Learn to Sweat the Right Stuff, Not the Small Stuff

From Ibex Advocate Britta Kfir

I stepped on (or fell off of, rather) my first slackline in Winter 2011. In those first precarious attempts to stay upright on the damn thing, everything that my physiological body knew thus far of balance was all but thrashed into a thousand disconnected pieces of vital information in mere seconds. I wouldn’t surrender to this new challenge, but I knew it wouldn’t surrender to me, either. I sweat profusely, feeling the rage of frustration and the rouge of embarrassment flooding the capillaries in my face. I couldn’t figure out how to relate to that one-inch-thick piece of nylon webbing and I was anxious, stressed, and determined to dominate it.

Six months later, I found myself facing bigger challenges on the line at a slackline yoga teacher training hosted by the YogaSlackers. This time, those challenges looked like walking lunges, seated meditations, hand balancing inversions, and other amazing postures, all while perched upon on a dynamic, suspended slackline. I was finally beginning to integrate and redefine balance, not only in my body but also in my approach to life.

“True happiness comes not when we get rid of all of our problems, but when we change our relationship to them, when we see our problems as a potential source of awakening, opportunities to practice, and to learn.”
-Richard Carlson, Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff

The YogaSlackers is a group of nomad adventurers and free spirits who specialize in sharing five very special modalities: Yoga, Slacklining, Adventure, Acrobatics, and Conditioning. Our tribe attracts people who love living life in the outdoors (a.k.a hiking, camping, climbing, yoga-ing, cooking, bathing, running. You name it, we do it.) and we generally have a pretty laid back, no-stress, “slacker” mentality when it comes to stressful situations.

As a certified teacher, I consider myself lucky to be able to travel internationally sharing these principles and spending time practicing, playing with and teaching students of all walks of life how to approach balance with a new perspective. The physical practice and the lifestyle that unite the YogaSlackers has truly changed my life by giving me the tools to be able to step back from the intensity of certain situations in order to, quite literally, sweat the right stuff instead of sweating all the small stuff.

Sweating the right stuff means identifying the bigger issues at a hand and responding to those issues instead of reacting to them. On a slackline, this means letting your body move and respond to the fluctuations of the line. Offline, this translates to being in a relationship, or car troubles, or intense physical and emotional hurdles. The more we surrender to the “line” or to the edge of discomfort, the more we are able to see the bigger picture and to practice breathing, balancing and softening into the situation, the more we learn.

Life is dynamic, just like slacklining. I never know when the “balance” might get thrown off, but I’m learning to sweat the right stuff instead, and it’s proving to make all the difference. Luckily nowadays I wear products like Ibex wool when I’m slacking so at least when I do sweat, it don’t stink!

  • About Ibex Advocate Britta Kfir

Britta is a moon-worshipping adventure-seeker from San Diego, California. She’s a proud Colorado native and has summitted 10 of its 52 14’000 foot peaks. She is also an avid surfer and slackliner, and loves pushing her limits as a triathlete. Her travels have brought her through much of Southern India, Eastern Asia, Europe, and the continental US, but more than anything, she loves exploring the West Coast and all its diverse climates. Britta is a certified yoga and AcroYoga teacher and hosts retreats and immersions internationally, sharing the ‘art of play’.

Climbing Tips for Beginners

From Ibex Athlete & Climbing Guide Karsten Delap

Karsten works as a rock and alpine guide at Fox Mountain Guides. He has been pursuing mountain adventures for over 20 years; follow him here.


Most of the people I talk to love the outdoors or at least some aspect of it, however, almost in the same breath tell me they “could never go rock climbing.” They proceed to list all the reasons why it is scary…that they don’t like heights…and on and on, and then go on to describe a beautiful overlook that took them 10+ miles of hiking to get too.  

As an avid rock climber and advocate of getting outside to climb, I’m here to tell you that climbing is just like hiking, just a little steeper, and with that great overlook view the entire way up. In fact, I find it more engaging than hiking which is what makes it a meditative activity. When done properly, the pure act of rock climbing is by far safer than the act of driving to the grocery store. Read on for common fears, at least from my point of view, and how to overcome them.

