Icebreaker is a brand synonymous with top quality New Zealand Merino wool. Those who have worn Icebreaker merino, will know how versatile it can be in a wide range of temperatures & climates. Until now however, Icebreaker garments haven’t really been the ideal choice for hot & humid conditions, but that’s all set to change.

Icebreaker have developed an innovative new fabric crafted from two natural fibres keeps travellers and hikers cool and dry in hot conditions.

For Spring/Summer 2015, Icebreaker have introduced a new fabric combining the performance benefits of the world’s best merino wool and Tencel®, a fibre made from sustainably-produced wood. Known as Cool-Lite™, the fabric has been used to create a range of lightweight summer tops, tanks, hoodies and wraps.

Merino regulates temperature, breathes to prevent overheating, dries fast and resists odour for days, cutting down on laundry. Tencel® has a high natural moisture content that keeps the body cool in the heat on even the longest treks, while its exceptional wicking abilities absorb sweat fast for comfort. The fabric also has a touch of nylon for extra strength.


New Icebreaker Cool-Lite™ garments for women include the Sphere Tank & Sphere SS Crewe, while for men there’s Sphere SS Crewe & Sphere LS Crewe.

The summer collection highlights strong hot-weather colours and high-energy stripes. Dying Icebreaker Cool-Lite™ fabric gives an on-trend mélange affect.

Vice President of Product Mark Koppes says Icebreaker merino has always been a favourite for travellers and hikers because of its thin, lightweight layers and its ability to regulate temperature depending on the climate and conditions.  “Adding Tencel® to merino increases the cooling and drying properties, creating a garment that’s perfect for the heat,” he says.

“There’s nothing better to wear against your skin this summer, whether you’re hiking in the wilderness or exploring a new city.”

But does it actually work? I hear you asking…

Well I was curious myself & decided the best way to find out would be to put this new fabric to the test. Summer comes early here in Queensland, and sticks around for a long while. This means that on a recent overnight trip to Mount Barney, the temps were already up around 30 degrees & humid. Perfect testing conditions for the Cool-lite garments. My partner for the climb Kai wore the Sphere SS crew, whilst I opted for for some extra sun protection & donned the Sphere LS crew. Going up the steep & exposed Logan’s Ridge we were subjected to plenty of sun & compared to the 100% merino tops I’m used to – these shirts were noticeably cooler. Upon arriving at the summit, we both had the usual ‘sweaty back’ under our overnight packs, but this rapidly dried whilst eating lunch.

So in summary my observations thus far, are that the Cool-lite fabric is indeed cooler, more breathable & dries quicker than the Icebreaker merino I’m used to. It’s also a bit softer to touch & slightly lighter weight than my 150-weight Tech-T shirts (about 135-weight I believe). So far I’m loving the Cool-lite & will definitely be giving it a solid wearing this summer!


About The Author

Lachlan Gardiner

Lachlan works as a freelance photographer, writer and videographer. His practice lies somewhere between storytelling and being a total gear nerd. Often found hiking, mountaineering, climbing, cycling, packrafting, or just hunting down the next story - Lachlan will take basically any excuse to get into the outdoors. In between all of the above, he also works in our Paddy Pallin store in Fortitude Valley, Brisbane.

2 Responses

  1. Sean

    Hey Lachlan

    What do you think of these shirts for lightweight travel use? I’m planning a trip to Patagonia and would like to only take a couple of shirts. These seem to have the best balance of anti-odour as well as quick drying?

    • Lachlan Gardiner
      Lachlan Gardiner

      Hi Sean,
      I think they’ll be ideal for your trip to Patagonia. The Tencil fibre is actually even more anti-microbial that merino & yes they’ll be quick drying for sure. Have a great trip!


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