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Ibex Indie Hoodie & Shak Vest

Photos Karin Grubb (product) & Tim Coleman (riding)
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Under new management, Ibex is once again producing merino wool products. Originally from Vermont, the land of Ben and Jerry's and Bernie Sanders, Ibex now calls Boulder, CO home for a more of an outdoorsy image of climbing the Flatiron rock naked, in scuba gear or on roller skates. There are a few places in the US where people are more active than Boulder so positioning one's business in the heart of that makes a ton of sense.

I received the Indie Hoodie and the Shak Vest from our own Trevor Hansen for review. The reason?

They did not fit him... more on that later.

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Ibex Merino on my back, Turkish merino on my face.

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The quarter zip to release the hair, I mean air.

Ibex Indie Hoodie

Ibex's Indie Hoodie is an interesting piece. At 185 gm2 weight, it is slightly thicker than the 140 gm2 fabric that I am more used to wearing while biking. This heavier feel pushed the first use scenario to cooler temperatures that took their sweet time arriving this year. The idea of a hoodie on a bike ride seemed silly at first, but soon found its application on a particularly cold morning ride.

The size medium hoodie on this 5'9" reviewer fit relaxed but not too baggy. Larger than most mediums for base layering, it has a similar fit to the jersey like merino gear from both NF and Mons. The quarter zip has a nice ventilation option, giving the Ibex hoodie high functionality. Ibex likes to silk screen their info onto the fabric for a tag-free experience and it pays off when it comes to comfort against the skin. The 100% merino wool is ideal against the skin and there no tags to tickle you.

One of the extra features of the Indie hoodie are the thumb holes on the cuff to help with layering. It is a testament to the designers' attention to detail.

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The vest doubles as a cape for fast and rowdy trail riding.

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Thumb hole for layering ease.

On the bike, the slightly looser fit of the medium gives me room to move and warmth to relax on cold rides. The hood actually fits under a helmet without affecting the fit too much. If the winds are freezing your ears off, this is a great feature. For someone looking to do a quick lunch hour spin on the North Shore, the feature-rich Ibex hoodie may not be the go to garment, but if you find yourself in the backcountry in unpredictable weather, a top with a well-designed hoodie and thumb holes may mean the difference between being really cold or being comfortable. Not to forget, mountain biking is life but so is hiking and skiing and all other shitty weather activities, not discounting gardening in the backyard. A warm, function-rich top is a great way to increase your exposure time to the elements. The styling of the Indie hoodie is on the "meh" side. It looks like a base layer on its own so if you don't want to be zapped by the fashion police, you may want to top it with something else... read on.

Ibex Merino Hoodie $170 USD

Ibex Shak Vest

I haven't been a vest guy all my life so I don't have a vest routine or persona. I know people who rip arms off of any long sleeve piece they can get their hands on. The punk is alive and well in the 40+ crowd. When the Ibex Vest showed its sleeveless face on my office floor, I had a chuckle and put it right on. The Shak Vest is a heavy, 375 gm2 piece of fabric for the most core heating combination possible. Initially I struggled to find a use for this amount of warmth but a couple of frosty mornings in the fall defined the best use case. The size medium vest is on the looser fitting side. As a second or third layer this works well but if you want an against-the-baselayer hug from the vest, I suggest sizing down. This is when I also realized the fashion faux pas that would be the solo baselayer hoodie unzipped to reveal the chest forest, the Shak vest complemented the look by creating a visual layer that was far more pleasant.

Climbing, I found the hoodie-vest combo too warm regardless of the temperature. The heat my body generates and the retention from the merino was a little uncomfortable. The sweat did not feel cold as the merino wool wicked it and warmed it. The warm, wet feeling lasted 30 or so minutes before it evaporated and I was as dry and odourless as I started the ride.

I wish the weave was lighter and the vest was more packable for the conditions I ride in. It will easily pack in a backpack or a hip pack but it will take up a decent amount of space while doing so. Your riding weather and body heat may differ.

The zippered pockets were welcomed by my cold hands and the chest pocket was great to see especially when the time came to stashing my glasses. The stitching is heavy duty and it feels like the vest will last a lifetime if cared for (especially if my 10+ year old Ibex base layer is any example).

Ibex Shak vest

The Ibex of old is long gone and is now a direct to consumer operation. The website also has a decent amount of information on the ethical side of things: where and when and how much energy is being used to achieve what. The undeniable truth of raw materials traveling the world to get to different production stages gives one an uneasy feeling. Australia to China to Turkey to US is a long journey for a vest to travel just to be worn for an occasional mountain bike ride. I don't feel great about any part of this process. But I do take solace in the fact that both the sheep and the people who work it into the final products seem to be cared for. At least we are told they are. I may not be purchasing a new merino product every year anyway, and the these look to be lifetime products. If it lasts as long as other Ibex stuff of the past, it'll be a decade before I may consider another one. That is some good mileage for sure.

Overall, I am impressed with the non-mountain biking specific stuff from the new Ibex. The feature rich products would be right at home when the temperatures hit minus frosty. There is no doubt the hoodie and the vest combo will get regular use this winter, on and off the bike.

Ibex Merino

Deniz Merdano



Playful, lively riding style

Photographer and Story Teller

Lenticular Aesthetician


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+3 Vik Banerjee Deniz Merdano Andrew Major

These hoodies are my everyday go-to, all winter long, for the past ~10+ years.

Not just for riding.  I slip one over my head first thing in the AM ~6 days a week from now until mid-April.  And as such I'm already half dressed for an afternoon ski or ride when the moment arrives.

Comfy-as all day long.  Hood is invisible til you need it.  Thumb hooks are priceless when needed, but also invisible til that moment.  I can usually wear one 6+ days straight, working all day, skiing or riding in the PM, and repeating, without any noticeable (to me) stink developing.

I usually have 5 or 6 of these in the closet in various states of being used to death.  One dies and I order at least one more, in case they (or the company) go away.


+1 Mark

What would really set that off is a medallion on a chain resting on that chestal hair. Maybe an old titanium cog or something like Bruno Gerussi would approve of. https://youtu.be/zx96Ukhg-tg?si=0PjME8OridceFFby

I’m not a fan of wool for next to skin layers but I like it better as an added layer.  I’ve had a few Ibex pieces over the years. Always been good.


+1 Andy Eunson

I can't do it, just not yet atleast... Maybe for my 50th. :)

If you like the added layer on top of synthetic, then sizing will run normal for you


+1 Andy Eunson

The 70's pron stache in the opening pic is just begging for some austentatious chain dangling around your neck.



It's Ted Lasso but i hear ya man. 




The vest looks enticing, but the link says gone for the season unfortunately. That makes me wonder what season they expect someone to wear such an article...

Upon further review, it's on sale just not at that link



With clothing it can be hard - because... even if a reviewer gets product like this significantly before launch, July/August aren't very good jacket and thermal vest testing weather. And, since we prefer to use/abuse items here at NSMB for a bit before posting a review... the timing can be challenging.



Update, I got one on sale, and instantly fell in love with it. It's warm, but doesn't get too warm and sheds excess heat. It seems to have this special power to keep you warm beforeyou warm up from exertion, but doesn't keep warming you up more once your body tem rises. I did one cold ride in it, and although I took it off after the warm up lap, I could have definitely kept it on without overheating. It's also the perfect weight for fall dog walks, and the styling is as cool as a vest can be. 10/10.


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