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Icebreaker Superfine or Smartwool Microlight???
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Jeff Boone
(jnboone) - MLife
Icebreaker Superfine or Smartwool Microlight??? on 07/01/2007 21:11:13 MDT Print View

Looking for a long sleeve lightweight wool base layer. Any reason to favor one of these over the other? Alternative suggestions? The zipper option on the Smartwool looks very appealing to me.

Pamela Wyant
(RiverRunner) - F - M
I recommend Icebreaker on 07/01/2007 21:22:00 MDT Print View

Presonally I've found Icebreaker softer and less itchy than Smartwool.

Richard Scruggs
(JRScruggs) - MLife

Locale: Oregon
Re: Icebreaker Superfine or Smartwool Microlight??? on 07/01/2007 22:08:34 MDT Print View

I use the Ibex Outback L/S merino wool jersey as a light base layer or a stand alone top.

The Outback is very comfortable with a relaxed fit and extremely soft finish. No zipper but it is light (Ibex website says "average" wt is 6.9 oz, mine range from 8.1 to 8.8 in XL) and extremely breathable. Dries quickly.

No experience with the Icebreaker Superfine or Smartwool Microlight -- maybe they're comparable to the Ibex Woolie top, which is lighter and thinner than the Outback and it does have a zipper in one version. The Woolie is great as a base layer. The fit (form) and weight (about 2 oz lighter) distinguish it from the Outback.


Adam Kilpatrick
(oysters) - MLife

Locale: South Australia
Icebreaker on 07/01/2007 23:32:07 MDT Print View

Hi Guys

I have a few pieces of various weight Icebreaker, and I strongly reccomend it over other (usually cheaper) wool pieces. The lighter weight superfine fabrics are unbelievably comfortable. My 150 GT (GT=designed with a more breathable weave in some places) tee I find great on its own down to about 13 or 14 degrees celcius, and is still comfortable up to about 32C-which is about when I start sweating up a cotton or other "cool-fabriced" t-shirt anyway. The other weight garments I also find to have a great temp range, and are warmer than the equivalent weight synthetic thermals, aswell as some cheaper wool thermals I have (Wilderness Wear-made in Aus). They are also incredibly fashionable, with a huge range if you are into that sort of thing. If you have any problems they are great with returns.

Hope this helps,


Ryan Corder
(demo) - MLife

Locale: Arkansan in Seattle
How about Ibex? on 07/02/2007 00:31:05 MDT Print View

I would definitely also consider the Ibex Woolies Zip-T. If you don't want a zip on yours, they also offer a non-zipped front version.

P.S. I'm wearing the Woolies Zip-T (in blue) in my avatar picture.

Edited by demo on 07/02/2007 00:31:50 MDT.

Neil Johnstone
(nsjohnstone) - MLife
Icebreaker or Ibex on 07/02/2007 02:49:10 MDT Print View

I'd also go for the Ibex Outback. 7.2oz for a large, extremely comfortable and last well.

I find Icebreaker and Ibex more comfortable than Smartwool, and Ibex to be slightly lighter than Icebreaker.

I also agree with the comments above on the high quality of Icebreaker.

Edited by nsjohnstone on 07/02/2007 02:50:34 MDT.

Jeff Boone
(jnboone) - MLife
Best Quality? on 07/02/2007 03:59:33 MDT Print View

Thanks!! I never even thought of the Ibex. Is the general opinion that the Icebreaker is better quality than the Ibex?

Brett .
(Brett1234) - F

Locale: CA
Icebreaker Superfine or Smartwool Microlight on 07/02/2007 04:13:03 MDT Print View

My vote is for Smartwool; but the big 3 are all great quality, along with Montbell(although it is less durable). The zipper is real important. Wool is warmer than equivalent thickensses of other common materials, and the zipper will be important to dial in the temperature you want; that along with pulling up the sleeves and un-tucking.

Valentin Zill
(Valentin.Zill) - F

Locale: Europe
Re: Icebreaker Superfine or Smartwool Microlight on 07/02/2007 06:26:22 MDT Print View

Go for the Icebreaker.
I've got an Icebreaker Oasis L/S 200 shirt and a Smartwool Microweight L/S, the Icebreaker's quality is much higher, and it feels better. I've washed the Smartwool two times in the correct way but it looks as if I had used it for a decade. The Icebreaker is like new.