Heights schmeights
One of the main reasons I find that people are scared to go rock climbing is their fear of heights. Most people who are afraid of heights get a feeling of uneasiness when next to an edge because they fear they may not be able to keep themselves from jumping, or might become dizzy and fall off. For beginners, when climbing, we are tethered to the mountain at all times. In fact, climbing rock with a rope is more secure than climbing a ladder; at any point you feel uneasy, you just sit back in your harness!

Trust your gear
Another reason I see people apprehensive about climbing is not trusting the gear. With the climbing culture becoming huge around the world, more money has been put into testing gear. As a result, the gear is very, very strong if used in the right application. That said, you will want to make sure the gear has a UIAA or CE rating; good thing is that almost all gear sold in the U.S. has these. In most cases, your gear will hold 10 times the amount of force you could possibly exert on it.

No need for guns of steel
Many folks think that climbing is all about upper body strength. Just because all the photos show climbers barely holding on to anything does not mean that is how they started out climbing. Most easier climbing is done on your feet. So if you can walk up a trail, you will likely have no problem moving up an easy pitch of rock.

Go the guide route
Another great way to experience outdoor climbing, and what I recommend for beginners, is to go with an AMGA certified guide. Not all guides in the U.S. are certified, but the ones that are have had training in dealing with not only safety but also client comfort to help you overcome your trepidations in moving up the rock. You can learn many tools and techniques that can help you start to develop as a climber you can use for adventures on your own.

A group of friends climb the Nose of Looking Glass in western North Carolina using the skills they gained from instructional courses. Photo credit: Karsten Delap

Learn the lingo
Knowing some terminology can help you understand a bit more about what you are doing and make you more comfortable with the tasks at hand. Here are a few terms and their meanings you will want to know:

Belay: Dictionary meaning is to hold fast, or secure. This is how you will move rope to hold your climbing partner on the rock.

Belay Device: This is the object that creates friction on the rope so that we do not have to have much strength to hold the rope in our hands.

Piece of Protection: These are objects that are put into the rock that can hold enormous amounts of weight. They can have more specific terms like cams, nuts, and bolts.

Anchor: This will be made up of two or more pieces of protection and will hold you on the wall.

Holds: These come in all shapes and sizes and are what you use to move up the rock. Some beginners call them grips or grabs but the proper term is hold, as in “climbing hold”.

Bomber: Despite this sounding like something might blow up, it is actually the opposite. Bomber means super strong. So if you hear someone say something is “bomber”, it is strong!

Here I’m resting so my forearms don’t get too pumped, and thinking about the moves to my next piece of protection. Being comfortable with your surroundings and your gear affords you a more relaxed time on the rock. Photo credit: Austin Schmitz


Rock climbing is a fantastic way to recreate and enjoy the outdoors while gaining different viewpoints. It’s also a great family activity that can build trust as you work through perceived fears, and become a relaxing form of exercise for outdoor lovers of all ages. So, why not give it a try?


Protect These Lands: Our National Monuments at Stake

The public comment period for President Trump’s proposed review of two decade’s worth of national monument designations ended on July 11, not with a whimper but rather a veritable bang. The review’s public comment period, which lasted for 60 days, elicited more than 2.5 million responses (with Ibex’s signature proudly among them). Of the comments, 98 percent were in favor of maintaining or expanding current national monument boundaries. At Ibex, our employees live, work, and play near many of these public lands, which is why we continue to lend our voice to the chorus of support for their longevity.

The United States’ National Monuments resemble national parks in terms of their sublime scenery and safeguarding of history; however, their designation defies the stringency of the National Parks Service: National Monuments can be created from any land owned or controlled by the federal government. Near our Ibex flagship stores in Washington state and Colorado, and our headquarters in Vermont, three of the National Monuments threatened under the current review stand proudly as bastions of preservation, recreation, and conservation.

