Feb 28, 2008 at 10:42 am #1227545
After reading all of the glowing reviews of Icebreaker garments on these boards, I purchased the Atlas 150 baselayer, billed as "The lightest and finest all-purpose base layer available for cool to hot conditions". I've tried it on and it feels itchy and not exactly comfortable, kinda like a regular wool shirt.
Will this have a softer feel after washing? Or am I just a sensitive whiner?Feb 28, 2008 at 11:00 am #1422387
Your skin just may be too sensitive. My friend Kristin cannot wear any sort of new merino wool from any manufacturer….no matter how long I shout the positive attributes of products like the Icebreaker Atlas Ultralite 150 l/s t.Feb 28, 2008 at 11:59 am #1422400
@pa_jayLocale: on the move....
Tough call, since only you can say…
The Icebreaker and Smartwool shirts I've owned both started out feeling slightly coarse to me, but softened after a very minimal amount of wear (one or two days, even before washing). This was even more noticeable with Smartwool liner socks – literally one day of wear made all the difference. I have reasonably sensitive skin, and the Icebreakers are now my favorites.Feb 28, 2008 at 12:08 pm #1422404
Dan: you may be right
Jason: thanks for the feedback – I'm hoping it'll settle in after some wear.
-KenFeb 28, 2008 at 12:33 pm #1422410
@aroth87Locale: Missouri Ozarks
My Icebreaker shirt almost always feels a little itchy when I first put it on. It goes away after a few minutes though. You could always pass it on to one of the fine members here if it doesn't start feeling better ;).
AdamFeb 28, 2008 at 5:38 pm #1422447
I heard you had a shirt you wanted to get rid of. Yeah, those Icebreakers are terrible, but I know a bloke in Australia you lives in a cave and likes to wear scratchy stuff. I'm sure he'd take it off your hands.
Seriously though, drop it in the wash a couple of times. It should soften right up. If not, you know where to find us!
RodFeb 28, 2008 at 7:10 pm #1422455
I had the same problem. I purchased the lightest versions of both Icebreaker and Smartwool (long sleeve crews). I also have extremely sensitive skin.
The Icebreaker does get better with wear. I washed mine in Nikwax Wool Wash on gentle cycle, and it felt much softer afterward. Your skin also gets used to it pretty quickly as well.
I had no problems with the Smartwool, even from the start. I also like the Smartwool fit–it's regular sizing, rather than Icebreakers extremely small sizes (I'm XXL in Icebreaker). After washing the Smartwool in Nikwax Wool Wash after a few days of wear, I swear it's even softer than my cotton Tshirts.Feb 28, 2008 at 7:30 pm #1422457
@sarbarLocale: In the shadow of Mt. Rainier
Being a lady I have only bought their ladies stuff and all of it has been like soft butter draping on the skin from day 1. So…guys, is there a difference in the fabric 'feel' between the genders?
I have to say though: I love their socks and undergarments. Wow. The store in Portland, Or is amazing!Feb 29, 2008 at 6:49 am #1422494
"The Icebreaker does get better with wear. I washed mine in Nikwax Wool Wash on gentle cycle, and it felt much softer afterward. Your skin also gets used to it pretty quickly as well."
Okay, this story of skin adapting is a bit more harsh than simply wearing Merino…
While getting my BS Chem Eng degree, I did a 9-month co-op for, of all things, a fiberglass insulation plant. Talk about itchy skin… get too close to the machine and you pick up itchy fibers just from 'overspray' in the air. Anyhow, after a month of working there, I could shove my arm elbow-deep into a mound of poor quality insulation (poor quality is much more ithcy than good quality) and not be ithcy at all..
Anyhow, you skin should adpat as long as it's the fibers than are causing problems and not the lanolin (but that should be a different feel, more rashy than itchy). I would suggest wearing the shirt regularly (say every friday as an undershirt) to get and stay used to it. If it still itches after a month or so, you may be too sensitive, but I bet you'll adapt.Feb 29, 2008 at 7:15 am #1422498
Thanks to all for input – I'll wear it and wash it and hopefully adapt (Rod's devious plan notwithstanding…).
-KenFeb 29, 2008 at 10:43 am #1422527
@burkestLocale: Collegiate Peaks Wilderness
One other thing to keep in mind is that the 150 weight stuff is slim fit. I have a 200 weight shirt that is slim fit and it is more itchy feeling than my 190 and 140 weight shirts that have a regular fit (but the superfine stuff is a little softer to begin with).Mar 2, 2008 at 5:12 am #1422709
I thought it was just my imagination.. My Icebreaker seems more noticeably itchy than my Smartwool and Montbell merino. I attributed it to the tighter fit of the same sized Icebreaker, but maybe it is a different blend, or not 100% merino? I wore my Smartwools almost every day this winter, and I'm sold on merino. On last weekends ski trip my base later was wool, from feet up to my hat.Apr 10, 2009 at 7:56 pm #1493098
I recently acquired a new S/S icebreaker tech tee 140 weight.
