Rating: 2 / 5
I am a big fan of the newer merino wool products for work and play. Ibex has been one of my preferred brands because of quality, comfort, and because they are mostly American made. Their Nomad Hoody is one of my most used jackets and I think it is fantastic. I was really enthused when I read about the Ibex (and Smartwool) wool insulated jackets for 2012. So, when I was able to pick one up for a decent price, I jumped on it.
To put it mildly, I was rather disappointed when the Ibex Aire arrived.
For the "Pros":
* The Aire has a hood, that is a optional feature I prefer.
* The sizing was perfect.
* The ripstop nylon shell was more substantial than the Patagonia Ultralight hoody ($99) that I also recently purchased and returned because 1) the nylon shell looked toooo fragile, lack of insulation, and sewn threw baffle construction.
* Wool insulation. I am not a fan of down having been spanked, admonished, and chastened by the elements on several occasions, e.g. "lessons learned".
For the "Cons":
* I considered the thickness of the insulation to be wretchedly thin. Even wool can not overcome laws of thermodynamics and physics...whatever those are.
* The shell lacks weatherproof capabilities that are readily available, e.g. Pertex, DWR, GoreTex, Event, and so forth. When I am seriously grappling with the elements, a shell of "recycled" materials doesn't warm the cockles of my heart much.
* The nylon liner is okay, but what I really like is the gentle caress of merino wool, like my Nomad hoody.
* There is a pull tab on the hood, but I would like to see pull cords, or some sort of elastic fit, to snug around the face.
* The Ibex Aire isn't near as "packable" as either down or synthetic jackets with similar, or more, insulation.
* Lastly, the price is exorbitant, to put it mildly, especially since the Aire Hoody lacks the features mentioned.
That is my take. I returned the Ibex Aire and will continue to use my tried and true puffy synthetic layers until either improvements are made...or the water resistant down hooded jackets are available at a decent price point.