My layering system never included a vest until now. Owning an insulated vest seemed redundant when I already owned other types of midlayers, as well as several puffy jackets. From my past experiences, vests have often felt awkward, boxy, or bulky — but the Ibex Wool Aire Vest changed my mind.
The fit was the first thing that wowed me from the start. It fit my body without feeling constricting or looking frumpy. And after a month of testing on cold coastal hikes, early morning jogs, long days outside photographing, and running errands, the vest proved to be versatile, functional, and comfortable as a standalone or layered under a puffy jacket or raincoat for extra warmth.
In short: After a month of testing the Ibex Wool Aire Vest, it has quickly become my new go-to for nearly any outdoor activity. The four things that stood out most were how lightweight it is, how sleek it looks and feels, the functionality of the three pockets, and how much warmth it retains. The merino fill from Ibex is unique and gets the job done. And it’s fairly compact.
Ibex Wool Aire Vest
- Fabric 20-denier 100% nylon shell
- Insulation 80g merino wool fill
- Weight 5.47 oz. (sample size S)
- Sizes S-XL (2-16)
- Price $235
- Great warmth
- Great pockets
- Not the most durable
- Slimmer fit
- Pricier than most vests
Ibex Wool Aire Vest Review
This vest made an impression on me. In testing, especially at the coast, I was often caught in brief rainstorms and found this vest did a good job at repelling water and keeping the wind gusts from biting through. This held up to its claim of having a wind- and water-resistant face fabric — similar to my existing DWR-treated jackets and pants. I also liked Ibex’s 70g proprietary fill that’s made from merino wool — it supplied a great amount of warmth and retained body heat well at my core in testing.
The elastic hem was another feature I liked. It allowed enough stretch while bending down to fetch something from my pack, or scrambling over boulders and obstacles on trails. But, it did periodically bunch up and occasionally required readjusting. I suspect this is more of a minor issue for those of us who are short.
Most vests I’ve come across in the past either don’t have pockets — or have them but aren’t functional enough. So, when I discovered the Ibex Wool Aire Vest had three deep pockets that store my phone, keys, snacks, and more with unobtrusive zippers to secure them, I was pretty thrilled.
Granted, because of the snug, athletic fit, I don’t often carry a lot in the pockets, but I enjoy having the option for stashing small items. I also like how the hand pockets are lined and insulated, so I can use them for just warmth when needed. That liner also extends to the collar, which is a good feature to keep my neck warm.
While there are many things I absolutely love about this vest, there are a few drawbacks. First, even though I’m 5’2″ with a short torso, this vest is admittedly snug, although that is my preference. However, those who don’t like the brand’s athletic fit may want to size up.
Second, this vest states that it’s “antimicrobial,” which is supposed to help cut down on the stink factor. But for me, after wearing it multiple days in a row, I didn’t think it outperformed any of my non-antimicrobial wear. This is also a tricky thing to measure or quantify, so it wasn’t a dealbreaker for me.
And third, this vest carries a hefty price of $235, which is more than even many jackets out there.
Overall, I’m pleased with the vest because of the athletic fit for effective warmth and the ability to layer or wear it alone without feeling cumbersome. I am a huge fan of the quality that Ibex put into this vest. It was especially useful due to its high collar, waterproof face fabric, elasticized hem, and sleek zippered pockets.
Bottom line: I wasn’t a huge fan of vests in the past, but the Ibex Wool Aire Vest has definitely changed my mind.
If you’re like me and the thought of owning a vest never came to mind, then I would strongly consider adding the Ibex Wool Aire Vest to the mix. It delivers functionality without the weight and bulk of typical puffy jackets and coats while still providing adequate warmth whether layered or worn alone.
That being said, it’s pricey and more than you need when it comes to the layering basics (base layer, midlayer, outer). If you are less interested in the packability and weight, or in the merino fill, a more budget-friendly synthetic- or down-insulated vest might better fit the bill for those just getting started building out their layering wardrobe.
If you want something really lightweight, warm, and useful for nearly every season, then this vest is worth the investment.