Arthur Beale Oiled Wool Beerenberg Pullover
Heavyweight oiled wool sweater with extra-long sleeves and a roll neck collar. The star here is the wool, which is undyed, retains its natural lanolin oils, sheds moisture, and provides excellent warmth. The only ‘downsides’ are baked into this sweater: unprocessed wool is scratchy, and the roll neck that keeps cold out so nicely may not be to everyone’s taste. Also, it’s very warm, which also may be a pro or con, depending on what you want.
- High quality
- Built to keep cold out
- Sheds moisture
- Sleeve thumb holes
- Scratchy wool
- Roll neck isn’t for everyone
Arthur Beale is a UK-based company that sells goods for ships and vessels - rope, hardware, accessories, and so on. The company also sells old-school wool sweaters for cold weather. Roughly three years ago, I reviewed their super-warm boat neck sweater: https://www.trailspace.com/gear/arthur-beale/erebus-boat-neck-pullover/
The Beerenberg pullover is made from the same wool as the sweater I previously reviewed. It’s British wool that hasn’t been bleached, dyed, or processed to remove its natural lanolin oils. That has certain benefits - it sheds a light drizzle nicely, and it remains warm even when wet. It also smells a bit like sheep - that may be a charming plus or an annoying minus, depending on your point of view. This is the ecru color; they’re also sold in light grey, black Welsh brown, and dark grey. The size range is unisex, XXS through 2XL. Like many garments made in the EU, sizing can run small; I normally wear size XL, and I purchased this in 2XL. This is a closer call on sizing than some other UK-based clothing, runs closer to true to size than many things, but I’m happy I sized up.
WHY I LIKE THIS SWEATER
First, it’s really warm. I spent a lot of both days this weekend outside - walking around local trails, hanging with the dog, shoveling and spreading salt, running errands, out to dinner. I wore this over everything from a t-shirt to a thick cotton flannel, depending on how cold, and I was a happy camper throughout. You do pay for that warmth in weight - it’s heavy, and it wouldn’t pack down well in a backpack.
Second, I like that the wool retains those oils. The odor doesn’t bother me, it naturally repels human odors, and it deals very well with moisture. It’s a great choice for cold, damp weather, perhaps explains why a ship chandler company is selling
Third, it’s well-constructed IF you like those features. The sleeves are extra-long, so they cover the cuff of a glove, and they have finger holes if you don’t have gloves. The roll neck keeps cold out. The shoulder seams are stitched together with a piece of fabric in between to make that seam more durable.
Sweaters have obvious limitations for hiking. There’s no zipper to vent heat, and the use case for hard hiking is limited to cold-very cold weather for a sweater this warm. The roll neck is made from the same unprocessed wool, and it’s as scratchy as ragg wool sweaters used to be. I sometimes deal with that by wearing a zip-neck baselayer; sometimes, I just deal with it.
Shows how it’s put together. It’s cut fairly square/broad.
HOW I HAVE USED IT
I purchased this sweater early in 2021, and it’s a winter staple for me, along with the other Arthur Beale sweater and a Norwegian wool fisherman’s sweater from Devold that I like a lot. I fortunately purchased it when the pandemic was raging, and prices were depressed; it now costs around $80 more than I paid, and the current $240 full price would have made me pause. [Fun fact - I volunteered for one of the COVID vaccine trials. Pharmas paid crash test dummies like me a fair bit of money, around $1,000, for participating. I used the extra money to revamp my sweater arsenal after many years of just wearing what I had in the closet. I’m happy to say the FDA ultimately approved the vaccine I tested]. I primarily wear it for winter day hikes, doing stuff outside in the cold and snow, and hanging out around fire pits in cold weather.
I have worn this sweater for the past three winters, including the current one. It’s a frequent flier, something I reach for often.
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $160