Wednesday, 27 May 2015

Why you'll love Icebreaker this Summer!

Cool, cozy comfort:  3 reasons to fall in love with Icebreaker merino wool clothing this summer

Wool in summer? If you are quietly questioning our sanity, we understand. When contemplating traditional wool garments, heavy, itchy and hot are adjectives that come to mind.

However, there’s a new sheep on the block these days. He calls the Southern Alps of New Zealand home and his wool is a far cry from the typical lowland sheep’s.

Forming the spine of New Zealand’s South Island, the Southern Alps is a harsh place: freezing in winter and scorching in summer.  In its high altitude valleys, some as high as 7000 feet, live 3,000,000 merino sheep. To survive, the hardy merino’s wool has evolved to keep it cool in 35° C summer heat and warm in -20° C winter nippiness.

If merino wool can keep sheep alive in such severe conditions, could humans benefit from its qualities as well? Icebreaker thinks so. Since 1994 it has been continually refining its merino wool clothing to create a natural system of lightweight layers that will keep you comfortable and happy in all 4 seasons.

Warm but cool

It starts with capitalizing on the light, fine, breathable coat that merinos rely on to keep them cool in summer. This is your base layer. It works by transporting moisture vapor away from your skin so that it can evaporate. 

Instead of the moisture vapor skidding along the surface or evaporating through holes in the fabric - the way synthetics are designed to work, Icebreaker merino allows the moisture to escape through the fibers themselves as well at the spaces between them.  This beautiful breathability is what helps to you keep cool without feeling clammy.

When the mercury drops, it’s time to layer up just like the merinos do when they grow their winter coats. By layering lightweight Icebreaker clothing, you trap insulating air between each layer for cozy warmth without the bulk.

Partnering up natural fibers for summer comfort

Not all merino wool is created equal. The sheep of New Zealand’s Southern Alps grow the longest, strongest merino fiber there is, making it more durable and helping it to stay softer for longer. It naturally resists odors, and it feels great against your skin.

But, sometimes, even miracle fibers can use a little help. Cool-Lite is one of Icebreaker’s new fabrics. It’s a combination of two natural fibers: merino wool and TENCEL. TENCEL is produced from wood grown at sustainable tree farms. Learn more about it here. (link to:

Cool-Lite keeps you 40% cooler than pure merino wool. How? On top of the qualities merino wool brings, TENCEL’s naturally high moisture content helps to keep your body cool.

Happy sheep, happy planet

The alternative to wool clothing is synthetics such as polyester or polypropylene. While they are light and quick to dry, they are made by melting, extruding and setting petrochemical plastic.

Icebreaker clothing goes the natural route. Made from the wool of sheep living the life nature intended, Icebreaker clothing is renewable and biodegradable.

To make sure the sheep stay happy, Icebreaker commits to long-term contracts with merino sheep farmers and takes responsibility for every stage of the process, from the quality of the wool right down to the sheep’s welfare.

Natural comfort, guaranteed

Icebreaker guarantees its garments are the most comfortable, best performing merino clothing you can buy. If you are not completely satisfied, bring it back within 90 days and they’ll be happy to replace it.

It doesn’t get much better than that!

Super Employee Blogger
Wendy Niven

Friday, 22 May 2015

Backcountry cooking gets easier with the Jetboil cooking system

Jetboil is not your average backpacking stove. It's a personal cooking system engineered to boil water super-fast; in just over two minutes!

Born from the frustration of clunky traditional stoves, Jetboil's founders set out to create something safer, more efficient and easier to use. Because all the parts fit together, both in use and when packed away, it sets up quickly and easily and takes up minimal space in your pack.

How does it work?

Jetboil's all-in-one cooking system combines the burner and the cooking pot into one unit. This helps to maximize fuel efficiency and extend the life of your fuel canister.

It also helps simplify backcountry cooking as you heat and eat (or drink) from the same apparatus. Because the cooking cup and burner are attached securely together and stand upright with the help of a stabilizing tripod, messy spills become a thing of the past.

Designed to be one of the safest backcountry cooking systems available, Jetboil's 2015 stoves come with a newly designed burner that secures the igniter to protect it from bumps as you travel.

It's all about the FluxRing

The secret to Jetboil is its heat transfer efficiency. The old-school way to maximize heat transfer is to use a pot with a large cooking surface, but that means hauling around a big pot.

Jetboil boosts its heat transfer efficiency by welding an aluminum FluxRing to the bottom of all of its cooking pots, pans and cups. This effectively increases the surface area of the smaller cooking vessels through the accordion folded lenght of aluminum.

What do you get with a Jetboil cooking system?

  • A FluxRing equipped cooking cup, insulated with a color-change heat indicator cozy.
  • An adjustable, stainless steel burner.
  • A push button igniter.
  • A lid that allows for drinking.
  • A fuel can stabilizer.
  • The bottom doubles as a measuring cup and a bowl.
  • A 100g Jetpower fuel canister (sold separately) fits inside the unit while traveling.

What's so special about Jetpower fuel?

Jetpower fuel is a blend of propane and iso-butane. The propane gives Jetpower fuel high vapor pressure, while the iso-butane keeps the pressure constant as the fuel levels become low.

What about winter?

Burner output does decrease when it's cold. That's because the lower the air temperature, the lower the pressure of the gas in the canister. The key to stove efficiency in the winter is to keep the fuel as warm as possible.

  • When not in use, keep the fuel canister in a warm coat pocket during the day and in your sleeping bag at night.
  • Keep the fuel warm while in use by insulating the bottom of the canister with a small piece of foam between it an the snow or other cold surface.
  • Use a hand-warmer on the bottom of the canister while you cook.
  • Keep a spare canister warm so that you can swap out the cold one as you cook.
Better yet, buy the winter stove, the Joule. The Joule works by giving you liquid fuel performance through the convenience of a canister by inverting it. Once upside down, the canister delivers the fuel in liquid form instead of gas. The advantage is better performance in colder temperatures because the vapor pressure doesn't change while the stove is in use.

Which model is right for you?

Gravity Gear sells three Jetboil models:

  • The Flash is designed as a personal cooking system. It lights with the click of a button and serves up two cups of boiling water in just over 2 minutes.
  • The Sumo is Jetboil's group cooking system. It's a great tool for the full range of backcountry cooking needs, from quick water heating, to snow melting and simmering. It allows for a range of packing combinations and is compatible with all of Jetboil's accessories.
  • The Joule is designed for backpacking or mountaineering groups and winter use. It offers consistent heat output in cold temperatures with its inverted fuel delivery system. Its 10,000 BTU burner gives you the power to boil water fast, yet still offers excellent simmer control for cooking.
Don't you wish you had one? Find more info here.

Employee and Contributor
Wendy Niven