Regardless if you live in a sopping inferno in summer or cryogenic tank in winter, you can wear the Ibex Woolie 1 ($80) all year ‘round. This isn’t my first rodeo with Merino wool. I’ve been using it for cycling, running, hiking, Nordic skiing and as a cold-weather baselayer for years.

Wool, often unfairly stereotyped as a cold-weather fiber, is naturally temperature-regulating and quick-drying. It has a natural crimp that helps trap dead air (more so than any other fiber) to provide insulation against the cold.

But it also stores moisture within the structure of the fiber. As your body warms due to physical activity (or a warm day), the moisture stored within the fiber begins to evaporate and cool the air between your skin and the fabric. The warmer you get the more evaporation takes place and the larger the cooling effect.

It’s also naturally odor-fighting. I’m not totally dissing synthetic fabrics (I recognize their right to exist), but Merino wool has a natural ability to regulate temperature, wick moisture and dry fast to prevent the environment that allows bacteria odor to thrive.

Now that I’ve bored the shit out of you about Merino wool in general, on to the review!

What I love

  • Silky soft, not a stitch of itch. The only reason I know the Woolie is 100% Merino wool (18.5 mircons) is because the label says so. “Micron” is a measurement of the wool fiber’s diameter. The lower the micron, the finer the fiber. The finer the fiber, the thinner weight of the wool. The thinner weight of the wool means a faster drying time.
  • I can get two solid weeks of use in before I work up a strong-enough brew for the washing machine. I don’t recommend anyone wearing the same shirt for two weeks (I did it for testing purposes only) but it’s nice to know you can pack fewer shirts on your next multi-day thru hike or bike or use the washing machine less.
  • Fit is outstanding. It’s a slim-fit without any bulk or excess fabric. This makes it an excellent shirt for running and cycling because the fabric doesn’t bunch up under a hydration pack.
  • Not made in China! It’s actually made in Canada of New Zealand Merino wool – which, in my opinion, is the best alternative to Made in the USA. Although one of the reasons I like the Ibex brand is because they make some products in the US like the Northwest Pullover and the VT Hoody, to name a few.

What I don’t love

  • If I hadn’t received the Woolie as a media sample I would have to bitch about the price—however, if you’re going to pay $80 for a shirt, at least you’re paying $80 for a shirt you can use for a wide variety of activities.

Final thoughts

Lab-born synthetic tech fabrics may “automatically” sense your body temperature and magically regulate it, but Merino wool, the original tech fabric, does it naturally. So much to love about the Ibex Woolie, so few reasons not to run out and buy one of your own.

  • Ibex
    The Ibex Women's Woolies 220 Zip-Neck Top's merino wool construction makes for a better ski session compared to most midweight baselayers. Merino wool offers thermal regulation, natural odor-resistance, moisture management, sun protection, and a soft feel that's sure to last. This means you'll stay warm on the chairlift, cool on the ski down, and stink-free when you come back out tomorrow.
    $115.00  from Backcountry
  • Ibex
    Keep the cold out with the Ibex Northwest Pullover. Constructed using a blend of Merino wool and nylon, it adds warmth and comfort. A front half-zip closure ensures easy on and off. It has a locking pull for security. This pullover features a stand-up collar for warmth. It has long raglan sleeves for easy movement. Designed with a regular fit, the pullover is comfortable to wear.
    $159.95  from Shoebuy.com
  •  
    CLOSEOUTS . Thanks to its 100% merino wool construction, Ibexand#39;s VT hoodie naturally responds to changing weather conditions by regulating body temperature, controlling moisture and providing lightweight warmth. Available Colors: PEWTER HEATHER, RIPTIDE, TUSCANY. Sizes: S, M, L, XL.
    $59.99  from Sierra Trading Post