Gear Review: Icebreaker Sphere Tee
A versatile merino wool tee that goes from town to trail.
If you're like me you've got a drawer full of tech style t-shirts from the swag bags of the various runs in which you've participated. The quality varies greatly, they're splashed with advertiser logos, and they've acquired a permanent odor after being worn for just a few afternoon runs. Yet every time I go to pack for a hike I convince myself that one of these ill fitting polyester shirts will suffice for the long weekend, knowing in the back of my mind that I will surely be disappointed. So after dragging my feet for far too long, I finally decided it was time to invest in a quality t-shirt to add to my list of outdoor gear.
I wanted something primarily for hot weather on the humid east coast, so I picked up an Icebreaker Sphere short sleeve tee featuring their Cool-Lite fabric. Icebreaker is well known for their high quality and versatile merino wool apparel. A natural fiber with anti-bacterial properties, merino wool resist odors, breathes well to regulate temperature, and wicks moisture. Icebreaker combined these signature fibers with a combination of TENCEL and nylon. They claim this new fabric, dubbed Cool-Lite, is 40% cooler and wicks 3 times faster than their pure merino wool.
My first impression of the shirt was that it was extremely lightweight with a comfortable fit. The tagless design features only an understated logo on the chest. The classic t-shirt styling doesn't scream performance apparel, and I could easily see myself wearing it as an everyday tee as well. While out for several long days backpacking, the shirt never left my body. It provided an excellent base layer during chilly mornings, and transitioned seamlessly into balmy afternoons schlepping up summits. The wicking ability of the shirt was one of the best I've owned, it dried out quickly, and I couldn't detect a single whiff of odor even after living in the shirt for several days and nights.
It pays to invest in a quality piece of apparel that can perform under a variety of conditions. The Icebreaker Sphere tee definitely falls into that category, and will be my go to shirt for outdoor adventure for the foreseeable future.
-You can check out this shirt ($70) and other apparel at the Icebreaker website.