Following on from last week’s review of the Icebreaker Mondo Zip, you’ll know how impressed we are with both merino wool and the ethical approach of Icebreaker, so we won’t bore you further on that one. The Aspiring hood is a heavier grade of Realfleece merino at 320 that’s roughly the equivalent of a heavy duty fleece.
The attention to detail on this top is impressive with each zip having not your common or garden toggle but uniquely designed and engraved zip pulls. Admittedly, this doesn’t add anything to the functionality of the garment, but if they’ve spent as much detail on the rest of the features as the zip then this has to be a quality top.
The tops’ class really does speak for itself and as you’ll need to shell out £150 for the pleasure, it’s no less than you’d expect. Like class anywhere, it’s never brassy, always understated. It took me a few weeks to notice the Icebreaker logo on the shoulder and the discreet rubber Icebreaker tag on the side seam. There are two hand warming pockets, just big enough to squeeze a map into, and a small chest pocket that’ll hold a mobile or a wallet.
On recent trips to the hills, this has been my mid-layer of choice, with the hood being a bonus. I was rather wary of actually owning a ‘hoody’ for the first time in my life at thirty *cough*, but thankfully I’ve not yet got an ASBO and neither have I been hugged by a prominent politician, thank god. The active cut makes it suitable for walking, running and biking. In colder conditions, it’s tailored finely enough to allow you to comfortably wear a shell over it.
If you’re going on a multi day trip then this top will serve two vital functions. On the hill it will serve as an excellent technical top and at the walk’s end, you can don this and nip to the local inn and look respectable.Despite my limited knowledge of these things, it’s certainly a good looking top, though anyone under 25 might not agree! Either way, it looks much more stylish than your typical fleece.
Summary. One of the best proper ‘fleeces’ that money can buy with a price tag to match. Only just loses half a star for being heavier than other equivalent tops.
What’s good: Comfortable, sustainable, warm and stylish.
Not so good: Reassuringly expensive….
Review sponsored, but not influenced, by Nature Shop UK – an online retailer selling premium “nature inspired” brands and products that are kind to your body and to the environment. We are committed to making a positive difference to the world that we all live in with a specific focus on preservation of the natural environment and in helping the lives of children who will inherit this beautiful world of ours. We have offices and distribution centres in Rustington, West Sussex in the United Kingdom and in Mount Maunganui, New Zealand.