SNOWSHOE MAGAZINE GEAR REVIEW:

Gear Review: Ibex Solace Jacket

I was introduced to Ibex wear last season.  Of course, I was impressed.  The experience of wearing New Zealand merino wool is amazing, especially in sub-zero temperatures.  However, this season, Ibex sent me a Solace jacket and a pair of Kilometer gloves to test (a review I will write later).  When the box arrived, I immediately entered running mode and started my test: It was cold outside and I was glad to be wearing Ibex gear again.

My tests really started with wearing the Solace as an everyday jacket.  My commute to work on the bus in Denver sometimes gets a bit frigid this time of the year.  The Ibex is a very nice jacket – something that’s very classy looking and comfortable.  Although on the bus, I felt like everybody was touching my new jacket.  I felt like at every turn, it was becoming more soiled as the day went on.  I got over it, but I wanted to maintain the Solace’s pristine feel and look (despite saturating it in my own sweat).

The last time I tested an Ibex jacket, I had the chance to snowshoe in sub-zero temperatures and really put it through some harsh conditions.  Ultimately, this was my intention with the Solace.  So, I jumped in the car, trooped it up to the Loveland Ski Area near Dillon, Colo.  When I saw the sign for Loveland Pass, it suddenly became clear to me that the Continental Divide would offer me the truest elements in this form.

When I jumped out of the car, I was immediately knocked in the face with a harsh, cold wind that made me flinch.  I felt somewhat idiotic for attempting a cold-weather test and not preparing in my mind for the wincing freeze.  But, I had a job to do…and I had to accurately test the merino wool that I was wearing.

Not much snow up there, but it was doable.  I snowshoed more on the ice than I did on good snow.  However, the temps were killing me.  The Solace held up well and kept me warm.  I had a few layers underneath and that helped.  Although it was a short trip, I felt confident with the performance of the Solace – having noticed that it was developing a layer of frost on my shoulders.  A successful test indeed.

The next day, I was walking to the bus stop…all bundled up in my Solace jacket.  It’s a versatile item for sure.  It’s not every day that you own a jacket that looks good in a business environment and performs well on the mountain.  For some reason, I’m thinking of James Bond in the movie Quantum of Solace – a fitting moment for me…and for Ibex.

Solace features:

*100% felted New Zealand merino wool
*Relaxed fit
*Low-hip length
*Reverse coil zippered hand and sleeve pockets
*iPod-friendly pocket with buttonhole for headphones
*Machine washable
*Made in the USA

For more information on the Ibex Solace jacket, visit http://www.ibex.com