Ibex Woolies Zip T-Neck
Report - December 2007
Field Report - April 14, 2008
Long Term Report - June 8,
Name: Pam Wyant
Height: 5 ft 5 in
Weight: 165 lb (77
40 in (102 cm)
Waist: 35 in (89 cm)
Sleeve: 32 in (81 cm)
West Virginia, U.S.A.
a long-time interest, I started
backpacking four years ago, beginning with day-hiking and single
overnights. Currently I’m mostly a ‘weekend warrior’, hiking and
backpacking mainly in the hills and valleys of West Virginia, but have
a project to section hike the Appalachian Trail (AT), accruing a little
200 mi (300 km) in the last two years. My usual shelter is a
occasionally I use a tent. In general my backpacking style is
minimalist and I try to cut as much pack weight as I can without
warmth, comfort, or safety.
Initial Report - December 2007
Year of manufacture:
Model: Woolies Zip T-Neck
Size tested: Women's X-Large
Color tested: Soft Brown
Advertised weight: 5.3 oz (150
g), size not specified
Actual Weight: 6.1 oz (173 g), size XL
Woolies Zip T-Neck is a lightweight stretchy ribknit 100% Merino wool
baselayer top, listed by Ibex as being 'superfine 18.5 micron New
Zealand Merino'. The 2 1/2 in (6.5 cm) high collar is a standup
mock turtle neck style, with a double layer of fabric forming the
collar. An 8 in (20 cm) zipper allows ventilation options as well
as making it easy to pull the top on and off. The fabric is thin
enough that I can see through it when I hold it up to the light, yet
heavy enough not to appear 'see thru' when I put it on.
The top is constructed with flatlock style seams, which allow the
stitching to show on both the inside and outside, but result in a seam
that is smooth on the inside as well as the outside. The shoulder
areas have a gusseted panel which tapers from about 3 in (7.5 cm) wide
at the neck to about 6 in (15 cm) wide at the sleeve. This allows
a good fit in the shoulder area and eliminates seams on top of the
shoulder where they could irritate the skin when wearing a pack.
The cuffs are a double layer of fabric extending up the sleeve about
3.5 in (7.5 cm). The shirt is otherwise simply constructed with a
single seam at each side, and a single seam on the underside of the
sleeves measure about 27 in (69 cm) from the top of the shoulder to the
bottom of the cuff. The back of the shirt measures about 24 in
(61 cm) from the bottom of the collar to the hem. The shirt
measures about 38 in (94 cm) around the bottom of the hem. A 1/2
x 3/4 in (1 x 2 cm) off white tag on the bottom right side of the hem
features the Ibex logo in dark purple. The tag continues onto the
reverse side of the hem where it proclaims "It Just Feels Right."
The neck has 'tag-free' labeling, with the manufacturer logo, name,
size, country of manufacture (Fiji), and laundering instructions
printed in creamy white directly on the fabric. The instructions
are written in English only, and state to machine wash gentle in cold
water with like colors, using a mild detergent, and caution not to use
bleach, to lay flat to dry, and use a cool iron if necessary. The
typical international cleaning symbols are located under the written
instructions, as well as the website URL of www.ibex.com.
Fit and preliminary
I could pretty well cover this with two words - "I like".
more detailed, the top fits very well, skimming my torso without
feeling tight or binding. It fits somewhat more generously than
what I would have expected from the website photo, with the sleeve and
hem both being longer on me than they appear on the model. (Of
course, that might be because the model is considerably thinner than me
and undoubtedly is wearing a smaller size!) The sleeves are on
the long side, but not overly so, and I enjoy them that way on cool
weather base layers to keep my wrists and the tops of my hands
warmer. I can push the sleeves up on my arm, comfortably stopping
at 'three quarter' length without the cuffs feeling too tight.
Although I can force them up over my elbows, at that point the cuffs
become uncomfortably tight.
The bottom of the hem is hip-length, hitting just below my tailbone in
the back. It's comfortably long enough to stay put even when I
raise my arms.
On the packaging the top comes in the following statement is
made: "The lower the microns the finer the wool. Our
award-winning, guide-approved Woolies are 18.5 micron Merino for
unmatched softness. The ribbed knit offers a forgiving form-fit
that moves with you and keeps it shape." So far, I pretty much
agree with the statement. The top does feel very soft. I
noticed a slight prickle when I first put it on, but within a minute or
so, it just feels incredibly soft and cozy. When I stretch and
move about, the fabric stays snug yet does not bind or inhibit my
The garment appears to be well constructed for the most part, with even
stitching and no visible fabric flaws. The only irregularity I
found was that the fabric on the inside of the zippered opening has a
couple of areas that don't lay flat, having a slight wrinkled
look. This does not appear to affect performance in any way.
This concludes my Initial
Field Report - April 14, 2008
the field test phase I have worn the Ibex Woolies Zip-T on about 12
short day hikes (3
mi/5 km) in temperatures around 20 F to 50
F (-7 to 10 C) in conditions varying from calm and sunny to
breezy with light snow, and in some light misty rain.
