BackpackGearTest
  Guest - Not logged in 

Reviews > Clothing > Jackets > Ibex Wool Aire Aeon Jacket > Owner Review by Richard Lyon

IBEX WOOL AIRE AEON JACKET
Owner Review by Richard Lyon
May 29, 2018
logo

PERSONAL DETAILS and BACKPACKING BACKGROUND

Male, 71 years old
Height: 6' 4" (1.93 m)
Weight: 210 lb (93 kg)
Torso: 22.5 in (57 cm); sleeve: 36.5 in (93 cm); chest: 47 in (119 cm); waist: 37 in (94 cm)
Email address: Montana DOT angler AT gmail DOT com
Home: Outside Bozeman, Montana USA, in the Bridger Mountains

I've been backpacking for nearly half a century, most often in the Rockies. I do at least one weeklong trip every summer, and often take three-day trips.  I'm usually camping in alpine terrain, at altitudes 5000 to 10000 ft (1500 - 3000 m).  I prefer base camp backpacking, a long hike in with day trips from camp.  Though always looking for ways to reduce my pack weight, I still tend to include my favorite camp conveniences. I always sleep in a floored tent and like hot meals. Winter trekking often focuses on downhill skiing or ski touring.

THE PRODUCT

woolaire Before describing this product I must report that its manufacturer has recently left the retail business, at least for now. That is the reason this Review lacks data on manufacturer's website, listed dimensions, features, warranty, and suggested retail price. The Wool Aire Aeon Jacket remains available at a number of online and retail clothiers, however, and in a press release the manufacturer expresses hope of returning to the marketplace in some manner. As the reader will gather from my Review, a return would be good news for me. The Wool Aire Aeon Jacket is a great layering piece and wind-stopping outer layer.

Manufacturer: Ibex Outdoor Clothing, LLC [see note above]
Materials: Ripstop nylon; side panels of Woolies 3 stretch-knit fleece
Insulation: 60% duck down; 40% wool
Size: Men's XL.
Sleeve length: 38.0 in [97 cm]
Torso length [to bottom of collar]: 29.5 in [75 cm]
Weight: 17.6 oz [500 g]
Color: Baltic. I'd call it slate blue.
Country of manufacture: Vietnam
Year purchased: Fall 2017

Ibex used Wool Aire as its trademark for shirts, jackets, and hoodies that employed wool in their insulation. Two things distinguish the Aeon from its family members: the stretchy panels along the sides of the torso and all of the sleeves, and a 60-40 mix of duck down and wool as the insulation. The panels were branded as "Woolies 3 stretch knit fleece," though I'd say the fleece is only apparent on the inside. The outer looks more like heavyweight merino wool with a flat knit. A tag indicates this fabric is 46% polyester, 38% merino wool, and 16% Spandex. The non-fleece portions of the jacket are ripstop nylon. Both materials have a DWR finish.

The Men's version has three zippered pockets, two handwarmer ones on the exterior and an inside one at the left breast.  The inside pocket is roomy enough for a large phone and has a small port for a headphone cord. Each sleeve has a thumbhole at the cuff. A heavyweight YKK zipper, backed by a storm flap, runs from cuff to the top of the collar. The Ibex logo is embossed in reflective material at the center of the collar.

FIELD CONDITIONS

I've worn the Aeon as a layering piece in all three seasons since purchasing this jacket last fall and as sole upper body insulation this spring. For resort skiing, ski touring, and winter hiking it went over a merino base layer and under a shell or insulated jacket. In warmer weather - freezing to about 50 F [10 C] - or when involved in aerobic activity I might ditch the outer layer. Overall, temperatures ranged from 50 F [10 C] down to -20 F [-29 C] and weather ran the gamut from clear blue skies to full-bore whiteout blizzard. In spring and fall, when worn as my outer layer, the jacket saw some mist, fog, light rain, and one unexpected downpour. More on this below.

PERFORMANCE

Fit. The fit is trim to begin with and seems even trimmer thanks to the stretchy panels, which cling to whatever fabric is underneath. It often takes some effort to get the sleeves on or off. When zipped up the jacket fits more like a pullover sweater than a cardigan. I like this, as the piece stays in place regardless of direction or frequency of arm effort. The hem sits just below my waist and the sleeves come just to my wrists; with a small bit of stretch I can easily fit my thumbs through the thumbholes. I have many Ibex  garments and all are sized neither large or small. No surprises when I opened the box.thumb holes

Function. I consider the Aeon almost the perfect layering garment. The trade-off of heavyweight insulation on the arms for the fleece panels suits me very well. Torso is where I need warmth the most, and the wool-down mix provides it. I haven't run any scientific tests but I can say from experience that the Aeon keeps me warmer than another Ibex jacket with all wool insulation. Insulation is a bit less than a down midlayer, due in my opinion to the arms, but more than satisfactory. If it's really cold or windy I over-layer with an insulated jacket instead of a shell.

The side panels breathe exceptionally well, wicking perspiration generated from heavy exercise. I'm willing to swap some insulating power for this benefit, particularly when on cross-country skis. My touring often involves animal tracking, with many starts and stops. Constant wicking reduces the risk of a chill when stopped after a climb or other aerobic activity.

The pockets are large, though none is quite large enough for climbing skins. The inner pocket has room for an iPhone8 and a snack bar or two and the outer pockets for hands plus assorted odds and ends.

I'm pleased to report that no zipper has malfunctioned in any way. [Ibex had problems with zippers on the early versions of some Wool Aire products.] Thanks to zipper pulls I can operate any of them with mittened hands.

Weather-worthiness. As a midlayer the Aeon isn't exposed directly to the wind. On those occasions when I wear it as my outer layer there is some sacrifice at the arms if conditions are blustery. When hiking or backpacking there was always a true outer jacket in my pack for protection against wind and rain if necessary. Both of the Aeon's fabrics' WPB treatments resist light precipitation but the fleece can get soggy with long exposure to steady rain or snow.

Durability. Nothing serious, but there is more pilling at the collar than I would expect after seven months' use. This may be due to friction with heavy wool sweaters or hats. Otherwise things are in good shape, with no loose stitching, no tears or rips, and no loss of insulation. I've noticed no diminishing of the stretchy material's resilience.

Care. The label in the Aeon advises machine washing with mild detergent, no bleach, and no fabric softener, followed by tumble drying low with two clean tennis balls. I haven't washed the Aeon yet, but as a firm opponent of the tennis ball system I'm much more likely to air dry it.

WHAT I LIKE

Snug fit. This is ideal for a winter midlayer and any activity involving arm movement [think especially ski touring].

Design. The side panels' breathability makes this a great piece for high-aerobic activities.

It's warm!

WHAT I DON'T

The pilling at the collar, which may signal more durability issues.

I haven't been able to find another Aeon my size. If I do I'll buy it. I think it's the ideal winter midlayer.

Read more gear reviews by Richard Lyon

Reviews > Clothing > Jackets > Ibex Wool Aire Aeon Jacket > Owner Review by Richard Lyon



Product tested and reviewed in each Formal Test Report has been provided free of charge by the manufacturer to BackpackGearTest.org. Upon completion of the Test Series the writer is permitted to keep the product. Owner Reviews are based on product owned by the reviewer personally unless otherwise noted.

If you are an avid backpacker, we are always looking for enthusiastic, quality reviewers. Apply here to be a gear tester.


All material on this site is the exclusive property of BackpackGearTest.org.
BackpackGearTest software copyright David Anderson