece one, which I was very pleased with until then, seemed awfully awkward to me after being spoiled by merino.

Ondra:  And if you do miss something important, Nepal has one big advantage in that you can go there without any gear and buy everything you need for a trek in Kathmandu, in the Thamel district. Lots of people buy backpacks, jackets, T-shirts, poles, trousers … All at a fraction of the price here. Of course, it’s usually Nepalese fake production decorated with the logos of world brands, so you need to check the quality to make sure that it will last at least those two weeks. We planned to buy down jackets on the spot, and I must say that we’re very satisfied with them.

Photo: Ondra and Jitka


Has your Himalayan trip been the biggest travel adventure?

Jitka: Definitely for me. It was my first experience with non-European culture. Living and functioning in Asia, not only in an agglomeration like Kathmandu, but also in the mountains, is something completely different, and I was looking forward to that confrontation with our lifestyle more than to seeing the highest mountains in the world finally, which was something I dreamed of since childhood.

Ondra: I guess so. I had the opportunity to visit more exotic countries, but Nepal was exceptional in that we spent 12 days in the mountains, with only things on our back, all that at high altitudes. In Nepal, we got acclimatised quite early. Seeing eight-thousanders and sleeping at more than four thousand metres suddenly seemed normal to us, and only now, some time later, did I realise that it was quite an achievement. Also because we managed everything ourselves, without any porters or guides.

Photo: Ondra and Jitka



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