Gear Review: Icebreaker Cool-Lite Incline Windbreaker
A lightweight, breathable top layer ideal for running around town, and the trail, this spring
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For outdoor-loving city-dwellers, finding a place to store every piece of gear is never easy, especially for New Yorkers like us—a Manhattan studio apartment is every bit as cramped as you’d imagine. So, we’re always on the lookout for products that are both functional and attractive enough to make the transition from morning workout to the office—or better yet, from evening jog to the dinner with friends. Gear that’s designed to fit the description and be used across activities is the ultimate. And well, the new Cool-Lite Incline Windbreaker from Icebreaker is just that.
On a recent midweek morning we took the Incline for a spin. Or, a pedal, rather. Whether in the saddle cruising through Brooklyn's historic Clinton Hill neighborhood or catching a coffee at the base of the iconic Manhattan Bridge, the slim fitting Incline looked, and more importantly felt, at home.
The lightweight windbreaker is defined by its versatility, and minimalist design. The lack of bells and whistles is in itself a highlight. Every detail is well considered. Silver fabric along the front zipper is reflective, to increase visibility in low light conditions. Laser cut holes underneath the arms improve ventilation without adding weight or bulk with stitching.
The Incline’s only pocket—a zippered rear stash pocket—serves as a spot to store essentials like keys, a phone, or notebook, and a place to store the jacket itself, as it packs away inside the very same pocket for compact travel.
As you’d expect from the New Zealand-based brand known best for its superior wool products, the Incline’s fabrics are worth noting too. The shell exterior is a wind resistant 20 Denier woven nylon that’s been treated with a DWR finish to increase water repellency. It’s swishy, sure, but very lightweight and extremely packable. With the wind whipping up off the Hudson river we were thankful for it's wind resistance too.
On the inside is super soft and highly breathable Cool-Lite mesh, a combination of merino wool, natural Tencel, and nylon that helps keep you cool, dry, and comfortable (and stink-free) in a range of conditions. It's worth reiterating that it's really soft, and lined through to the wrist. So, unlike with most windbreakers, feel free to wear short sleeves under the Incline without worrying about that gross fabric-on-sweaty-skin feeling.
In short, as we settle into spring, the Incline Windbreaker may have earned a spot on our everyday carry roster, as a outer layer for bike commuting and evening runs, and as a spare shell for when weather suddenly turns.