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Bundle Up With Ibex Base Layers

When it comes to winter outdoor activities, bundling and layering is key. And choosing the right base layer is an important first step.

One of the best fabrics to use for base layers is Merino Wool. Merino is a natural, high-performance fabric, in part because of the conditions these sheep live in. Winters can be as cold as -4ºF and summers as warm as 95ºF. Their coats have evolved so that the fibers react to the changes in body temperature. And this natural technology is passed along to its human wearers.

Ibex sent us their Woolies Tech Crew and Woolies Tech Bottoms to test this winter.

Ibex Men's Woolies Tech Bottoms
Ibex Men’s Woolies Tech Bottoms

Ibex’s Merino Wool comes from Australia and New Zealand. They implement the high standards in farming, making sure their sheep are treated with respect and best practices are in place to protect the land the sheep live on.

Ibex is also part of the Climate Neutral community of businesses. The apparel industry as a whole accounts for 10% of global carbon emmisions and remains the second largest industrial polluter. Ibex measures their carbon footprint and partners with their supply chain to reduce where they can and offset the rest.

Why Ibex Merino?

Merino Wool keeps the body cool during even the most strenuous activities by trapping moisture and releasing it as vapor before it turns to sweat.

Ibex Men's Woolies Tech Bottoms
Ibex Men’s Woolies Tech Bottoms

During testing, I wore the Woolies Tech Crew on a chilly morning run. Normally, with other moisture wicking fabrics, I would end a run like this sweaty and, in those spots in the fabric with sweat, cold. With Ibex’s Merino Wool crew, I found myself relatively dry and comfortably warm by the end of the run.

Because Merino Wool is able to regulate your temperature, it also stops odor-causing bacteria to form, so you also don’t have to worry about smelling funky after exercise.

If I wasn’t working from home these days, these base layers would be great for commuting to the office on my bike. I could easily go from my bike to my desk and still look and smell good.

Merino Wool also offers natural sun protection. The Woolies Tech Crew and Woolies Tech Bottoms offer UPF 50, while some of their lighter products offer UPF 25.

Finally, as sustainable a fabric as Merino is, as the end user, we are also encouraged to be sustainable in our care of the fabric. Because it’s odor and sweat resistant, it’ll stay cleaner for longer, which means that it doesn’t have to be washed after each activity.

For testing, I put in around 25 hours of activity before I felt that I needed to wash them.

Woolies Tech Crew and Woolies Tech Bottoms

I was really impressed by the performance of both of these products.

When I mentioned to my wife that I was testing out Merino Wool base layers, her first response was, “OMG, wool? It’s so itchy!”

But guess what? It’s not.

Ibex’s Merino Wool is the finest wool you can get. I found Ibex’s clothes to be soft on my skin and never itchy or irritating (even against a relatively fresh tattoo). On their site, Ibex shares that their fabric is ideal for people with Eczema or who have found cotton or other performance fabrics irritating. I have other Merino Wool products and I swear that Ibex outperforms them on comfort.

Ibex Men's Woolies Tech Crew
Ibex Men’s Woolies Tech Crew

The Woolie Tech Crew and Bottoms are 81% Merino and made with Ibex’s “Pro-Tech” fabric.

On the Woolie Tech Crew fit comfortably. When I paired it with a running vest, I found that the neck was structured so that I didn’t have any rubbing from my running vest. Additionally, it has optional thumbholes, which is a feature I love. When I was out running, I got to a point where my gloves were too much, but I still needed something to keep my hands moderately warm.

The crew laid close to my skin, but didn’t feel tight. I was able to pull up the sleeve easily to adjust settings on my sports watch.

The Woolie Tech Bottoms were great as well. I took them out on a wintery run as well; pairing them with a pair of running shorts over them. My legs were comfy and cozy throughout.

Ibex Men's Woolies Tech Bottoms
Ibex Men’s Woolies Tech Bottoms

Now, the most ideal winter activity to test these products in is skiing (or snowboarding).

I paired these up with a mid-layer and a hardshell.

I was slightly concerned I would get overheated, but I was comfortable for the several hours I was out on the slopes. Even after I got back to the ski lodge and shedded layers, I found that the Ibex base layers were still mostly dry.

Summary

I’ve been a big believe in Merino Wool for a while, but it wasn’t until trying Ibex’s products that I was in love with the fabric. I keep finding myself looking for reasons to put them on.

Heading out for a run? Ibex is coming with me.

Going snowshoeing? Ibex is joining me.

Lounging around in the house? Ibex, hands down.

Both products tested were larges. I am 5’11” and 185 pounds. You can find these along with many other options at Ibex’s website.

Outdoor Research Skytour AscentShell Kit Review

Outdoor Research sent our team their Skytour AscentShell Bib and Jacket to test. It was perfect timing because ski season had just started.

Outdoor Research Skytour AscentShell Kit
Outdoor Research Skytour AscentShell Kit

The Outdoor Research Skytour AscentShell Kit uses a proprietary waterproof/breathable membrane to provide top-of-the-line weather resistance. The Bib and Jacket combo is the most breathable water-resistant hardshell we have tested. It is comfortable to wear and stretchy. It has a lot of features, making it a great choice for backcountry skiers.

Breathability

Outdoor Research Skytour AscentShell Kit
Outdoor Research Skytour AscentShell Kit

The Skytour AscentShell Bib and Jacket provides little warmth. The shell is thin and allows air to pass through the fabric, so that as you’re moving up through the backcountry and working up a decent sweat, warm air can escape easily. This kit needs to be paired with insulating mid- and base-layers (such as the recently reviewed Ibex Baselayers). The warmth of this bib and jacket is comparable to a pair of hiking pants or a heavy rain jacket. But this lack of warmth is ideal for anyone that is wanting to ski hard and elevate their heart rate.

