We tested the Ibex Merino Base Layers and came away impressed with both the function of the clothing and Ibex’s focus on sustainability as a brand.
It’s been unseasonably warm in southern BC this fall, which means I’m only just pulling my fall clothing out of storage. Two things I’m genuinely excited to get to wear again are the Ibex Merino base layers the company sent me last fall for review! (Sorry for the delay – we’ve been busy getting our Solar Guide published!)
As the days and nights cool, I’m already dreaming of Halloween adventures, walking tours of Christmas lights, and days spent snowshoeing with my toddler. And that means getting cozy in quality base layers that help keep warmth in without getting sweaty and uncomfortable.
Here’s my review of Ibex base layers, namely the company’s Woolies 2 pants and long-sleeved zip top, both made with 100% merino wool.
Women’s Woolies 2 Bottom
Highlight: Super cozy and comfortable 100% merino wool base layer bottoms. These bottoms offer a skin-tight fit, are really soft, and are stylish enough to strip down to off-piste.
- Incredibly comfortable, cozy, and functional base layers
- Durable and strong but soft and luxurious to wear
- Zip top has optional thumbholes and set-in sleeves for added comfort
- Made with 100% Merino
- Woolmark Certified, mulesing-free wool from Australia with Responsible Wool Standard certification
- Super cute and stylish enough to wear off-piste!
- Climate neutral company with a ton of eco certifications
- Super sustainable packaging that can be recycled or composted at home
- A little pricey (but value for money in the long-term)
My experience with Ibex Woolies 2 base layers
Out of the box
My Ibex base layers arrived in the company’s signature cardboard envelope and were wrapped in a home-compostable bag. The layers came with plastic-free tags made of cardboard. These were attached using string and a metal hook which I collect and reuse as stitch markers for knitting (or give to knitter friends to do the same).
Having composted the bags in my home compost nearly a year ago, I can attest that they are indeed compostable at home!
Overall, Ibex has a solid approach to sustainable packaging (and I appreciate the free stitch markers!).
The look and feel of the Woolies Base Layers
Woolies 2 Bottoms
I’m not typically a fan of skin-tight clothing, and given the choice between leggings and jeans, I’m Team Jean every time. I make an exception, however, for winter adventures when a good skin-tight base layer is essential. That said, I instantly change back into jeans when back inside!
Amazingly, the Women’s Woolies 2 Bottom base layer from Ibex is so incredibly comfortable and looks so good that I started wearing these around the house as chill wear! They offered cozy warmth and comfort for my postpartum body and beyond, demonstrating their ability to stretch a little without becoming misshapen.
One thing I really like about these bottoms is that the covered waistband stays put and is super comfortable. It sits flat instead of digging in, and doesn’t ride up or down or fold over in an annoying way that leaves you digging under layers of clothing with cold hands to adjust your base layer. The bottoms also have flatlock seams, which means no chafing, just intense comfort and wearability.
These bottoms are made with 100% merino wool in an 18.9 micron / 240 gm per square meter weight. This means they’re lightweight while being super insulating and breathable. I absolutely hate getting sweaty on the slopes, which is always a hazard of layering up. I don’t recall ever feeling sweaty or uncomfortable in these bottoms, despite vigorous outdoor fun.
The Ibex Merino Woolies 2 Bottoms are available in sizes XS, S, M, L, and XL. I’m 5’6” and usually somewhere between a Small and a Medium. I received a Medium (which has an inseam length of 29 inches or 74 cm).
I wore these bottoms three months postpartum and they fit perfectly. I’ve shrunk a bit since last fall, though, so I just tried these bottoms on again and they still fit great, albeit with a tad more slack. In general, I’d say the sizing runs true, but size down if you’re in doubt.
Women’s Woolies 2 Zip
Highlight: Cute, cozy, incredibly well made 100% merino base layer top with a practical zip and optional thumbholes, made sustainably.
The Woolies Zip Top
Like the Woolies 2 Bottoms, the Women’s Woolies 2 Zip top is a fantastic baselayer. I didn’t think this would be at all flattering on me, but once I tried it on I was totally smitten. Like the bottoms, I took to just wearing this as a cozy top at home, never mind as a base layer on the mountains!
