Icebreaker Merino 175 Everyday Long Sleeve Crewe Thermal Top $109.99
Used by: Contributing editor George Driver
Used for: Six months
In winter, base layers provide something of a second skin for me. Endowed with a scrawny physique, I feel the cold intensely and I wear thermals 24/7 for six months of the year.
For most of my life, I’ve worn synthetic polypro, but after splurging on a Torpedo7 merino five years ago, I’ve been converted to wool. But I’d always wondered if I was missing out by not wearing one of the premium merino brands.
When it comes to merino baselayers, Icebreaker is the top-shelf original with a price to match. So when their 175-gsm came on sale with a $40 discount, I indulged.
Icebreaker says the Everyday series is its ‘most basic base layer’ and initially I found it disappointing. I ordered a small, but it still has a loose fit. It hangs off the body, dangling from my forearms. It isn’t stretchy and fitted like my other merinos. The neckline also has little ‘give’ – it feels like it might tear if I pull it over my head too vigorously. It also has fewer design features than other models, with no thumb loops. Despite the drawbacks, it does feel warmer, although it’s 5-gsm lighter than the Torpedo7 garment. The fabric has a fluffiness, which feels soft against the skin, and seems to provide more warmth.
Verdict: A warm and comfortable base layer, but it’s not tight-fitting for those with a more slender physique. For the price, I think there are better light merino base layers on the market.