Kit review: Icebreaker Quantum Hoodie
I have learned, over many years of travelling, that I never wear all the clothes that I pack. While a few extra, just-in-case, items don’t matter too much, it is frustrating to heft around a heavy rucksack filled with dozens of unworn clothes, shoes, boots etc.
So I have become very strict with myself and I pack the minimum number of tops, trousers, pants etc.
But what about becoming smelly during a ski, cycling or walking holiday, for example? One solution is to take clothes that can cope with the rigours of daily activities but without becoming whiffy. And if you know anything about outdoor products, you’ll most likely be aware of the wonders of merino wool.
Merino wool is also brilliant at staying non-whiffy. Even when I’ve worn a top for day after day of hard physical exercise it still doesn’t smell of BO.
Packing for a ski holiday
For my ski holiday I packed one Icebreaker Quantum Long Sleeve Zip Hood made of merino wool. I wore it every day. It kept me perfectly warm and dry and it didn’t smell. At all.
I also packed two man-made nylon style baselayers, which I wore beneath the Icebreaker Quantum. After two days of wear they each whiffed fairly badly. (Let’s not talk about what I wore on days five to seven!).
I also packed two pairs of merino ski socks (one Smart Wool and one Darn Tough). I changed half way through the week although I didn’t really need to bother because the first pair was still in good shape.
Other clothes included a ski jacket, ski trousers, several pairs of gloves (from warm to very warm), one pair of evening “outdoor” trousers, three evening t-shirts, helmet, two buffs and a lightweight insulated jacket, my favourite Bergans of Norway jacket.
By the end of the week I had worn all my clothes but didn’t feel as though I needed anything extra, except perhaps for Christmas day when other people decided to get dressed up and I only had my evening “outdoors” trousers and a clean t-shirt. Instead I tied tinsel in my hair!
On test: Icebreaker Quantum Long Sleeve Zip Hood
Anyone who loves Merino wool baselayers will know of Icebreaker. Founded 20 years ago in New Zealand, Icebreaker is the big name in Merino wool and has grown to supply more than 4,500 stores in 50 countries worldwide.
While Icebreaker clothing is not the cheapest, it does offer excellent quality, warmth, design and fit. I have had Icebreaker baselayer tops that are still going strong after a decade of wearing. In my mind, Icebreaker is an investment purchase.
The Icebreaker Quantum Long Sleeve Zip Hood is a mid-weight, mid-layer product. I wore it over a lighter-weight base layer and beneath my ski jacket.
The Icebreaker Quantum is also designed for high-intensity sports. The 260g “Terry Merino” is created to protect and insulate the body from the worst of the elements yet still allow for sweat to evaporate through the fabric to keep skin dry.
Icebreaker Quantum Hoodie details:
Weight: 260g mid-weight
Fabric: 98% merino wool, 2% LYCRA®
Icebreaker Quantum Hoodie features:
- Mesh underarm for maximum breathability
- Reflective centre front zip for visibility
- Two zipped hand pockets
- Chest pocket with media port
- Shaped hood for warmth and protection
- Fold-over handwarmer cuffs
- Thumb loop to keep sleeves in place
- Drop tail hem for additional coverage
- Machine washable.
The Quantum is easy to wear and suits many different activities. It fits well and looks good. I appreciate the longer torso and arm length because I am tall-ish and have long arms. It’s rare that I can make use of the thumb loops because the arms of other tops and jackets and normally too short but on this Icebreaker jacket I can.
The breathability of the hoodie is good. When skiing, even on warmer days, I did not end up wet with sweat. This is because the wool allows sweat to evaporate away.
Importantly, it also kept me perfectly warm whatever the weather. Merino wool seems to magically work to keep you warm when it’s cold and cooler when it’s warmer weather.
Also, as I found, the Icebreaker Quantum did not smell after extended use (ie all week skiing).
The Quantum will also be a useful item of clothing come the spring and summer. I can see me wearing it as an outer layer on walking days.
The colour range is also lovely. Icebreaker a great at creating colours that are bright yet muted, so you a reminded that it’s a natural merino wool product.
The details are excellent. A fitted hood is very handy when being active outdoors. There is nothing worse than a flapping hood. I like the softer lining in the hood, too, which makes it more comfortable against the face.
The thumb loops or handwarmer cuffs are also very useful. When skiing I used the thumb loops and popped my gloves over the top.
This Icebreaker hoodie is very versatile and while £160 seems like a lot to pay for a mid-layer it is likely that you would wear this top over and over, on many different occasions and for many years to come.