The Life-Changing Magic of Hygge: A Simple, Effective Way to Triumph Over Winter

Even for the winter sports enthusiast, the season can have its moments:

It doesn’t snow enough in December. It snows in June. The car gets stuck. It’s too dark to exercise after work, then it’s too dark to exercise before.

Ask the Scandinavians how they do it (and with as few as seven hours of daylight in December), and the answer is as streamlined as an arctic A-Frame: hygge.


Multisport Days in a Multisport State: Microadventuring in Durango, Colorado

By Ibex Advocate Alex Gulsby

The state of Colorado is sprinkled with some of the most amazing little mountain towns. Durango, Colorado is no exception and I’m honored to call this place home. First snow means everything to the locals here, as it signifies the seasonal transformation of adventure sports.

Rock turns to ice in the climbing world. We trade out our hiking boots and trekking poles for snowshoes and ice axes. We tuck away the kayaks and river rafts and blow the dust off our skis and snowboards. There is literally so much to do, which means that a weekend spent in Durango offers the ultimate Winter Durango microadventure.


Simple Pleasures

There are many simple pleasures in life and no better time than the Christmas season to luxuriate in the things you love best. Focusing on these simple pleasures may help relieve some of the stress and complications associated with this harried time of year.

Picture those things you love. This could be taking your dog for a long walk, grinding a fresh coffee on a cold morning, putting your feet up in front of a wood stove, reading a good book, sitting down to a nice meal with family and friends, or going for a cross country ski. You get the idea. It is these moments that make the Christmas season special and it is these moments that are the antidote to our busy and distracted world.


Ibex Makes its Denver Debut Just in Time for Winter

Dear Denver and honorary members of the Ibex flock,

The time has come. In mere days, our newest Ibex store in Denver, CO will be holding a Grand Opening celebration at 250 Columbine Street in Cherry Creek North!

On Saturday, December 10, we’ll be celebrating all things Merino from 12pm-8pm – just in time for the holidays. Not only will you be able to browse our newest line of clothing for the outdoors and rub elbows with fellow outdoor enthusiasts, we’re throwing in a few perks too.

Arrive early as we kick things off at noon with a gift bag of Ibex goodies and other Vermont-y swag for the first 50 attendees. Stay for the afternoon and join us for a Merry Match game, raffle drawings, hot cider, light snacks, and of course, free gift wrapping. Happy hour starts at 5:00 pm and we’re whipping up a special Vermont-inspired cocktail and will have delicious hors d’oeuvres, Wyoming Whiskey, Colorado beers, and wine.

Why is Ibex coming to the Rockies? With adventures around every corner and locals bragging about the average 300+ days of sunshine a year, we couldn’t resist. We know that people who love Ibex also love to squeeze adventure out of every second of the day, so we made this list of things to do in and around Denver for those few moments when you aren’t busy gift shopping for your favorite outdoor adventurer.

Running in Wash Park

Lace up your running shoes, pull on your all-season Indie Crew and head out the door for a loop around Wash Park. The breathable Merino fabric lets you pick up the stride and soar past giant Aspens and pines just blocks from downtown.

Snowshoe in Indian Peaks

It’s hard to top an early morning snowshoe complete with a warm beverage, jaw-dropping views, a few close friends and the Loden Hat to top things off and keep in warmth. Just a short trip from the city, Indian Peaks feel like a world away from the urban jungle.

Sledding at Ruby Hill Park

The thrill of zooming down a hill on a sled never gets old! Slip on a good base layer like the Woolies 1 Bottoms, grab your sled of choice and head to Ruby Hill Park. As one of the highest points in Denver, you’ll be rewarded with breathtaking views of the city and mountains before you plummet down the hill head first.


Skiing and Snowboarding at Copper Mountain

Head for the hills… and then keep going ‘til you get to Copper Mountain. World class skiing is only a short drive from the Ibex store in Cherry Creek North. When the temperature drops, you’ll be glad you have the Wool Aire Matrix Hoody to keep sweat and the chill out and warmth in.

Cozy up with a Book at the Tattered Cover

Even the burliest of lumberjacks needs a cozy afternoon with a book and a nice espresso. Head to Denver’s Tattered Cover, find the book that suits you, select your caffeine vice and curl up in your Taos Plaid Shirt for a good read. See our book recommendations here.


Around the Bend: Pleasant Detours through Central Oregon

By Ibex Advocate Anna Jacobs

We’re pretty fortunate here in Bend, Oregon – we get 300 days of sunshine a year, and living in the high desert means the air is always dry and the weather tends to be fairly predictable. It was peak foliage season a few weeks ago, and my friend Tony and I were determined to capture as much fall color as we could during the coming weekend.


