I had not fully grasped the value of merino wool and, more specifically, Icebreaker merino wool, until I started doing some heavy duty hiking earlier this year. I suppose if I’m confessing, I have to admit I really got turned on to it because of Jon, who’s almost always right and also almost always way ahead of me on these types of things.
While I was hiking in the Pacific Northwest in t-shirts and non-technical clothes, Jon was wearing Icebreaker t- and long-sleeved shirts. When the weather started to warm up and he was sweating more, his Icebreaker shirts, frankly, never smelled.
So, I knew this was what I’d need on the . A trip where I’d be hiking for 25 days and wouldn’t have access to laundry facilities during that time. Sure, there were a couple of days when we’d have enough time to wash clothes and dry them in the sun (if we were lucky), but bucket-washing just isn’t the same as doing laundry at home.
I ended up bringing six Icebreaker items with me including: a short-sleeved top that I wore at the beginning of the trek while we still had warm-ish weather at lower altitudes; the Tech Top Long Sleeve Crew (pictured above) that I wore on more days than I care to admit; a hoody that I wore when I needed something fresh to change into at camp; a lightweight zippered jacket; a balaclava that I wore to protect my face on the coldest of days and as a neck-warmer when I needed something to protect my neck; and a pair of socks.
The was my go-to base layer for much of the trek. While most of the trek was spent between 12,000 and 15,000 feet, we did get up to about 18,000. So it was cold. And sometimes snowy.
In addition to this base layer, I usually also wore my Icebreaker zippered jacket and either a Canada Goose rain jacket or a North Face insulated jacket. Always layers. Always.
After a certain point on a long camping or trekking trip (in this case, 24 nights), you realize there’s no reason to change your clothes every day. If what you’re wearing is working, why not keep wearing what you’re wearing? Especially if no one is going to see you because it’s so cold you’re wearing so many layers on top of your base layer. So that’s what I did. I wore this Icebreaker top for more days that I’d like to publicly admit.
Yes, it was comfortable. But it also held up well to the odor test, even after days and days of use. And unless you’re one crazy person, it’s unlikely you’ll wear one top for more days in a row without a proper washing than I did the Long Sleeved Tech Top during the trek.
My other big takeaway from months of training hikes and then the Snowman Trek itself is that Icebreaker merino clothes are incredibly soft. Much softer on my skin than any other merino wool brands I’ve tested out.
Big bonus? Outside of hiking, this is a top that I can’t wait to wear all winter long as a warm base layer. Bring on the snow, Seattle!
Icebreaker clothes are not cheap. This top sells on . But I can tell you it’s going to last a lot longer than other merino brands and you’re gonna just love it.
Disclosure: Icebreaker provided clothes to me for review. Regardless, everything I have said in the post reflects my honest opinions.