Swap animal down for merino wool’s warm and breathable insulation properties – Icebreaker’s Helix is a slim but warm vest with a great stretchy fit that’s easy to care for, too.
Great warmth-to-weight ratio
Merino wool is warm but breathable
Nice longer cut
Lack of color options
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Icebreaker Women’s MerinoLoft Helix Vest: first impressions
We’ve always rated Icebreaker’s base layers highly, so we were excited to put the Icebreaker Women’s MerinoLoft Helix Vest through its paces. Unlike all the other gilets we tested out for our best women’s gilets buying guide, this body warmer uses Merino wool rather than animal down as insulation.
Merino is a bit of a wonder material for base layers and mid layers, as it’s naturally warm, breathable, moisture-wicking and more sustainable than animal down.
The resulting vest offers impressive warmth despite its light weight, and its form-fitting design is easily to layer upon.
• RRP: $232.50 (US) / £170 (UK)
• Fill: Merino wool
• Sizes: XS / S / M / L / XL
• Waterproofing: None
• Colors: Black
• Compatibility: Ideal for climbing, cycling and hiking in the winter months
Icebreaker Women’s MerinoLoft Helix Vest: on the trail
The Helix looks and feels thin when compared to down jackets and puffers filled with animal down filling, but once it was on, we found it delivered on warmth. On test we also loved the high neck, the longer-length cut around the hips for added warmth and the large hand-warmer pockets.
Elasticated side panels help the Helix vest to feel comfortable even as you move – making this is a brilliant pick for faster-paced hikes, cycling (for work or play), climbing and other active sports where you need winter-appropriate warmth without too much heat or bulk.
This vest is also easy to pop in the washing machine and dries quickly (something that can’t be said for animal down, which doesn’t do well being washed), although its lack of water-resistance means it’ll only really suitable for dry days.
The sizing is on the small side, especially if you’ve got curves, so consider ordering a size up if you want to wear thicker layers underneath.
An award-winning travel and outdoors journalist, presenter and blogger, Sian regularly writes for The Independent, Evening Standard, BBC Countryfile, Coast, Outdoor Enthusiast and Sunday Times Travel. Life as a hiking, camping, wild-swimming adventure-writer has taken her around the world, exploring Bolivian jungles, kayaking in Greenland, diving with turtles in Australia, climbing mountains in Africa and, in Thailand, learning the hard way that peeing on a jellyfish sting doesn’t help. Her blog, thegirloutdoors.co.uk, champions accessible adventures.
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