Explorer Tested: Icebreaker Cool-Lite is Vanlife Approved

Five pieces of clothing, eight days of exploring.

When my husband (Mike) and I moved into our van to begin 18 months of exploring we packed tiny wardrobes full of durable and versatile clothing. There's no room in a van for items that don't pull their weight, so I'm picky about what I let inside. When I had the chance to try out Icebreaker's new line of Cool-Lite clothing — a breathable fabric blended from wool and sustainable TENCEL — I decided to put the clothes to the test with eight days in the Tetons and Yellowstone.


Despite there still being snow on the ground at the higher elevations the temperature was a balmy 75 degrees F. We had plenty of opportunity to push the limits of Cool-Lite's wicking powers (Icebreaker says it wicks three times faster than merino alone). We hiked, waded in frigid alpine lakes, lounged around camp, looked deep into hot pools, and watched a grizzly bear with her cubs. We added layers and removed layers depending on the temperature, but the Icebreaker kept up with whatever activity we tackled.

At the end of the eight days I was delighted to discover that, while I didn't smell too great, the wool-blend had lived up to its reputation of odor resistance. Despite how many #vanlife pictures on Instagram show beautiful locations to take a solar shower, in reality showering isn't quite so picturesque (nor so frequent). So odor resistance? Golden.

At the end of the eight days Mike and I pulled out our Cool-Lite outfits to make a tough decision. Were they worth the space they take up in our tiny wardrobes? Mike didn't say a word, but possessively grabbed his Sphere hoodie and pulled it on over his head. I folded up my Connection Jogger pants and Affix Anorak and tucked them into the cabinet above my bed. It looks like they've earned their spots in our small rotation of vanlife-approved clothing.

Published: June 12, 2018

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Sara SheehyExplorer

Sun Valley

Writer | Nomad I Adventuress | Photographer