The Zip top is made of the same 100% merino fabric in 18.9 Micron / 240 gm2 . As advertised, this breathable, moisture-wicking base layer kept me warm and dry even in sweaty conditions. I love the ¼ zip length as it’s just enough to let in some air when you need it and not so chunky that it creates lines under other layers.
The Woolies 2 Zip is available in sizes XS, S, M, L, and XL. I’m petite but curvy, so I went with a Medium and it fit really well without riding up at the front or seeming too stretched over the bust. On the medium, the front length from shoulder measures 26 inches or 66 cm. This was true for the Medium I received and fit me well with a little extra room, reflecting my slightly shorter than average arm length.
Again, the flatlock seams keep everything super comfortable, including on the shoulders and under the arms, where there’s a set-in sleeve to keep things skintight without being irritating. It’s also really nice to have a zip top where there isn’t an itchy zip seam at the neck or where the zip wrinkles or bunches and chaffs.
One other really great feature of the zip top is the baste stitch horizontal thumbholes on the sleeves. It’s up to you whether you unpick these to make use of the thumbholes (note, you can’t return the top if you unpick the seams). The idea here is that you can keep your wrists super cozy under midweight layers and when wearing gloves, instead of having that irritating breach of insulation that chills your hands and arms in winter.
Paired with the Woolies 2 Bottoms, this zip top looks and feels fantastic. Cute enough to wear off-piste and warm, breathable, and functional underneath snowpants and an insulated jacket, with or without midlayers, the Ibex Woolies 2 range gets a firm (and cozy) thumbs-up from me!
Why I like Ibex
Ibex makes amazing merino wool clothing, but goes beyond that to ensure all its materials and suppliers are sustainably certified and operate ethically. The Woolies 2 and other merino items are all made with Woolmark Certified, mulesing-free wool from Australia with Responsible Wool Standard certification.
In general, Ibex apparel is Oeko-Tex 100 certified and, where applicable, carries the following certifications:
- ACO (Australian Certified Organic)
- GOTS (Global Organic Textile Standard)
Ibex also carries ISO 14001 certification, meaning it has a proper environmental management system.
Ibex uses a lot of virgin materials, which isn’t ideal for their environmental footprint, even where those materials are mostly natural and organic. That said, the company is looking to include more recycled polyester and nylon, including in its Wool Aire Hoodie (which I also love!).
Wider sustainability initiatives at Ibex
Other things I like about Ibex include the company’s on-site 5-stage water treatment plant, which recycles up to 85% of water used for manufacturing. The water is either reused in manufacturing or used for agricultural purposes and industry.
Ibex also has a full rooftop solar array! This generates 35% of the power needed for the manufacturing plant and the company is currently climate neutral, having offset all emissions.
Ibex manufacturers are WRAP certified. WRAP stands for Worldwide Responsible Accredited Production, and basically means that the folks making Ibex gear do so in safe, lawful, humane, and ethical conditions without discrimination.
Caring for the Ibex Merino base layers
As with any 100% merino clothing, it’s best to wash these by hand or on a gentle cycle with cold water, without fabric softeners or bleach. Line dry these base layers and cool iron if needed. Despite being scrunched up in my backpack every so often, these base layers have never wrinkled, though.
The downsides of Ibex Merino Woolies 2
The only real downside to the Woolies 2 collection is its upfront cost. This will be out of reach for many folks, which seems unfair when the outdoors is for everyone!
That said, these base layers are so well made and so functional that they’re absolutely worth the money if you have it. They show no real wear after extensive use for several months and other reviewers also note that they’ve had these base layers for years and they’re still in great shape.
Sure, Ibex Merino is a luxury item at a luxury price point, but in the long run it is a worthwhile investment that will be better for the planet and your wallet.
Final thoughts on the Ibex Woolies 2 base layers
I love my Woolies 2. Way more than I thought I would.
These super comfortable, cozy, stylish, and incredibly well made sustainable base layers make me happy every time I wear them. They’re lightweight, breathable, insulating and practical while looking really cute. Worn with the Ibex Wool Aire Hoodie and pants, these base layers make it easy to get ready for fun adventures in fall and winter and are light and small enough to pack down in case you need to layer up on the go.