Archive for the ‘Product Reviews’ Category

Product Review: Icebreaker Bodyfit 200 Oasis Crewe Base Layer

Friday, January 7th, 2011

Icebreaker

BACKGROUND:
The New Zealand company, Icebreaker, opened a Portland Office in 2007 and then soon after re-located its headquarters here too. For those unfamiliar with Icebreaker they make fine (very fine) merino wool clothing. Not only do they take making natural clothing to a whole new level, but also the ‘way’ that they make it is very impressive. Their philosophy is based on a lifestyle that involves great design, quality, sustainability, nature, and playing. Who can argue with that? 

PRODUCT:
Over 12 months ago I became the proud new owner of several Icebreaker products: socks, jacket, hat, scarf, and base layers. I’m going to focus on the base layers for this review. I have 3 of the bodyfit / 200 Oasis long sleeve base layers. The number (200) refers to the amount of merino wool used. The higher the number the heavier, and therefore warmer the garment.

Icebreaker Oasis Base Layer

Icebreaker Oasis Base Layer

FIRST IMPRESSION:
The Oasis base layer is not at all itchy like I have previously experienced with some wool tops I’ve had in the past. The cut was nice and long in the body and arms. Yeah!  Nice flat lock stitching.

USES:
I use the base layers for any cold weather activity: cycling, running, walking the dog, snow shoeing. You name it, it’s the base layer I always reach for during the winter months.

Icebreaker Oasis Bodyfit 200

Icebreaker Oasis Bodyfit 200

SECOND IMPRESSION:
It was stuck in my head that wool looses it’s shape, gets all “bitty” and is itchy. Quite the opposite. I love that it is a snug fit (and even after lots of washes it retains its shape) and that the arms are long enough. Nothing worse than having a base layer with short arms.
I don’t like being too cold, but I really hate being over dressed and too hot. The bodyfit 200 is perfect for this climate. Wicks great and kept my body temperature comfortable.  And no sweaty stink!  How is that possible? I read on Bikeportland.org  that Jonathon wore his Icebreaker short sleeve top every day for several days of cycling during the summer last year. No washing in between. And no stink!

DRAWBACK:
Made in China.
So the wool isn’t itchy, but the label inside is. Nothing a pair of scissors can’t fix.

COOL FACT:
There is a ‘Baa’ code on the label that allows you to trace online the origins of the wool used to make your garment. There are some really cool stories about the farms, farmers and sheep. It makes you want to go visit New Zealand.

baacode

baacode

SIZING:
Depending on brands, I am between a Small or Medium. The Small Oasis base layer fits me. However, the Medium Jacket was a better fit. The information on the packaging mentions a potential 5% shrinkage after washing. There may have been a little shrinkage, but nothing I really noticed. And I’m embarrassed to admit that I wasn’t careful with laundering . I threw them in a warm wash and then by accident threw them into the dryer too. Normally I like to hang dry. 

DESIGNS:
The designs of the items I have are very under-stated. Plain black. But I like them like that. They are base layers afterall.

COST:
Icebreaker is not inexpensive. I don’t think I would have tried the base layers if I hadn’t had a chance to get one on a super duper sale. After a couple of uses though, I was converted into an Icebreaker fan.

Looking forward to seeing some of the new cycling jerseys that they are working on.