I also wore it on three longer day hikes. The first was about 6.5
mi (10.5 km) in the
Kanawha State Forest in central West Virginia, on a cloudy but dry day
with temperatures in the
25 F (-4 C) range at elevations from around 1000 to 1400 ft (300 to 400
m). Trails varied from smooth dirt to rugged rocky areas. I
wore the Warmfront chest warmer and my Montbell U.L. Down Inner Parka
with it for most of the hike, although I did remove the Parka on the
steep uphill sections.
The second longer hike was in Wine
Cellar Park near Dunbar West Virginia, consisting of around 4 mi/6.5
km. The day was sunny and around 50 F (10 C). I wore the
Zip-T with the Warmfront starting out, but soon removed the chest
warmer and was comfortable hiking in the Ibex shirt alone. The
third longer hike was
about 6 mi (10 km) in western West
Virginia, on old dirt county roads and jeep trails, with temperatures
around 40 F (4 C) and no precipitation, where I wore it with the
I have worn it with a fanny pack, day pack, and a GoLite Quest backpack
compressed down to carry cold weather essentials for day hiking (i.e.
extra clothes, sitpad, water, food, emergency items, and a small tarp,
but no sleeping bag or tent).
I also wore the Ibex Woolies Zip-T, the Warmfront and the Montbell
U.L. Down Inner Jacket under a Nunatak Ghost (customized for
warmer weather with an ounce (28 g) less down) in a hammock in my
backyard to test the pieces as a sleeping system.
I also wore it on a recent
hiking trip to the Damascus, Virginia area, with temperatures mostly in
the 50-60 F (10-15 C) range, with drizzly rain much of the time I was
hiking. I stayed amply warm with only the
Woolies Zip-T and my Frogg Toggs rain jacket while hiking (pictured on
this trip above). I also wore the Zip-T around the hostel in the
evenings, but changed to a dry shirt for sleeping.
I've also used it for lounging and sleeping in at home about a dozen
times so far.
Use and Findings So Far:
I've found the Ibex Woolies Zip-T a very comfortable base layer.
I've used it and the Warmfront chest warmer together while hiking in
temperatures above freezing to around 45 F
(7 C). In warmer temperatures (up to around 60 F/15 C), it has
been very comfortable to wear on its own while hiking, unless a stiff
breeze is blowing, in which case I find my arms get cool and I usually
end up layering a light jacket over the Zip-T in those
cases. Recently I began testing a pair of arm warmers, and
have found them very nice to wear over the Zip-T in breezy weather to
provide warmth for my arms when my core is already warm. When
temperatures dip much below freezing, or times when I don't wear a pack
up to around 40 F (4 C), I also find an additional insulating layer
necessary (usually my Montbell U.L. Down Inner Parka).
I've enjoyed the versatility of the zip up neck which allows me to open
the neck of the shirt up for ventilation as necessary and to zip it up
under my chin for maximum warmth in chilly breezes. The neck has
been very comfortable no matter how zipped or unzipped I've worn it,
and I have not had any trouble with the zipper jabbing me in the chin
or throat. The shoulder area has also always felt very
comfortable, and with the positioning of the seams I have not noticed
any rubbing or chafing even when wearing a loaded pack (maximum load so
far has been about 15 lb/7 kg).
It has been easy to layer with the Woolies Zip-T. It easily
accommodates the Warmfront chest warmer or a tank top or tight fitting
layer underneath, and I've worn fleece tops over it, as well as a
heavier wool mid-layer shirt, the Montbell U.L. Down Inner Parka, and a
Frogg Toggs rain jacket. All layers slid smoothly over the
Zip-T. I have recently began testing some arm warmers, and have
found they can be placed over the sleeves of the Woolies Zip-T, but do
not slide as smoothly as looser layers. It takes just a little
effort to pull them up over the shirt sleeves without the shirt
bunching up. However, this makes a nice warm combination for
hiking, so it's a worthwhile effort.
One thing I like about the Woolies Zip-T is the way it wicks away
moisture. I can do a hard uphill climb, which seems to always
produce a good sweat, er, I mean 'glow', and the Woolies Zip-T will get
damp, yet my skin stays warm. I also find it dries pretty
quickly, within maybe 10 minutes if I haven't soaked it too much, or 30
minutes if I have.
I've washed the shirt probably about 15 times so far, and it still
looks pretty much like new with no pilling or deterioration of the
fabric or any
loose threads. One thing I have really appreciated is that I can
wear the shirt for several day hikes or several nights in a row and it
still smells relatively fresh. It also dries pretty quickly after
laundering. I always hang it to dry over a small table, and it
usually takes just a few hours to dry.
The Ibex Woolies Zip-T has proven to be a very versatile addition to my
clothing system, layering well with numerous base, mid, and outer
layers. The wicking properties of the fabric have helped keep me
warm and dry in a variety of conditions. The shirt is well
designed for comfort with seams away from high abrasion areas such as
the top of the shoulders and the zippered neck allows for extra
ventilation or extra warmth as needed. The shirt is wearing well
and I like the way the fabric resists odors, especially those produced
by my sweat glands.
All in all, so far I consider it a great shirt for hiking, backpacking,
This concludes my Field Report.
