APPLICATION TO TEST ICEBREAKER WOMEN'S TOPS - Jo Ann Moffi
- APPLICATION TO TEST ICEBREAKER WOMEN'S SCOOP L/S AND TECH TOP
Date: November 1, 2006
I have read and understand the requirements for testing as outlined in
The BackpackerGear.org Bylaws v 0609, including Chapters 4 & 5. I
agree to comply with the testing and report requirements. I have
signed and submitted my tester agreement to the address indicated on
the agreement, but I have yet to receive confirmation of its arrival.
If chosen to test this product, I would prefer both shirts in a
Women's size XL. My color choices are Black then Snow for the Scoop
L/S; and in Azure/Lagoon, Shingle/Tekapo, Grey/Plum, Rouge, and my
last color choice being Black for the Tech Top.
Name: Jo Ann Moffi
Height: 5'6" (168 cm)
Weight: 175 lbs (79 kg)
Email address: jomoffi AT gmail DOT com
City, State, and Country: Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, Canada
I was introduced to backpacking about 15 years ago when I met my
husband. We have been backpacking, canoe camping, car camping, hiking,
and participating in all sorts of outdoor activities ever since. We
live in a border town (US & Canada), so we spend lots of time in both
countries for our outdoor excursions. My most recent foray has been
into Adventure Racing. When making a decision on gear, I like to go
lightweight and practical. I don't like to carry around extraneous
bits and pieces.
Proposed Gear Testing Locations: Northern Ontario and Michigan
Description of Locations:
Sault Ste Marie area:
Much of my planned hiking, backpacking, and other outdoor adventures
for this winter will occur in the Sault Ste. Marie and surrounding
area. This area contains a range of forest types including red and
white pine old-growth forests and dense boreal stands of jack pine and
spruce linked by a network of rivers, lakes, and wetlands. Some of the
areas I frequent include: Algoma Highlands, Hiawatha Highlands, the
Voyager Hiking Trail, Lake Superior Provincial Park Coastal Trail, and
Searchmont Ski Resort. Elevations range from 61 m (200 ft) to 549 m
It is also possible I would spend some time in the State Parks and
National Forests of Northern Michigan. The terrain in these areas
consists of rolling hills forested with northern hardwoods, white pine
and hemlock; flatland covered by red pine, jack pine and aspen, and
large open and tree covered wetlands. Areas I frequent in Michigan
include: Lake Superior State Forest, Hiawatha National Forest, and
Taquamenon Falls State Park. Elevations range from 183 m (600 ft) to
396 m (1300 ft).
The winter weather in Northern Ontario can range from cold sunny days,
blustery overcast days with snow squalls, to the magical, quiet snow
dump days where we get 15.24-30.48 cm (6-12 in) within a couple of
hours, and just about everything in between (no hurricanes or tornados
here though!). We average 15 days of snowfall per month from December
to March. January and February bring bitter cold temperatures. As
spring approaches, the snow turns to rain and nature's `spring
clean-up' begins to wash away the inevitably dirty snow. We get an
average of 10 days a month of rain from March to May. From mid
November to mid April, the temperature does not usually creep above 0
C (32 F).
Wind direction from October to March comes from the East with average
speeds of about 15 km/h (9.32 mi/h). In April, the direction changes
to coming from the Northwest and averages 13 km/h (8.07 mi/h). We
have days where the wind coming off of Lake Superior is exceptionally
strong, especially in the spring and fall. Just last week we had 90
km/h (56 mi/h) winds for two days!
The relative humidity hovers between 70 and 80% for this area, with
the spring being at the lower end of the scale and late fall/early
winter being at the higher end of the scale. Our hours of sunshine
range from the lowest of about 60 hours a month during December to
closer to 300 hours a month in July.