We made a plan, determined our destinations, calculated travel time, and put a short gear list together. I woke up at 4:30 a.m., threw some last minute items in my pack, brewed some tea and scooted out the door. We were on the road by 5, driving toward Sisters, OR. The drive out to Sisters is beautiful. Before reaching the town of Sisters, we had planned to stop at a scenic pull-off to catch the sunrise on our way out of town. It’s a distant but panoramic view of the Cascade Range, and is always sure to impress.


After capturing a few photos of the pink hues on the rising white peaks, we hopped into the car and continued driving. As we made our way through Sisters, we began observing the morning sky – we noticed there was not a cloud in front of us, which did not bode well for our plans – which included visiting 4 -5 waterfalls throughout the span of the day. We began to panic a bit, thinking of what other sights were ahead of us that would be showing fall color and wouldn’t be affected by harsh sunlight. Music off, phones in hand, frantically sputtering out destinations. Finally, we came to our conclusion – there were clouds behind us and we would backtrack to Bend, and head in the opposite direction toward the Umpqua National Forest. We had added an additional hour and a half to our trip and felt defeated after forced to abandon our original plans.


There are a lot of captivating waterfalls in the Umpqua National Forest, like the ever popular Toketee Falls, framed by a wall of volcanic basalt, or Watson Falls, known for its lofty 272 ft. drop into a collection of moss covered rocks. But we had both visited these beauties many times and were eager to see something new. We followed the windy roads into the forest and made our first stop at a bridge off of Hwy 138. For such simple scenery, Tioga Bridge was exquisite; the vibrant fall colors that surrounded it and the warm tones of the wood were a photographer’s dream. I threw on my Ibex Taos Flannel and wandered around the area with my dog, Charlie. My flannel perfectly matched the autumn colors and it kept me warm as we explored.


We visited a few other falls before making our way to our final destination, Fall Creek Falls. The trail was surrounded by towering trees, adorned with yellow and orange leafs. There was a large mossy rock outcrop that we wound our way through, it was glowing an electrifying shade of green. As we reached the falls we realized there was not another soul here, we had this magical place all to ourselves. There are four tiers to Fall Creek Falls, collectively measuring around 120’.  The final tier dives into a small pool of water before it trickles down over the staggering rocks. The ground around the pool was sprinkled with brightly colored leaves. We took in the beauty of this waterfall, grateful to have found such a calm, untouched destination on, what can be, busy weekends.


As we drove back to Bend, our hearts were full of new adventures and fond new memories. Although it wasn’t the day we had planned for, our journey worked out splendidly. We were able to spend our day venturing into new places in the great outdoors and running around with our pups. And as we like to say, ‘At the end of the day, if our pups had fun, then that’s really all that matters.’


DTL: Down to Lounge? An Ibex Quiz to Determine How You Get Down When the Time Comes to Lie Down

Relaxation is:
a) A state of mind.
b) Something I schedule into every week.
c) Like sleep: I’ll do it when I’m dead.

When I roll home after work:
a) I pop a beer and plan my weekend.
b) I try to catch the “Glutes of Glory” ski fitness class if the timing works out.
c) I jump on my bike and squeeze in an interval sesh.

It’s a rainy Saturday (and I don’t live in Seattle or Portland). I’m going to spend it:
a) Guiltlessly bingeing through my Netflix queue.
b) In a yin yoga class, then reading a good book.
c) Running! No one else is out when the skies open up.

My favorite lounge singer is:
a) Nick the Lounge Singer, because Bill Murray…duh!
b) Nick the Lounge Singer, because I don’t really know what a lounge singer is.
c) Nick the Lounge Singer, because it’ll get this damn quiz over quicker and I can do something productive.


My favorite movie is:
a) The Big Lebowski
b) Star Wars
c) Breaking Away

After a day of skiing, I:
a) Am ready for a fire and hot drinks.
b) Invite friends over for a potluck.
c) Run through some plyometrics to work on my speed and power.

My workout playlist includes:
a) Lots of stuff – I just cop ‘em from Spotify.
b) I’m way into sitar stuff right now. Or I’ll play “Lemonade,” start to finish. Beyoncé. Love.
c) I warm up with “Under Pressure.” Bowie and Queen. Actually, the Ben Harper/Jack Black version is pretty sweet, too. After that, anything with at least 180 beats per minute (180 bpm) is fair game.

When a buddy says “take it easy” as we say goodbye, I automatically think:
a) Already on it, bro.
b) Easy is as easy does.
c) I don’t understand.


If you answered “A” to most of the questions: Congratulations, you are an ultimate lounger! By no means does this imply lethargy; it’s just a recognition that life does not need to be lived on full throttle at all times. When it’s right, you can kick back with the best of them. Your friends look to you set the chill vibe.

