One Jacket to Rule Them All

Photo: Kip Malone/

Fall and early winter are hands down my favorite time of the year. But making the transition to the cold after a long and sultry summer can be an undertaking. The challenge where I live is figuring out how to dress for changing and unexpected conditions. As the leaves start to fall, and pumpkin flavored products invade supermarkets and brewpubs, I am usually wearing my Ibex Breakaway II Hoodie.

The wool blend jacket pulls more than its own minimalist weight, and has an unbelievable balance of warmth, wind resistance, weight and breathability. The jacket is sewn in Canada from a magical material that Ibex calls ClimaWool. You can toss it over a light baselayer and head out on the bike when it’s 45 degrees. It breathes well enough to keep on during uphill efforts, and stays warm on the downhill.

For hiking and other activities it serves well on its own, sheading light rain and insulating like only wool can. While others in my group are layering up or down, the Ibex stays on, regulating remarkably well. On colder, wetter days, it’s a great middle layer.

At just over a pound, I never hesitate to throw it in the pack. The light hood fits under a helmet and has saved my poor ears on more than one occasion. The cut is just a little short for my long torso, so it would be nice to have a little more tail when on the bike, but that’s my only caveat.

The exterior layer is Cordura and holds up well with no signs of wear in its second hard season. Like most wool products, it stays stank free after multiple wearings, so all through the fall it gets to go to social gatherings too, standing around in backyards around warm fire pits with friends, sampling a myriad of pumpkin products.