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Ibex Nomad FZ Hoody : For Men and Women

Ibex, purveyor of fine, technical wool active wear, has pretty much blown me away with their Nomad FZ (Full Zip) Hoody. I’ve been testing it here in the snowy Rockies, and it’s quickly becoming my favorite midlayer of the season.

The Nomad FZ Hoody's clean lines, stylish looks, performance cut, and amazing breathing and insulating properties all combine to create a truly knockout garment for fall and winter.

Though I’ve always been a huge fan of natural fabrics, I do have a strong affinity for the feeling of brand new fleece. It’s exceptionally soft and cozy, and I love wearing it on cold winter days. For that reason alone I have often grabbed synthetics when the mercury dips and I want to feel cozy. Not any more! Ibex's Nomad FZ Hoody has a fluffy fleece lining that’s actually softer and cozier than any synthetic I’ve ever worn. I feel great when I’m bundled up in it, and I love the handy thumbloops that help wrap the ends of the sleeves around my hands. On top of all that, it’s a natural fabric – fine merino wool – so it has all the inherent benefits of wool, such as breathability and temperature regulation.

Early winter storms have been pounding Colorado over the last few weeks, so I took the Nomad Full Zip Hoody out for a test run while I was snowshoeing up a gorgeous trail near my house. I got out of the car and put the Ibex top on, extremely thankful for its warm and tight-fitting hood. Lots of tops have oversized hoods, which means there’s lots of space for cold air to blow in and out. Because we lose so much heat through our heads, a well-fitting hood is essential. I really liked how the Nomad FZ Hoody's hood fit, and I remained noticeably warmer than usual for the duration of my hike.

On the trail, I appreciated the Nomad FZ Hoody’s clean, performance cut. Although it’s got a distinct mountain casual style, it’s definitely built for a life of outside adventures. The wind was howling, but the top’s cut kept the wind from flying up beneath it. I wound up doing some scrambling over a bunch of snow-covered boulders, and I noticed I had good freedom of movement thanks to the top having enough fabric beneath the armpits.

Snowshoeing, though it’s really just a form of hiking, is a true workout. So when the going gets steep, I start to heat up no matter how cold it is outside. Breathability is key in the winter; if I get damp I start to get chilled. Thankfully, the Ibex Nomad FZ Hoody performs great in high output situations.

It kept me warm yet also super dry.  I noticed that although the hoody is really a mid-weight top, it insulates like a heavyweight fleece and breathes like a mesh jersey. Perfect combination! The loftier inner wool pile traps a lot of warm air and seems to transfer moisture away from the body, while the tighter outer weave seems to repel wind. Combine the two, and add in wool’s natural resistance to odors, and I get a super technical top that's also easy to care for.. The hoody also has two zippered side pockets and another extra zippered pocket on the left sleeve, all handy for my keys, cell phone, and nutrition bar!

Ibex’s Nomad FZ Hoody is available for men (black, red, gray, green, sizes S – XL) and women (teal, gray, purple, black, sizes XS to XL).

Bottom Line: Technical wool hoody that’s as soft and cozy as a synthetic, yet retains all the best properties of natural fibers --N.W. (Nov. 11)

BUY ONLINE: $160 click for REI (men's). Click for Altrec (women's).

Manufacturer's Site: www.ibex.com

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When hiking or camping, always carry the "10 Essentials":

Extra clothing, extra food and water, lighter or water-proof matches and fire starter, map in waterproof envelope, compass, pocket knife, sunscreen and sunglasses, flashlight or headlamp, first aid kit, emergency shelter.

Source: Seattle Mountain Rescue and Seattle Mountaineers.