Climate normals for Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario and area:
MONTH AVG MIN TEMP AVG MAX TEMP
January -14 C (15.8 F) -5 C (23 F)
February - 15 C (5 F) -4 C (24.8 F)
March -9 C (15.8 F) 1 C (33.8 F)
April -1 C (30.2 F) 9 C (48.2 F)
May 3 C (37.4 F) 16 C (61 F)
June 8 C (46.4 F) 21 C (70 F)
July 11 C (52 F) 24 C (75 F)
August 11 C (52 F) 23 C (73 F)
September 8 C (46.4 F) 18 C (64 F)
October 3 C (46.4 F) 12 C (54 F)
November -2 C (28.4 F) 4 C (39.2 F)
December -10 C (14 F) -2 C (28.4 F)
MONTH RAIN SNOW
January 6 mm (0.24 in) 85 cm (33.46 in)
February 5 mm (0.2 in) 54 cm (21.26 in)
March 29 mm (1.14 in) 34 cm (13.39 in)
April 49 mm (1.93 in) 15 cm (5.91 in)
May 69 mm (2.72 in) 1 cm (0.39 in)
June 83 mm (3.27 in) 0
July 66 mm (2.6 in) 0
August 85 mm (3.35 in) 0
September 95 mm (3.74 in) 0
October 77 mm (3.03 in) 6 cm (2.36 in)
November 52 mm (2.05 in) 41 cm (16.14 in)
December 17 mm (0.67 in) 81 cm (31.89 in)
The average annual snowfall for the Algoma district exceeds 3 m (10
ft). In addition, both the Michigan and Ontario shores of Lake
Superior are subject to lake effect snow. Frequent and unexpected
large volume snowfall is common over and above the average snowfall
for the area. This trend occurs to about 12.42 km (20 mi) inland from
I have several different strategies for hiking/backpacking:
* Fast adventure race training treks
* Slower day hikes
* Overnight backpack trip with a daypack
* 2-4 day trip with a weekender backpack
I also run 3-4 times per week and bike 1-2 times per week as part of
my regular fitness regime.
My hiking and backpacking plans are for the most part 'on a whim'. I
frequently decide on a Thursday or Friday while at work to take off
for the weekend into the outdoors. (The joys of being self employed
with no children!) My family also has a cottage on Lake Superior, so a
lot of day hikes occur from that location.
As the winter season approaches, plans for winter camping are firming
up. We have four trips in the works so far:
1. Mabel Lake Backcountry. An overnight trip to get our feet wet
(hopefully not literally!) for the winter camping season. We are
building a pulk this year and this will be the first try out of our
2. Lake Mijinemungshing. 2 nights either snowshoeing or cross-country
skiing, depending on the snow conditions.
3. Lake Superior Coastal Trail. 2 or 3 nights, most likely snowshoeing.
4. Lake Mijinemungshing. Second trip to this lake to satisfy the
husband's need for ice fishing in February, most likely 2 nights here
We are planning for these trips to occur between mid to late December
2006 and March 2007. It is entirely possible for me to make sure
there are enough trips to adequately test these tops if they do not
arrive in time to coincide with these trips. My husband has rubber
arms that are very easy to twist when it comes to any outdoor
Activities that I will be doing this winter include hiking,
snowshoeing, snowboarding, mountain biking, and cross country skiing.
I have one planned 5-8 hour winter adventure race in January 2007 at
the Mansfield Outdoor Center in Bark Lake, Ontario. I will endeavor to
wear the tops at all possible opportunities involving outdoor
activities throughout the test period. The activities I participate
in would give it a good workout in more than just backpacking and
hiking. I play soccer on occasion, toss around balls for my dogs on
our daily walks, and play outdoors with my nephews.
I own several base layer tops. A couple are the first of their kind
produced by various manufacturers; some have been purchased in the
past few months or so for use this winter. Each has its own pros and
cons. I also own an Icebreaker Olympia Zip (part of the BODYFIT260
line) top that is by far my favorite low temperature base layer top.
I would love the opportunity to test these tops' suitability for their
intended purpose. Living in Northern Ontario for nearly my entire
life has had me go through a lot of long underwear over the years. I
have tried everything from your plain old cotton long johns to
`technologically advanced' synthetic fabrics. In the past, I have
avoided wool thermal underwear because of the itchiness. The
Icebreaker Olympia Zip I have is made from Merino wool and is 100%
itch free for me. It would be interesting to see if this continues to
be a trend for all Icebreaker products.
