Since the Middle Ages, wool from the Merino sheep has been prized for its fine texture and its ability to both insulate and transmit body temperatures. Unlike regular wool, Merino is very soft and does not itch. That’s why savvy hunters use it when hunting both cold and hot climates.

The folks at Icebreaker just introduced a full line of base layers in Mossy Oak camouflage, which I was able to test extensively on a recent deer hunt in the Great Planes. Short story: I loved it, and here’s why. First, the layers are very light and thin enough to fold into your pocket. But they were still sufficient to insulate one on frosty cold mornings. One late afternoon, with the temperature near 60, I helped a buddy drag a big mule deer half a mile across the prairie, and I didn’t overheat. Now that’s wicking ability!

I also tested a hooded top and used it as an outer layer in moderate temperatures as shown in the photo above. Aside from a cool camouflage pattern, these guys get what works for hunters, as the garment came with a hood, side pockets, and a vest pocket. In really cold biting winds, wear the hood up and put your hat over it for ultimate insulation. Here’s the official word from the company; I found all the elements to be spot on:

SD 2013 Rifle Deer 742Unlike synthetics, Icebreaker merino is an ‘active’ fiber that works to keep your body at its ideal temperature in all conditions – whether you’re stationary hunting from a tree stand at the end of the season, or hunting in open country in late summer. Icebreaker Merino combines all the best performance qualities of traditional wool, synthetics, cotton and everything else you’ve worn hunting or fishing:

Warm in the cold/cool in the heat–Comfortable–Dry–Odor resistant–Freedom of movement–Quiet–Low bulk–Easy care

“Hunting and fishing is all about reconnecting to the outdoors, so it makes sense to wear a natural fiber in nature,” said Jeremy Moon, founder and CEO of Icebreaker. “Icebreaker is an active fiber that works to keep you comfortable in all climates and conditions, from the field to the riverbank to the woods. There’s nothing better to wear in the outdoors.”

Visit to learn more about Icebreaker’s great features for hunters and how to layer the collection for ultimate performance. For more information or to buy, log on to

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Joe Byers has more than 1,000 magazine articles in print and is currently a field editor with Whitetail Journal, Predator Xtreme, Whitetails Unlimited, Crossbow Revolution, and African Hunting Journal magazines. He’s spent the last three decades depicting the thrill of the chase and photographing the majesty of all things wild. Byers is a member of the Professional Outdoor Media Association and numerous other professional and conservation organizations.