About two days ago, summer arrived in Zion. It had been spring for the allotted week or so that usually falls just between the damp and clammy chills of winter and the scorching summer heat. As it turns out, this transitional time is a pretty opportune chance to put to the test a new piece of clothing! Ibex Wool offered me a shirt and told me to do my worst to it–just to see how it performed (you can see their new, fully interactive e-catalog here).

I have never been one to turn down a good opportunity, and I have always been a huge fan of wool. A few weeks back it was typical “wool weather”– a bit chilly and blustery–but this shirt has really come into its own as the springtime transition occurred and the searing heat arrived. You might think that this would be the time to put wool away for the winter, in favor of lighter, cooler fabrics. Well, you’d be wrong!

During Project 365 I spent a lot of time paring my clothing down to the bare essentials in order to travel light, so I like to think that I know somewhat about minimalism–and I like to avoid taking time away from my climbing and video editing to do laundry (to say nothing about the environmental issues surrounding water usage in the desert). So, having a shirt that I have been able to wear for over two weeks without washing is a good and useful thing. Now, before you recoil in horror, wondering how I can live with myself with such a skewed set of priorities, let me assure you that this shirt smells as good as the day I took it out of the package.

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Not that smelling good is always the biggest priority when you are climbing hard or hiking, but it certainly doesn’t hurt when you factor in the following other obvious benefits of the Ibex wool line:

  • wicks moisture
  • fast drying
  • organic/biodegradable
  • SUPER durable
  • keeps you cool in the heat

It’s not itchy (a classic wool stereotype) and actually feels super soft and smooth. It’s also not stiflingly hot because it breathes remarkably well while still blocking the suns heat (I won’t pretend to understand how or why this occurs, but I am happy that it works–oh–it’s also burly enough to stand up to all the abuse of climbing (and helping Rob of Zion Jeeps with some of the heavy lifting and engine work). Thin enough to stay cool, tough enough to stay together.

These shirts aren’t cheap to buy–as is the case with most things that are well made. And that may not be a bad thing if you think about it–I can’t necessarily afford to have the biggest and most beautiful car or house–but I figure that if I can have high quality essentials that really affect my ability to climb and take my diabetes adventuring, then I can still have luxury where I depend on it most. Plus…you can sell all your other t-shirts on ebay once you have a couple of these–they’re that good.

*I didn’t get any money to write this review and I wasn’t coerced into sharing my opinion or altering it. I got a shirt and was told to try it out and see what I thought. Wool is where it’s at, and Ibex makes tough stuff. That’s what I thought. Just sayin’. Now I plan to keep wearing this shirt for another several weeks, just to make sure I wasn’t being premature in my assertions here–so you might want to follow us on Facebook and Twitter just to make sure you catch all the diabetes desert fun (read:suffering) as it unfolds!