The Merino 200 Long Sleeve Zip Neck from Isobaa promises to be pretty versatile on paper. 200 weight is a good compromise with merino, allowing it to be used as a winter base layer for skiing or walking or as a standalone top from spring to autumn. The zip neck and high collar adds versatility in that you can dump heat quite effectively, and means it even looks good as a very light pullover on chilly summer evenings.
The fabric and construction is equal to any of the major merino players; super soft to the touch, it has that peculiar merino property that makes you feel close to naked! Raglan sleeves help with comfort when carrying a backpack (no chafing seams) and they've printed the washing instructions straight on to the fabric, to avoid irritation from labels too.
Isobaa have gone under the radar somewhat, but they're making a name in ethical production too. Their wool is ethically sourced and involves no mulesing. All their packaging is recycled and some products come in little egg-boxes rather than wrapped in plastic. And they even work with a company that makes insulation from their merino off cuts.
The material off course offers all the natural benefits of merino; it is odour-resistant, breathable, quick drying and regulates temperature very well so is also good for higher paced activities like cycling. These properties, combined with a nice weight and simple design make for a very versatile layering piece, which is great value and ethically made.
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