Saturday, April 28, 2012

"Made in the USA" Gear Review: Ibex Wool Balaclava

Ibex's Merino Wool Balaclava makes a great 3-season head and neck warmer. It's a bit on the light side for deep winter excursions, but we did enjoy its comfort and fit on less extreme days. At only 2.1 ounces, it's definitely light enough for most anyone's pack and comes in handy for chilly spring weather in the mountains.

Although it's well constructed, we didn't have enough time to spend with the Ibex to predict long-term durability. It feels as if it should last for many seasons of outdoor trekking if properly cared for though.

  • 18.5 micron New Zealand Merino
  • One size
  • Flatlock seams
  • 230 g/m 2 mid-weight interlock
  • Weight: 2.1 oz

Dave and I tested the balaclava on several winter and early spring gear-testing excursions, and we both came away impressed. As long as the balaclava was used within the limitations of its thinner material, it kept us warm and felt comfortable, even for extended periods.

The Merino wool is soft and stretchy and never made either of us itch. My favorite use for it was as a head and neck warmer while sleeping in the backcountry at night. For comfort, I like to have my head at least partially exposed while in my sleeping bag, and the Ibex worked well because it didn't feel like I was being suffocated or that I had too much bulky, uncomfortable material around my head.

Best of all, this balaclava costs the same as most foreign-made balaclavas yet is made in California USA. Highly recommended.

For more info visit or to purchase this product directly from Ibex visit:

About the author
Jason Schwartz is the founder and senior editor of Rocky Mountain Bushcraft. He is a former Red Cross certified Wilderness & Remote First Aid Instructor, and has taught bushcraft and wilderness survival techniques to the Boy Scouts of America, interned with the US Forest Service, and studied wilderness survival, forestry and wildland firefighting at Colorado Mountain College in Leadville, Colorado. Jason has also written for magazines such as The New Pioneer and Backpacker, including writing the "Tinder Finder" portion of Backpacker's "Complete Guide to Fire," which won a 2015 National Magazine Award (NMA). Email him at rockymountainbushcraft @ (without spaces)

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