I've only tried it on for a few minutes, but was surprised to find that it did feel a bit rough and itchy. Not sure why it has so many fans. I showed it to my GF (who is a fashion designer for a high-end label) and she was unimpressed with the quality of the wool (she says top-quality wool is really soft).
So… I'm considering whether to put it on Gear Swap for someone less sensitive than I am, or should I give it a couple of washes and wears and hope that it becomes softer?
It feels a little warmer than cotton, but I really like the idea of having a tshirt that I can wear for several days without it stinking from sweat.
Whad'ya reckon?Apr 11, 2009 at 7:10 am #1493184
@ouzelLocale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
"It feels a little warmer than cotton, but I really like the idea of having a tshirt that I can wear for several days without it stinking from sweat."
Have you considered a synthetic with an anti bacterial compound? There are a number of them on the market: Patagucci, Under Armour, et. al.Apr 11, 2009 at 5:50 pm #1493331
Thanks for the suggestion. I haven't tried anything with anti-bacterial properties yet. Is it a permanent effect that won't wear away with time?
I think I'm going to wash the wool tshirt a couple of times and see how it goes. No big deal I guess if I still don't like it, I'm sure there will be a few takers on gear swap.Apr 11, 2009 at 6:06 pm #1493340
@ouzelLocale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
"I haven't tried anything with anti-bacterial properties yet. Is it a permanent effect that won't wear away with time?"
The treatments come in 2 varieties, as I understand it. One is a chemical compound that binds to the garment material; The other is a very small silver thread that is interwoven with the garment material. In both cases, the treatment is advertised as long lasting/life of garment. I have been using an Under Armour base layer during the fall/winter/spring at home for about 8 months now and there is a little odor build up, but very little, over the course of a week between washings. I have used Capilene in the backcountry for up to 11 days, and there is odor, but not enough to offend me to the point of rinsing out said garment. I think most of it is on my body anyway.Apr 11, 2009 at 6:07 pm #1493343
OK thanks Tom I'll check them out!Apr 11, 2009 at 6:22 pm #1493348
I vote you'll get used to it. I found all wool itchy at first; now it's all I'll wear.Apr 11, 2009 at 6:28 pm #1493351
Ben 2 WorldParticipant
@ben2worldLocale: So Cal
I've had pretty good luck with silver-treated X-static socks. It's not a miracle fabric, but it does cut down considerably on the stink factor as compared to ordinary synthetic socks.
MontBell also has a line of anti-microbial synthetic tops and bottoms. No experience with those but I trust MontBell products.
Finally, have you tried blended materials — e.g. 80/20 poly/cotton? They work wonderfully for me. I can wear the same tee for 5-6 days — sweating profusely every single day — and then dining at restaurants at the end of my trips without anyone noticing any difference.
I should note that sweating aside, I do try to keep myself fairly clean throughout a hike — e.g. wiping down with anti-bacterial wipes at night.Apr 11, 2009 at 6:38 pm #1493357
I actually don't mind wool in socks, and I suspect I may get used to it in a tshirt too. But I'll try some poly/cotton tshirts too if I can track some down locally.
"and then dining at restaurants at the end of my trips without anyone noticing any difference."
They're just being polite ;-)Apr 12, 2009 at 11:05 am #1493439
@thinairLocale: 6237' - Manitou Springs
You can get liquid lanolin, do a web search, and wash your wool gear in mild soap with a little of the liquid lanolin in warm water. It helps soften the wool naturally.
FYI, I sent my L/S 140 Icebreaker shirt back. The sleeve ends are not finished and it looked like #@%$.May 18, 2009 at 6:32 pm #1502024
Just reporting back on my experiences. I bought the 140 weight tech T a little while ago and was initially concerned that it was too 'itchy' and not as soft as I was expecting (I was expecting it to be similar to a nice soft cotton t-shirt).
I'm happy to report that the t-shirt is going very well. The slight 'itchy' factor disappeared almost immediately. It seems that your body adjusts pretty quickly and stops noticing. I think the reason it seems noticeable initially is just because the fabric has a slightly different feel to cotton, and so you pay quite a lot of attention to the sensation. I don't give it a second thought now. It may have softened up slightly in the wash too (I haven't been washing it with anything special… just throwing it in with everything else).
Anyway, I think merino is going to become my new go-to layer. The anti-stink properties are excellent. Although if you get underarm sweat on the arm pit area of your shirt, you will still be able to smell it when you hold that area up to your nose. Surprisingly though, given a little airing the smell goes away mostly overnight. The rest of the shirt where sweat is not so stinky doesn't smell much at all.
One other thing to be aware of: my 140 weight tee shrank a little bit the first time I washed it. Not very much — maybe a third to half a size at most — which was good because it went from a 'good' fit to 'almost perfect'. The shrinking effect is pretty small and you might not notice it.
I'm now thinking of getting a 190 weight long sleeve top for hiking in cooler conditions (45-70F) and pairing it up with my houdini.
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