Now that we’re on the slow slide toward winter, a lot of people are starting to think more about merino wool layers. Despite the fact that lightweight merino is perfectly fine to wear in warmer temperatures and even keeps you cool, it always seems to be top of mind when the weather turns chilly.


I have a healthy number of merino pieces in my closet, and on a recent trip to Yosemite, the first two I grabbed are the Icebreaker women’s Merino Quantum III Long Sleeve Zip Hoodie and the Icebreaker women’s Merino Tech Lite II Short Sleeve T-Shirt. And I’m glad I did.


The hoodie, made with 100-percent merino is a great mid-weight piece that’s as good on technical mountain adventures as it is for a casual dinner date. The soft merino fibers help regulate body temperature and are also excellent at resisting odors, so when you pack this hoodie on your travels, you can wear it multiple times before it needs to be washed. Shoulder seams are offset to avoid friction caused by backpack straps, and a drop-tail hem is ideal for added coverage when you’re active. Three zippered pockets (two for hands, one at chest level) securely fit your important items, and internal dump pockets are for additional gear. The fitted hood and sleeve thump loops help keep you warm, even as winter beckons.


Also 100-percent merino, the T-shirt is as versatile as the hoodie. Wear it for a hike, and then roll in to a fancy lunch spot, and you’ll fit right in. The ultralight weight means that you can wear it out on sunny or cloudy days and still get excellent performance. Like the hoodie, offset shoulder seams help prevent friction when you’re backpacking or carrying luggage.


Keep your merino lasting into the future when you machine wash cold in the delicate cycle and line dry in the shade. No tumble drying or dry cleaning, and bleach is a definite no-no.


The women’s Merino Quantum III Long Sleeve Zip Hoodie comes in black, sage, clay, and Arctic teal, and lists for $200 on the Icebreaker site. The women’s merino Tech Lite II Short Sleeve T-Shirt comes in black, clay, mink, gritstone heather, and Arctic teal, and lists for $75 on the Icebreaker site.

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