Product Review: I/O Merino Base Layers

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I love the cooler weather and I have been asking for the temperatures to drop for what seems like several months now. Almost without exception when I pine about wanting to see snow or looking for temps in the single digits everyone within earshot tells me I am crazy. Now, don’t get me wrong; I like the spring too and summer in the right situation is great. Lounging by the pool, lake or ocean is nice and I enjoy warm nights where you can go outside in nothing but shorts and short sleeves. I do not like Mosquitoes though and apparently they love me. Not a fan of having to take two showers a day either but I can appreciate every season for what it brings. With the winter approaching I am thankful for cooler weather than allows me to walk the dog or work in the yard without sweating to death. Even if I am the only one who wants to go outside.

I am not a polar bear and oddly enough even if I say I like colder weather I am a big baby when it comes to cold water. I jokingly tell my wife that my extreme aversion to cold water is what kept me out of the Navy Seals. Yeah, that and a lot of other things…

I appreciate warm clothes while I am out in the elements. The best way to prepare for any type of weather, especially cold is to dress in layers. Layers allow you to add or remove clothes as you get cold or hot. Adjusting to the temperature will help you prevent sweating in the cold and assist with regulating your core temperature. Some days I have to break out several layers to stay warm. Like the last few weeks in the woods. Hunting season is upon us and I spent several early mornings and nights in the woods alone waiting on that elusive monster buck that would forever cement my place in local legend and lore. I did get a deer, but it wasn’t the mythical beast I had hoped but while waiting on my opportunity to take a shot the temperatures hovered in the low 20’s some days. I know that isn’t as cold as some of you experience but I was glad I had my base layers from I/O Merino.

I/O Merino is an Australian company who contacted me several months back about reviewing some of their base layers on the Prepper Journal. After my time in the deer stand I was glad I accepted. I/O Merino sent me 3 pieces (long sleeve zip base layer top, bottoms and a neck tube). We call it a gaiter here, but it does look like a tube. I told them the wrong size on the top so my wife actually tried out the top and the neck tube, leaving the bottoms for me. I am sure there is a pun in there somewhere…

This is the top my wife wore and no, that is not my wife.
This is the top my wife wore and no, that is not my wife.

According to my wife: “The base layer is a well-constructed, luxurious, insanely warm, comfortable addition to any wardrobe. I have worn various base layers over the years and am constantly seeking that perfect supplement to my layers. The Altitude zip base layer has thumb loops which make it simple to slide the sleeve into other garments, It has amazing stretch and the length is perfect and does not ride up after a few hours. I wore it hiking in freezing temps and it kept me warm, yet never felt suffocating. The zip crew neck allowed for ventilation if unzipped and extra warmth as the sun began to set. The neck tube also gave an additional layer that could be removed or added at will. The fabric is not itchy or scratchy like other wool blends tend to be. Another added bonus is the thinness of the fabric. I have washed it several times and it dries looking ready for wear without any shrinkage or stretching. I am blown away that a garment so lightweight could provide so much warmth. I would recommend the Altitude zip base layer to anyone from the adventurer who wants to be outdoors in freezing temps to the grandma who wants to feel a little toastier on cold winter nights.”

That is high praise from my wife who truth be told is always freezing. She will routinely wear her coat in the house when it is 68 even though that same temperature in the summer is met with shorts…

Nope, that's not me either.
Nope, that’s not me either. Very funny.

I wore the bottoms hunting like I said in below freezing temperatures and felt completely warm and toasty. I had a wool top from another company since my wife had the I/O Merino top that was Merino wool also. Actually it is much thicker that the items from I/O but did not keep me as warm as the bottoms did. The bottoms fit perfectly and didn’t sag, nor were they too tight. They were so comfortable that I wore them all day even when I walked the dog on those same days in the evening. I didn’t over heat even when walking up some steep hills and the I/O Merino wool blend that is used is so far my favorite base layer.

I/O says the pieces we tried are ”made from IO Merino flagship ‘enigma’ 96% Australian merino wool and 4% elastin fabric providing a four way stretch for easy movement and maximum next to skin contact”. Whatever they did to it, the layers feel great next to your skin and do not itch like some wool garments do. I highly recommend them for anyone who is looking for quality layers to keep warm in any season. The I/O Merino products look and feel great and most of all keep you warm on those cold nights.

Also, the good people at I/O Merino have been kind enough to offer a 20% discount off any full priced stock. Just go to their site and enter PREP20 into the discount code at checkout and enjoy some Christmas savings. If you get some of these let me know how you like them.

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