I was first introduced to the concept of ‘base layer’ as a child. Swaddled in itchy C&A thermals I would be marched up the side of Snowdonia, and then marched back down, clammy, irritable and probably very smelly. These experiences led me to dismiss base layer for a long time. An orienteering trip in the Lake District (it was so cold I can’t believe I lived to tell the tale) a decade later allowed me and base layer to get back on to talking terms, but that’s another story.
Flash forward to today and I was presented with the opportunity to review the Icebreaker Merino Oasis Crewe from Velovixen.
I have used the Long Sleeve Icebreaker Merino Oasis Crewe for commuting to work for the last six weeks and temperatures have ranged from -2 degrees centigrade up to a high of 14. I have also used it do spinning class twice because I have forgotten my vest (side note: and my water bottle – not relevant!).
Icebreaker present their products neatly packaged in small boxes bursting with information; these explain the technical information behind the product and also give you insight into the company’s values and ethics. I will leave you to have a read through their informative website as I have to talk about this garment, but I must say they do have a lot to shout about.
First off I really liked the simplicity of the garment – neat, minimal and a great colour. I am not a fan of “female friendly” trims, so I was happy with the “does what it says on the tin” approach to this product. Often when we consider wool we think of something quite chunky, but this is a streamlined and lightweight bit of kit, in actually weighs 200 grams, which is the weight of a regular T-shirt. All of the seams are flat locked, this basically means you won’t get chaffing. So far so good.
As I expected the top is slim fitting – it has to be close to the skin to allow it to wick moisture away from your body when you are hot. I found the sleeves just about on the longer side of perfect for me and I am 5 foot 7 and opted for a medium. The top is form fitting, but not skin tight and the fabric is flattering – I certainly felt comfortable wearing it alone for spinning class.
Did It Perform
In a word, yes. Icebreaker reckons their products can perform under much more severe extremities than I tested it under, but in my humble experience it was great.
I found it super soft against the skin, plus it was a welcome barrier between my arms and my unlined shell jacket which has a habit of clinging. The base layer certainly helped keep me warm during my commute when it was freezing and it weirdly kept me really cool during spinning class.
Even though I know merino wool has superior natural performance abilities I did enter the class with trepidation. Spinning makes you hot/sweaty/red as it is and I did not want to have the added hassle of overheating in a wooly top. Following my voluntary 45 minutes of torture, the top did feel damp, but I did not. It did not even smell.
When I did come to wash the top I found it dried really quickly and kept its shape, which I did not expect as it is wool, but I was pleased so I asked no questions.
- Wicks moisture
- Keeps you warm/cool
- Understated design
- Natural fibres (the company claim to be ethical in their production methods)
- No itching
- Naturally odour resistant
Oooh struggling with this one, so if I have to find something – I think there is an irony in the amount of high gloss printed swing tickets and packaging that comes with such an “environmentally friendly” product (I admit I am picking holes here and this is part of a much wider discussion).
Should you buy?
Coming in at £60.00 it is an investment, but it is the kind of thing you keep until it’s threadbare, which judging from the quality would take some serious time. It is getting a big thumbs up from me.
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As seen on The Guardian, BBC and The Independent.