I hadn’t anticipated receiving the Ibex Women’s Wool Aire Hoodie for review, so was pleasantly surprised when it arrived just as a cold snap hit BC. I could tell right away that this is exceptional quality and would quickly become my go-to shoulder-season coat. That it’s somewhat sustainable is a big plus, though I’m hopeful Ibex can bump up its eco-friendliness even further.
Ibex Women’s Wool Aire Hoodie
Highlights: Super lightweight (sub 10 ounces for a Medium!), wind- and water-resistant. Merino wool and (possibly recycled) polyester insulation makes for a cozy jacket even at subzero temperatures. Fits wonderfully, looks and feels great. Bluesign nylon outer that is PFC-free and Oeko-Tex certified. Would get a four- or five-leaf rating with recycled nylon, polyester, and merino.
Ibex Women’s Wool Aire Hoodie at a glance:
|Country of Origin:||Made in Latvia, designed in the U.S.|
|Materials:||Insulation 80% Merino Wool, 20% Polyester; Face fabric 100% Nylon; Metal hardware|
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Before I opened the package from Ibex, I had no idea what was inside. By weight alone, I assumed it was something small, or maybe just marketing materials. When I pulled out the Wool Aire Hoodie I was super surprised at how light it is!
See also: Ibex Merino Base Layers Review
What I like about the Ibex Women’s Wool Aire Hoodie
At less than 10 ounces for the Medium, the Ibex Women’s Wool Aire Hoodie is an amazing jacket for packing light and staying cozy in the backcountry. The Ibex Women’s Wool Aire Hoodie is available in XS, S, M, L, and XL and fit true to size for me.
This hoodie is so lightweight that you almost feel like you’re not wearing a jacket. Considering I’m wearing a baby most days, this is a real bonus! I confess, though, I didn’t imagine this hoodie would be all that warm, so I took it on a frozen forest ramble to test it out.
Happily, the jacket helped keep my body temperature just right, and is breathable and moisture-wicking. This means no sweaty overheating or chilliness, just cozy, happy frolics in the cedars and alders. Better still, the jacket kept me warm even during the requisite stop for hydration and hangouts at a viewpoint.
You can machine wash the hoodie on cold but should air dry it flat. The Medium measures 26 5/8th inches long. Ibex describes the design as an athletic fit, which feels right. The elasticized hem and cuffs fit perfectly without being bunchy. And the scuba hood fits great too, with no excess flappy material or awkward head bowing needed. The hoodie has two zippered handwarmer pockets and an interior stow pocket for compact packing.
I also love the look of the Wool Aire Hoodie. I rather dislike shapeless puffy jackets, so I appreciate that the Wool Aire Hoodie offers serious insulation while looking decidedly unpuffy. The jacket immediately garnered envious attention from all around and I can easily see myself wearing this both in the backcountry and on a patio drinking a coffee in spring or fall. The jacket also has some decent sustainability credentials.
The Ibex Women’s Wool Aire Hoodie is made with virgin nylon, polyester, and merino wool. The merino is sustainably sourced, as is all Ibex merino. That said, it would be great to see Ibex source recycled merino for its insulation. Similarly, I would love Ibex to use something like Econyl®, a recycled fabric made from old nylon fishing nets and other waste plastics.
I put this idea to Ibex and found out that the company already uses recycled polyester where possible. What’s more, Ibex intended to use recycled nylon but wasn’t happy with the quality of what it found. Ibex hasn’t given up though. The company is still working on sourcing recycled nylon that meets its quality standards. For now, though, Ibex feels it is more sustainable to stick with the better quality, longer-lasting virgin nylon.
I also asked about the provenance of the merino. A company representative told me that Ibex only uses Oeko-Tex 100, Woolmark Certified, mulesing-free wool with RWS (responsible wool standard) certification.
The Wool Aire Hoodie is also made with Bluesign certified nylon, meaning that it is made responsibly with as few chemical inputs as possible. Bluesign fabrics are much better for the environment than most conventional synthetic fibers. Ibex also uses Oeko-Tex certified dyes and the insulation is, for the most part, made with a renewable material (wool). Importantly, this jacket is also free from poly- and perfluorinated chemicals (forever chemicals) while being both wind-resistant and water-resistant.
Wider sustainability initiatives at Ibex
As a company, Ibex carries certifications ISO 14001 certification for environmental management systems. It also carries certifications such as ACO (Australian Certified Organic), GOTS (Global Organic Textile Standard), Natruetexx, Bluesign, and Naturtextil for other products. Ibex manufacturers are also WRAP certified, meaning fair working conditions are a must.
Other environmental activities at Ibex include using a full on-site 5 stage water treatment plant that recycles up to 85% of water (either back into manufacturing or via third-party recycled water programs for agriculture parklands and industry). Ibex also installed a solar array in 2020 with full roof coverage aiming to generate 35% of plant power requirements. The company is currently climate neutral, having offset all emissions.
As always, I was happy to see that Ibex packaged the hoodie in its signature cardboard envelope and home-compostable bag. Ibex uses plastic-free tags made with cardboard and attaches these using string and a metal hook. (I reuse these as stitch markers while knitting.) All in all, Ibex gets top marks for sustainable packaging.
The Ibex Wool Aire Hoodie has very few downsides. My only gripe with the design is that it’s a bit hard to stash the hoodie in the chest pocket. If the pocket were just ever so slightly larger, this would make it so much easier without compromising too much on space.
The other main downside to the jacket is simply that Ibex uses virgin nylon, polyester, and virgin merino. I’m hopeful that Ibex will figure out more sustainable replacements for these going forward, given the company’s current eco-credentials and goals.
Finally, the cost. I understand why this high-performance jacket has such a high price, but the cost is clearly out of reach for most folks. If I hadn’t received this jacket for review, I wouldn’t be able to justify spending that much even for technical wear. The only way I’d come close to justifying such a purchase is if I were planning a serious backcountry trip where every ounce of weight counted. If this sounds like you, the Ibex Wool Aire Hoodie is a fantastic choice. Otherwise, this feels like a real luxury item at a luxury price point.
Final thoughts on the Ibex Women’s Wool Aire Hoodie
All in all, I would highly recommend the Ibex Wool Aire Hoodie both as super lightweight and warm performance wear in the backcountry and as a stylish non-puffy puffy jacket for urban rambles. It looks great, performs exceptionally well, is so lightweight as to be unbelievable, and is totally unfussy and unpretentious. I’d love to see this jacket get a sustainability upgrade, but given its quality construction I can see mine lasting many years.