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Reviews > Clothing > Shirts > Icebreaker Skin 200 and BodyFit 260 > Test Report by Colleen Porter

Icebreaker

Women's Skin200 Scoop L/S and Bodyfit260 Tech Top

Initial Report - January 20, 2007
Field Report - April 10, 2007
Long Term Report -  June 4, 2007


Tester Information

Name: Colleen Porter
Age: 31
Gender: F
Height:
5' 8” (1.73 m)
Weight: 137 lb (62 kg)

Email: tarbubble at yahoo dot com
Location: coastal southern California

Biography:  I’ve been backpacking for about 11 years.  I used to pack HEAVY, but then I had kids.  So to bring them backpacking I reduced my pack weight drastically, and I’m now a quasi-ultralighter (roughly 11 lbs/5 kg solo base pack weight).  However, I still have to carry the kids' gear and food.  I sew some of my own gear (tarps, tents, down jacket).  I mostly backpack in the mountains & deserts of southern California, with occasional jaunts to adjacent states.

 

Product Information

Manufacturer: Icebreaker
URL: www.icebreaker.com
Year Model: 2006/2007

Color (Skin200 Scoop L/S): Black
MSRP (Skin200 Scoop L/S):  $54.99 US
Listed Weight: n/a
Tested Weight:  5.8 oz/164 g

Color (
Bodyfit260 Tech Top): Rouge (red)
MSRP (Bodyfit260 Tech Top):  $89.99 US
Listed Weight: n/a
Tested Weight: 11.25 oz/319 g

Product Descriptions

The Skin200 Scoop L/S is a long-sleeved 100% merino wool t-shirt with, as you might imagine, a scooped neck.  The Bodyfit260 Tech Top is a long-sleeved, 100% merino wool pullover with a zipneck.  The sleeves feature thumb holes to help keep them from riding up the wearer's arms. 

Icebreaker's stock phototech top stock image
Icebreaker's sales photos of the Skin200 scoopneck (left) and the Bodyfit260 Tech Top.  Alas, I don't look nearly as good as these models.


Initial Report - January 20, 2007

I have never used woolen technical clothing before - the most high-end wool piece I own is a cashmere sweater.  So this is my first brush with merino as a performance fabric.  Right off the bat, I was surprised by the feel of the fabric - if I hadn't been told it was wool I would never have known.  The fabric of the Skin200 scoopneck feels and looks like ultra-fine rib-knitted cotton.  The 260's fabric is a bit thicker and the knit of the fabric appears slightly different than that of the 200. 

Upon its arrival, I immediately changed into the Skin200 Scoop and have been wearing it every day since.  This may sound a little slovenly, but my reason for doing this is because Icebreaker claims that merino wool does not retain odors.  It may seem un-ladylike to admit this, but... my armpits can get pretty acrid.  If I forget to apply deodorant, I can occasionally attain a state where I know I had better not raise my arms (which of course makes the problem worse).  And as a gear tester, children's music leader, preschool teacher, house remodeler and busy mother to two young children, there are occasionally days where I forget to schedule myself a shower.  So I decided to wear the Skin200 scoopneck for an entire week and see just how well it resists taking on my, um, fragrance. I have worn it to the gym, slept in it, my kids have rubbed their grubby faces against it, I've summitted Sitton Peak (3273 ft/998 m) in it.  So far, I'm pleasantly surprised.  If I take it off when I reek to high heaven and then sniff it immediately, I can absolutely smell eau de armpit.  But after stinking it up, leaving it in my gym locker for an hour and then smelling it again, the nasty smell had dissipated.  The shirt smelled as if it had been worn, but there was no stink at all.  However, with a few more days's use of the shirt it did begin to retain some odor.  Nothing horrid, but by directly smelling the armpit there was a detectable smell of sweat.  This seems consistent with Icebreaker's claim that the shirt "resists odour for a few days straight."  I finally washed it yesterday (it is machine-washable, a HUGE benefit), but I confess I made a mistake.  It is supposed to be air-dried flat, not tumble-dried, and I completely forgot to separate it from the rest of the laundry.  It was tumble-dried on low heat.  No damage appears to have been inflicted, but I will strive to not repeat that mistake again.

The Skin200 scoopneck fits snugly, but is not skintight.  It looks so nice I would not hesitate to wear it anywhere - on a mountaintop (which I already have) or with a string of pearls and a skirt (haven't yet).  It is, quite simply, a very attractive and versatile shirt.  I selected a women's size large based on Icebreaker's sizing chart and I am very pleased with how accurate the sizing appears to be for this shirt. 

I am not so crazy about the fit of the Bodyfit260 Tech Top.  Based on the pictures on Icebreaker's website, I expected a slightly looser fit than the Skin200 scoopneck. But the fit of the Tech Top is much looser than I expected - not exactly baggy, but definitely not form-fitting.  I now wish I had requested a size Medium instead, but I did follow Icebreaker's size chart when I ordered a Large.

