The Icebreaker Retreat Tank comes in a variety of styles, including plain, stripes and butterfly prints but we’ve got a plain black Retreat Tank to review.
The Retreat Tank has a classic look with a few pleats or “gathered detail” at the centre of the front to give it a little stylish edge over standard plain vest tops. It also has a scoop neck, shaped hem and embroidered logo at the back by the nape of the neck, and a pip label.
Made from 150 superfine merino wool, the top feels very light. On the body, the Retreat Tank was a good fit but the stitching at the top of the seam under the armpit was a little bit scratchy. Despite this, I found the top very comfortable to wear. However, one thing to note is that I am usually a size 10 or small when it comes to tops but for Icebreaker tops I need a size XS for a good fit, so if you are shopping for an Icebreaker garment consider trying on one size smaller than you normally are for a better fit.
The top has a number of benefits as merino wool has a wealth of natural performance properties including:
- moisture wicking;
- temperature regulation;
- breathability; and
- quick drying.
I wore the Retreat Tank on a walk up in the hills. Although it was a fairly sunny day, it was quite windy towards the top of hills so I wore the top underneath the Icebreaker Powder Hood. The top was very soft against my skin and the initial scratchy feeling underneath the armpit appeared to have disappeared. Half way through my walk, it was too hot to wear both the top and the mid-layer so the mid-layer came off. I was also thankful that the top was black in case sweat patches started to appear! However, as it became a bit windier towards the top, I noticed how quick the top dried. The merino wool has the ability to quickly draw moisture away from the skin to the outer surface of the fabric where it evaporates and with a bit of breeze, the top remains practically dry! Amazing! I also found that the top was very breathable.
I would usually put everything into the wash after a walk. But i decided not to put the Retreat Tank into the wash as Icebreaker garments provide “no stink”. A little sniff, and the top smelled ok.
The next day I wore the top out and about, visiting a few friends and doing a quick food shop. There were no screwed up noses and no complaints about my smell. A success!
Ultimately, the Retreat Tank has been designed as a travel product which means that it is ideal for backpackers.
The Inca Trail test
The Icebreaker Retreat tank was perfect for the Inca trail as you got pretty hot during the trek. And witha fabric weight of only 150 its a great lightweight item to take backpacking and for the trail as you had to carry everything in your bag. At rest stops, your body cooled down really quickly so the top´s thermoregulating properties were appreciated.
There is no way of avoiding sweating when you´re on the Inca trail so the fact that the top was quick drying is a bonus, helped by the moisture wicking properties, while the anti-odour property got a big thumbs up!All in all, the Icebreaker Retreat tank is a great backpacking top and is also ftylish enough to wear day in and day out.