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OWNER REVIEW - Icebreaker Skin 200 Leggings with Fly - R Lyon

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  • richardglyon
    The first of several ORs on my search for merino wool base layer garments. HTML is posted in Tests/OR folder at http://tinyurl.com/25rzm2 ICEBREAKER MEN S
    Message 1 of 4 , Apr 29, 2007
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      The first of several ORs on my search for merino wool base layer
      garments. HTML is posted in Tests/OR folder at
      http://tinyurl.com/25rzm2

      ICEBREAKER MEN'S SKIN 200 LEGGINGS WITH FLY
      Owner Review by Richard Lyon
      April 29, 2007

      Personal Details and Backpacking Background.
      Male, 60 years old
      Height: 6' 4" (1.93 m)
      Weight: 200 lb (91 kg)
      Email address: rlyon AT gibsondunn DOT com
      Home: Dallas, Texas USA
      I've been backpacking for 45 years on and off, and regularly in the
      Rockies since 1986. I do a week long trip every summer, and often
      take three-day trips. I'm usually camping in alpine terrain, at
      altitudes of 5000 to 13000 ft (1500 - 4000 m). I prefer base camp
      backpacking, a long hike in with day trips from camp, but I do my
      share of forced marches too. Though always looking for ways to
      reduce weight, I'm not yet a lightweight hiker and I usually choose
      a bit more weight over foregoing my favorite camp conveniences.
      Additional Reviewer Information. I've always favored natural fibers
      over synthetics for outerwear (and everyday wardrobe too, for that
      matter) unless I could identify a particular functionality in a man-
      made fiber that I couldn't get with wool, cotton, or linen. That
      meant that until the last few years many of my outdoor base layer
      shirts and leggings came from one or two suppliers. Now that pure
      wool, particularly merino wool, garments that are intended for
      backcountry activities have become more popular and far easier to
      find, I'm always looking for new sources. This past fall I
      continued my search for wool base layer clothing in a highly
      scientific manner – I'd buy a top or pair of leggings from a
      manufacturer new to me whenever I found a garment I liked at a
      significant savings over my current principal suppliers, Ibex and
      Filson. One such purchase was two pairs of Icebreaker Leggings with
      Fly from an online outfitter during a sale.
      PRODUCT DETAILS. Icebreaker Men's SKIN 200 Leggings with Fly are a
      base layer (Icebreaker uses the term "skin layer") made from 100%
      merino wool. The "200" refers to fabric weight in grams per square
      meter. Instead of a single seam running down the middle of the seat
      the Leggings have a trapezoidal-shaped back panel that is sewn to a
      rectangular panel about two inches (5 cm) above the bottom. This
      rectangular panel goes under the crotch and is sewn in front to the
      bottom of the fly, about two inches (5 cm) up from the bottom. All
      seems are sewn flat. The Leggings have plain bottoms, with no
      elastic at the cuff.
      Manufacturer: Icebreaker Nature Clothing, Ketchum, Idaho USA
      Manufacturer's description of features: "Flat sewn side seams; Soft
      elastic waistband; Gusseted crotch; No centre back seam."
      Website: www.icebreaker.com (All quotations in this Review and the
      photo at left come from this website.)
      Size: XL; available in sizes S through XXL.
      Color: Black
      Fabric: "100 % merino wool." (I don't know if this is intended to
      exclude the elastic in the waistband.)
      Weight (measured, none listed): 7.6 oz / 215 g
      Warranty: None listed. Icebreaker will accept returns for products
      ordered online if returned, unworn and unwashed, in original
      packaging within thirty days after order.
      FIELD CONDITIONS. I wore the Icebreakers as base layer for my lower
      body each day I spent in the Rockies from December through March –
      twenty days of in-bounds skiing or backcountry ski touring.
      Temperatures ranged from -30 F (-34 C) at night in January to a mid-
      afternoon springtime high of 65 F (18 C), all in the Teton Range of
      the Rockies in Wyoming. Daytime temperatures were about 15 F (-9
      C), in Alta and environs, Utah, and Nelson, British Columbia, in
      December and February, respectively. In these latter venues snow
      flurries and stiff winds generated a "wind chill" considerably more
      frigid than the ambient temperature. (Wind chill is a misery index
      reported by various meteorological services in the United States and
      Canada. It is a rough calculation of the temperature equivalent on
      exposed skin at a specific temperature and wind speed.)
      I never wore an intermediate layer between the Leggings and my outer
      shell. On seven days in-bounds and two in the backcountry (one of
      them very cold, ~-15 F/-26 C) days I wore unlined eVENT bibs; on the
      other days I wore a one-piece Gore-Tex ski suit with a Thinsulate
      lining. Twice it was cold enough after skiing to wear the Leggings
      (a clean pair) under jeans around town, and one night in a
      backcountry yurt in the Tetons I wore fleece sweatpants over the
      Leggings when going out for firewood or bathroom breaks. I washed
      the Leggings at the end of each trip, meaning that at most a pair
      had no more than three days of use between washings.
