I’ve come back to wool. When I started my personal journey into outdoor recreation in earnest I was 14 and still mostly at the behest of my parents financial support for the requisite clothing and gear. So when I decided to join the Explorer Search and Rescue unit that covered the Cascade Mountains in Washington State my parents were hesitant to buy me the fancy polypropylene and fleece layers that were so popular in the early 1990’s. Instead, I ended up with the heavy and cheap (but very warm) Army Surplus wool.
Since then I’ve kept with my outdoor recreation enthusiasm and have been through a number of synthetic insulation layers. But I’m done wrapping myself in plastic against my skin. Maybe it was the years in the rough Army surplus wool that made the transition to the silky smooth Ibex wool layers so easy. Maybe it was the clean cut of the base layers that snuggled against my body and moved with me with out bunching up. Maybe it was the bright and bold, the cool and subtle, the classic black, the earthy heath and heather… a great array of colors to choose from that drew me to Ibex.
It was all of the above. I’ve expanded my activities beyond brush-whacking search and rescue to telemark skiing, white water rafting, kayaking, mountaineering, ice climbing and more and Ibex has been there.
It is fragile stuff though. But the Ibex customer service is there to back it all up. I once ripped a hole in the knee of a light weight pair of long johns because I rushed and pulled too hard. The cuffs of my Ibex jacket wore through, and I accidentally poked my finger through the gentle weave of my favorite base layer. So, it just boils down to: treat these layers well and they will reciprocate. Once in place, they are in their element. Ibex does back up any of these sorts of mishaps by either replacing the garment or paying for you to have it repaired somewhere.
This is a great product, it is literally at the core of my equipment list. If you want to be warm and comfortable in a wide array of active outdoor activities, it should be on your core as well.