I live in Boulder, Colorado, and it’s no secret to people around here that the town of Boulder is home to a lot of stylish activewear.
I decided that if I was going to fit into the Boulderado scene, I would have to expand my sportswear collection. But, it was going to have to be on my terms at least; I would agree to sheath myself in brightly colored v-neck tees and stretchy, form-fitting pants as long as they were made in an eco-friendly way.
Enter Ibex, a company that is devoted to outfitting you for your active lifestyle in clothes that are made with natural materials that are good for you and our environment. They hooked me up with some free clothing to test out.
Ok, ok, my interest is piqued.
But if the activewear is going to suit my needs, it’s got to do more than look cute. I like to do some lengthy backcountry excursions, so when it comes to my base and mid-layers, I’m concerned with things like moisture-wicking capability, temperature regulation, and how badly the stuff is going to smell after more than three days out. Here’s what I concluded about my new Ibex-wear through some thorough investigation:
The ‘Out and About’ Test:
To start, I wore the tee around town (see me in the above photo? I’m uber-stylee), so it could endure the rigors of leisurely bicycle riding, shopping, and café-hopping. Whew, I don’t know about the clothes, but I was pooped.
How it fared: a few turned heads from the male persuasion – the top is hot pink, after all, and I think that has its associations. It’s also possible I had something stuck to my face.
In any event, I felt comfortable wearing the outfit all day, and more importantly, I felt as though I wasn’t completely out of place in the mecca of stylish activewear (active stylish-wear might be a more apt designation). In fact, I quite like the neckline of the shirt, and that it is available in cute, fun colors.
I was dubious about how the pants would fare, especially around the pets, as I still have post-trekking flashbacks of the animal hair, leaves, etc., that my fleece pants were able to collect on lengthy backpacking trips. These pants are just like my fleece mid-weights – comfy and cozy, but, I was thrilled to find that they don’t possess quite that static quality that so skillfully collects anything and everything that is gross.
Now let’s see how the outfit fares when put to its intended use:
The ‘Day-hike’ Test
A friend and I took the tee and pants out for a test hike one Sunday.
Turns out, I found even more reasons to love the bottoms; they’re soft and comfortable, just like a pair of sweats or fleecies, except, they’re way more breathable. They manage to somehow keep me the exact temperature I want to be. This could be magic, or just the magic of wool. They kept me warm in the early spring weather, but not sweaty, as the material is super breathable. The same was true for the tee; the wool knit allowed breezes through that cooled me down as I was working up a sweat.
Needless to say, I was impressed.
Having checked out the outfit’s breathability and wicking power, only one important criterion remained to be examined: Smell.
This one was going to be tricky, as I needed the help of a loyal companion who would be honest, and also unfazed if Ibex’s tee couldn’t ‘cut the mustard’ so to speak. Luckily, I found just the gal, and as it turns out, I smelled even better on the return than I did when I left home! (Okay, that’s an exaggeration. But in truth, I smelled exactly the same after seven miles as I did after two feet, which is good enough for me).
… I’m happy to report that, for anyone who’s looking for some new, quality, clothing to suit their outdoor hobbies, but doesn’t want to compromise their eco-principles, Ibex is a great brand to try.
Most of their clothing is made from wool or hemp, and is comfortable and practical. They have a great selection of cycling gear, and they have great stuff for dudes too. Check ‘em out and let me know how they fared your rigorous field test.
Now I’m fitting in fine amongst the Boulder crowd, and I’m less sweaty and smell great.