Icebreaker Cool-Lite Sphere Short Sleeve Crewe | Review - Outdoors Magic

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Mid and Base Layers

Icebreaker Cool-Lite Sphere Short Sleeve Crewe | Review

Icebreaker have created the ideal travel t-shirt, suited towards a range of outdoor sports in summer climates

Why We Chose The Icebreaker Cool-Lite: Breathability, comfort, odour resistance, quick drying.

Icebreaker was founded back in 1995 by a then 24-year-old called Jeremy Moon, who, while backpacking around New Zealand, had a chance encounter with a sheep farmer who showed him a t-shirt he’d made using wool from his merino sheep. Having spent some time wearing a sweaty and smelly synthetic baselayer during his travels, Moon instantly noticed the difference in comfort and performance, and realised it was something the hiking world needed to know about. So, after remortgaging his house, he threw everything he had into creating his own outdoor baselayer brand.

“It was by chance that Jeremy came across Merino wool, after being recommended to visit a sheep farmer who had produced some prototype Merino baselayers.”

Merino is able to absorb moisture (sweat) at a very quick rate, and it’ll retain up to 30% of its weight in it without feeling wet to the touch. This is because it naturally spreads this moisture out thinly throughout woven fibres, something that in turn increases the rate at which it gets transferred to the atmosphere. Long story short, Merino has excellent wicking qualities.

With these moisture management capabilities of Merino, the added bonus is that it means bacteria doesn’t have the environment it needs to create odour. 100% Polyester baselayers, on the other hand, require the use of treatments such as Polygiene to keep them smelling fresh. Merino wool does it all the natural way.

Remember that old wooly jumper that you were forced to wear as a kid? The one that used to feel like you had a few pads of wire wool strapped around your neck, constantly itching you every time you dared move? Well thanks to Merino’s finer and softer nature, it’s infinitely more comfortable to wear than traditional wool. On top of this, Merino is a naturally stretchier type of wool, allowing it to hug your contours and flex with your movements comfortably.

Printed patterns on the side keep things looking casual. Photo: Chris Johnson
The Cool-Lite is a fantastic weight for summer trips. Photo: Chris Johnson

Icebreaker t-shirts today still remain similar to that New Zealand farmer’s t-shirt, they’ve simply been refined and broken into different categories of weights, suited towards different activities and levels of intensity.

The Cool-Lite Sphere is Icebreaker’s classic short sleeved Merino t-shirt designed for us in warmer weather conditions with their 130 featherweight Merino being used. It’s wool that doesn’t keep you too warm but at the right temperature.

Icebreaker also promise that this t-shirt can be worn for 7 days between washes, and, being made mostly out of naturally-sourced fibres, it means less plastic down the drain when you do come to wash the t-shirt.

Using a 52% Merino, 13% Nylon and 35% Tencel blend, the Cool-Lite Sphere has sustainability built into it. The ideal partner to Merino, Tencel is a sustainably
-sourced fibre that’s obtained from wood pulp, requiring less energy to produce than cotton. Similar to Merino, Tensel is breathable, absorbs moisture and is soft to the skin.

Tester’s Verdict

Jordan Tiernan, Outdoors Magic Staff Writer

“There really isn’t too much to say about this t-shirt – it does its job, and it does it well. The properties of Merino are all evident when wearing this top: it’s extremely breathable, holds all-day comfort and resists odour.

“This odour resistance is something that always surprises me with Merino garments. I can wear this t-shirt for a week-long trip whilst hiking, including stuffing it into my duffel bag alongside other smelly clothes countless times, yet when I grab it out of my bag again to wear on the flight home, it’s still got that distinctively neutral smell to it – a great travel companion.”

Anna Blackwell, record breaking kayaker

“Merino is my go-to for baselayers and active clothing, and this Icebreaker t-shirt did not disappoint. The wool material is so lightweight and soft you barely notice it. I like the fact that the shoulder seams are slightly off-shoulder so they don’t rub at all when walking with a rucksack on.”

Icebreaker Cool-Lite Sphere Short Sleeve Crewe Merino Top


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