      EVALUATION. The bottom line (pun intended) is that the Icebreaker
      Leggings with Fly are as good a pair of tights, long john bottoms,
      lower body base layer, backcountry underwear (pick your term) as
      I've ever worn. Here's why.
      For me at least the Leggings have a near-perfect fit. Icebreaker
      has a useful chart on its website to assist a buyer in selecting the
      correct size of its products. Rather than giving the garment
      dimensions Icebreaker provides "ideal" user waist, seat, and outside
      leg measurements for each available size, and instructs: "In
      instances when your body measurements for Seat, Waist and Outside
      Leg are in different suggested sizes, we recommend going with the
      size from your Seat measurement." I used this chart to come up with
      size XL, and that size gives a fit that's tight without being
      constraining and that does not cause bunching up when stretching my
      legs - in short, thoroughly comfortable. I'd prefer another inch or
      so (2-3 cm) of length, but as I have unusually long legs for my
      waist size I don't consider this a fault. The Leggings' waist
      matches my own.
      Icebreaker's merino has a very soft hand, much gentler than
      synthetics, and never itchy even when wet. Whether it's the
      particular cut, with no seams along the bottom of the crotch or the
      middle of the seat, or just a lucky fit, I've encountered almost no
      bunching or other significant movement even after stretching or
      skiing. It's also nice not to have a seam chafing a particular body
      orifice. As I always wear mid-calf length socks when outdoors in
      the winter and tuck the bottomss of my base layer inside the socks,
      lack of elastic at the cuff hasn't bothered me.
      These Leggings have always kept me warm, even on that bitter Jackson
      Hole backcountry day when I needed a hooded down sweater at every
      rest stop to keep from shivering. As with other merino garments, I
      rate their insulating ability as remarkable. While not nearly as
      heavy as traditional "expedition weight" synthetic underwear the
      tight knit and insulating properties of merino wool work wonders. I
      didn't, however, overheat on the spring days, even while hiking the
      Jackson Headwall, meaning that the fabric wicks extremely well.
      One big reason I prefer wool underwear is odor control. As with
      other wool leggings the Icebreakers don't smell rank even after
      three days of hard exercise and exposure to sweat and other body
      odors. A washing in cold water, with other dark-colored wool items
      using a non-detergent soap (Woolite or Atsko Sport-Wash, in my case)
      and air drying in the bathroom remove any minor residue that the
      Leggings have retained. I air-dried a pair in the yurt, too, near
      the stove, and they dried overnight.
      As noted, I believe that the seam design really makes these Leggings
      more comfortable during an active day in the snow. The fly, which
      for some unknown reason many manufacturers (Icebreaker among them;
      Skin 200 Leggings without the fly are also available) omit, is a
      second design feature for which I'm grateful several times every
      snowy day I wear the Leggings. The fly is easy to use (though a
      lefty might have some trouble) and is backed by enough fabric so
      that there's no danger of exposed skin under my outer layer if I'm
      careless buttoning up.
      The Leggings have proven to be quite durable. After a half dozen
      washings I have found no loose threads, tears, pilling, distortion,
      discoloration, or loss of elastic in the waistband. There's minor
      shrinkage after each drying that's gone a few minutes after I put
      the clean Leggings on. Icebreaker recommends air drying, a wise
      precaution with all woolens. My Leggings have survived one
      accidental session in the dryer without noticeable ill effect.
      Though not a major consideration for me in selecting a base layer,
      the Leggings are noticeably lighter in weight than many of their
      woolen and synthetic competitors. As a comparison, my expedition
      weight Capilene bottoms weigh more than twelve ounces (340 g).
      Finally, the list price of the Leggings with Fly is lower than that
      of many other merino base layer bottoms I've seen advertised.
      DRAWBACKS. Only two, and they are obvious. Both aren't unique to
      the Icebreakers. As is true of all wool clothing except maybe socks
      the Leggings should be air-dried, and they don't dry as quickly as
      many synthetic fibers even in the dry winter climate in the
      Rockies. This could be a problem if I needed to dry these Leggings
      on a damp backcountry day; at home the difference in drying method
      is immaterial. Despite my closing comment above about price, wool
      (high quality merino wool especially) garments usually cost as much
      as twice as much as some very usable synthetic counterparts. Based
      on MSRP this is definitely true of the Icebreakers. I consider that
      a worthwhile premium for superior comfort and performance.
    • chcoa
      PLEASE READ THIS EMAIL IN FULL. IT IS MOST IMPORTANT! Thanks for your Owner s Review. It has been added to the Owner Review Queue and will be picked up by an
      Message 2 of 4 , May 2, 2007
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        PLEASE READ THIS EMAIL IN FULL. IT IS MOST IMPORTANT!