It also has several vents that were easy to unzip and zip with gloves on. This provided additional breathability and didn’t compromise the waterproofness.

Waterproofing

When we tested how waterproof this product was, it held up over our half-day excursion in the backcountry. Outdoor Research’s proprietary waterproof/breathable membrane is called “AscentShell” and is built in the bib and jacket. Both products are fully seam-sealed and the zippers are waterproof. The hood on the jacket provides good coverage, but it didn’t fully cover my ski helmet. Additionally, the bib’s legs are wide enough to fully cover my ski boots while providing enough coverage so snow didn’t pack inside the leg openings.

The Fit

Many of the hardshell jacket and bibs we tested were stiff and didn’t allow for a lot of movement. During testing, we found that the Skytour AscentShell Kit didn’t have that problem. The material is soft and stretchy and the brushed interior fabric is light on the skin. On the jacket, there is a fleece-lined chin guard, which provided an extra layer of comfort.

Outdoor Research Skytour AscentShell Kit
Outdoor Research Skytour AscentShell Kit

The fit is straight-cut which was perfect for my body-size and accommodated my mid- and base-layers.

I also found that the jacket and bib weren’t noisy. When I’m out in the backcountry, I enjoy the stillness the snow brings, and crinkly and noising hardshells can easily ruin that serenity.

Skytour AscentShell Kit comes with a lot of pickets that were easy to access and use. On the jacket, the two hand pockets and two external chest pockets provided tons of storage. The jacket’s left sleeve pass pocket was useful for accessing RFID turnstiles without stalling. On the inside, it has a mesh stash pocket and another zippered chest pocket. I was able to easily store and access snacks and my iPhone.

Conclusion

Outdoor Research Skytour AscentShell Kit
Outdoor Research Skytour AscentShell Kit

If you’re looking for hardshell jacket or bib or both, the Skytour AscentShell Kit is a great value. It provides terrific weather and water resistance at a much lower price. Plus, it has some amazing features and storage. If you’re heading into the backcountry, this jacket and bib will be the perfect companion for you.

The Skytour AscentShell Kit is available in Men’s and Women’s sizes. I am 5’11” and 185 pounds and I wore a large in both the bib and jacket comfortably.

Cozy Up This Winter With Selk’Bag Human Shaped Sleeping Bag

When it comes to Winter, I love being outdoors: skiing, hiking, snowshoeing, trail-running.

But after spending a few hours in cold conditions, I always have a heck of a time warming up.

Likewise, when I’ve done winter camping, the only time I am truly warm is when I am buried inside my sleeping bag. And, as you know, sleeping bags are great for sleeping in and not much else. You’re essentially a human burrito capable of rolling from side to side without much freedom of movement.

When Selk’Bag reached out for Huck Adventures to review their wearable sleeping bag, I was 100% game.

Selk'Bag Wearable Sleeping Bag
Selk’Bag Wearable Sleeping Bag

The Selk’Bag is a human-shaped sleeping bag. It has openings for arms and legs. You can walk, run, and jump around easily in it, but you can also sit cozily reading a book or stand cooking a meal.

The Selk’Bag has pockets for days, including a kangaroo style pouch in the front that’s perfect for resting your hands or holding essentials like your smartphone. It also has a cargo pocket on the side.

It comes several zippered ventilation openings: on both legs and on the waist so you can access your pant pockets.

There’s an adjustable hood with a built-in balaclava for additional warmth and protection.

Selk'Bag Wearable Sleeping Bag
Selk’Bag Wearable Sleeping Bag

For additional warmth and coziness, the Selk’Bag also has elastic hand covers that slip on and off easily. And it has removable booties—perfect for sleeping in.

The Selk’Bag is filled with synthetic insulation that mimics the properties of down clusters, which kept me extra toasty while wearing it.

Selk'Bag Wearable Sleeping Bag
Selk’Bag Wearable Sleeping Bag

For testing, I wore it after a few high-country trail-runs. Once I got back to my car, I stepped into the Selk’Bag before driving back home. Typically after cold runs like this, I spend a majority of my time shaking, trying to regulate my temperature. But with the Selk’Bag on, within a handful of minutes I was comfy and warm.

With the ventilation openings, I was able to open them easily while I was driving when I got too warm.

I also tested this product at home over several days when I had a breakthrough case of COVID. For 72 hours I was cycling an on and off fever and body aches. When I had chills and couldn’t stay warm, I turned to the Selk’Bag. It was cozy enough that I fell asleep on my couch seated upright, the hood acting as a pillow of sorts.

Selk'Bag Wearable Sleeping Bag
Selk’Bag Wearable Sleeping Bag

One other thing I’ll note is the sizing. I am 5’11” and 185 pounds. According to their sizing chart, a Large fits up to a 5’11” adult, but I found it too tight in the crouch. When I did simple movements like sitting, I felt that I might tear the fabric. So I sized up to an XL that fits up to 6’4″. This size was comfortable and I was able to move freely, but I had to roll the sleeves and legs so that it fit better.

I am looking forward to taking the Selk’Bag with me on my next winter camping excursion. This has become a trusted partner to keep me warm on the coldest of days. It is rated between 44ºF to 35ºF, but I did test it in 20ºF temperatures for two hours and stayed comfortable.

The Selk’Bag model I tested was their Original Recycled. They have several models to choose from, including ones for kids.