Eric Noble
(ericnoble) - MLife

Locale: Colorado Rockies
Re: How about Ibex? on 07/02/2007 09:31:15 MDT Print View

Definitely consider Ibex. I think they are the best. I only look to other companies when Ibex doesn't have what I want, which is very rare. They are the only company in this market I know of using 17.5 micron wool. I've been using their stuff every day for years now and have yet to wear anything out. Their service is great and the quality is tops. If I couldn't find it at Ibex I would look to Icebreaker and then Smartwool. Patagonia and Montbell are also options.

kevin davidson
(kdesign) - F

Locale: Mythical State of Jefferson
Icebreaker or alternatives on 07/02/2007 10:20:43 MDT Print View

For quality,it would be hard to go wrong with Icebreaker, Ibex, or Patagonia in their lightest weight merino. Icebreaker is the most stylie. Can't speak to Montbell wool. Gramicci merino wool (available on STP) is very so-so. Smartwool is a little variable----their mid-weight (discontinued or seasonally unavailable)Shadow Hoody is my late Fall to early Spring piece that sees the most action and is unsurpassed. The Microweight shirts seem OK but I don't own any. Price has often dictated choice and I'm a great fan of Ibex seasonal sales. I've gotten Icebreaker on discount from EMS, Backcountry and Pro-lite. Patagonia from Backcountry, too. Never pay full retail unless you are pressed for time.

Ultimately, I'd try them on. Fit is variable between the companies and even among pieces in the same brand. Icebreaker is often athletically cut. Some are more relaxed like many Ibex shirts other than their Woolies line.

Kirk Olson
(kirkols) - F

Locale: Florida and Seattle
Icebreaker Skin 200 on 07/05/2007 18:52:38 MDT Print View

I wore a Icebreaker Skin 200 zip top (long sleeved) for 7 straight days in elevations from 2,000 to 9,000 feet and temperatures from 35 to 85. I found them to perform extremely well in all those conditions. They provided insulation (as my only layer in the cold temperatures while hiking) and excellent ventilation in high temperatures.

I thought they still smelled good at the end of the week (I was informed they smelled like me). Polyester tops are now out of my kit.

Gregory Doggett
(Gregory) - F

Locale: Mid-Atlantic
I'm most partial to Icebreaker on 07/06/2007 11:24:22 MDT Print View

I own a 140wt. Tech T Lite; 190wt. Hopper s/s, U-Turn l/s crew and Mako l/s zip neck; 200wt. Oasis crew and Mondo zip neck as well as boxer brief and leggings; 260wt. l/s crew and zip neck and a 320wt. zip neck.
The 140wt. has seen 12 washings and shows no sign of wear or seams failing.It is more comfortable than any shirt I have worn on the hottest days in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Va.
The 190wt. crew or zip neck and a pair of 200wt. boxer briefs are going with me on my JMT thru-hike as 24/7 clothing.
I've hiked comfortably cool in the 200wt. tops in the mid 40's and had my legs toasty in the 200wt. leggings under a pair of Patagonia Jackalope pants on days with highs in the low 20's.
The 260's and 320's look stylin' around town but are a bit too heavy for me as base layers in colder climes.

kevin davidson
(kdesign) - F

Locale: Mythical State of Jefferson
NZ is more than that place they filmed Lord of the Rings :-) on 07/06/2007 11:39:16 MDT Print View

Now that's a well-stocked gear closet of wool baselayers. The New Zealand gov't should give you points for subsidizing it's economy!

The 140 weight is great stuff--- I'd like Icebreaker to introduce some L/S versions of this weight material. Also a 190 or 200 weight hoody.

Edited by kdesign on 07/06/2007 11:39:50 MDT.

Gregory Doggett
(Gregory) - F

Locale: Mid-Atlantic
Icebreaker 140 long sleeve on 07/08/2007 16:56:18 MDT Print View

Its coming.
Spring '08 is what I believe our Icebreaker rep said.

twig .
(bretthartwig) - MLife

Locale: Australia
150 weight icebreaker long sleeve on 07/08/2007 17:20:32 MDT Print View

150 weight icebreaker tops are available in a long sleeve, they are trim fitting though.

Jeff Boone
(jnboone) - MLife
Icebreaker Tech T Lite vs Ibex Woolies Zip T on 07/12/2007 05:16:29 MDT Print View

I just received both of these in the mail today. While the Woolies Zip T is a heavier weight, the Tech T feels significantly smoother next to the skin. Don't know how either will do in the field yet, but based on initial comparisons, I will be an Icebreaker fan in the future.

Franco Darioli
(Franco) - M

Locale: @Tarptent
Superfine Merino wool on 07/14/2007 02:54:00 MDT Print View


Edited by Franco on 07/14/2007 02:55:55 MDT.