Gear Review: Icebreaker Quantum Long Sleeve Zip Hood
Disclosure: The following product was donated for the purpose of review.
I’m sure for many of you, Icebreaker has long been on your radar, if not it should be. Similar to Smartwool, they specialize in Merino wool baselayers, midlayers, accessories, and so on, for a variety of different outdoor sports. Merino wool combines the best qualities of traditional wool, cotton and synthetics. Soft, non-itch warmth in the cold and cool in the heat. Breathable to prevent clamminess and the awesome ability to keep your hiker stench at bay. Icebreaker also allows you to trace where the wool in your baselayer (or whatever layer) comes from by their “BAAcodes”, which is pretty darn neat.
Now onto Business
I’ve had the Quantum Hoodie for just about 2 months now and have tested it in a multitude of ways, hiking, cycling, everyday, and backpacking, in the Portland, OR area. Two activities I have yet to test it during are running and below freezing hiking temps. Icebreaker labels this as a cool-weather running piece, so it’s a snug fit and has some good reflecting abilities.
Weight: The first thing I noted when I took it out of the box was it’s weight. Definitely heavier than I was expecting for a mid-layer. I am currently without a scale (I know, I’m a terrible excuse for a backpacker. In my defense I just moved across the country and left 90% of my stuff at my parents house), so I don’t have the exact weight – promise I’ll update when I do.
Fit: Like I mentioned above, it’s designed for runners, so it’s snug (definition of snug: fits slightly small). I grabbed a large – even though I’m mostly a medium in tops – and I’m glad I did (for reference I’m 5’8″ and a rather hippy 170lbs)
Features: Hood, 2 zip hand warmer pockets, 1 zip chest pocket with media port, thumb holes, fold over hand cuffs (what I refer to as “built in mittens”), mesh under-arms, and a dropped hem.
- I love thumb holes. I am almost immediately sold on anything with thumbs holes.
- Full Zip – no having to pull it over my head, and more temp control
- Good reflective features, the main zipper is lined, there is a reflective Icebreaker logo on the upper left sleeve (though for running it should really be upper right), and a 2″ stripe on the upper back below the hood
- The mesh – right where you need it.
- Weight, it’s heavy for what it is. I’d rather just take a long sleeve and my puffy when hitting the trail for an overnight
- Too hot for hiking in summer + shoulder seasons, yet too cold for camp. I’ve (tried to) hiked in this in as low as the upper 40’s and quickly started sweating, but in camp started getting too chilly when it hit the upper-50’s. Admittedly I’m a really hot hiker and a cold sitter.
- The hood. One co-worker referred to it as the condom hood. I like to think I have a small head, but this hood makes me feel like my head is abnormally large. And for any of you with hair, there’s no pony tail cutout, so it’ll feel even smaller.
- The “built in mittens” are small and as much as I was super excited for them, were kind of a let down.
- The chest pocket is too small for a smart phone, but would probably fit an iPod nano/shuffle. Alternatively, it’s the perfect size for an ID and some money.
- It’s not meant for the dryer – like many wool items. The last time I washed it, it took 2 days to fully dry. Though in warm temps/in the sun, it dries decently – all it needed was overnight the first time I washed it.
- There is a lack of mesh on the back of the hoodie, so if you’re a heavier sweater (like me) and have a pack on, your back will get wet. I wore it while commuting to work a couple of days ago (admittedly should have taken it off halfway through my ride), and when I got to work, I had a nice big sweat mark where my pack was.
As long as the con list is, I love this hoodie. The main thing is that I just can’t see myself backpacking with it. It’s great for everyday, and will be a good layering piece for winter runs and commutes to work. With the price tag of $219.99 – as of 10/26/15 actually on sale for $131.99 – (for the model I reviewed) or $225.00 for what I assume is the newer model (with more choice in colors), it’s a good investment for anyone who does a variety of outdoor sports/activities, and likes to be active all 4 seasons, year after year. The quality is wonderful – I have only washed it twice, and it’s never really stunk, nor has it started piling anywhere. I can definitely see this hoodie still being in great shape in a couple of years.
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