Sustainable Warmth: Merino Jacket An ‘Active Insulator’

Outerwear is a hotbed for innovation in the outdoors. Icebreaker hops in with a new kind of ‘active’ jacket made mostly of wool.

Icebreaker Helix Long Sleeve Zip

Icebreaker is known for its merino wool and base layers. But the company makes a range of apparel and outerwear, including a jacket unlike almost anything in the outdoors.

How is it different? The Helix Long Sleeve Zip melds the traits of warmth, breathability, comfort, odor-resistance, and sustainability to stand out in a sea of outerwear options.

Icebreaker Helix jacket

Here we break down the Helix Long Sleeve Zip.


Product: Icebreaker Helix Long Sleeve Zip

Active Insulation — A trend in outerwear, the term “active insulation” refers to highly-breathable pieces that also offer warmth. The Helix Long Sleeve Zip falls fully in the category. It insulates and protects from wind. But side panels give above-normal breathability.

Helix jacket from Icebreaker has nearly see-through panels for breathability

Stretch Panels — Thin merino-jersey side panels give copious breathability. (See image above.) They are made of a stretchy poly/merino/Lycra blend. The nearly see-through panels help with airflow and regulate body temperature when you’re active.

Natural Fibers — Icebreaker combines sustainable materials with a performance design. The Helix has a 100% recycled polyester face fabric. Its lining is 100% merino wool. Insulating panels also use merino (see next bullet on MerinoLOFT).

Helix Long Sleeve Zip

MerinoLOFT — Synthetic fill or goose down are common insulators. Icebreaker goes with something different. Its MerinoLOFT insulation is made of merino wool placed under a water-repellent shell fabric. The result is a high warmth-to-weight ratio from a natural and sustainable material source.

Adaptable Jacket — Icebreaker made the Helix to serve as an alpine mid-layer (for cold, high-output days while climbing and skiing). Or wear it alone when you’re running, XC skiing, snowshoeing, or hiking in the cold.

Thumb loops keep cuffs pulled high on hand
Thumb loops keep cuffs pulled high on hand

Aesthetic Focus — This jacket has a unique look. It will stand out in a crowd of outerwear with its “Fraser Peaks” pattern, a grey heather that gives a modern look with organic undertones.

–See details on Icebreaker.com, where the jacket — full name: MerinoLOFT Helix Long Sleeve Zip Hood Fraser Peaks 250 Midweight — has an msrp of $270 and is on sale now for $189.

Across a frozen lake, an ice-surfer the only company
Running across a frozen lake, an ice-surfer the only company

This article is sponsored by Icebreaker. Check out the brand’s line of merino wool products here.