I’ll start like I start all of my reviews; with a disclaimer. That way you can decide if you want to read on or not. This Icebreaker Anatomica Long Sleeve Crewe was sent to me by Hannah at Snow+Rock to review. Hannah contacted me. I was given the choice of a few bits of kit that I could have to review. Snow+Rock were kind enough to send me Icebreaker Anatomica and I get to keep it. I have no vested interest in Snow+Rock or Icebreaker who make the merino top itself other than to share my views and opinions; good, bad or otherwise.
Out the box, yes it came in a nifty wee box, so once I got it out the box the Icebreaker Anatomica Long Sleeve Crewe felt light and soft. I have a couple of merino tops as I'm a fan of them, they are around the 200/260 weight. This was 150 weighted merino fabric and I could feel the difference. The top is made from 96% merino and 4% elstane which I assume is to help with keeping it's shape. I stuck it on the scales and it came in at 155 grams for the size medium. Definitely lightweight. Icebreaker are marketing this more as underwear than a base layer. Not sure what the difference there is unless they are going for the, you can wear it everyday not just on the hills, other outdoor activities? I got the monsoon (grey)/heat(orange) colourway which measns some colourful contrasting stitching for the seams in a bright orange. All these seems are forward facing which really helps to stop the chaffing. Nothing fancy going on just practical well made top. I like long sleeves as you can pull them up and down depending on how I feel, the weather, midges These ones are raglan sleeves for extra freedom of movement, it also means no seams on the top of your shoulder for rucksack straps to sit on.
What I did really like about what Icebreaker do with clothes and not just the Anatomica Long Sleeve Crewe and I thought was a bit different, was the baacode. You see what they did there baacode. Made me chuckle. You can trace where the wool and sheep originated from back to the source through the supply chain. They're trying to be different, trying to show that they have nothing to hide. It's a laudable concept and maybe one that more manufacturers could follow. My baacode took me to 3 stations out of a possible 120. All on the south island of New Zealand, Middlehurst Station, Te Akatawara Station and Walter Peak Station. The site gave me the names of the farmers, size of the farm. All sorts of stuff and some videos as well. It also made have a look at the nifty box that the top came in to see what it's green credentials were. If your care that much for the animal and it's well being then you should what your packaging is doing. I'm please to say that this born out with the package using sustainable inks and cardboard. Good show.
Next step was to try it on. The Icebreaker Anatomica Long Sleeve Crewe has a slim athletic fit which is tight but not in a restrictive way, it's comfortable. It just means that if you're built like me and not an model/athlete/body builder then there's no hiding the big beer kite or those moobs. It also means there's no embarrassing photos of me wearing it. Wouldn't want to put you off your tea and I sure as hell don't want to see myself. I put it through the Tookie Indoor Gear Test™. Which basically means I crawl about the house in it, relax on the couch, do the dishes and my daughter and I play with the Barbies in the toy room. I'm Ken obviously. You'll be glad to know that it passed. No itching, scratching, chafing, riding up or any other general annoyance. Nice and light to wear. Never too warm or too cold. On this top the sleeves are long for me and stretch over my hand. It means they end up bunching at my wrists. Both cuffs have different stitching. Not sure if that's deliberate or because it's a sample that I have. Anyway I like it makes it easier to tell me left from my right. It's also long length-wise for me which is great means it can tuck it in properly and keeps my lower back cosy and protected. Remember I'm 5' 7" on a good day with a reach of 30 odd inches.
I've been pulling this on all the time when I've been going out and not just up the hills or walking through the woods. It's even been on when I've been out tidying the garden but like all merino tops the Icebreaker Anatomica Long Sleeve Crewe has a tendency to get soggy especially around your pack where there's less ventilation and restricted airflow but I found this one to be better than the others that I own. I'm no expert but it may just be down to the weight and fineness of the fabric that it dries out really quickly. It never really felt wet. I was never cold with this top on and most of the time I wore it under a wind shirt. It's comfortable on the move, none of the itch I've had with other merino tops. I know for various reasons that merino is not everyone's favourite material for a base layer but I'm a fan. You almost don't know you have it on at times. If I could change something it would be to add monkey thumbs. Tops with monkey thumbs are great. It's not a deal breaker the Icebreaker Anatomica Long Sleeve Crewe is still a good base-layer a very good one. It's a winner for me.
You can see more photographs of the top on flickr here.