Ibex Rave Down Jacket in Heather Gray…And warm!
“I’ve always regarded nature as the clothing of God.” ~Alan Hovhaness
By Suzie Hemphill
If nature is the clothing of God, then the Ibex Rave Down Jacket is the clothing of angels. Smart and handsome, this Heather Gray Ibex Rave down and wool jacket impressed us with a trim fit that relieves itself of the usual bulkiness. You know, that bloated appearance that is inherent in standard down jackets. The Rave doesn’t bind with hulking sleeves, and thanks to its small-patterned quilted design, the jacket is compact, allowing you “room to move,” as John Mayall so eloquently tried to tell us. And don’t be put off by the wool fabric; this “modern” wool is softer and finer than old wool, and it is not itchy. All that for a modest investment of $295.00 U.S. sheep heads!
When you want to be outdoors with the elements, warmth is pivotal. With 650 premium goose down, the Ibex Rave down jacket
will nestle you like a gosling. “Sheep, meet goose,” the company pronounces on its website (wa.wa.wa.ibex.com) regarding the perfect marriage of wool and down. The wool and down union is ideal given that the jacket delivers in the worst of weather. We tested the jacket in the rain, wind, and freezing conditions and the result was indisputable: incredibly warm and comfortable.
Ibex says, “Think of your Ibex wool as a happy little micro-climate wrapping around your body.” We found this to be true; the jacket was a happy little micro-climate and so too were the wearers of this cocoon like garment. The wrists are elastic so no wind will blow up the sleeve, and the pockets are deep and warm.
Being outdoors is extraordinary when dressed properly and the Ibex down jacket provides you with the opportunity to be outdoors and have the physical comforts that nature has so lovingly provided her creatures in the heart of her most harsh discomfort. Here you will find the warmth of the birds’ down and the heat of sheep’s wool. Wild animals survive because they are adapted to the cold and harsh temps, and so too will you be in this Rave jacket.
Where did our grandmother’s itchy ugly wool go? You won’t find it in the Rave jacket because Ibex uses “a variety of fiber diameters” which makes the wool much softer than the old wools that our grandparents tragically wore. This modern wool is crisp yet supple, not itchy or stiff, and yet still retains the celebrated warmth of traditional wool. Ibex uses wool that is sheered from the touted New Zealand Merino Sheep: with their pink noses and curled horns, these Merino Sheep from the New Zealand Alps are carefully raised and sheered by family run sheep stations for their fine warm wool. We like that the farmers have tended their flocks humanely for many generations and have cared for their land gently.
The tags rave, “Non-flammable: Ibex wool garments resist heat. They don’t hold a flame and won’t melt like synthetic fabrics and fibers.” So go ahead and stand by your drunken buddy in his synthetic Michelin–Man jacket while he makes the campfire roar, and forget the lines, “Stop, Drop and Roll.” You are safe from the sparks that leave big burn holes in ugly jackets. You can stand too close and live another day while your friend wearing the crappy jacket could become the camp tiki lamp.
Ibex wool will not make you smell bad; that is what the company claims. We wondered if that could be true, and put it through a
number of disgusting tests to find out. In cold weather, the jacket was worn under intense rigorous hiking and exercising conditions; dripping with sweat, the wearers themselves smelled, but lo and behold, the jacket did not. Ibex claims that it is the anti-microbial properties of the wool; we don’t question why, but the jacket will need fewer washings which means it will last longer and you may have more friends at the end of the day.
The Ibex logo, designed with a calligraphy pen, does its job. The beautiful design of the Ibex is thoughtfully placed on the back of the garment near the collar. The design embodies the wild, organic nature that the wearer seeks.
Ibex is a company who has the right frame of mind as the 21st century is ushered in. Modern companies must have sustainability and renewability in mind and Ibex does. Their advertising slogans are not just catch phrases and flash card words used to promote their product; they use renewable and natural fabrics for all of their products; their fabrics don’t come from synthetic sources that pollute the very streams and pristine air that are sought while wearing outdoor apparel.
Not only that, but they have a veggie garden, many of their employees ride bikes to work, they are touchy about the rights of the sheep, and the co-founder, Peter Helmetag, is a Vermont Sheep farmer. The company website is a delight with pictures of the office dog, and wonderful quips like, “No matter what your New Year’s resolution is, you should vow not to be the stinky person on the trip,” when describing the anti-microbial properties of the wool. Indeed.
Ibex is a super cool company; the staff is young and hip, their website is a joy; it exhibits their personal interests in quality and sustainability. Ibex is the thinking man’s outdoor company. “It Just Feels Right” is the advertising claim that piques the most interest. It is impressive marketing acumen, and if the jacket holds up to that simple ingenious scrutiny, then the product is gold. But what lives up to marketing jargon?
“Do you like the jacket,” I asked Luke my husband who was wearing it for the review.
Luke commutes on the Metro Link Train and stands at the station at 5 am in the cold dark. He walks and waits on the long platform
and the sexy image of him in the Ibex proves that the jacket looks great and works stylistically in the woods and in an urban setting. Luke is a man of few words, so I knew from the outset that I would have my work cut out compiling this review.
“It is black. The inside is blue. It is very warm,” these were the lonely three sentences he managed after the first donning. He proves the urban myth that women have 1,000 words for every one Man Word.
“Just this once, can you please elaborate?” I begged.
“Suzie,” he finally managed after much thought. “It just feels right.”
So there you have it: the Ibex Rave jacket, in the words of the clever Ibex advertisers and one cold-hating outdoorsman, it just feels right. With this jacket, you will look stylish because of the tailored fit and woodsy colors. Since you will be warm, you will look sexy and manly, not miserable and shivering, but most importantly, you won’t stink and we think that is a pretty important asset.