 Photo Courtesy of Tom Foster

Hanford Reach National Monument, located about three hours southeast of Seattle, showcases a fascinating chapter in human history as well as a vibrant display of biodiversity. Plutonium reactors, remnants of atomic weapon production for WWII and the Cold War, tower above the Hanford Reach of the Columbia River; this stretch of water is the nation’s last, non-tidal, free-flowing segment of the Columbia River. Forty-three species of fish have been documented as occurring in the Hanford Reach. Hanford Reach was the US Fish and Wildlife Service’s first National Monument; it embodies their mission of guiding the conservation, development, and management of fish and wildlife resources, as well as providing opportunities to the public to understand and wisely use those resources.

In Colorado, Canyons of the Ancients National Monument serves as a living history museum; this Bureau of Land Management-governed monument showcases a part of the state occupied by humans for over 10,000 years. Visitors can access a wealth of information about the Ancestral Puebloan (Anasazi) and other native cultures of the Four Corners region at the Anasazi Heritage Center, Southwest Colorado’s premier archaeological museum. Since most of the wild and rugged landscape of 178,000 acre monument is open to exploration by foot but lacks well-market foot trails, a visit to the museum is integral to experiencing the monument to its fullest potential.

Here at our Ibex headquarters, we are familiar with the wonders of winter, and the Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument is one of our favorite seasonal playgrounds. The National Park Service-managed monument boasts groomed cross country ski trails, 22 miles of snowmobile access, ice fishing, winter camping, including huts and lean-tos, and fat bike access. The “woods and waters” of the monument offer solitude and serenity at any time of year, whether for bird watching, cycling down gravel roads, or simply sitting on the shores of the East Branch of the Penobscot River.

The protection and preservation of America’s national monuments has a direct impact on the outdoor recreation economy, generating jobs and economic growth. Furthermore, as those in the outdoor recreation industry know, these places don’t simply provide us with a paycheck but with something much more meaningful. One of Ibex’s core values is to “Protect the places we love;” these places are America’s public lands, and we are their biggest advocates.

Ibex Staff plays in dirt at The Conservation Alliance “Backyard Collective”

On July, 14th Ibex staff and members of the Conservation Alliance rallied together to volunteer for a day of trail work at the“BACKYARD COLLECTIVE” to benefit Vermont State Parks.

More than 50 volunteers from Ibex and other supporting members volunteered and aided in an area cleanup and invasive species removal at CCC Camp Smith. The historic camp, constructed by the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC), was the largest CCC camp in the eastern U.S. The camp housed CCC corpsmen during the construction of Waterbury Dam after the disastrous flood of 1927.

“We are very excited to partner with The Conservation Alliance and its Backyard Collective,” said Susan Bulmer, NE Regional Parks Manager for Vermont State Parks. “Through the collaboration and support of community partners, and programs like the Backyard Collective, we are able to create and enhance important recreational and cultural opportunities for visitors to our state parks.”

Vermont businesses such as Ibex, Darn Tough, Mammut, Outdoor Gear Exchange, Pale Morning Media, and the Pinnacle Outdoor Group, are member companies of The Conservation Alliance.

“As a member of The Conservation Alliance, Ibex is thrilled to welcome the Backyard Collective event in Vermont this year,” said Chelsea Pawlek, Supply Chain Manager at Ibex Outdoor Clothing and member of The Conservation Alliance board of directors. “It’s great to be able to bring our industry together in Vermont to support our local community, as well as give our employees a chance to work side-by-side with other Conservation Alliance member companies.”

The mission of The Conservation Alliance is to engage businesses to fund and partner with organizations to protect wild places for their habitat and recreation values. The Alliance launched the Backyard Collective Program to connect member company employees in the outdoor industry with the work of organizations that receive funding from the group.

“We’re very excited to add a Vermont event as we celebrate our 10th year of our Backyard Collective program,” said John Sterling, executive director of The Conservation Alliance. “Over the past decade, our members have pulled together for some impressive stewardship work on the local level. Conservation starts at home, and these events represent a strong commitment to preserving these companies’ backyard.”

