Sweet Protection Badlands Merino LS Jersey
Size Tested: Medium
- 140 g/sm, 17.5 micron 100% merino wool fabric
- Drop hem for coverage while biking
- Relaxed stretch fit
Reviewer: 5’9” 155 lbs
Days Tested: 10
Test Locations: Montana, Idaho, & Colorado
Wool has a lot of upsides. It dries quickly, breathes well while also insulating, and doesn’t get as stinky as synthetic fabrics.
But I’ve never been one to wear much wool, mostly because it always felt a little scratchy, and it tended to be too warm for most of my riding.
So when I was set to start reviewing the Sweet Protection Badlands Jersey in June — just as our hottest weather was kicking into gear — I was skeptical. Based on other wool jerseys I’ve owned, this seemed like a recipe for overheating.
Fabric and Breathability
But the Badlands isn’t like most of the other wool jerseys I’ve ridden in. It’s lighter and more breathable, and the wool feels softer. Gone is that slight, nagging itchiness that comes with lots of wool jerseys. And the fabric is thin enough that air flows through it quite well — it insulates a bit at slow speeds, but as soon as some air is moving, I cool right off.
I’ve ridden in the Badlands Jersey in temps ranging from around 55° F up to around 90° F. At the warmer end of that range, the jersey is definitely still a bit hot. Aside from being wool, it’s also a long sleeve black jersey, so it doesn’t really matter what material it’s made out of, it’s going to be toasty.
But at the cooler end of that range, the Badlands Jersey is great. I’d say the ideal operating temperature for the Badlands Jersey is between 50° F and 75° F, which also happen to be the temps that I consider to be ideal for riding.
So while I wouldn’t consider the Badlands to be the ideal jersey for the dregs of summer, it’s great for shoulder seasons, and for places with warmer winters.
I wear a size Medium in pretty much everything, and the Badlands Jersey is a fairly middle-of-the-road Medium. At 5’9” and 155 lbs, I’m not particularly bulky, and the Badlands fit loose without feeling baggy. It’s loose enough and the fabric is stretchy enough that someone with considerably more mass than me should still be fine in the jersey.
Its length is pretty average, and it doesn’t have any weird fit issues with the neck or sleeves.
I’ve always been a bit skeptical of wool bike jerseys. Even though I recognize the inherent benefits of wool fabric, all of the other wool jerseys I’ve owned in the past were a little itchy, and just a bit too hot to be useful for the riding I do.
But the Sweet Protection Badlands Jersey changes all of that — it’s super comfy, and it works well in non-winter temperatures. Even after some very hot, very sweaty rides, the Badlands still doesn’t smell like my armpits, which isn’t something I can say of my synthetic jerseys. Plus, it has a low-key styling to it that’s a nice change from the day-glo fluorescence that’s the palette du jour these days.
Overall, I’m a fan. Wool is great when it’s done right, and Sweet Protection has done it right with the Badlands Jersey.