Gear Review: Icebreaker MerinoLOFT Helix Zip
Unfortunately, to me anyway, this winter has been especially mild. I like snow hiking more than any other form but the lack of snow days and prolonged cold spells meant I didnt really get a chance to enjoy the bad weather. Having been asked to test the Icebreaker Helix mid layer I was keen to get out into the cold but this really didnt happen. However recently I managed to do an overnight hike in Uhwarrie State Park in North Carolina and took the jacket for an outing.
As a comfortable mid-layer the Icebreaker MerinoLOFT Helix Zip is a jacket I happily hike in. I dont use rain jackets, as I am an umbrella guy, so the Helix is ideal in cooler temperatures as a hiking jacket. While it would not replace a down jacket for use in camp at night it does offer a level of comfort for daytime activities in colder temperatures. The woven merino wool interior assists keeping in the warmth while also wicking out the sweat. The outer shell offers a level of water resistance protecting against light showers while at the same time maintaining warmth.
It is lightweight and packs pretty small so can be carried in the pack without a huge burden on the pack size. I selected the conifer color version, which is rather sporty looking especially with the light green trim. The sides are stretchy and allow for easy movement while being active. There are two waist side pockets and one internal chest height pocket. The internal pocket has a opening to allow cell phone or music player headphones to be used while the pocket is zipped closed. One addition I did like was thumbholes in the sleeve allowing both warmth of the wrists and keeping the sleeve from riding up the arms while being active. The jacket does not have a hood and to be honest I would of like the additional protection, even if it was an option extra.
The fit is true to size and felt comfortable. It is available in a number of great color combinations making it just as wearable in town and the mountains. The jacket is easy to maintain and can be machine-washed, drying fast naturally.
100% Recycled Polyester exterior
39% merino/45% Nylon/16% LYCRA® side panels,
70gm Icebreaker MerinoLOFT insulation,
100% wool heather lining
MSRP: $250 (as of today its $125 on sale via link above)
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