        Thanks for your Owner's Review. It has been added to the Owner
        Review Queue and will be picked up by an Edit Moderator soon. Do
        not worry if nothing happens with it for several days. All our
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      • edwardripleyduggan
        Hello Richard, A good piece of work, as usual. I use merino wool long johns myself in winter, and find them excellent. Sadly, I have issues with merino shirts
        Message 3 of 4 , May 4, 2007
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          Hello Richard,

          A good piece of work, as usual. I use merino wool long johns myself in
          winter, and find them excellent. Sadly, I have issues with merino
          shirts which, much as I like the feel and comparative lack of odor
          accumulation, seem to wear and snag badly, especially in the lighter
          weights. All mine (and I have quite a few) have patches. Very annoying.

          http://tinyurl.com/2hhyxn

          for the corrected OR.

          Best,

          Ted.

          BGT Editor



          >
          > The first of several ORs on my search for merino wool base layer
          > garments. HTML is posted in Tests/OR folder at
          > http://tinyurl.com/25rzm2
          >
          > ICEBREAKER MEN'S SKIN 200 LEGGINGS WITH FLY
          > Owner Review by Richard Lyon
          > April 29, 2007
          >
          > Personal Details and Backpacking Background.
          > Male, 60 years old
          > Height: 6' 4" (1.93 m)
          > Weight: 200 lb (91 kg)
          > Email address: rlyon AT gibsondunn DOT com
          > Home: Dallas, Texas USA
          > I've been backpacking for 45 years on and off, and regularly in the
          > Rockies since 1986. I do a week long trip every summer, and often
          > take three-day trips. I'm usually camping in alpine terrain, at
          > altitudes of 5000 to 13000 ft (1500 - 4000 m). I prefer base camp
          > backpacking, a long hike in with day trips from camp, but I do my
          > share of forced marches too. Though always looking for ways to
          > reduce weight, I'm not yet a lightweight hiker and I usually choose
          > a bit more weight over foregoing my favorite camp conveniences.
          > Additional Reviewer Information. I've always favored natural fibers
          > over synthetics for outerwear (and everyday wardrobe too, for that
          > matter) unless I could identify a particular functionality in a man-
          > made fiber that I couldn't get with wool, cotton, or linen. That
          > meant that until the last few years many of my outdoor base layer
          > shirts and leggings came from one or two suppliers. Now that pure
          > wool, particularly merino wool, garments that are intended for
          > backcountry activities have become more popular and far easier to
          > find, I'm always looking for new sources. This past fall I
          > continued my search for wool base layer clothing in a highly
          > scientific manner – I'd buy a top or pair of leggings from a
          > manufacturer new to me whenever I found a garment I liked at a
          > significant savings over my current principal suppliers, Ibex and
          > Filson.

          ### EDIT: I'd prefer if you omit "Ibex and Filson." This is not quite
          a "shoot-out" style use of manufacturer names, but I am none the less
          uncomfortable with it.



          One such purchase was two pairs of Icebreaker Leggings with
          > Fly from an online outfitter during a sale.
          > PRODUCT DETAILS. Icebreaker Men's SKIN 200 Leggings with Fly are a
          > base layer (Icebreaker uses the term "skin layer") made from 100%
          > merino wool. The "200" refers to fabric weight in grams per square
          > meter. Instead of a single seam running down the middle of the seat
          > the Leggings have a trapezoidal-shaped back panel that is sewn to a
          > rectangular panel about two inches (5 cm) above the bottom. This
          > rectangular panel goes under the crotch and is sewn in front to the
          > bottom of the fly, about two inches (5 cm) up from the bottom. All
          > seems are sewn flat. The Leggings have plain bottoms, with no
          > elastic at the cuff.
          > Manufacturer: Icebreaker Nature Clothing, Ketchum, Idaho USA
          > Manufacturer's description of features: "Flat sewn side seams; Soft
          > elastic waistband; Gusseted crotch; No centre

          ### COMMENT: "centre" is fine by me, but do they actually use that
          spelling? Just curious.

          back seam."
          > Website: www.icebreaker.com (All quotations in this Review and the
          > photo at left come from this website.)
          > Size: XL; available in sizes S through XXL.
          > Color: Black
          > Fabric: "100 % merino wool." (I don't know if this is intended to
          > exclude the elastic in the waistband.)
          > Weight (measured, none listed): 7.6 oz / 215 g
          > Warranty: None listed. Icebreaker will accept returns for products
          > ordered online if returned, unworn and unwashed, in original
          > packaging within thirty days after order.