The Backyard Collective moves that action to their local community, and gives these employees a venue to get their “hands dirty” for the sake of conservation.

Some of the volunteer businesses participating in the Backyard Collective are members of the newly formed Vermont Outdoor Recreation Economic Collaborative, formed by Governor Phil Scott through Executive Order 11-17 on June 15, 2017. Forests, Parks and Recreation Commissioner Michael Snyder chairs this task force. “This volunteer day highlights the importance of our outdoor industry partners and the roles they play in strengthening stewardship of outdoor recreation resources through providing community-oriented assistance for maintaining our outdoor assets, said Michael Snyder.”


The Secret to Wool in the Summer

Itchy wool sweaters are a bit like lima beans or peas: right beside our memories of being forced to sit at the table until we cleaned our plate is Mom’s voice, insisting that you keep the sweater on if you wanted to go outside and play. Now, we try and load our plates with mostly green, and wool is the fiber of choice for keeping warm and staying cool, playing hard and chilling out – all of the ingredients in a successful camping trip.

Merino wool shines in all seasons, but it’s particularly well suited to summer. First, it can hang with the hours we keep. From the time you load up your car or backpack in the morning ’til the time you’re relaxing post-hike by the campfire, you’ll hardly know you’ve been wearing the same clothes all day long. The men’s All Day T can keep up with every aspect of your camping adventure; it looks good, feels good t, and won’t confess at 10pm that you put it on 14 hours earlier.

Merino’s second secret is that it holds up well in the heat. Its breathability – the ability to allow moisture vapor to be transmitted through the material – makes it practical for sweaty endeavors. Wool is also able to store moisture within the structure of the fiber, so as your body warms up, the stored moisture will evaporate and cool the air between your skin and the fabric. The women’s W2 Kinetic T is designed with our “weightless wool” technology; for warm-weather workouts, nothing can beat its soft feel, durability, and lightweight touch. When the sweating’s done, the wool wicks excess moisture from the skin so you can kick back at camp without the post-workout chills.

Finally, wool is a great travel companion. If you’re headed away to go backpacking or to make a basecamp in the woods, wool will promise that you can wear it more than once. Whereas most synthetic fibers create a happy home for bacteria, Merino absorbs moisture which then evaporates, keeping odor-causing bacteria at bay. Furthermore, wool contains Lanolin, which is how sheep don’t get soaked in a downpour and don’t stink after a day in the fields. Our Pulse shorts have a Merino liner, which means that you can confidently wear them to bag a peak one day, slay some trout the next, and play cards at camp in the evening.

Certain questions demand essential answers when planning the summer camping trip: what will keep me cool when it’s hot? Warm when it’s cool? Comfy around the picnic table, and dry and clean-feeling while I’m out playing? Merino wool – It’s as essential as the tent, tarp, and S’mores.

Colorado Mountain Club: The Voice of Colorado’s Mountains

America’s public lands received a veritable threat in April when President Trump issued an executive order to review the national monument designations. The order mandates the Secretary of the Interior with the task of reviewing all designations (or expansions of designations) under the Antiquities Act made since January 1,1996 where the designation covers more than 100,000 acres, or, “where the Secretary determines that the designation or expansion was made without adequate public outreach and coordination with relevant stakeholders.” From the slickrock spires of Grand Staircase-Escalante to the turquoise depths of the Pacific Remote Islands, the order places at least 20 – and as many as 40 – monuments on the government’s hit list.

We at Ibex (along with over 70 other organizations) have added our name to an open letter to Secretary Zinke urging him to listen to the will of the people; luckily, our voice is bolstered by the efforts of our friends putting in hours and miles at the ground level. The Colorado Mountain Club (CMC), one of Colorado’s oldest advocacy and recreation groups has always been an active advocate for protection, access, and stewardship of public lands on a local, state, and national level; as the “voice of Colorado’s mountains,” these days, the CMC is speaking louder than ever.

