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Mid and Base Layers

Icebreaker Merinoloft Ellipse Midlayer | Review

Featuring effective Merinoloft panels, the Icebreaker Ellipse is a superb midlayer for winter adventures

Whether you’re looking for a midlayer to wear underneath your waterproof shell or an outer jacket, this Icebreaker top has you covered. It is warm, breathable, lightweight, comfortable and most importantly, versatile.

Icebreaker New Zealand-based brand that specialises in merino wool. Unlike some companies who might just use it for baselayers these guys are merino purists. So much so that even their insulation is made of wool fibres – a material they call Merinoloft.

The Ellipse midlayer features this insulation in Merinoloft panels on the chest and hood to help keep your head and neck warm. The insulation is 70g and it’s encased in a recycled DWR-treated polyester face fabric. A half-insulated top might look slightly odd, but the idea is that you have insulation where you need it, while keeping the arms less bulky offers you better freedom of movement.

“If you’re wearing an Icebreaker Ellipse, you’ll not only be warm and dry, you’ll be comfortable in the knowledge that the sheep whose wool made it were well looked after.”

The rest of the garment is made of a mixture of merino and recycled polyester that combines the quick drying properties of synthetic fabrics with the warmth-to-weight ratio and wicking ability of wool to offer you the best of both worlds.

In terms of features, the hood is closely-fitted and comfortable, with a storm flap on the inside and a chin guard on the zip. On the side of the jacket there are two zippered pockets as well as an internal stash pocket where you can put all your valuables without fear of losing them.

The Ellipse is brilliantly versatile – it has a slim fitted nice design which isn’t at all bulky, so you can wear it out and about in the city if you like. But it’s also easily technical enough to be worn as a mid layer on ski touring missions and winter hikes – or even an outer layer if you get hot while walking or skinning up.

There's clever Merinoloft panels on the chest and hood that'll keep your upper torso and head warm. Photo: Chris Johnson.
The thumb loops here are comfortable, and will help to keep your hands warm in winter. Photo: Chris Johnson.
Pocket for storing your Tamagotchi, and various other miscellaneous items. Photo: Chris Johnson.
As well as keeping your upper torso and head warm, the Merino loft panels have also got your neck covered. Photo: Chris Johnson.

Icebreaker put a lot of emphasis on sustainability and the transparency of their wool sourcing process. Their garments come with a barcode that allows the wearer to trace the provenance of the wool in it back to an individual farm, and they were one of the first outdoor brands to completely ban wool from sheep that had been “mulesed” – a cruel process that’s now (thankfully) on its way out.

This means that if you’re wearing an Icebreaker Ellipse, you’ll not only be warm and dry, you’ll be comfortable in the knowledge that the sheep whose wool made it were well looked after.

Icebreaker Merinoloft Ellipse Midlayer

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Selected for The Outdoor 100 Winter 2017

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