High Gear: Review of the Ibex W2 Sport Hoody for men
Ibex W2 Sport Hoody | $82.50-$110
Sizes: Men’s S, M, L, XL
Colors: Komodo, Midnight, Sediment (all duotone)
Fabric: Weightless wool (87 percent Merino, 13 percent Nylon)
Weight: 7.55 ounces
Features: Front zipper with locking chin guard (aka “ninja hood”), thumbholes, long sleeves, no pockets
To purchase or see more colorways, visit Ibex.com.
Hiking, biking and boarding in the Colorado alpine isn’t always a warm body’s best friend. One minute the weather is 35 degrees and brisk, the next it’s 70 degrees and impossibly sunny, the very next it’s back to 50 degrees and overcast with a threat of rain (or snow).
What a headache this schizophrenic state can be for trip planning and packing, especially if you’re like me and struggle with being too warm almost all of the time. Even in winter, I’m the sort who takes my gloves off on the chairlift because I’m just too damn hot under a shell, thermals and tanktop. Come summer, even thin fleece and polyester blends just don’t breathe enough, or they’re thin to the point of no protection in wind and rain.
W2 Sport Hoody
It’s almost like the W2 Sport Hoody from Ibex was made with me in mind. For starters, it’s wool, which means it wicks and dries just as good as any synthetic material. But it’s not just wool — it’s Ibex wool, and over the past year or so I’ve come to swear by this Vermont company’s perfect blend of Merino and Nylon: never too scratchy, never too bulky, almost always just right.
But Ibex and the three-season W2 hoody aren’t perfect. It comes down to weight, and how much warmth you want and need from a hoody. At $110 retail ($82.50 on sale through the Ibex web store), this jacket is on the pricey side, and it seems even more expensive when you first touch the material. It’s very thin — almost see-through — and reminded me of the $35 Nike long-sleeve top I own. It’s my trail-running top and I only wear it because sleeves are smart when temps drop into the 40s.
The second big thing I noticed about the W2 was a lack of pockets. That’s fine and all for some garments — again, shades of my simplistic Nike top — but I wanted a place to put keys or a cellphone on afternoon hikes and bike rides when I didn’t feel like bringing a backpack. Even one pocket on the chest or at the hip would make a world of difference.
Pockets aside, the W2 hoody fit and performed exactly how I wanted. I’ve taken it on multiple hikes and bike rides this summer, including a summit of Quandary Peak on a sunny (but chilly) Sunday and a sometimes rainy, sometimes windy road ride from Breckenridge to Copper and back on the recpath. In both of those tests, the idea was the same: Could the W2 handle a variety of conditions, and could I make it comfortably through several long-ish days in the hills with no other layers?
In short, the W2 passed both tests. It rarely felt wet or sweaty during the Quandary ascent, and after standing on the summit for 30 minutes in brisk 14er wind I was still perfectly warm (the sun that day helped). I didn’t even have to zip the thing up until we reached the summit, and for a warm body, a full-length zipper is as good as pit zips for dumping heat. It’s the one issue I had with the no-zip Ibex VT hoody.
The bike ride was the same, even when the W2 hoody and I both got soaked in five minutes of downpour. When the wind picked up, I was dry and warm just five minutes later. The “ninja-style” hoody, which zips high onto the neck like a Melanzana hybrid, was a lifesaver that day when my chin got cold. I’m also betting this will come in handy on winter alpine-touring trips.
The Ibex W2 Sport Hoody is a fantastic lightweight addition to the company’s line. If you’re a warm body, it’s perfect as a go anywhere, do anything layer for hiking, biking and (hopefully) splitboard skinning in a variety of conditions. If you’re a cold body, it makes a great base layer in winter and a perfect running hoody on warm — but always unpredictable — Rocky Mountain days.
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