“Primarily we represent human-powered recreationists – specifically hikers and mountaineers – as well as backcountry winter users (skiers, snowshoers, etc.) through our Backcountry Snowsports Initiative,” says CMC’s Conservation Director, Julie Mach. “We weigh in on policy and legislation that affects public-land designations, funding and management such as Wilderness proposals, agency budgeting, and the transfer of federal public lands to state control. Our members and supporters receive regular updates and action alerts on advocacy issues, we host public meetings and letter writing campaigns, and we engage volunteers in testifying to support public lands in Denver and Washington, D.C. We also work closely with a broad network of regional and national conservation and recreation organizations (including the Southern Rockies Conservation Alliance and Outdoor Alliance) to elevate the voice of our members and unify the broader recreation community in support and protection of public lands.”

Founded in 1912 by 25 charter members, the CMC showed, early in its history, the power of like-minded people in passing and defending important land use legislation. The club was instrumental in helping to establish Rocky Mountain National Park, and as the official record keepers for 14er, 13er, and other list completers, it’s “had a hand in naming, protecting, and enjoying the state’s high peaks for more than ten years,” says Jeff Golden, CMC Marketing Manager.

By serving as a modern day database, the CMC is an excellent resource for visitors or Coloradans who are spending time in the mountains. It also provides numerous opportunities for people to teach, learn, and grow in the Rocky Mountain playground.

“In 2016 alone, we had over 600 volunteers dedicate their time to the CMC; we led 1604 trips; we taught 174 adult courses, clinics and schools; educated 7000 youth through our Youth Education Program; and totaled 95,708 human-powered miles,” says CMC’s Membership Manager, Lauren Shockey.

The experiences that CMC facilitates contribute not only to Colorado’s outdoor culture but affect people’s relationship with the outdoors far and wide; when people have access to sustainable recreation, they are far more likely to act as stewards of the places where they play. The three tenets of CMC’s mission — education, recreation and conservation — operate in tandem to create an involved, engaged, and active constituency.

It’s more important now than ever for the outdoor industry to present a united front in support of public lands. Because of shared beliefs, Ibex is proud to share an area code with the CMC. Opening our doors in Denver puts us squarely in the middle of Colorado’s vibrant recreation scene, one that’s as active in civic centers as it is on top of 14,000 foot peaks.

4,000 miles in 14 Days with Ibex Advocate and Photographer Nelson Brown

Having a 9-5 job leaves me only with three weeks of vacation time each year. With limited time off, I strongly believe in the importance of traveling to new places and getting out of my comfort zone when I can. This year, my girlfriend and I set a two-week time frame to explore all that the West has to offer.

We had a general idea of the places we wanted to see, but never set an exact itinerary. Because for us, the adventures are ever-changing. We chose to travel without a set destination because it allowed us to go with the flow and to live in the moment. We drove through six different states, all of which were unfamiliar places, totaling 4,000 miles in 14 days. The best part of the adventure was chasing the sun to our next campsite where we would set up camp only to get a good night’s sleep, knowing we could do it all over again.

In my opinion, car camping is the best way to travel and see the country, but you’ve got to be equipped with the right gear in order to appreciate the journey. Packing light is crucial when traveling with limited space. All Ibex Merino wool items can be put through the ringer and still come out smelling pretty… even after 14 long days. My travel wardrobe consisted mainly of Ibex apparel that was versatile enough to wear in all terrains: mountains, rainforest, desert, and urban.

Throughout the trip we made stops in Idaho, Oregon, California, Nevada, Arizona, and Utah. Each state had their individual cool spots and destinations, but I’d like to share with you a list of my personal favorites along the trip and why they should be on your bucket list.

Utah – Dixie National Forest

Utah’s State Parks and National Forests are what make Utah one of my favorite places thus far. Just south of Bryce Canyon National Park lies The Red Canyon in Dixie National Park, Utah. Here in Red Canyon we found breathtaking rock formations and less traveled trails to discover. Maybe the light snowfall drove people away, because we did not see a single person at this location. I highly recommend hiking Cassidy Trail while you’re in Utah.

Travel Hack – save some money by camping in National Forests versus a designated campground!