Our weather here has been cold (mid 50's F/around 13 C to low 40's/around 5 C), but not cold enough for the 260 Tech Top.  With the exception of wearing it at 50 degrees/10 C on a mountaintop with strong gusts of cold wind and my MontBell Thermawrap over it, I have overheated anytime I have worn the 260 Tech Top while hiking or otherwise being active during the day.  I have worn it out walking after dark on one occasion so far and began to get a sense of what it can be used for - colder temperatures, which have been fierce but fleeting around here.  The neck is cut unusually - when zipped up it flares out underneath the chin.  This would be great if the Tech Top fit me properly.  But as I've said, the fit is loose and so the neck is also loose on me.  I fear this will allow cold air to blow down my neck.  The thumb holes are a nice feature and I appreciate how useful they are for keeping the sleeve in place when putting on a jacket over the shirt, and for keeping hands warmer when gloves aren't quite necessary.  I can also layer gloves over the sleeve cuffs while using the thumb holes, which increases the warmth as well. 

Field Report - April 10, 2007

So far, the Skin200 Scoopneck is proving to be the more versatile and useful of the two garments.  I have frequently used it as my base layer in cooler temperatures, but in temperatures above 55 F/13 C, it's really too warm to wear while being active.  While it doesn't always manage to avoid getting sweat-smelly, it seems to lose the smell if allowed to air out for a few hours.  For example, last weekend I used the Skin200 scoopneck as my base layer while descending about 4700 f/1433 m off of Mt. San Gorgonio (at 11,490 f/3502 m, it is southern California's highest peak).  When we checked into a hotel room that night, the shirt's armpits stunk, just as my armpits stunk.  But by the next morning the shirt smelled fine and I was able to layer it under a t-shirt when we went out to dinner & a movie that night.  Magic!  The only real drawback to the Skin200 scoopneck is that it's easy to forget that it should be air-dried, not tossed into the dryer with the rest of my black t-shirts.  When wet it is indistiguishable from a black cotton t-shirt, and so it has ended up in the dryer one or two more times.  This doesn't seem to have done any damage, but it's possible that it has had effects that I cannot observe.

I have had less success in finding a niche for the Bodyfit260 Tech Top.  I have carried it in my pack and have slept in it, but it has always felt somewhat extraneous - I'm carrying it because I'm testing it, not because I have an actual need for it.  It did end up coming in handy on my aforementioned trip up Mt. San Gorgonio. During our ascent the weather was cloudy and cold, and we were mainly switchbacking up a north-facing slope that still had a considerable number of snowdrifts to pick across.  The Tech Top worked well as an outer layer in those conditions, although when we reached the peak I did have to layer an insulated jacket and a rain shell over it in order to fend off the stiff, cold winds.  I still find the thumbholes to be very useful, although I have found that with sustained use they do eventually start to irritate the skin flap between the thumb and index finger.  I have also found that I prefer to wear the thumbhole loops under my gloves, rather than over them, as this makes donning and doffing my gloves much easier.  I typically wear only liner gloves and not waterproof shell gloves.

me in Tech Top
wearing the Tech Top on a chilly morning in camp.

Long Term Report - June 4, 2007

Field Conditions:  Over the course of this test I used the Icebreaker tops in temperatures ranging from the high 60's F/20 C down to an unknown temperature below freezing (ice on my tent walls & the ground).  Weather has been mostly dry, with a handful of light rainstorms.  I did encounter some snow (on the ground, not falling).  Elevations have ranged from sea level to 11,490 feet/3502 m.  Terrain has ranged from mountains to desert, with the majority of testing taking place in low coastal chaparral hills.

Little has changed since I wrote my Field Report, except that summer has already arrived in spirit (just not on the calendar).  I am still very fond of the Skin200 Scoopneck top for active use in temperatures under 55 F/13 C and for use as an extra insulative layer when sleeping, and I have still struggled to find a consistent purpose for the Bodyfit260 Tech Top.  The Bodyfit 260 has mostly been relegated to use as an in-camp insulative layer and extra sleepwear layer.  Now that this test has ended, I will definitely continue using the Scoopneck and will likely never use the Tech Top again, simply because for me it really had no use beyond a "just in case" layer, and frankly I own other pieces that are lighter and more functional for me in that regard.  Perhaps if I lived in a colder climate I might have found a niche for the Tech Top, but given our ridiculously dry and warm winter I wasn't able to give the Tech Top as much cold-conditions testing as I would have liked to. 

Both tops have held up well during testing, with no pilling, no seams coming loose, and no real signs of wear.  The Scoopneck did end up getting run through the clothes dryer a few times, which was hard to avoid since it looks and feels just like a long-sleeve black cotton t-shirt (of which I own several).   It requires laundry vigilance, which isn't one of my strong points.  This seems to have had no ill effect on the Scoopneck, although I will continue to try to air-dry it each time it is washed..

Things I Like

Fabric on both tops is soft & smooth - like cotton jersey
Fit of the Skin200 Scoop L/S is perfect
Surprisingly warm
Tech Top's thumb holes are very useful and comfortable
Well-made and durable

Not Crazy About

The fit of the Tech Top is very loose
The garments must be air-dried; no clothes dryers


  This concludes my test of the Icebreaker Women's Skin200 Scoop L/S and Bodyfit260 Tech Top. Thank you to both Icebreaker and BackpackGearTest for the opportunity to test these shirts.








Read more reviews of Icebreaker gear
Read more gear reviews by Colleen Porter

Reviews > Clothing > Shirts > Icebreaker Skin 200 and BodyFit 260 > Test Report by Colleen Porter



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