Icebreaker, ever evolving

Reviewed by Dan from MI on Thursday, March 12, 2015
Fits true to size (or large for Icebreaker), a little skinny through the arms
Fabric is 200g/m^2 (86% merino), very light. Lighter than many Icebreaker shirts.
Fabric is soft enough to wear next to skin, nylon/spandex does seem to add resilience.
Heather blue fabric looks great from 10 feet or 10 inches. Zipper is not quite as eye popping blue as in the picture, though not as subtle as I would like.
Hood is slightly heavier weight than the body fabric.
Hood is scooped on the sides, leaving your cheeks/face exposed to the wind.

Icebreaker has made some nice improvements over past Sierra Realfleece jackets. The collar is better structured, the zipper is easier to adjust 1-handed, and lays flat when partially zipped (unlike the old one that would stand up, poking you in the neck). It also has a water repellent coating that, at least in limited testing works surprisingly well against small droplet precipitation and snow, big drops (such as those from tree limbs) still get through the loose knit.

Unfortunately Icebreaker has made some negative changes as well. The fit is considerably more generous than prior models, what used to be a fitted mid or outer layer is now loose and baggy despite the addition of spandex. They also reduced the fabric weight from 260g/m^2 to 200g/m^2 (and only 86% merino), which means it isn't as warm as previous Sierra jackets and does nothing to cut the wind. This reduction in fabric weight is a real disappointment as my original realfleece hoodie is falling apart after years of loving use and this will not fill the void it is leaving. Boxy fit, lighter weight blended fabric (less than 2/3 as much merino compared to previous Sierra's)...All it's missing is a TNF logo. But don't worry, what Icebreaker is saving on merino wool, they're rolling back into their own exterior logo which is now a bright white raised rubbery depiction of New Zealand.

4 Stars mostly because the DWR treatment is pretty impressive. Only time will tell how well it holds up.
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