Long Term Report - June 8, 2008
my last report, I've worn the Ibex Woolies Zip-T on 6 short (3mi/5km)
day hikes on old county roads in western West Virginia, with
temperatures running in the 40-60 F (5-16 C) range. One hike was
in drizzly rain, one in a short rain storm, and the others were in
clear weather conditions.
I also wore the Ibex Woolies Zip-T during a 3 mi/5 km overnight
mid-April in the North
Bend State Park area in central West Virginia, while teaching a
backpacking class for women. I found it comfortable for
hiking in the 60 F (16 C) range during the day. Since the hike
was not very long or strenuous, I found it dried quickly and I also
used it as part of my clothing system for sleeping.
I also used it during a 3-day, 2-night
backpacking trip in the Canaan Mountain area of the Monongahela
National Forest in eastern West Virginia, covering around 27 mi (43.5
km). Since this trip was more strenuous, I did not wear it for
saved its warmth for the evening and night. This ended up being a
move since weather conditions ranged widely on this trip. The
was cool, with temperatures in the 50 - 60 F (10-16 C) range, dropping
to just above freezing (around 33 F/1 C) the first night. Camp
that night was in a relatively damp area near several small streams and
a lot of boggy ground, which added to the chill. The
second day was warmer, with night temperatures only falling to around
52 F (11 C). Camp this night was on a high ridge, in dry
conditions. This photo of me wearing the Ibex Woolies Zip-T was
taken near this camp, while I was taking in the stunning vista from
In addition to these hiking uses, I've also worn it around home
probably another half dozen evenings for lounging and sleeping.
Use and Findings:
Over the course of the test I've found the Woolies Zip-T a versatile
layering piece. It is thin enough that it can be worn hiking in a
range of temperatures when worn with or without other layers. I
found it goes on nicely over tank top style shirts when conditions
merit a little extra core warmth, and it works well with the Warmfront
chest warmer I have been testing, which will fit nicely under or over
the Zip-T. I also found the DeFeet ArmSkins arm warmers I am
testing fit well over the Zip-T. I found they pulled over the
fitted Zip-T sleeves easiest if I grasped the bottom of the sleeve with
my thumb and held it down while pulling them on. I found the
Zip-T did not bunch up or feel uncomfortable under the arm warmers.
The Zip-T also worked well as a base layer under a variety of other mid
or outer layers, including a fleece Zip-T, a Montbell U.L. Down Inner
Parka, and Frogg Toggs rain jacket. If the outer layer had fitted
sleeves I found the Zip-T sleeves would scrunch up and bunch up a
little, but grabbing them from under the other sleeve and tugging down
corrected the problem. For looser fitting garments like the Inner
Parka and rain jackets, the sleeves stayed in place well when I donned
It worked well as part of a sleeping system, providing light warmth
without being overly hot, and being stretchy enough that it never felt
restrictive. At 6.1 oz (173 g), I consider it
pretty light weight for a nice base layer.
The Zip-T seems to wick moisture away from my skin very well. I
never really felt soaked or clammy when wearing it, although it
sometimes got damp. Even damp, it felt comfortable hiking and for
short breaks, although I typically needed to put something else over it
during longer breaks if I was sweaty. I was very pleased with how
quickly it dried. On the North Bend overnight trip, I had thought
I would need to change into dry clothing for sleeping, but it dried
quickly enough that I just wore the Woolies for sleeping too.
During the Canaan Mountain trip, it provided enough warmth in camp to
dry out the tank top I wore hiking. That gave me an extra dry
layer, which was very welcome. It's nice not to have to change
back into damp hiking clothes on cold mornings!
The Woolies Zip-T has been very durable, which surprised me a little
since it is relatively thin. Although I've caught it lightly on a
few branches and briars and worn it under a pack on a couple of
strenuous trips, it shows no signs so far of holes, picking, or even
pilling. Altogether I estimate I've worn it about 40 days or
nights, and washed it about a dozen times in the washing machine on
gentle cycle with other wool clothing and Woolite brand detergent, and
it still looks nearly like new. (Note: I always drape it
over a table to dry, and do not put it in the dryer.)
I really appreciate the way the Zip-T does not hold odors. This
is especially nice on multi-day hikes, since I carry only the layers I
anticipate needing for any given trip in order to save pack
weight. It's nice to know the Woolies Zip-T won't reek by the end
of a trip, and I can even stand to wear it in the car a few hours for
the drive home.
The Ibex Woolies Zip-T has worked well with my hiking style, being
versatile enough to layer in several different ways and providing light
warmth, good breathability, good wicking characteristics, and great
odor control. The stretch fabric and the zippered neckline make
it easy to put on and take off, even over a light hat or another base
layer. The Zip-T has been durable so far, and it keeps it's shape
well both when hiking and after laundering using the gentle cycle of my
I look forward to taking the Woolies Zip-T on many future backpacking
and hiking trips.
This concludes the test series.
to Ibex and BackpackGearTest.org
opportunity to test the Woolies Zip T-Neck baselayer top.
Read more reviews of Ibex gear
Read more gear reviews by Pamela Wyant