Perceived (in)famous “ultimate loungers” from history and today: Dorothy Parker, Bill Murray, Jeffrey “The Dude” Lebowski

Sartorial matchmaking: Ultimate loungers need ultimate lounging pants or “sleep-n-goes.” My pants are comfy enough to sleep in, and stylish enough to roll right out the door in the morning: a.k.a. sleep and go. We recommend the Ibex Northwest Lounging Pant for men, and the Waffle Knit Bottoms for women.

If you answered “B” to most of the questions: Congratulations, you are a balanced lounger! You live your life like a perfectly modulated sine curve, making equal space for hard charging, moderation, and low-key times. You’re the friend who gets the call to hang at a barbeque, climb a peak, or hit up a club. In other words, you kind of do it all.

Perceived (in)famous “balanced loungers” from history and today: The Most Interesting Man in the World, Helen Mirren, Jon Stewart

Sartorial matchmaking: Balanced loungers need a pant that’s just as ready for a good book as it is for an outdoor adventure. The Ibex Dolce Legging and Dolce Pants for women check all the right boxes: comfy, warm, performance-oriented, and they each look great on their own. Wear them to yoga, under a skirt, under ski pants, or snuggled under a blanket on the couch. For men, the Highlands Pant is as versatile as they come for camping and hiking to an easy-going dinner party at home.

If you answered “C” to most of the questions: Congratulations, you are a no-can-do lounger! Lounging to you is lunging with an extraneous ‘O,’ because you turn the volume up to 10 on everything you do. No one is saying you can’t relax, but really, who has the time when there are so many other fun things to do? You’re the one people call when they want to charge.

Perceived (in)famous “no-can-do loungers” from history and today: Lindsey Vonn, Jens Voigt, Katniss Everdeen

Sartorial matchmaking: You need something that is ready to go on a moment’s notice. Even though these bottoms feel great while awaiting your next adventure, the barometer tips toward performance for you. For men, the Gallatin Classic Pant is rugged enough for outdoor pursuits and comfy enough for a day of ski touring. On the women’s side, the Ibex Izzi Tight is the winter-ready, do-it-all, up-for-anything tight.

Ibex How-To: How to Talk About Your Gear as if it’s Running for Political Office

Our neighbor to the East gets all of the attention in election years (damn you, New Hampshire)! It’s just not fair, we tell you. Here at Ibex, we’ve got a fever for politics and there isn’t enough cow bell in all of the dairy states to satisfy. We take the governance of the country and our responsibilities as citizens quite seriously. Even so, it’s hard to escape the circus quality of our modern elections.

So we got to thinking: while the national media is bickering over platforms in the Presidential election, we’d take up the passionate calls to action of our outdoor gear. Like any good campaign manager, we have to be ready with sound bites, interpretations of the opponent’s capabilities and over-inflated egos. Fact-checking be damned! Context is for the weak. Let’s get out there and buy…err…earn some votes!

Ibex_Woolies_merch.jpegWhy limit your election year options to just Red and Blue?

How to pitch your gear as if it were running for office

Step One: Define your identity. Your gear needs to announce to the world why it makes the user instantly cooler/more athletic/more attractive/smarter than the competition.

  • Example: Use the word “innovate.” Use it early and use it often. Use it as a response to any question to which you don’t have an answer.

Step Two: Announce your platform. Slightly different than defining your identity, this is the part where you differentiate your candidate/gear from the others. Important: never use the actual name of your competition.

  • Example: “In test after test (meaning two subjective tests designed and executed by employee of manufacturer), our jacket has proven to be the go-to piece when it’s 30-degrees below zero and snowing sideways – not like those “other guys” who are always rambling on about versatility.“

Step Three: Make bold claims. Promise, promise, then promise some more. Let’s not get caught up in the pesky details of checks, balances and democracy. Post-election you can blame everything on being misquoted.

  • Example: “My ultra-light backpack holds three Thanksgiving dinners, an eight-man tent and a small ATV.  And it only weighs 12-oz. Plus, it solves world peace. Yeah, world peace.”

Step Four: Step Four: Cue the human interest story. No matter how tenuous, stretch to make some positive connection between your gear and someone’s actual, heartbreaking story. Turn their misery into your gain.

  • Example: “Meet Kate. She and four thousand other people were cut off from their fresh water supply by a massive mudslide that killed an entire village. Luckily, the innovative ballistic bases on our skis meant they wouldn’t miss out on skiing – even when mud provided the only piste. Thanks to our scratch-free bases, Kate hasn’t missed a day of recreating.”

Step Five: Prepare your acceptance speech. The important detail to remember is that you’ll give the same speech – win or lose.

