Lighter grade merino and a neat cut and design makes this a great baselayer top.
Icebreaker Mondo Zip Tested
Weight: 217 grammes (men's
Baselayer top made from Skin 200 100% merino wool, zip neck
with collar, long raglan sleeves, flat-locked
What's It For?
The Mondo Zip is made from 200-weight pure merino which is around
25-percent lighter than Icebreaker's 260-weight and, because it's
thinner is cooler, making it more of an all-year round mountain
Like all baselayers, it's intended to be comfortable next to the
skin and manage moisture to keep you comfortable.
The Techy Bits
Merino wool is the subject of some confusion. Its fibres are much
finer than 'normal' wool making it non-scratchy and it's also good at
handling moisture. Many users say that it 'wicks', this isn't really
true, but what it does do is absorb a lot of moisture and hold it
away from the skin meaning that it stays comfortable even when
The 200-weight version used in the Mondo Zip is lighter than
previous technical Icebreaker tops making it more useable in warmer
conditions and lighter overall as well.
How It Performs
The long-sleeved zip-neck layout is our favourite design for
technical use - the collar and sleeves give some sun protection, but
the sleeves can be rolled up and the zip undone to improve cooling if
We've used the 260-weight version in the past, but that felt a bit
warm, even in cold conditions and has a weird, floppy collar and a
slightly loose fit. The Mondo addresses all those points - it's
slimmer fitting, has a neater, smaller collar and with contrast,
flatlocked stitching it looks great. The little NZ map logo looked
great too, giving a bit of an All Black flavour to the top.
In use it was excellent for walking, climbing and biking in
anything other than really warm conditions. It's close fitting and
comfortable against the skin and the light/medium weight of the
fabric means less overheating. When things do get moist and sweaty,
the merino handles it well and it's only when you really hammer
things that the fabric gets properly damp - even then it's not
uncomfortable against the skin.
Another massive merino bonus is that it has great anti-stink
capabilities meaning you can use it for multi-day trips without
smelling like a mule. For that reason, it would be our first choice
for, say, Himalayan trekking. It does get a slight wet sheep aroma
when damp, but it's not unpleasant.
Downsides? Merino's quite good at handling heat, but the black
colour of ours did tend to soak up the sun and we'd suggest a lighter
grade for really hot days plus the neck zip could be slightly longer
for better venting. If you're really sweaty, you may be better off
with a high-wicking synthetic in certain situations, but there's
really not much in it - merino still handles moisture and keeps you
comfortable, just in a different way.
The New Zealand-made Mondo looks great with a neat close fit, raglan sleeves with
flat-locked seams to avoid pack strap irritation and the lighter grade
of merino make it much more all-round useable than the heavier 260
Like we said, the zipped long-sleeved design is our choice for
all-round use and add in the moisture handling capabilities, comfort,
lightness and multi-day anti-stink properties and you have one
excellent base-layer top. And at £45, while not exactly cheap,
it's only a little more expensive than top end synthetics.
Great fabric and design, anti-stink properties, looks and
Know more or want to?
If you'd like to add your own experiences of this
product check out our user review system and post your opinions to
the world. If you have questions you can mail
us direct, ask
Richard Gear or try a posting to our