Growing up I always associated wool with itchy sweaters, overheating feet, and baggy garments built for box people. All of that changed when I was first introduced to the wonders of merino wool by Icebreaker and Smartwool.
I scored my first pair of Icebreaker underwear when I was 12, but never wore them. Just goes to show that tweens have no idea what is going on… I rediscovered them when I started leading kayak trips at 15 and my obsession began. Sadly, my limited financial resources curtailed my spending, which was probably for the best. As I started to earn more money, I expanded my collection, still only buying when I found used items or solid sales.
Now, I probably own no less than 20 Icebreaker or Smartwool t-shirts, 10 sweaters, countless pairs of socks, and more than enough briefs. With the exception of outerwear, the vast majority of my clothes are merino.
One shirt, however, has been my go-to for almost a decade. A slate gray Icebreaker Tech-T Lite that displays a graphic of the richter scale measurements the 2007 eruption of Mount Ruaepehu, New Zealand’s largest and most active volcano.
It is wonderfully simple and elegant. As are almost all of Icebreaker’s Tech-T Lite designs. It is great to see a company creating such a technical garment while maintaining a sense of style. Update: Icebreaker has recently decided to feature some of Simon Beck’s designs on their garments. Simon Beck has gained notoriety recently for his fascinating geometric patterns stomped into natural landscapes. Definitely worth keeping an eye on this guy and I think it is great that Icebreaker is supporting his work!
I scored this tee in a tent sale at Fontana Sports in Madison, WI in 2007. It immediately became my hiking shirt, my workout shirt, my kayaking shirt, my school shirt, etc. It’s uses were endless and it never smelled bad. It was one of the three shirts I brought on my cycling tour across Europe. It has been my main backcountry shirt for just about every adventure I can remember. In the gym, it is my PR shirt. Definitely a winner. After 7 years, I still wear it. It has some discoloration from backpack straps, is a little thinner overall, has some holes, but still performs like a true champ.
I cannot recommend the Icebreaker Tech-T Lite enough. If you want to look good, smell good, and feel good after a month in the backcountry, a sweat sesh in the gym, on a beach in Hawaii, or hanging out by a campfire, then this is the shirt for you.
The Bare Bones
Name: Icebreaker Tech T Lite
Materials: Merino Wool/Lycra Blend
Available Colors: Assorted with Graphics
Get Your Own: Icebreaker Tech T Lite