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Reviews > Clothing > Shirts > IBEX Woolies Zip T Neck > Test Report by Leesa Joiner

IBEX WOOLIES ZIP-T
TEST SERIES BY SAMSON PHAN
LONG-TERM REPORT
August 12, 2008

CLICK HERE TO SKIP TO THE INITIAL REPORT
CLICK HERE TO SKIP TO THE FIELD REPORT
CLICK HERE TO SKIP TO THE LONG-TERM REPORT

TESTER INFORMATION

NAME: Samson Phan
EMAIL: sphan@stanford.edu
AGE: 27
LOCATION: Stanford, California
GENDER: M
HEIGHT: 5' 9" (1.75 m)
WEIGHT: 150 lb (68.00 kg)

I used to help guide trips with a student group at my school, usually on weekends. I've had a number of longer excursions, but never for more than a week. I'm the type of hiker who brought just about everything with me. I do a lot of car camping these days, taking hikes from base camp (my car).


INITIAL REPORT

PRODUCT INFORMATION & SPECIFICATIONS

IR date April 27, 2008
Manufacturer: Ibex
Year of Manufacture: 2007
Manufacturer's Website: http://www.ibexwear.com
MSRP: US$65.00
Listed Weight: 6.9 oz (196 g)
Measured Weight: 7.1 oz (201 g)
Item received Jan 21, 2008

Ibex Woolies Zip T

INITIAL IMPRESSIONS

Ibex's website presents a very clean interface. The most prominent button on their homepage links to a page that touts the superiority of the material over plastic based textiles in terms of feel and environmental attributes. Two clicks and I was at the product in question. The peer reviews helped me develop at positive attitude toward the product. The pictures provide a 360 degree view of the Zip-T as well as how it would fit. I did not expect an article of clothing that would be as conformal. The length of the Zip-T seemed more than adequate for a large range of motion, including overhead activities, without being too short and exposing skin. Aside from the pictures, they provide more information on the product, including a sizing chart, product source, and technical specifications.



ITEM DESCRIPTION

The website's 3 views of the Zip-T gave an accurate rendition of the product. It also provided much of the manufacturing details presented during my initial inspection.

The 18.5 micron wool is indeed as soft as advertised. Previous experience with wool products made me shy away from them. The thinness of the material raises the concern of durability. The small teeth of the zipper actuates very smoothly, though one handed unzipping was a little difficult.

The stitching is excellent; there were no loose strings upon arrival. The stitching places the bulk on the outside with a smooth finish on the inside.

No tag is on the collar. Rather, the care instructions are printed on the inside of the clothing. This removes the annoyance of a scratchy tag. It tells the buyer the undergarment was made in Fiji and made of 100% New Zealand wool. It must be machine washed on gentle cold, with like colors.

TRYING IT OUT

The length of the sleeves are sufficient to cover my wrists, and the weave provides a snug yet comfortable fit around my lower arm. The shirt length noticeably longer than the average shirt. The shirt is comfortable against the skin. It is not skin tight, though it may be more of a function of me than the shirt (perhaps I should have gotten a smaller size). The length of the collar is good for me, covering much of my neck when zipped without strangulation or impediment of movement.

TESTING STRATEGY

The shirt will be tested in a variety of sports in addition to hiking, including jogging, skiing, and biking. I want to address the concern of durability and its ability to keep me dry during physical exertion. Being so thin, I want to minimize the number of washing cycles, which raises the question of how long can it be used before it smells too much.

SUMMARY

The Woolies Zip-T is a comfortable, somewhat formfitting baselayer with longer than typical sleeves and length. I look forward to putting it through the paces.

This concludes my Initial Report. The Field Report will be amended to this report in approximately two months from the date of this report . Please check back then for further information.


FIELD REPORT

FIELD LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS

The Ibex Zip-T was tested primarily in the Sierra Nevada around the Lake Tahoe and Bishop area (elevation: 7000 ft or 2100 meters plus). Conditions ran the gamut, from clear still days to 30 miles per hour (48 km/hr) winds in white outs. I was never rained on. Temperatures ranged between 25-50 F (-4 to 10 C). In all cases of use, snow was on the ground while hiking in moderate terrain. The average trip was 3 days, usually out and back from a car base. Total wear time is somewhere around 20 days. Many trips were taken with just a Camelbak, though 2 involved packs exceeding 40 pounds (18 kgs).

PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD

The Zip-T is an amazing piece of clothing. Even while under a nonbreathable rain jacket, the Zip-T kept my skin dry as a bone. And it was comfortable to wear! As expected, the Zip-T did nothing to brace against the wind. Merino wool must also be good at blocking UV as I did not burn under the clothing when it was worn by itself.

The material and cut of the cloth combined with the stretch of the material allowed for a highly formfitting fit which did not restrict movement. The length was sufficiently long to not leave a gap bare in the back. The high neck covered much of my neck without making me feel like I was suffocating. The zipper was a little difficult to unzip with just a single hand. If my second hand was busy, I would often have to bite on the collar while pulling down. In addition, the zipper would sometime chafe my neck when fully zipped. The addition of a material to cover the zipper when fully pulled up would alleviate this.

The care instructions dictate washing only in cold water and to dry flat. On more than one occasion, it found itself in a warm wash and in the dryer. I expected the material to shrink or pill. Neither occurred. My fears that wool would acquire smell quicker than tech clothes proved unfounded.

SUMMARY

Likes:
cut of the cloth
breathability of material

Dislikes:
chafing from the zipper
difficulty in actuating zipper with one hand

I would highly recommend the Zip-T as a base layer. My anathema for wool has been changed permanently. Aside from some chafing from the zipper when fully closed, I did not encounter any issues with the clothing.

TESTING STRATEGY

I will bring it on trips to Big Basin in Northern California and Mt. Whitney in Southern California. I expect cool nights and hot days on these trips. This concludes my Field Report. The Long-Term Report should be completed by June 30, 2008


LONG-TERM REPORT

LONG-TERM TEST LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS

Long term testing was performed throughout the Sierra Nevada in California. Elevations ranged from 6000 to 14,000 ft. (2000 - 4000 m). Temperatures ranged from 30 F to 85 F (0 to 30 F). Conditions were dry, though there was snow on the ground at higher elevations. Trips began in high desert and cumulated to high alpine conditions, with dense pine forests in between.

PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD

I've had the opportunity to use the Zip-T on numerous backcountry trips, including a few Yosemite backcountry trips, a winter ascent of Mt. Tom, uncountable bike rides, and some trips into Big Sur. It made for a great base layer. Even while sweating profusely during high physical activity, I still feel quite dry. I am a convert to wool for a base layer. The material still performs very well and feels comfortable even after long term use. I am still a fan of the high neck, which necessitates the zipper.
Among my few concerns is the fear of stretching out the material. There has been on more than one occasion in which I hear the sound synonymous with stretching while removing the article. As mentioned previously, the base of the zipper chafes the neck and continues to do so.
I have used the Zip-T by itself on many occasions. It makes for a good sun barrier. The high neck prevented many sunburns on my neck. I have had shoulder pads from heavy packs rub directly on the Zip-T with no noticeable wear on the material. The base layer itself does not make a good barrier to mosquito bites.

SUMMARY

The Zip-T still performs admirably after prolonged use as a wicking layer. The material choice is superior for wicking, even though there is some concern regarding stretching the material out. I have had the opportunity to use it in both hot and cold, and it performs exceptionally in all climates.

Likes:
Excellent wicking properties keeps me dry
Good fit

Dislikes:
Chafing from zipper base
Perpetual fear of stretching material out

CONTINUED USE

Despite the fear of stretching out the material, I will continue to use my Zip-T for all of my hiking, even during the warmer summer months as it makes for a great sunblock. Should the weather be slightly chilly, I would use it during my bike rides as well. However, the Zip-T will find its most use as a base layer during the cold winter months.

This concludes the long term report.



Read more reviews of Ibex gear
Read more gear reviews by Samson Phan

Reviews > Clothing > Shirts > IBEX Woolies Zip T Neck > Test Report by Leesa Joiner



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