Gear Review: Women's Kala Shirt From Icebreaker
The ultimate three-season travel companion from New Zealand's premier wool apparel maker
With much of North America continuing to experience extreme weather swings—from bright and sunny 95 degree days to city shuttering rain storms—getting out to enjoy some fresh air on a regular basis has been easier said than done. So, in an effort to find some consistency, we recently went west to visit the legendary land of eternal summer that is Joshua Tree, California.
Staying true to our minimalist inclinations meant we would need our gear to pull double duty. With bike rides and early morning hikes most certainly on the to-do list—not to mention more than a dozen hours stuck in an airplane—merino seemed the ideal fabric option when packing. So, we partnered with Icebreaker, New Zealand’s finest purveyor of wool apparel, to test the Women’s Kala Long Sleeve Shirt in such an environment.
The classic button-down proved the perfect companion, making excellent use of Icebreaker’s Cool-Lite technical fabric, which combines the extraordinary natural breathability, moisture wicking, and odor controlling benefits of merino wool with sustainable plant fiber-based Tencel to keep you comfortable, cool, and dry. A hint of lycra adds an extra bit of stretch too.
To improve drape and mobility, the Kala features a pleat at center back and offset shoulder seams to prevent pack rub, plus traditional details like a center front placket with button closure and dual chest pockets. From biking, hiking, and lugging gear through the airport to simply relaxing on the patio with a cold one while admiring the surrounding San Jacinto Mountains, the performance properties of the Kala were more than welcomed.
Technical details aside, the lightweight woven shirt is just really comfortable. It’s soft to the touch, and designed to authentically age with wear without breaking down, meaning less consumption over time. The tailored fit and timeless plaid pattern aid in the sustainability department too, as the Kala is styled to be at home both on the trail and in town, now and for years to come.