What Dogs Think of Take Your Dog to Work Day

Ibex honors Take Your Dog to Work Day every day. We’re 100-percent committed to the boost that dogs bring to our daily satisfaction, productivity and humor. We love our dogs of Ibex (you’re going to want to click that link. It was a barely concealed ‘plant’ to something that will make you smile).

Back in 2013 we even won the Purina Pets at Work Award for 2013.

Today is national “Take Your Dog to Work Day.” Whereas human-centric holidays are celebrated with free time, love, flowers, presents and beer, Take Your Dog To Work Day is celebrated by doing the thing we complain about the most.

This is the holiday we create for our best friends? Work.

We all have words we spell out in front of our dogs for fear they’ll get over-excited if they hear the real thing. “Rex, wanna play F-R-I-S-B-E-E? Gertie, wanna go on a W-A-L-K?”

Oddly, you never hear: “Who wants a S-T-A-P-L-E-R? Who wants a C-O-P-I-E-R?” Dogs are smart. Dogs are unmoved by the allure of strategy meetings and quarterly reports.

And yet, there we go. We load them in the truck or alongside the bike – giving the illusion that we’re off to a super–sweet new adventure. Their minds are already firmly entrenched in their happy place: streams to splash in, tennis balls falling from the sky, dog biscuits growing on trees and mud puddles just waiting for a good splash.


5 Ways to Maximize the Summer Solstice

Banks and bosses may not recognize it, but outdoorsy folks have their own official holiday in June. Sandwiched between Memorial Day’s kickoff to summer and the Fourth of July’s family-friendly festivus, the Summer Solstice serves up the year’s earliest sunrise and its latest sunset, inspiring a season of feel-good, frenetic fun. Let the seemingly endless daylight of Solstice be a model and a guide: here are five ways to celebrate the season.

1) Make your work day work for you

Chances are, you won’t get the day off, but since the light is long, it’s easy to pretend that you’re playing hooky. Rise with the sun and lace up your shoes for a hike or a run. Throw your bike on the roof rack. Arrive at work happy and sun-kissed, don’t waste an idle minute web-surfing or staring at the copy machine, and when the clock strikes five, change into your chamois. Depending on which line of latitude you call home, you’ve got until at least 9pm to pedal away the working blues (which, let’s be honest, were impossible to even have today).

Advocate Tiffany Mannion bikes in the Ingrid Skirt

2) Plant seeds

The term “solstice” comes from the Latin words “sol” (sun) and “sistere” (to stand still). At the solstice, the angle between the sun’s rays and the plane of the Earth’s equator appears to stand still, which is recognizable to us mere mortals as the first official day of summer. Mark this monumental event by planting a solstice garden. Whether you’ve got a big backyard, a cracked pot or two, or a lonely strip of dirt outside your front door, growing food and flowers can be as simple as 1-2-3. Late June is a perfect time to plant carrots, beets, radishes, and greens, and when the days grow shorter as summer goes on, your harvest will be a sweet and savory reminder of the sun standing still up high.

3) Connect the spots

Some days, all we can do is squeeze in a workout or happy hour between the responsibilities of real life. Summer’s warmth and light beg us to stop making excuses and make it all – or as much as we’d like – happen. Have a favorite fishing hole? If the answer is yes, then ask – can you bike there? Now, since you’ve ridden to fish, are you hungry? Ride from the riffle to the brewpub or cafe. Satiated? You can go one of two ways from here – a local park for a snooze in the sun or a trailhead to burn off the calories. Like a Choose Your Own Adventure book, there is no wrong option, and since you’re blazing your own trail, you can follow it until you get too tired to add another destination.

Ibex Advocate Vince Svejkovsky takes his W2 Sport Hoody on the river.

4) Set up camp

Camping is one of those things that, given a touch of bad mood or business, can seem like more effort than it’s worth. But, how many times have you regretted setting up a temporary home by the babble of a brook or under a splatter of stars? Whether you have the time to drive 500 miles to a different ecological life zone or you’re RV-ing at the state park a few hours away, the long days of summer lend the task of creating a temporary home outdoors the air of a ritual rather than a chore.

