Skiers and snowboarders are some of the best eco-warriers around. We know it’s key to look after our natural environments if we want to keep enjoying the mountains and the snowfall we live for each winter.
But it can be tough to find winter gear that matches our purpose. Synthetic outdoor apparel – while often waterproof and warm – is often created from unsustainable petrochemicals and plastic, not designed to last or be recycled.
Enter icebreaker. Back in 1995, founder Jeremy Moon was on the hunt for a natural alternative to the clothes he wore for the sports he loved. Meeting with a merino sheep farmer in New Zealand, he came up with a way of transforming wool into a high-performance natural clothing system.
95% of icebreaker’s fibre consumption is plastic free, and they’re relentlessly working on the last 5%
As they move closer and closer to all natural, it means all-new innovations, and this season they’ve come up with three to take your slope game to the next level.
Here are three of your new winter must-haves, all with that added bonus of wearing nature while you’re out in nature.
1. An all-natural outer layer
The Shell+ jacket is icebreaker’s first-ever 100% natural outer layer that’s both water-repellent and wind resistant, keeping you warm and dry on the slopes.
Made from pre-stretched and woven natural fibers, this jacket creates a dense fabric that keeps you protected from the elements, whether you’re on the slopes or going on a winter hike.
The little touches – including an adjustable hood that allows you to wear it with or without a helmet, articulated seams for great range of motion, zippered chest vents and a secure pass pocket – make it perfect for your next mountain adventure. It’s also easy to layer up or wear on its own in milder temperatures.
As a bonus, you know that you’re staying protected while wearing fabric created from your surroundings.
2. A natural puffer jacket
A good puffer jacket or vest is a winter essential, but icebreaker have taken it to the next level with their MerinoLoft™ natural puffer jacket.
With natural merino wool insulation, it provides a high warmth-to-weight ratio, keeping you cosy while not weighing down your body – or your luggage when you’re packing it. The merino lining also helps to regulate your body temperature, and there’s a water repellant layer for those drizzly days.
And while the merino helps to make it naturally odorless, it’s also-machine washable, making it super convenient for your outdoor adventures.
Bonus – no feathers used in the process, only sheep that go unharmed from the wool used in the merino.
3. A natural brushed fleece
While most fleece products are actually made of plastic, the new icebreaker’s RealFleece™ collection is made of a merino wool fibers and plant-based TENCEL™ Lyocell.
All that clever technology makes for a cosy fleece fabric that’s warm, soft and sustainable, bringing it in as the perfect on-slopes midlayer. In short, you may never want to take it off, and many of the reviews say the same.
Choose from jackets, vests and even accessories such as gloves in the range, and cosy up while knowing you’re doing something good for the environment.
An easy way to recycle
It’s not just about the new clothes you invest in. Icebreaker is also acknowledging the need to consider the full lifecycle of our clothing, ensuring less of our well-loved clothes end up in landfill.
They’ve partnered with UPPAREL, a textile recycling company, to easily give your pre-loved clothing a second life. It not only offers you a conscious solution for clothing at the end of its life, but gives you a little bonus in the form of a voucher, allowing you that chance to get more natural fabrics in your life.
To get involved, drop off your preloved clothing to an icebreaker Touch Lab store. It can be any brand or condition, and they accept all clean and washed used clothing – excluding socks and underwear. In return, you’ll receive $10 of store credit.
Once UPPAREL receives your textiles, the items go through a sorting process to either be reused by charitable organisations – or shredded and spun into new fibres for things like mattresses, pet beds and home insulation.