The Vault Regulars

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Mens Merino wool zip top.

  For the last few weeks i have had some time to search around for a Merino wool top.
It's getting to that time of year when we need a bit more warmth from our gear and that was one reason why i wanted to buy a new one but i also wanted a zipped neck top which i could take on an up coming trip to New Zealand and wear not during the day but as the evening temperature falls.

  I currently have 3 Icebreaker crew necked long and short sleeved versions in 160gsm material and i remember buying my first one in a small outdoor shop in Oban. When i saw the price of £45, and i am going back about 8 years,  i was in two minds if i should get it or not. I thought it was so expensive for a base layer, but i bought it.

  Having now got used to wearing Merino base layers i find the properties of the material suits me just fine.
Merino has good warmth to weight and wicks moisture really well. And the important thing is that you can wear it for days without it ponging unlike other lightweight materials.
Depending on the time of year you can also just wear this baselayer directly under a waterproof without the need for a mid layer.

  So i was going to wait and get a new Icebreaker Merino top when i arrived in Auckland but when i checked out the local outdoor shops that i had been advised to try by fellow blogger Rob who’s fine pages can be found at Lightweight Tramping Gear, they were actually a little more expensive than what you can get them for in the UK. Strange.

  I eventually found a Merino 100% ultra fine wool long sleeved zip top in 200gsm for the cheap price of £25.76 and £3.95 P&P.
  Straight out of the packing i saw the thumb loops which was a bit of surprise because they didn’t show this on the web page. A plus point.
  And then, trying it on another plus point was the length. As you can see from the above photo of moi. it covers the cold spots and therefore it shouldn’t ride up when carrying a rucksack. Excellent.
You can also see that the top of the zip is just slightly off centre which makes up for the lack of a zip guard which i still would have preferred to have.

 There are no seams across the top of the shoulders and all of the stitching is flatlock and good quality.
There are no pockets, after all this is a base layer not a mid.

  They also do a ladies version which is here and costs £25.32 +P&P. I think this is very good value for money.

Unfortunately the Mens version has had a price increase since i received mine and doing this post. It is now £33.72. which is still very much cheaper than many other similar style tops.

For example the Icebreaker Mondo 200gsm LS Zip neck top is Here at £62.99. And Amazon are selling it for a little less Here at £56.00


Anonymous said...

cheers for that Alan, a very good price indeed and have just bought one for myself.


AlanR said...

Hi David,
Glad to help. Hope you like it.

brendan said...

Have you ever considered their (Trekmates, that is) bamboo baselayers? I found one at a massive discount in Millets last year and bought it on a whim, but now reckon it's brilliant and have 4 more. They're not as dense and therefore won't be as warm as 200gsm merino but it's the softest fabric I've ever warn and has pretty good anti-pong properties. I reckon they're not far off the 150gsm icebreaker tshirt I also own (I use them interchangeably).

AlanR said...

Hi Brendan,
Thanks for popping over. I have a Bamboo top from the very same people. I find it very comfortable to wear as a general T shirt and it feels really nice BUT i found it didn’t wick sweat away too quickly and at the end of the day's walk i found i needed to change into another top as it was cold.
It certainly had a no pong property which was good but another thing i disliked was that when i washed it, it took a bit too long to dry out in comparison to other synthetics. Not that Merino is particularly fast drying either, i may add. But if Marino is damp it is still warm.

Chris Smith said...

Where are you going in New Zealand, Alan? It is about the most outdoors country I have ever been to and has EVERYTHING a lover of the outdoors could wish for! Hope you enjoy your trip!

Phreerunner said...

Looks like a good product, Alan. We noticed that UK prices seemed to be cheaper than NZ prices, so don't expect to come back loaded with gear. The trip destroyed our compasses, though - suggest you leave them at home and buy a cheap one over there.

AlanR said...

Hi Chris,
We are not going to put a rigid agenda together but as a rough guide we want to go up to Bay of Islands, The Coromandal Peninsula, The Tongariro National Park, Abel Tasman area. We will meet up with family in Wellington and friends in Auckland. Nearly all transport is via Motor Home.
We have been once before and covered most of the South Island so we won’t be venturing too far south this time. (Oh and the chippy in Kaikoura)
It is one of the most beautiful countries for an outdoors person as you say.

AlanR said...

Hi Martin,
Yes i remember reading about your compass issue, it was enlightening.
And i will take up your suggestion.

I had put a bit of a list together, but because i have had a lot of spare time recently i have been checking out many Local NZ outdoor outlets on the internet and the prices are quite high even for locally made products. I have found this a bit of a disappointment.

My intention was to fly out almost bag less and then buy what i needed out there but it isn’t going to happen with regards to new gear. The only thing i will seriously be looking at with a possible view to buying, is the Osprey Hornet 46 which is not available here.

There are also numerous outlet stores which may have some offers available with it being New Year sales time but i will have to wait and see.

But that’s enough about gear, some readers can get a bit grumpy. Ha

brendan said...

Hi Alan,
Interesting point. I guess the slow drying and coldness could be down to the cotton blend they're using in the fabric? Not sure why they do that.
I lived, including sleep time, in my long sleeve bamboo zip for two days on a walk from Ivybridge to Okehampton earlier in the year and wasn't bothered by the problems you mentioned, but then I come from a hot place (Darwin, Australia) so you could argue I'm used to being sweaty? :)
All that said, if I could afford more merino I'd snap it up in a heartbeat.

AlanR said...

Hi Brendon,
Never been to Darwin, Yet but Sheila has. I’ve been up the York Peninsula so i know how sticky it gets.
You caught me out there. I thought Okehampton NSW but where’s Ivybridge.? Never heard of it.
Obviously you were in Devon. Makes sense now.

afootinthehills said...

Hi Alan

Like you, I like Merino wool - even more at that price!

AlanR said...

Hi Gibson,
Yes it's a nice piece of kit and a good price. I have been checking the web page that i bought it from and stock is getting low so i think i may have been a bit of an influence here.
It may be available elsewhere though.

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