Rating: 4 / 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.
Review update: Wow, I can't believe how my view on the Ibex Aire has changed over the years. The Aire has become one of my most worn items for around town, for dog walks, and for day trips. I ended up purchasing two of these hoodies off ebay for considerably less than the new price. I also gave the Smartwool puffy a try and did not care for the fit and it had the same outer shell limitations.
Many of the "cons" I listed above still apply, e.g. price, packability, lack of a pertex shell, and the zipper is too lightweight. However, for temperatures ranging down to 15 F I find this is hoody has become a go to active layer, e.g. XC skiing/skating. Simply can't beat an insulated hoody for warmth. When it gets colder here in MT I add layers such as a synthetic vest, puffy jacket, and/or a hooded soft shell or rain jacket. But the Aire has become my first layer that goes on and others are added as weather dictates.