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Icebreaker Merino 200 Oasis Crewe - Women's Review

The most comfortable wool was used in this lightweight base layer
Icebreaker Merino 200 Oasis Crewe - Women's
Photo: Backcountry
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Price:  $95 List | $95.00 at Backcountry
Compare prices at 3 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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80
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#2 of 12
  • Warmth - 25% 9
  • Breathability - 25% 8
  • Comfort and Fit - 20% 8
  • Layering Ability - 20% 7
  • Durability - 10% 7

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.

Compare to Similar Products

 
Awards  Editors' Choice Award Top Pick Award  Best Buy Award 
Price $95.00 at Backcountry
Compare at 3 sellers
$73.50 at Backcountry
Compare at 3 sellers
$125 List$110.00 at Amazon$49.99 at Amazon
Overall Score Sort Icon
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Pros Great thermoregulation, exceptional at wicking, impressive durability, least itch factor of all wool tops testedWide range of thermoregulation, cozy materials, no odor after long wear, longer fit through torso and arms, versatileCozy fleece interior, easy to layer, warm, high quality performance, versatile, stash pocket, tight fitGreat thermoregulation, comfortable and fitted fabrics, great patterns and colorsWarm, durable, breathable, thumb loops, 1/4 zip design vents well, excellent value, no odor
Cons Not very cozyStretches after wearing for several days, thick construction isn't ideal for warmer daysMore expensive, not super breathablePoor durabilityNeed to size up on fit, shorter torso and arm length
Bottom Line A lightweight base layer that packs in amazing comfort and versatilityComfort and excellent thermoregulation with quality constructionVersatility and performance all in one packageImpeccable comfort and thermoregulation, but not without some durability problemsA high value contender built to take on the elements of all seasons
Rating Categories Merino 200 Oasis Crewe Merino 250 1/4 Zip Rho LT Zip 185 Rock'N'Wool Long Sleeve Base Force Heavyweight 1/4 Zip
Warmth (25%)
9
9
7
8
8
Breathability (25%)
8
8
8
7
8
Comfort And Fit (20%)
8
9
7
9
7
Layering Ability (20%)
7
6
9
9
7
Durability (10%)
7
8
9
4
8
Specs Merino 200 Oasis... Merino 250 1/4 Zip Rho LT Zip 185 Rock'N'Wool... Base Force...
Fabric Weight Midweight (200 g/m²) Midweight (250 g/m²) Midweight (185 g/m²) Midweight (185 g/m²) Midweight
Measured Weight (size) 5.8 oz (small) 8.4 oz (medium) 7.0 oz (small) 5.1 oz (small) 6.8 oz (med)
Material 100% merino wool 100% merino wool Torrent (84% polyester / 16% elastane) 100% merino wool 80% polyester, 20% wool
Cuts avaliable Crew, 1/2 zip neck Crew, 1/4 zip 1/4 zip neck Crew, 1/4 zip 1/4 zip
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 Yes
UPF (Sun Protection) No No N/A No N/A
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. Fit is small, size up
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...
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.
Photo: Amber King

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...
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.
Photo: Amber King

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

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.

Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge
The Icebreaker 200 offers a fitted design. Our main tester is 5"7...
The Icebreaker 200 offers a fitted design. Our main tester is 5"7 and 145 lbs. She wears a size Medium.
Photo: Amber King

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...
Its thinner construction layers easily under wind layers or fleece jackets.
Photo: Amber King

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.
Photo: Amber King

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...
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.
Photo: Amber King

Amber King