The world's most in-depth and scientific reviews of outdoor gear

Icebreaker Merino 200 Oasis Crewe - Women's Review

Icebreaker uses the most comfortable wool in this seemingly lightweight base layer.
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Price:  $95 List | $74.81 at Amazon
Compare prices at 2 resellers
Pros:  Great thermoregulation, exceptional at wicking, impressive durability, least itch factor of all wool tops tested
Cons:  Not very cozy
Manufacturer:   Icebreaker
By Amber King ⋅ Senior Review Editor  ⋅  Nov 8, 2019
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82
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#2 of 10
  • Warmth - 25% 8
  • Breathability - 25% 8
  • Comfort and Fit - 20% 8
  • Layering Ability - 20% 9
  • Durability - 10% 8

Our Verdict

With amazing performance, the Women's Icebreaker Merino 200 Oasis Crewe is a classic base layer that offers fantastic comfort and warmth for all seasons. The merino wool used by Icebreaker has no abrasive qualities, making it the least itchy wool we've tested thus far. While this base layer has a weight of 200-grams, it feels much lighter and on par with a fabric thickness of our lightweight award winners. It also offers great warmth on its own or in a layered system. Functioning well as a wicking layer that doesn't absorb water, we'd whole-heartedly recommend it for backcountry skiing and any other winter aerobic sport. It's light enough to perform throughout all the seasons, so don't be afraid to wear it at night while camping in the summer either. Almost winning our Editors' Choice Award, this base layer is amazing across all the metrics.


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Overall Score Sort Icon
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Star Rating
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Pros Great thermoregulation, exceptional at wicking, impressive durability, least itch factor of all wool tops testedWide range of thermoregulation, cute, super cozy, great fit, fantastic breathability, no odorCozy fleece interior, easy to layer, warm, high quality performance, versatile, stash pocket, tight fitGreat thermoregulation, comfortable and fitted fabrics, great patterns and colorsImmensely comfortable, quick to dry, lightweight, huge range of thermoregulation, no smell
Cons Not very cozyLacks durability, absorbs waterMore expensive, not super breathablePoor durabilityLacks durability, expensive, harder to layer
Bottom Line Icebreaker uses the most comfortable wool in this seemingly lightweight base layer.Our favorite base layer with the best thermoregulation that we continue to love.This high performance synthetic is a Top Pick for pretty much any adventure you dream up.A great thermoregulator with some durability issues.An amazing balance of breathability and warmth with some layering issues.
Rating Categories Merino 200 Oasis Crewe Merino 250 1/4 Zip Rho LT Zip 185 Rock'N'Wool Long Sleeve Capilene Air Crew
Warmth (25%)
10
0
8
10
0
9
10
0
7
10
0
8
10
0
8
Breathability (25%)
10
0
8
10
0
8
10
0
7
10
0
8
10
0
10
Comfort And Fit (20%)
10
0
8
10
0
10
10
0
8
10
0
9
10
0
9
Layering Ability (20%)
10
0
9
10
0
7
10
0
10
10
0
9
10
0
5
Durability (10%)
10
0
8
10
0
7
10
0
9
10
0
3
10
0
5
Specs Merino 200 Oasis... Merino 250 1/4 Zip Rho LT Zip 185 Rock'N'Wool... Capilene Air Crew
Fabric Weight Midweight (200-grams) Midweight (250-grams) Lightweight (185-grams) Midweight (185-grams) Midweight (147-grams)
Material 100% Merino 100% Merino wool Torrent (84% polyester / 16% elastane) 100% merino wool 51% merino wool/49% recycled polyester seamless zigzag knit comprised of 18.5-micron-gauge lofted wool
Cuts avaliable Crew, 1/2 zip neck 1/4 zip, crew, 1/2 zip hoody 1/4 zip neck Crew, 1/4 zip Crew, hoody
Smelly over time? No No Yes No No
Odor Control Fabric Naturally odor resistant Naturally odor resistant Polygiene Naturally odor resistant Naturally odor resistant
Thumb Loops? No No No No No
UPF (Sun Protection) No 50 N/A No No
Length (short, medium, long) Medium Medium Long Medium Medium
Fit (Based on 5'7, 140-lb woman wearing size small) Fitted (not tight), true to fit. Fitted (not tight), true to fit. Tight and long, true to fit. Fitted (not tight), true to fit. Fitted (not tight), true to fit.
Accessory Pocket? No No Yes (on arm) No No
Flat-lock seams (prevents chaffing) Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes

Our Analysis and Test Results

The Icebreaker 200 Oasis is a tried and true 100% merino base-layer. While it has a 200-g fabric weight, it offers a lightweight build that is easy to layer and performs well all-around. We seriously considered it as our Editor's Choice Award winner given it's all-around great performance amongst all metrics. A great alternative if you're not a fan of Smartwool and prefer merino wool that doesn't even show a hint of itch.