I have used my Icebreaker Olympia Zip while camping in the fall in
Alaska with great success at keeping me warm when the temperature
hovered around 7-10 C (44.6-50 F). I would take both of these shirts
when backpacking and winter camping this coming season and wear them
at night in my sleeping bag in addition to wearing them during the
day. (Too bad they weren't testing their leggings too!)
If I am chosen to test this product, it will be:
- Out at least once a week on a hike
- Out at least once a month on an overnight trip (at least one night,
- Exposed to typical Northern Ontario weather conditions
- Used in a variety of outdoor activities
Some questions I would like to answer for the Icebreaker Scoop L/S and
Tech Top (herein after called the tops, or individually Scoop L/S and
Fit & Comfort:
How do the tops fit?
Is it consistent with the sizing indicated on the manufacturer's website?
Does it allow freedom of movement when participating in a variety of
Does it allow for me to lift my arms above my head without creeping up
my torso and exposing my back?
Are the sleeves of adequate length, or do they creep up when my arms
are extended in front of me?
How comfortable is the elastic binding around the neck of the Scoop
L/S? From the picture on the website it looks to be loose enough to
remain away from the neck. Is this as it looks?
Are the flat seams on the Scoop L/S completely flat? Do they rub at all?
Which is the most comfortable way to wear the collar of the Tech Top?
There are three choices: zip up, zip down or zip up & fold over.
Does the drop tail on the Tech Top keep my back warm and dry? Do I
notice a difference when compared to a shirt that does not have a drop
tail (like the Scoop L/S)?
Are the thumb loops on the Tech Top in the right spot for optimum comfort?
Which is more comfortable: the Raglan sleeve of the Tech Top or the
regular sleeve of the Scoop L/S?
Are either of the shirts itchy?
How does the fabric of the shirts hold up when wearing a backpack?
Are there rub marks from shoulder and waist straps on the tops?
Are there rub marks at the waistline when worn under a mid layer or a
How are the seams and stitching, do they hold up as I would expect?
What happens if the fabric is accidentally caught on a branch or other
Does the zipper on the Tech Top hold up during the test period?
Does the elastic of the neckline maintain its elasticity after
multiple uses and washings?
I'm not going to attempt to break the record of wearing an Icebreaker
shirt for extended days (the record is 196 days!), but can the shirts
be worn for multiple days at a time and still maintain their shape and
Wicking Features and Breathability:
Is the fabric breathable?
I have found some long sleeved tops to collect sweat at the wrists.
Does this happen with these tops?
Icebreaker claims these shirts do not hold moisture or odor. Is this
If the shirts do get wet, do they smell `wooly'?
What are the temperature ranges the shirts can be worn without a mid
layer or a shell?
What is the appropriate temperature range for each shirt as a
Can they easily be incorporated into my layering system?
Can the two shirts function well being worn as a base layer (the scoop
L/S) and a mid layer (the Tech Top), even though they are listed as
both being base layers?
Icebreaker claim for the SKIN200 line: `So soft and light that if you
didn't feel so warm, you'd hardly think you are wearing it'. Does
this ring true for the Scoop L/S?
Icebreaker claim for the BODYFIT260 line: ` is the warmest
performance underwear in the world'. Is this a statement I can say is
The SKIN200 line is lightweight thermal underwear at 200g/m2 while the
BODYFIT260 is midweight thermal underwear 260g/m2. Just how much of a
difference does the 60g/m2 make in terms of warmth value?
Do the colors run in the washing machine?
I know from experience with my Olympia Zip Icebreaker that it can just
be tossed into the washing machine with other like colors. Is this
true of these tops as well?
I'm sure more questions will arise if I get the opportunity to test
Previously Written Reports:
Reviews Written by Jo Ann Moffi
Gear I'm Currently Testing and It's Progress:
Red Ledge Covert Fleece Vest (awaiting delivery)
Wigwam INgenius Hiker Socks
Wigwam Merino Wool/Silk Hiker Socks
Outdoor Research Women's Paradox Jacket
I have sufficient time to test and report on the Icebreaker Women's
Shirts, as outlined above. I spend enough time in the outdoors to
test these items at different times in a variety of outdoor activities.
Thank you to BackpackGearTest for considering my application to test
the Icebreaker Women's Shirts.