Was so excited to receive my Icebreaker cascade Long Sleeve Zip in camouflage through the post this morning. I love Icebreaker, yes I know it’s a little expensive but for me it really does work! It goes everywhere with me, from the Arctic to the jungle, underpants to thermals, this kit really does keep you warm in the cold and keep you cool in the heat. The wool doesn’t retain smell in the same way as synthetic fabrics do. I find particularly in hot humid environments even if you don’t wear them, synthetic materials get a funk on and no matter how much you wash them you just can’t get the smell out. Icebreaker merino wool I find doesn’t hold the smells like this. I wouldn’t say it was scentless but definitely no where near its synthetic counterpart. I have experimented with other brands of merino but have always returned to Icebreaker as their products hold their shape and are durable and now they have a range of awesome colours to brighten up a trek or expedition. They also have a range with an urban slant which is ace for air travel or city visits, they looks stunning but don’t compromise on technical function.
I demand a huge amount from my kit, the environments I work in take their toll on clothing. I learnt early on; ‘you get what you pay for’ and once I find a brand or a style that I like I am incredibly loyal and it takes quite a bit of persuasion for me to try a new brand. I cannot take the risk that my kit will fall apart. My job is stressful enough at times without having to worry about a wardrobe or kit malfunction.
I was so incredibly excited to see the women’s camouflage range on the New Zealand site earlier in the year, I sent an email straight off to Icebreaker asking if it would be making its way to the UK or Europe. Women’s camouflage clothing is so hard to source in the UK and parts of Europe, unlike the USA, hunting is not a widespread sport and I can’t imagine its the sort of outfit the British tweed brigade want to be seen in while out on a shoot. Those of us ladies who wish to wear camouflage clothing need to source from military surplus stores where an unflattering stock of DPM cast offs await. I spend my life in outdoor clothing, not only does a good fit make me feel happy and reduces chafing but technical clothing works by following the contours of the body, to get the most out of your clothing it needs to fit properly.
For me camouflage is particularly important when working on film shoots and I am in constant danger of being caught in the edge of shot, there is nothing more likely to get a cameraman worked up than a bright red jacket just on the edge of field of vision. My safety role often means I am in there with the action and to find clothing that can help conceal me is just amazing.
So the specs on this jacket are exactly the same as their non camouflage versions. The material is 86%Merino, 10% Nylon, 4% Lycra, the addition of the Lycra helps the jacket move with your body whilst retaining the shape.
It features Icebreaker RealFLEECE® fabric, which gives the inside a lovely soft brushed feel, set-in sleeves, secure zippered chest pocket with media port, internal storm flap, secure zippered hand pockets. The pink flash on the model in the picture is a bit brighter than in reality. The pink is darker which came as a pleasant surprise. I love this pink flash, and the Icebreaker logo is in pink on the sleeve, they give it a definite feminine statement without shouting. The jacket also comes in 3 different camouflage patterns, Realtree, Realtree Xtra and Mossy oak which allow you to change up the jacket depending on your environment. The wool being naturally scent resistant is a massive thumbs up for huntresses, wildlife camerawomen or watchers and perfect for the bushcraft enthusiast. The patterns are also striking when worn in an urban setting if popping out for coffee, teamed with jeans it doesn’t look grrrr or out of place. It is also machine washable. I wash all my Icebreaker clothing regularly and despite the concerns of wool shrinking, the only time I ever had anything shrink marginally was when a local washer lady put a t-shirt through on a boil wash. I still fit in it though.
I love the fit on the body, it is roomy enough to fit an Icebreaker thermal underneath and it fits well underneath a goretex or thicker jacket and works very well as part of a layering system, wicking sweat away from the core. There are only two downsides of this jacket, for some the price maybe a deterrent at £150, those of you just getting into the outdoors may find this a bit steep for a mid layer . Do I think it is worth the money? Yes, this jacket will last, it is good quality and comfortable and looks great. It is an awesome piece of technical kit. The other downside is the length of the sleeves. I am 5’9 and I find the length of the sleeves are right on the edge. If they had been any shorter I would have had to return. This really surprised me as Icebreaker usually has long sleeves or has inbuilt thumb loops which would make this jacket perfect.
There are currently camouflage thermals and a thermal long john on the Icebreaker site, currently saving the pennies.
Thank you Icebreaker, another winner! Thanks to you to sheep for donating your wooly coats to the pursuit of adventure. Please can we have a heavier weight jacket camouflage jacket too? The MerinoLOFT Helix would be amazing!!!