Performance Comparison


As a comfortable and warm top with amazing wicking abilities  the Icebreaker Oasis almost won our Editors' Choice Award. It performs well across the metrics with a thinner construction than you'd expect.
As a comfortable and warm top with amazing wicking abilities, the Icebreaker Oasis almost won our Editors' Choice Award. It performs well across the metrics with a thinner construction than you'd expect.

Warmth


Built with 100% merino wool that is tightly packed into a lightweight and thinner shirt, it resembles more of a lightweight merino wool layer than a midweight (as the 200-gram fabric weight would otherwise indicate). It still offers enough insulation that, when worn alone, will keep you warm in cool weather. Layered in a system, its a perfect wicking piece with a bit of insulation that doesn't hold moisture. Overall, it thermoregulates well both alone and in a system, providing a good amount of relative warmth.

Layer it up with some insulating layers while skiing and adventuring for optimal warmth. A great option for skinning uphill on the mountain or while exploring trails by foot.
Layer it up with some insulating layers while skiing and adventuring for optimal warmth. A great option for skinning uphill on the mountain or while exploring trails by foot.

Breathability


This top breathes incredibly well. While running and hiking uphill, we never found ourselves heating up too much that actually warranted moisture build-up. When wearing upper layers didn't breath, this top did good work moving moisture away from the skin and didn't hold it in its fabrics. It breathes and wicks well for great thermoregulation in both winter and summer months.

Testing out overall breathability. Turns out it will keep you warm  even while sweating. Perfect for snowy runs or skiing in the backcountry.
Testing out overall breathability. Turns out it will keep you warm, even while sweating. Perfect for snowy runs or skiing in the backcountry.

Comfort & Fit


Thin and easy to wear, it offers just the right amount of stretch to wear all day. The fabrics aren't super plush or cozy, but they are far from itchy or uncomfortable. In fact, testers that found lightweight Smartwool fabrics to be a little itchier preferred this top because of its more comfortable design and a relatively similar level of thinness. The fit is regular without the arms being too long or short for a woman who is 5'7". If you've got longer limbs, you might find that there isn't enough length in this top.

The Icebreaker 200 offers a fitted design. Our main tester is 5"7 and 145 lbs. She wears a size Medium.
The Icebreaker 200 offers a fitted design. Our main tester is 5"7 and 145 lbs. She wears a size Medium.

Layering Ability


Layering over the Oasis is very easy. The fabrics aren't too thick, and it is knit in a way that doesn't grab onto layers sliding overtop. While the face fabric isn't frictionless, it's easier to layer than most midweight tops we tested. It doesn't have any thumb loops to aid in this process. It can fit thinly underneath any jacket or fleece comfortably. We found that putting a thin tank top underneath is fine, but a t-shirt with sleeves is too much. The fit is quite close to the skin and not loose.

Its thinner construction layers easily under wind layers or fleece jackets.
Its thinner construction layers easily under wind layers or fleece jackets.

Durability


Even with a 100% merino construction, we are surprised at how well the fabric is holding up. After about ten washes, it hasn't pilled or showed any signs of wear and tear. We've tested it for just a couple of months while carrying backpacks, running, hiking, and climbing. Through it all, it still looks good. Online reviews confirm that this is a very durable product that has lasted many years.

Thin fabrics that are incredibly durable.
Thin fabrics that are incredibly durable.

Value


An amazing price, especially for such a quality product! You definitely get bang for your buck on this one. While its construction is thin, it is quite warm and very durable. How can you go wrong?

Conclusion


It's hard to find anything wrong with this amazing all-around performance. The Icebreaker 200 Oasis almost wins our Editor's Choice award for an amazing all-around performance. While it's not as thick and cozy as other heavier tops tested, it offers impeccable thermoregulation that performs well while skiing, hiking, or camping in the summer. If you're not a fan of the wool used by Smartwool, Icebreaker is a great alternative.

Here we head out for a climb in Red Rocks Nevada. Wearing the lightweight Oasis 200 while hiking up to the base of the climb proves to be a great place for this versatile base layer.
Here we head out for a climb in Red Rocks Nevada. Wearing the lightweight Oasis 200 while hiking up to the base of the climb proves to be a great place for this versatile base layer.


Amber King