I found this on a sale rail at Cotswolds in November. I needed a warm soft jacket for my trip to the mountains of Morocco. I’d never heard of Realfleece and discovered it was simply a 100% Merino wool jacket with a fluffy pile inside. This makes it cosy on a bike ride layered over thinner garments. The pockets are roomy, zipped and designed so things stay inside. Inside the jacket, the pocket is constructed with a gap at the top. I can put a map in the gap. My emergency toilet paper supply lives there too. A third zipped pocket on the upper section of the left sleeve is big enough to stash my icebreaker hat.
It’s barely been off my back since I got it home that first evening. I often wonder what I wore before I had it. Perfect teamed with jeans or as an outdoor activity mid layer. It packs easily though not as small as an ultralight down jacket and any wrinkles fall out reasonably well. The cut and fit is feminine and not overly sporty. The feel is soft.
It’s done well in the washing machine too, finding itself there because it’s been spattered in mud, not because it smells. No pilling or sagging either. Despite its size it dries quicker than you’d imagine. And on the subject of size, Icebreaker products are generally on the small size. The hood fits snugly and stays up even during a moderate breeze.
The current season’s Cascade has the addition of an angled breast pocket. I haven’t tried it as I know mine will last for many seasons to come.
Icebreaker Merino Wool Tech T Lite Short Sleeve
It’s the most expensive t-shirt I’ve ever owned and my favourite. It’s pink. ‘Shocking’ is how the colour is described. I love it. I wear it layered over a black long sleeved top as it’s bright and I can be seen easier when riding my bike. It looks nice in photos too, bringing a splash of colour to otherwise plain shots.
Wearing it as a t-shirt is a pleasure. Feeling soft and silky against the skin there’s no itching or chafing. Even under extreme exertion, sweat evaporates quickly. The colour however shows up salty residue when sweat is excessive. It’s light, unpacks well even when stuffed into a dry bag. The colour is still bright after many washes and exposure to UV in harsh conditions. During the winter, I wear it as a vest and sleep in it when wild camping.
If you think wool sounds weird for a t-shirt, think again. The yarn is so fine it’s hard to believe it is wool. Merino wool acts like a heater in the winter and a fan in the summer.
Icebreaker Merino Wool Oasis 200 Bodyfit Long Sleeve Crewe
Another best friend of mine, worn under work dresses, shirts or outdoorsy gear, works brilliantly as a base layer. Even when I got totally drenched on a recent ride I felt warm. Yes, I was wet, but as long as I don’t feel cold my spirits will remain high. Paired with the ‘shocking’ pink t-shirt, I feel feminine and know that I’ll be comfortable (and look nice too) whether hiking with my bike up a steep embankment or sitting in a café drinking tea and eating cake.
The body odour issue is obsolete even after days and days of repeated wear. Dan assures me I smell good and he hasn’t been shy about telling me I stank in the past.
Icebreaker Merino Wool Pocket Hat
This fits inside a pocket but more importantly on your head. Two tone and double thickness, I wear it under my cycle helmet and although I end up with hat hair, my head doesn’t itch and sweat is minimal. I like to turn up the edges and keep my ears free to hear everything and as it’s only available in one size it comes down over my eyebrows if I don’t.
Icebreaker Merino Wool Overall
All the Icebreaker gear I’ve used has one particularly interesting trait and that is this: All above garments stretch and go right back to their original shape and none of the above items contain a single thread of lycra.
I own several other brands and styles such as Half zip tops, underwear and a v-neck t-shirt. Brands include Janus, Devold and Decathalon (Quecha).and I’ll review these soon.