Brand: Cabela’s + Icebreaker
Model: Merino Thermal Zone Half-Zip Top & Bottoms
Bodymapping—strategically matching different fabrics to different parts of the body—aims to maximize both warmth and breathability, and the Thermal Zone delivers. Heavyweight merino in the core and outer arms kept us cozy down to -10°F in New Hampshire’s Crawford Notch State Park. But thinner patches—medium-weight merino on the biceps and knees and lightweight merino on the inner arms and groin—meant they didn’t swamp out when we were climbing and skiing into the 40s, either. Caveat: Finely calibrated thermal regulation like this isn’t cheap.
The thinner wool panels pulled moisture from our sweatiest zones quickly—perfect for high-output endeavors in bitter cold.
Merino is tops in this department. “I could convince myself I was pulling on clean layers on day four of a backcountry hut trip,” one tester says.
They’re relaxed but not baggy, with a stay-tucked hem and long arms. Skiers liked that the thinnest merino on the lower shins fit well inside boots.