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Understanding Icebreaker

Once upon a time in the west there were two caterpillars sitting sunning themselves on the dry bark of a fallen tree. Just then a butterfly flew over, at which point one caterpillar turned to the other and said “You’ll never get me up in one of those.”

Now it’s this caterpillar mentality that I’d adhered to for years when it came to Merino wool products. I was vocally dismissive of them, “Too heavy, too warm, won’t wick, too itchy.” About once a year I’d pick them up, feel the fabric, try them on and put them back. Being a Scot, which is essentially a Yorkshireman with the generosity squeezed out, I wasn’t going to part with my money unless I was entirely convinced.

Then along came Graeme from Icebreaker. Careful not to crush any caterpillars, we sat down and had a chat. “Thin, soft, natural fibres make it warm in cold weather, cool in warm weather.” He told me. “It works for sheep” he said, “And after all, if nature got it wrong the sheep would die. The sheep are still here!” He was now on a roll, “Because it’s made from grass, water and sunshine Mark, rather than petrochemicals, it’s renewable and biodegradable, now that’s got to be a good thing.” I was itching to protest about next to skin comfort but he got there first, “Unlike traditional wool” he said “it doesn’t itch, and what’s more, our Merino is from New Zealand and New Zealand produces the longest, strongest and whitest Merino wool in the world.” As if all this wasn’t convincing enough, then came his killer blow, “Because there’s ‘No Stink’ Mark, you can wear it many, many times before you have to wash it.” Once again appealing to my Scots nature. “Unless of course you spill your soup down it Mark.”

Six weeks on and I’m a convert, in fact I’ve hardly taken it off, and as yet, it hasn’t been near the washing machine. From the Borrowdale valley floor to the windswept Eildon Hills above Melrose, from the weekly supermarket shop to a pub tea in Buttermere, it’s served me remarkably well. I love it and no, it’s not itchy.

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7 July 2016 by Mark Wright

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