Ice Age Fleece
An ultra-technical fleece that’s as soft and warm as the hides worn by prehistoric man.
- Made with recycled sheep’s wool and soft Polartec fleece
- Asymmetric piece-by-piece construction
- High-stretch, windproof lining
When the worst of the last ice age hit, early humans migrated out of Africa’s Rift Valley and onto the freezing plains of Europe. Facing volcanic winters, mega droughts, and sheets of ice towering thousands of metres high, they became masters of fire, stone and clothing. Using animal furs and hides stitched together with bone needles, sinew and plants, they geared up to fight a world of violently changing weather and animals the size of buildings. Thousands of years later we’re rebuilding the clothes they wore.
The Ice Age Fleece is a warm, super-soft, and highly elastic second skin designed to recreate the feeling and performance of the soft hides worn by prehistoric man. The ultra-technical fleece combines recycled sheep’s wool and synthetic lab wool, asymmetric piece-by-piece construction, biodegradable zippers, hunter-gatherer pockets, a hood built for blizzards and cuffs that work like gloves, making it the ultimate tool to fight off winter.
The fleece works like a second skin
The Ice Age Fleece is designed to recreate the feeling and performance of the soft hides worn by prehistoric man. These early designs would have worked just like a second skin, regulating your temperature in the heat and cold, while protecting you from the wind and rain. With the needs and materials of the Upper Paleolithic in mind, we turned to wool. It’s already soft, elastic, and superb at keeping your temperature stable, and it can absorb a third of its weight in water and still feel dry.
Built with sheep’s wool and lab wool
Just as early man stitched furs and hides from different animals together using bone needles, vine and sinew, the Ice Age Fleece combines two different high-performance materials – recycled sheep wool and synthetic lab wool. And it’s constructed with the same asymmetric stitching and patterns they would have used. To create the thick sheep wool sections we’ve used recycled wool, and rather than spinning it in the traditional way, we’ve constructed it in thick, rugged clumps that mimic a sheep’s natural coat.
We use recycled sheep wool for insulation
Sheep have to survive scorching summers and freezing winters, so their fleece has evolved to help them stay cool in temperatures of over 30°C, while staying warm in -10°C. So when you wear wool fibres they respond and adapt to the conditions you find yourself in – either trapping or releasing heat depending on the temperature and humidity of your skin. So unlike a down jacket, the Ice Age Fleece is thermoregulating, and can cope with rapidly changing conditions.
Wool traps millions of warm air pockets
Staying warm is all about trapping as many pockets of air next to your body as possible and that’s what wool is built for. Every fibre is hollow which means you have millions of air pockets inside the fleece. And as the natural curl of wool fibres traps more air than straight fibres, the microscopic texture of the fabric itself retains heat. The way they knit together also means that the wool stays evenly distributed around the fleece, rather than collecting in specific areas and leaving cold spots.
It’s combined with advanced synthetic wool
The other half of the Ice Age Fleece was created in a lab, so it starts life at the opposite end of the evolutionary spectrum. It’s an advanced synthetic wool made by Polartec with an extremely high warmth-to-weight ratio, that’s lightweight and ultra-soft. Made from 69% recycled material and bluesign approved, its fibres are engineered to trap your body’s heat in thermal air pockets as well as repel moisture, so even if you get wet you’ll dry out fast.
Wool helps regulate your temperature
The warmth-to-weight ratio of wool is even better than down. It’s also hygroscopic, which means it absorbs and gets rid of moisture faster than other materials. The tiny curls in each fibre allow the air pockets to stay intact, so it will keep insulating even when it takes on water. It can soak up a third of its own weight in water before feeling damp.
A high-stretch, windproof lining
While wool is amazing at trapping warmth close to your body, it’s not good at keeping out the wind. So we’ve lined the entire inside of the jacket with a highly elastic, windproof backing. It adds strength and durability to the fleece, and means that none of the reinforced stitching will ever be in contact with your skin.
Cuffs that work like gloves
Your hands need as much shelter from the cold as the rest of your body, so the cuffs of the Ice Age Fleece are engineered to keep blood flowing when the temperature drops. They are designed to work like cut-off gloves when you need them to, by running all the way up to your knuckles. While most of the cuff is constructed from a double layer of woolly fleece, two slim panels of high-stretch material overlap to create a thumbhole to secure the sleeves in place.
The hood tightens fast in a blizzard
When the wind picks up or a blizzard hits, you’ll want to tighten up the hood to trap warmth around your head as quickly as possible. You just pull the elasticated cords out to make the hood as tight as you want it, then bring the cord back towards your head to fix them in place. All the engineering is done inside the hood, so there are no toggles on the outside.
Early clothes were made from hides and plants
If you want to know what early man wore, Ötzi the Iceman is the best example we have. Discovered in 1991 in the Ötzal Alps between Austria and Italy, he’d died more than 5,000 years earlier before being frozen and preserved in a glacier with an arrowhead wedged in his left shoulder, and wild goat still in his stomach. He was kitted out with a bearskin cap and waterproof shoes made from deer hide, bearskin and tree bark. His cloak was made of woven grass. And his rugged coat was made from sheep and goat hide, asymmetrically stitched together with sinew and plant fibres.
Four large pockets fit flint axes or satellite phones
Two deep zipped front pockets let you tuck your hands into wool for warmth if you’re being battered by a snowstorm. The inside of each pocket is lined and elastic. And you’ll find two large pockets on each side of the fleece that work like the kind of storage pouches that hunter gatherers would have used. They close with a hidden snap button and are large enough to hold a couple of small axes, firewood and rocks, or satellite phone, maps and supplies if you prefer.
All critical seams are reinforced
All of the Ice Age Fleece’s critical seams are reinforced with a double layer of flatlock stitching for increased durability and longevity. It recreates the advanced bone-needle stitching that would have been needed to sew thick animal hides together.
Asymmetrical two-way front zipper
The fleece comes with an oversized, two-way front zipper. It means you can undo it from the top or the bottom at the same time, and that you can still operate it with gloves on. Every element of the zip is built from a new biodegradable nylon which makes it one of the softest, smoothest and lightest zips available today. The zip is asymmetrical and fastens to the right of your face and is backed with an internal storm flap.
A hidden upper chest pocket
The front zipper fastens to the right of your chin, leaving space for a high-strength panel in the middle of the fleece that runs from the upper chest to the front of the collar. You’ll find a hidden chest pocket reinforced with Cordura built into the panel that’s perfect for storing valuables like cards or keys.
Size + Fit
The Ice Age Fleece has a regular fit. If you prefer a looser fit, you can go a size up like we’ve done in the photos here.
|Fits chest||83 - 90||91 - 98||99 - 106||107 - 114||115 - 122||123 - 130|
|Fits waist||71 - 76||76 - 81||81 - 86||86 - 91||91 - 96||96 - 101|
|Fits chest||33 - 36||36 - 39||39 - 42||42 - 45||45 - 48||48 - 51|
|Fits waist||28 - 30||30 - 32||32 - 34||34 - 36||36 - 38||38 - 40|