With the Zone One Sheep Suit, Icebreaker has delivered the perfect match of materials and design. It's a do-it-all baselayer for backcountry ski touring and other adventurous pursuits. For these reasons, it wins our coveted Gear of the Year designation.
The Backcountry Skiing Canada Team.
We have reviewed a tonne of Icebreaker stuff over the years and everything has held up nicely. Now we are super stoked about a new piece from them called the Zone One Sheep Suit. If you’d like to read our impressions of some other apparel items from the good people at Icebreaker, go here: Icebreaker Merino Mid- and Baselayers, or Icebreaker Merino Loft Helix Zip Jacket. Icebreaker was one of the first makers of fine merino apparel and, as such, they enjoy a bit of a first mover advantage. The company offers a wide range of pieces and styles to keep you warm, dry and looking good across a number of activities.
We keep our eyes out for new stuff from Icebreaker and when we spotted the Zone One Sheep Suit at a trade show last year, we were immediately keen to check it out. As you can see from the photos below, the Sheep Suit is a one-piece, a union suit (or even a onesie—if you are a parent). If you are a ski tourer and you’ve run this kind of one-piece program already, you know how superior it can be in eliminating drafts. By combining the merits of the one-piece design with the BodyfitZONE™ construction and merino wool fabric, they’ve hit a homer. Three times.
Now, though I know some of you wish you could see us in our underwear—we’ve spared you the details of our anatomy. For most of the photos, we’ve enlisted the help of Icebreaker’s own man-models to help show off some of the features.
Though we were sent the blue-green combo and enjoy it, the also-available black looks nice in an austere kind of way. Look below for some of the features shown in the front and back view. There’s a good and simple functioning fly and, though you can’t see it, the fabric under the arms is lighter weight than on the rest of the suit. This is a big plus and what Icebreaker calls BodyfitZONE. Also note the torso-length zipper—it affords a number of options depending on the heat you have to dump, or retain .And note the semi-circular “escape hatch” zipper feature across the bottom and the streamline hood on the guy to the right. Both features are enormously appreciated on multi-day tours where you keep the Sheep Suit on more than off..
Here is a close-up of the rear zipper. Easy close, easy open.
- Icebreaker BodyfitZONE™ technology
- Strategically placed merino mesh for ventilation
- Gusseted side panels for ease of movement, comfort and mobility
- Shaped hood for warmth and protection
- Functioning fly
- Flatlock seams prevent chafing
- Back flap with 2-way zip
- Corespun fabric for enhanced durability
Here’s the hood’s backside. Remarkably ergonomic and perfect as uptrack headwear. No drafts down the neck and totally appropriate insulation for an uphill slog.
And here’s a little close-up of the stitching and fabric. Flatlock seams to prevent chafe and corespun fabric that’ll last and feel smooth for seasons to come.
Sometimes it’s the little things that make all the difference in the world of apparel. The Zone One Sheep Suit from Icebreaker isn’t a work of genius (quite), it just combines fabrics and design for a very, very high performance piece.
In my mind, it’s hard to go wrong with a onesie design. That’s one big plus. Merino is occasionally problematic for me because I get too hot under the arms. BodyFit solves this so that’s two big plusses. And the simple design set also contributes to the piece’s appeal: just what you need and nothing that you don’t.
I have toured with the Sheep Suit under hard and soft shells in a variety of conditions and temperatures. I have been consistently warm and dry. The fact that the Sheep Suit is a one piece not only eliminates drafts, it also makes for a way more streamlined baselayer—goodbye bunching and riding.
At 200$, the Sheep suit isn’t an inexpensive item. If it stands up to a 5-year beating the way all of my other Icebreaker apparel has, though, I say it’s money well spent.
Here's a snap shot in Five-Mile Basin, just outside of Whitewater Ski Resort boundary lines. It was a long slog up and I was happy, warm and dry for the duration. ‘love the hood too!
Price: $209 (but check for sales)
Sizes: S, M, L, XL, XXL
Colour: Night/balsam/night and Black
Weight: 200 lightweight merino
Fabric: Main - 200gm, 96% Merino wool, 4% LYCRA®, Mesh Panels - 120 gm, 85% Merino wool, 14% Nylon, 1% LYCRA® corespun
Did we miss something? Are we totally out to lunch? Let us know what you think. People like/dislike gear for different reasons so chime in below and we'll get a well-rounded evaluation.