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.
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.
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.