Unique in this review, the Ibex Wool Aire Hoody is designed to look and function like any other light insulated jacket, but is insulated with wool as opposed to the more standard, and synthetic, insulations normally used. Made in Canada with sustainable wool insulation and a 100% recycled outer fabric the Wool Aire is probably the most ecologically mindful product in this review, and for that Ibex deserves praise. In terms of performance however the Wool Aire is heavy for the warmth it provides, and is less packable when compared to similarly warm jackets in this review.
Ibex Wool Aire Hoody Review
Cons: Heavy, not as compressable compared to other jackets.
Our Analysis and Test Results
The Wool Aire Hoody is unique in this review. It is designed as a light insulated jacket, and looks like any normal light insulated jacket, but unlike the others it is insulated with wool. Ibex gives the insulation weight as 100g/m2 in the body and 70g/m2 in the hood and sleeves. The overall warmth however, and also the loft and feel of the jacket, is similar to a 60g/m2 Primaloft insulated jacket, like the Patagonia Nano Puff Hoody.
Weight / Compactness
The total weight of the Wool Aire is 17.44 ounces, which is on the heavy side (about 3oz heavier giver or take) if you compare it to jackets like the Rab Xenon, Patagonia Nano Puff Hoody, and Haglofs Barrier Pro Hood which offer similar warmth and features. The Wool Aire also does not compress quite as well as the jackets mentioned above. It does not pack into its own pocket.
Ibex seems to be advertising this jacket as an alternative to down insulation. They make the point that wool will maintain its ability to keep you warm even when wet. Indeed compared to down, wool handles moisture much much better. However in terms of application, the Wool Aire jackets are more comparable to synthetic insulated jackets (which is why they are included in this review). We're not certain how wool compares to leading synthetic insulations in a truly wet situation, but in terms of day to day normal use, the wool insulation performs similar to light synthetics.
Wool insulation is the number one feature here. The biggest plus is that wool is a sustainable material, and the outer shell fabric of the jacket is 100% recycled nylon. Ibex gets thumbs up for creating a ecologically mindful option.
There are 4 pockets on the Wool Aire. your standard zippered hand pockets, a zippered external chest pocket, and an internal zippered mesh. We internal mesh pocket is a nice touch not often seen on jackets like this. It is useful for stashing items you need to keep warm if you're using the jacket in winter. The chest pocket is angled a bit sideways, giving the jacket a slightly unique look.
The Wool Aire Hoody is rather costly, as are the other products in this line. In terms of value, the Wool Aire Hoody scores low. This depends, of course, on what you value. Overall the Wool Aire is perhaps a more sustainable, earth-friendly option for a jacket like this, which is indeed something to value. In terms of the warmth it provides for its weight, and its overall weight and packability in general, it is not a good deal when you consider the steep price.
— Chris Simrell