Icebreaker’s new MerinoLoft insulation is exceptionally warm, outperforming both down and synthetic alternatives, especially when wet. But it’s not light, and it’s not very compressible. The company’s woven merino wool garments offer exceptional temperature regulation across a wide variety of conditions, and are incredibly comfortable as a result, but don’t provide much in the way of outright warmth.
This new Ellipse range from the New Zealand company attempts to combine the benefits of both materials in an effort to address those disadvantages.
Constructed from a body of its heaviest, 230-weight woven merino wool, augmented by zones of MerinoLoft across the chest and hood, the Icebreaker Ellipse half-zip hoodie ($230) should bring significant insulation to areas that experience the most significant heat loss, without adding weight or reducing breathability elsewhere.
Worn as a lightweight insulated shell on chilly, dry days or as a mid-layer sandwiched between a light wool base layer and weatherproof outer layer when the weather's colder, windier, or wetter, the Ellipse range (available in men’s and women’s versions, with this hoodie as well as vests), should prove ideal for high-output activities like cycling and running.