I/O Bio Merino Pilot Suit


Conjuring visions of Ninjas as well as union-suit-style long underwear of yore, the Pilot Suit from I/O Bio Merino can create a “perfect body environment,” the company touts. Indeed, the head-to-ankle base-layer suit ensconces the body in thin, breathable merino wool. There’s a hood, a front zipper, thumb-hole cuffs, leggings, a drawstring waistband, and a “Bombay zip” for what the company cites as “bathroom ease.”

I wore the $159.99 suit multiple days this winter. It is in fact quite cozy. I/O Bio Merino’s wool never itched, yet it provided adequate warmth and breathability. The integrated hood is a nice touch — it’s always there if your head needs a bit of extra warmth.

I-O Merino Pilot Suit Base Layer.jpg

I/O Bio Merino Pilot Suit

The aforementioned “Bombay zip” — which does a U-turn in your crotch — can be dangerous. Take care not to relive a certain scene some readers may remember from 1998’s movie “There’s Something About Mary.” (I had a couple close calls!)

Overall, the fit and function of the Merino Pilot Suit is admirable. But one caveat: The wool is thin, and on one occasion I poked a small hole in the fabric with my thumb while roughly pulling off a leg.

I-O Merino Pilot Suit photo.jpg

Pilot Suit

In use, the suit at first feels kind of like pajamas. But the wool is of high-quality — comparable to what you get from Icebreaker and Ibex Outdoor Clothing — so it breathes and does its base-layer job.

If you can swallow the high price tag, for the ultimate in coziness and convenience, the Merino Pilot Suit takes a prize. www.io-bio.com

—Stephen Regenold is founder and editor of www.gearjunkie.com.

Posted by Bill Fornshell - 04/20/2010 03:33 PM

I called the company and asked a few more questions. The merino wool is the 160 gram per square meter material. The price is about what you would pay for top of the line other Merino garments if bought separate, a Merino Hood, a Long Sleeve top and a Bottom. I asked about the weight and was told the size large weighed 9.6 ounces. To extend the temperature range into a warmer range someone could push the hood back and lower the top zipper as necessary, the top zipper will open to about the belly button to help vent, and just wear a pair of shorts to hike in. Then use the Pilot Suit as part of your “Sleep System”. The lower zipper goes from the front to the back to give you something sort of like the “back door” on old style long johns. They also have a drawl cord for the waist which might help loosen the material when you need to open the bottom zipper all the way.

Posted by Tyler - 06/07/2010 11:34 AM

Looks like a poor job of ripping off Airblaster’s Ninja Suit. I’ll stick with the original.

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