When you can only bring one jacket on an outdoor or travel adventure, the Ibex Wool Aire Hoodie is a great choice (so long as the temperatures and elements aren’t going to be extreme). It is smart, well designed, has good features and is very versatile, as it can be worn as mid or an outer layer.
Temperature regulating Merino wool insulation
Works as a outer layer or mid layer
Face fabric is water-resistant and wind-resistant
Packs away into its own pocket
Keeps warmth in with elastic hem, cuffs and scuba hood
Higher price point for jacket type
Doesn’t have targeted next-to-skin zones
Sizing slightly different than Ibex base layer and lifestyle tops
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Ibex Wool Aire Hoodie: first impressions
Like pretty much everything I’ve tested from Ibex, the Ibex Wool Aire Hoodie ski jacket (available direct from Ibex) is spot on in terms of versatility and performance. Wool is known for its temperature regulation properties and for being antimicrobial, among other positive characteristics, and I’ve found Ibex products to reflect these benefits well. The company uses wool in their outdoor and lifestyle clothing, so it’s very fitting that they’d create a propriety merino wool insulation to fill the Ibex Wool Aire Hoodie.
• List price: $285 (US)
• Weight: 284g / 10oz
• Materials: 20 denier face fabric; 80-gram insulating Merino wool fill
• Sizes: Men’s: S–XXL / Women’s: XS–XL
• Colors: Aqua Blue / Dark Green / Deep Ocean Orange / Oxy Fire / Black / Bloodstone / Midnight Navy / Evergreen
While this jacket has a high price point that makes it a serious investment, the quality and performance of the Ibex Wool Aire Hoodie is worth the extra. The jacket can be worn as a mid layer or an outer layer, and weighing in at just around 10oz (283g), you can pretty much take it anywhere.
The Merino wool insulation makes the jacket warm enough to wear on its own if it’s about 7°C / 20°F or warmer (depending on wind chill), but once the temps drop below that then it’s ideal to use as a mid layer under another jacket. Its versatility makes it a piece that can be used for outdoor activities ranging from winter hiking, backpacking and camping to skiing, cold-weather running and shoulder season mountain biking.
The Ibex Wool Aire Hoodie is also made to move in, although it would be nice if it had soft wool panels under each arm for next-to-skin comfort if you were to wear it over a tank top alone. The elastic waist hem and wrist cuffs keep cold air out, while the lightweight wool insulation is breathable when you get moving and breaking a sweat. If the wind does pick up or precipitation starts, the scuba hood keeps your head covered while the jacket’s face fabric is both water-resistant and wind-resistant. You’ll need more than this outer layer if the elements really start to roll, but the Ibex Wool Aire Hoodie stands up to light snow or drizzle and some wind.
Ibex Wool Aire Hoodie: on the slopes
The Ibex Wool Aire Hoodie is a jacket that offers such versatility that you can take it on all types of adventures when traveling and playing in the outdoors. One of my favorite days testing the piece was an early-season ski tour day outside of Leadville, Colorado. This high-altitude area is known for sporadic and extreme weather patterns, and this November day was a mix of sun, cold and some light snow flurries.
While getting ready and putting skins on our skis at the base of the mountain, I had the Ibex Wool Aire Hoodie on to stay warm before we started moving. I was able to start up the mountain with it and wear it for about 15 minutes, but then the sun came out and I was warm enough to remove the jacket. Once we got to the top and were transitioning to ski down, I put the jacket back on and it kept me warm on the mountaintop and also while we were skiing down.
The wool insulation in the Ibex Wool Aire Hoodie is lightweight and does an amazing job of keep heat in, but it’s also breathable when you do start to move more or when the sun comes out. The outer face fabric is resistant to both wind and water, so when I was skiing down and then later in the day when some snow flurries started falling, the jacket kept me cozy in the variety of conditions.
On a warmer day I would have wanted a little lighter insulation and soft next-to-skin fabric under my arms, and on a much colder day I would have used the hoodie as a mid layer with an outer layer over it. The fit is athletic but not tight, so if you’re in between sizes just decide if you want it more snug or a little less so. The hoodie is available in a variety of bright colors, and the matte finish offers a nice balance to the flashy hues.
It’s easy to bring the Ibex Wool Aire Hoodie along on adventures because of how small it packs into its zippered internal chest pocket (the men’s version does the same, but from a zippered external chest pocket). As light and small as the jacket becomes, you throw it in your backpack or even clip it on to a bag or harness for easy access.
Kim Fuller is the co-founder of Jaunt Media Collective based in Vail, Colorado. Jaunt’s family of print and digital magazines includes YOGA + Life, Spoke+Blossom and Covered Bridge. Kim started her career in media as a freelance journalist and has contributed to a number of national and regional publications, including Elevation Outdoors, 5280 Magazine, The Denver Post, Outside, Advnture, Gear Institute, SELF Magazine, Wanderlust Journal and The Infatuation. Kim spends most out-of-office hours seeking sunshine and singletrack, teaching yoga around town, dining with friends or planning her next adventure. Stay connected through @lifeinfull on Instagram and scope the mags at jauntmediacollective.com.