[Note that on 5 September 2012, Webtogs Limited went into liquidation, but its business has legitimately been continued in the name of Dorset Mountain Sports Limited, t/a Webtogs, with whom I have had no contact whatsoever, nor did the liquidator of Webtogs Ltd respond to my enquiry as to whether any members of the public had lost money as a result of the liquidation.]
I was delighted, on return from Canada a month ago, to receive this superbly made garment from Webtogs for review. Whilst it’s a shame I didn’t have it in Canada, where it would have been worn in anger on most days, I’ve now had a chance to wear the garment for long periods in various conditions.
Here are my first impressions:
Icebreaker Bodyfit 200 Men’s Oasis Crewe
The manufacturer’s product description is provided at the foot of this posting.
Out of the box – it feels a little heavy compared with my regular long-sleeved t-shirt. Because it is – 200gm vs 155gm (TNF Polartec®).
This long sleeve Merino base layer garment appears to be a product of NZ, but was actually made in China – that’s a surprise – but it’s very well made and has a ‘BAACODE’ that traces the wool back to four ‘stations’ (farms) on NZ’s South Island.
It sells for £49.95 RRP, currently £40 from Webtogs (March 2011).
First day out – v comfy under NF fleece. Arms just a little on the long side.
Fit and Finish:
- the medium size fits my 38” chest – it’s snug but comfy
- the length is just right – long enough to tuck into trousers, but equally wearable outside them without it looking too long
- I have heard that when Icebreaker first started to use Chinese manufacturers they encountered quality problems; there is no sign of any such problem with the well finished garment in my possession
- the garment exudes ‘quality’, with the flatlock stitching and seamless underarm reducing friction from internal seams, making it extremely comfy (I should know by now – I’ve lived in it for the last month)
- in addition to the features mentioned above, the integrated raglan sleeve design also features a highish neck that helps trap in the heat when you need it most
- the sleeves are generously long; I believe that this is a feature of Icebreaker clothing
- at 200gm, this garment is about 45 gm heavier than the equivalent Polartec® garment that I am used to wearing, but it’s definitely warmer. Ideal for winter use, but probably too hot for most people as a summer base layer, when the 150gm version may be a better choice
- I’ve enjoyed wearing this base layer, indoors and outdoors, for the past month. It has certainly resulted in a reduction in our household heating bill, and has meant that in the outdoors, an extra windproof layer over the Polartec® fleece that I use as a second layer has rarely needed to be deployed
- in warm weather most people will find this garment too warm
- I’ve worn this Merino wool top for days on end, including some ‘vigorous activity’, without it becoming noticeably smelly. This is a big advantage over Polartec® polyester clothing. On the other hand, if you do need to wash the Merino wool garment, it takes longer to dry than polyester
[Apparently someone has worn one of these garments non-stop for 196 days in extreme conditions – so there’s no need to try to repeat that particular test!]
- it’s a smart top that can be worn underneath a shirt or v-necked sweater as casual wear, as well as it’s obvious usefulness in The Great Outdoors
- numerous manufacturers make similar products, with leading producers charging similar or slightly lower prices, Icebreaker being an acknowledged market leader in this field
- there are cheaper alternatives; I suspect that they are ‘cheaper’ in more ways than one
- for really cold weather, Icebreaker offers heavier duty Merino wool base layers such as this one, that may be the choice of readers with poor circulation or a tendency to venture out in extreme conditions
- this base layer is ideal for winter use for walking and backpacking. Some backpackers may wish to deploy it all year round for use around camp and on cooler evenings
- if you work from home in the winter months, you’ll find that wearing a Merino wool base layer such as this one may have a dramatic effect on your heating bills
- I’ll be using it for winter walks, and for general casual wear, all winter, and I may even take it on the two week ‘TGO Challenge’ backpack in May if the forecast is for cool weather
Icebreaker’s own product description is reiterated below
Icebreaker Men's Oasis Crewe
Designed to fit close to the body, this raglan long sleeve top has a higher neck to trap in the heat when you need it most. Flatlock stitching and a seamless underarm reduce friction from internal seams, which will make this top one of the most comfortable pieces of clothing in your wardrobe.
- Crewe neck
- Raglan sleeves
- Gussets for ease of movement
- Forward side seam
- Fits close to the body
- Flatlock stitching
- Icebreaker tonal embroidered logo
Note: Whilst the gear was provided by Webtogs, this review, over which I have total editorial control, is totally independent of that on-line retailer.