          ### EDIT: If there is a MSRP, please put it here; if (as I suspect)
          not, please state n/a


          > FIELD CONDITIONS. I wore the Icebreakers as base layer for my lower
          > body each day I spent in the Rockies from December through March –
          > twenty days of in-bounds skiing or backcountry ski touring.
          > Temperatures ranged from -30 F (-34 C) at night in January to a mid-
          > afternoon springtime high of 65 F (18 C), all in the Teton Range of
          > the Rockies in Wyoming. Daytime temperatures were about 15 F (-9
          > C), in Alta and environs, Utah, and Nelson, British Columbia, in
          > December and February, respectively. In these latter venues snow
          > flurries and stiff winds generated a "wind chill" considerably more
          > frigid than the ambient temperature. (Wind chill is a misery index
          > reported by various meteorological services in the United States and
          > Canada. It is a rough calculation of the temperature equivalent on
          > exposed skin at a specific temperature and wind speed.)
          > I never wore an intermediate layer between the Leggings and my outer
          > shell. On seven days in-bounds and two in the backcountry (one of
          > them very cold, ~-15 F/-26 C) days I wore unlined eVENT bibs; on the
          > other days I wore a one-piece Gore-Tex ski suit with a Thinsulate
          > lining. Twice it was cold enough after skiing to wear the Leggings
          > (a clean pair) under jeans around town, and one night in a
          > backcountry yurt in the Tetons I wore fleece sweatpants over the
          > Leggings when going out for firewood or bathroom breaks. I washed
          > the Leggings at the end of each trip, meaning that at most a pair
          > had no more than three days of use between washings.
          > EVALUATION. The bottom line (pun intended) is that the Icebreaker
          > Leggings with Fly are as good a pair of tights, long john bottoms,
          > lower body base layer, backcountry underwear (pick your term) as
          > I've ever worn. Here's why.
          > For me at least the Leggings have a near-perfect fit. Icebreaker
          > has a useful chart on its website to assist a buyer in selecting the
          > correct size of its products. Rather than giving the garment
          > dimensions Icebreaker provides "ideal" user waist, seat, and outside
          > leg measurements for each available size, and instructs: "In
          > instances when your body measurements for Seat, Waist and Outside
          > Leg are in different suggested sizes, we recommend going with the
          > size from your Seat measurement." I used this chart to come up with
          > size XL, and that size gives a fit that's tight without being
          > constraining and that does not cause bunching up when stretching my
          > legs - in short, thoroughly comfortable. I'd prefer another inch or
          > so (2-3 cm) of length, but as I have unusually long legs for my
          > waist size I don't consider this a fault. The Leggings' waist
          > matches my own.
          > Icebreaker's merino has a very soft hand, much gentler than
          > synthetics, and never itchy even when wet. Whether it's the
          > particular cut, with no seams along the bottom of the crotch or the
          > middle of the seat, or just a lucky fit, I've encountered almost no
          > bunching or other significant movement even after stretching or
          > skiing. It's also nice not to have a seam chafing a particular body
          > orifice. As I always wear mid-calf length socks when outdoors in
          > the winter and tuck the bottomss

          ### EDIT bottoms

          of my base layer inside the socks,
          > lack of elastic at the cuff hasn't bothered me.
          >
        • richardglyon
          Ted, Thanks for the edits and my apologies for missing the MSRP (yes there is one and I actually cite it as an advantage). Centre is a quote. Icebreaker uses
          Message 4 of 4 , May 4, 2007
          • 0 Attachment
            Ted,
            Thanks for the edits and my apologies for missing the MSRP (yes
            there is one and I actually cite it as an advantage). "Centre" is a
            quote. Icebreaker uses Imperial spelling all over its website; I
            believe that a New Zealander stated the company. All edits made and
            revised OR uploaded.
            I'm slightly surprised at your experience with merino tops, as I
            favor them in no small part for their durability. Without intending
            to start a shootout I suggest you try an Ibex Q-Tee or Outback, or
            an MEC Crew (my next OR). All have very flat weaves and have held up
            really well. Regards, Richard

            --- In BackpackGearTest@yahoogroups.com, "edwardripleyduggan"
            <erd@...> wrote:
            >
            > Hello Richard,
            >
            > A good piece of work, as usual. I use merino wool long johns
            myself in
            > winter, and find them excellent. Sadly, I have issues with merino
            > shirts which, much as I like the feel and comparative lack of odor
            > accumulation, seem to wear and snag badly, especially in the
            lighter
            > weights. All mine (and I have quite a few) have patches. Very
            annoying.
            >
            > >
            >
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