I’m not really intending to pitch a product, but rather discuss specific type of product: wool.
Well, I just pulled the first wool shirt I bought years and years ago to figure out what model it was. It has been washed so many times and hauled all over the world and sweated through for so many miles that all the tags are completely illegible. However, I’ll take it on the next trip, I’m sure.
Closest I can figure is that my old wool shirt is now called the Icebreaker Tech-T Lite Short Sleeve Tee. I own probably half a dozen of them in various colors and permutations. (Here’s the women’s version: Icebreaker Women’s Tech T Lite.)
Perhaps Icebreaker clothing needs no review. Still, it was a tough call back a few years ago on a student budget. They’re not cheap. The brilliance of wool, though, comes in layering, which became very apparent at 10,000ft in the Caucasus a few months back. That’s when the Icebreaker Men’s Oasis Leggings and the Icebreaker Men’s Oasis Long Sleeve Half Zip Top really are invaluable. (And, the women’s versions: Icebreaker Women’s Oasis Leggings & Icebreaker Women’s Oasis Long Sleeve Half Zip Top.)
Things worth mentioning…?
Other than the obvious benefit in temperature regulation, the treatment in this wool doesn’t itch and it dries surprisingly fast. Though what I actually value more than anything is the fact that this wool can go epic amounts of time without getting too rancid to wear. Considering how fast they dry, however, there’s no reason to let them get too far gone: on my bicycle, I would wash one shirt in the morning and ride all day with the shirt just tied onto my panniers. By the time I was ready to camp for the evening, it would be dry.
I don’t like these little gear mentions to sound too much like a pitch for the product, but honestly, I really believe the Icebreaker holds a fairly high place in my “every trip” gear list. Most of my assignments require a certain amount of lightweight, compact travel. Last month I used almost exclusively merino wool and I think I got six shirts of various types, leggings, and a liner (that I can wear as a light jacket) into half of an 8L drybag. The other half was three pairs of Smartwool socks and their accompanying liner.
It may be worth mentioning that the Icebreaker shirts are not entirely unattractive. Granted, the tights are not meant to be seen and the socks are kinda… ya know… but the shirts just look like a t-shirt and the half-zips and long sleeve tops come in a number of flavors.
It is a $70 t-shirt. And or up to $130 pair of tights (which are really just fancy underwear). And some of the hoodies and whatnot can actually get pretty expensive. Is the price justified? I actually think so. They’re not pulling the proverbial wool over your eyes (no pun intended): this is actually a serious piece of clothing that actually contributes to the success of assignments in harsh conditions.
Just don’t lose it.
As I mentioned earlier, Icebreaker shirts hold a high rank in my “every assignment” packing. I think it is entirely because this stuff is so freaking versatile. The same shirt goes with me to cold weather assignments, warm weather assignments, and I can wear it on a seven mile run around Hyde Park, and to meet a friend at the cafe (maybe not immediately after that run, though).
Layer these under foul weather gear and you might even get too toasty… if that’s possible.
A monetizing mention:
Though my comments and opinions about the Icebreaker Merino clothes themselves are entirely my own and generated from real-world use, the links I post that open to Amazon are actually part of an Amazon Associates program. If you are in the market for these products, please click through and purchase them by my referral. It costs you nothing extra and I get a percentage of the sale cost:
Icebreaker Men’s Tech-T Lite
Icebreaker Women’s Tech-T Lite
Icebreaker Men’s Oasis Leggings
Icebreaker Men’s Oasis Long Sleeve Half Zip Top
Icebreaker Women’s Oasis Leggings
Icebreaker Women’s Oasis Long Sleeve Half Zip Top