Icebreaker – Merino wool is amazing.

I was contacted a couple of months ago by the lovely folks at Nature Shop, asked if I’d like to do a couple of reviews, and sent two products of my choice. The first item was reviewed back in August, but the Icebreaker jacket got minimal use due to some crazy warm weather here. I wore it as much as I could, but I really couldn’t put it through its paces. Now? Yes, I can give some input on it.

First of all, I gotta tell you that this is the finest, sexiest, most flattering jacket I’ve ever owned. It’s cut like a timeless fashion piece rather than a highly capable performance item. The wool is thin, sturdy, and smooth and pleasing to touch. You do not feel like you’re wearing a wool coat, and yet all the tech (straight from nature kind of tech) is in there. The stitching is lovely, the hardware (a zipper, some snaps, and a tension cord around the hood) are all top quality. Nothing feels or looks skimpy here- this is a jacket to impress.

And impress it does. More than just looks, this sucker will keep you from overheating, keep you warm, and take the bite off some of the nastiest wind. This was put to the test in Wales a couple of weeks ago; we took a friend to the Brecon Beacons for a couple of Welsh castles. The weather was not particularly pleasant, and especially up at Carreg Cennan, the wind was cold and very strong. The Icebreaker Coastal Paramount Hood jacket did not let me down. We experienced rain, drizzle, harsh winds, and the temperature shifts of being in and out of the car, as well as the odd blast of sunshine between clouds. My Icebreaker coped with everything just like its user manual said it would. I was comfortable and protected.

I will say that an item like this doesn’t come cheap. This is performance clothing with style. Icebreaker is the kind of stuff you’ll buy and rely on over and over again. I read in the manual booklet a quote from Sir Peter Blake (World Circumnavigation Record, 1994) that he “wore it for 40 days and 40 nights and it didn’t itch or get whiffy,” and I believe it. I’m looking forward to expanding my wardrobe with Icebreaker items (they do base layers as well as outerwear) and I think I’ve finally found the stuff to make my rugged North Cornwall coastal life comfortable as well as stylish.

Thank you Nature Shop. Good stuff and good people.

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Icebreaker Coastal Paramount Hood jacket provided for the purpose of review by I have not been paid otherwise.