5) Find sweetness

It’s hard to resist summer’s charms; no other season can persuade us to sleep less, work less, and play more quite as convincingly. Maybe it’s because summer reminds us of being kids, and we’re all too aware that a childlike sense of wonder is the food group conspicuously absent from our adult dinner plates. Also missing from our grown-up diets? Sweetness. The sticky popsicle stick, or don’t-let-the-scoop-topple off the cone, ‘Yes, I’ll have the whipped cream’ variety. Whether you’re in the company of children or not, remember that the spirit of summer is freedom and fun, and that means saying yes to dessert every time it’s on the menu.

Ibex Summer Solstice from Ibex Outdoor Clothing on Vimeo.

Join Us In Defending Our Public Lands

Nearly one million people have spoken out in support of our national monuments. We (along with over 70 other organizations) add our voice to theirs in an open letter to Secretary Zinke urging him to listen to the will of the people and continue our conservation legacy.

Thank you for joining our efforts in defending public lands!

Watch: A Brooklyn Trail

Sometimes you just need to get off the beaten path to discover those truly magical places that can transcend you to another dimension.

For athlete Ben Clark, that special place was a hidden trail in the heart of a concrete jungle. Watch his story below.

A Brooklyn Trail from Ibex Outdoor Clothing on Vimeo.

Why You Should NOT Wear Summer-weight Merino Wool

Summer-weight wool is not for the uninformed.

********** ORIGINALLY POSTED JUNE 26, 2013 **********

It’s been said that wool is a gateway to the heavier stuff. Start out wearing wool in the summer and before you know it, you’ll be sporting balaclavas at afternoon barbeques and parkas long before Labor Day.

Yeah, it’s true. Wool can lead you to a life of warmth, which sad to say, can be overdone.

It’s a treacherous line we walk when we start playing fast and loose with traditional fabric designations. Man, you’ve got to keep your head on straight. Just like the best things in life, wool in summer is a game of education and moderation.


(Photo: Archer)

Summer-weight wool is not for the weak. Your average oily…err… synthetic short sleeve women’s technical top weighs in around 4-oz. An Ibex women’s, short sleeve Seventeen.5 Merino wool shirt packs on an additional 0.64-oz. That’s the equivalent of carrying an extra 2-3 grapes on your back (grapes, as in wine, snacks, yumminess).

Summer-weight wool is not for the adamant anti-fashionista. If you want your clothes to scream, “I’m an outdoor athlete, as you can see by my technical seaming and boxy silhouette,” Ibex summer-weight wool is not for you. The texture and drape of Merino wool, together with Ibex styling, mean people won’t know if you just came from the coffee shop or from flashing a 5.13. Sorry, we do things more like this.

Summer-weight wool is not for those who don’t sweat. Since wool has natural anti-bacterial qualities, wool gear fights off odor like Wonder Woman fighting off death rays with her bracelets. If you always smell like sweet honeysuckle pinched from the vine – even after a 10-mile trail run – you don’t need us.

Summer-weight wool is not for the uninformed. Technically, this isn’t really true. But before you open the door to summer-weight Merino wool, it’s helpful to know that not all wool is created equally. To maximize comfort and understand the moderation curve of which wool to where and when (…wow!), here’s what you need to know:

·      Micron: This is the diameter measurement of the individual wool strands. Summer-weight wool will clock in around 18.5-microns and under. 17.5 is crazy low and is as soft as your well-worn cotton t-shirt.

·      Quality: Here’s where it gets tricky. Not every strand of fiber in 17.5-micron wool will be 17.5-microns –some will be larger (more coarse) and some will be small (booyah!). Bottom line: there’s a sliding scale of quality even among similarly named wools. Find a manufacturer you like and trust.

If you want the wool (as most sane people do), you’ve gotta make sure you can handle the wool.  Start by visiting this page: http://shop.ibex.com/Why-Merino-Wool-In-The-Summer