The Icebreaker Men’s Tech Top base layer is a good looking shirt by Icebreaker, meant to support you duriong your activities in the coldest temperatures.
In order to give a solid test of the Men’s Tech Top base layer, I enjoyed a few days in Gaspésie over Christmas on a ski trip. After various runs alternating sweaty climbs, long transitions in alpine colds and fast descents down the slopes, I can safely say that I tested this top to the maximum.
First of all, it’s made out of 260g 100% Merino fabric, the heaviest and the warmest of all the Icebreaker line (only considering base layers). I put the base layer to test on the coldest day where we went on a full day ski touring expedition at -15°C. Climbing up the mountain it was warm enough to wear as a single layer under a 3L Shell. Once I reached the summit, I felt comfortable enough to take off the shell in order to add layers without freezing immediately. The Tech Top offers excellent insulation that aids in keeping you warm throughout the whole process.
Breathability remains, for me, the number one quality to look for in a base layer. With Merino, there is no need to worry about that. Even during the hardest climbs, moisture finds its way out instantly (unless you forget to take off a down jacket over it). Reaching the top of a mountain and being able to keep all the warmth you’ve created and stay dry at the same time is a true blessing.
This top is designed to be long enough to cover part of the behind, which is very nice to keep any cold air from reaching the skin, even in wide movements. The design at the top of the shoulders avoid having seams that are in contact with a backpack, which make it comfortable to wear and prevents chafing.
The Tech Top is part of the Bodyfit series. For quick reference, I’m a fairly skinny guy measuring 5’8″. The length is great, the sleeves covering all the way to the wrist and no further. It’s tight fitting at the wrists and on the whole body and chest.
Considering that I’m not built with the biggest of frames, the seams on the edge of the shoulders however tend to form a pleat. I also won’t fill the sleeves completely, which leaves a bit of slack. This wasn’t a major problem during the expeditions, though, and I’m pretty confident that most guys out there will find this shirt pretty tight fitting.
Icebreaker proves that it’s the softest merino there is out there therefore; it’s never itchy, even after 4 days of wearing it all day. The best surprise is that even after those 4 days, it’s still fresh and free of bad smells. I was told about those mythical properties of merino wool, but it’s hard to believe until you experience it for yourself.
Overall, the Top Tech has accomplished its mission really well. It’s extremely warm, super breathable and the fit is nice, exceeding pretty much all my expectations for an ideal base layer.