    • Win: Your belief in [insert gear here] has carried us through to this day and we’re not stopping here – regardless of what “the competition” implies. We aim to continue on with our mission!
    • Lose: Your belief in [insert gear here] has carried us through to this day and we’re not stopping here – regardless of what “the competition” implies. We aim to continue on with our mission!

Good luck out there. Let’s fight fair and encourage productive discussion. And if that doesn’t work, we can always keep doing exactly what we’re doing now.

Good luck out there. Let’s fight fair and encourage productive discussion. And if that doesn’t work, we can always keep doing exactly what we’re doing now.

Now seriously: make your voice be heard and be part of a solution. Promote civil debate, engage locally, and vote. You know you love your Ibex gear and we love making it for you. Access to outdoor recreation and conservation are two platforms in which we unabashedly believe.

New Ibex Wool Aire Reversible Camp Shirt-Jac Featured in Outside Magazine Winter Buyer’s Guide

outside-buyers_ibex-wool-aire-1The 2016-17 edition of the winter Outside Buyer’s Guide has hit stands and its esteemed editors are recommending our brand new men’s Wool Aire Reversible Camp Shirt-Jac. We don’t want to boast, but on behalf of sheep the world over, we are so very proud.

With the versatility of a shirt but the warmth of a jacket, this new shacket offers the classic look of a plaid winter jacket with a modern update. The reversible wool-insulated jacket blends the mid-weight lambswool Taos flannel with ripstop wool fabric for function and performance. Wear the ripstop side out and take in the last gasp of this season’s foliage atop the ridgeline, or flip it inside out when it’s time to add to the wood pile.

The Outside gear testers remarked on this shacket’s versatility and said, “Wear the reversible Aire flannel side out and you’re bar hopping in Breckinridge. Flip it so the shiny nylon shows and you’re hitting the galleries in Chelsea. Either way, thick wool insulation make it one of the warmest breathable tops on this page.”

Updated for Fall 2016, Ibex’s new Aire insulation is the best defense against the coldest weather. It’s 100-percent wool packed inside for great insulation and breathability. Our innovative non woven is equipped with plenty of air pockets to pair with the wool to keep you toasty.


Thanks to Outside for this recognition. The Outside Buyer’s Guide is not yet online, but print copies are available at your local newsstand.


Why Merino Wool is the Natural Choice for Fitness Apparel

Sheep aren’t frequently celebrated for their endurance abilities, a notion which has sadly and inaccurately been projected onto their fleece. Let’s set the record straight on why Merino wool is the best performance fabric for all types of workouts.

      With the additions of new lightweight options and Merino blends over the past few years, your Ibex Merino-based wardrobe has transitioned from a three-season reserve to a year-round player. While airy in feel, these lighter pieces deliver heavyweight hits of comfort and performance for all of your fitness-focused, sweat-soaked fun.

Here’s why lightweight Ibex Merino wool is the tops for fitness any time of the year.

1)  Most people are familiar with wool’s out of this world performance in cold weather. Did you also know that the crimp and structure of wool fibers have the ability to act as a personal air conditioner? As you work up a good sweat in the heat of summer, Merino wool gets busy wicking the moisture away from your skin. Whatever moisture doesn’t evaporate immediately is stored inside the fiber and away from your skin. As your body generates more heat, the evaporative process intensifies for the moisture stored in the wool fiber. The result is a cooling of the space between your skin and your Ibex gear.

2)  Quick dry conundrum. In the quick dry horse race, Merino wool is just edged out by petroleum-based fabrics. But isn’t the real question how comfortable you are when you’re mid-run, rather than how quickly your gear dries afterward? Merino blows the doors off polypropylene when it comes to moving wetness away from your skin and eliminating the dreaded clammy sensation. Bonus: When it makes sense for maximized, specialized performance, Ibex marries wool and a touch of Nylon to create the ultimate power couple of Merino performance with an amped up dry time and stretch.

3)  Won’t I smell like a wet dog if I wear wool to exercise in August? Simply put: nope. Merino wool has a naturally occurring anti-bacterial that works like a charm in the anti-stink department. Actually, on scent alone, Merino gear can go far longer without a wash than synthetic fabrics. We’re talking days upon days of hard, sweaty workouts without a visit to the wash-o-matic.

4) If wool suits are packed away come summertime, why wouldn’t we do the same with wool base layers and workout gear? Indeed, some of our heavier weight options have seasonal job descriptions. For summer and inside aerobic pursuits, check out the lightweight options, like tanks, running shorts, and a selection of short sleeve tops, bras and undies. A wool gauge of 19 micron or under indicates an appropriate summer weight. Fair warning: super lightweight Merino and Merino blends can be addicting.

5) Naturally the best. Natural fibers from the field versus synthetics from the laboratory? We may be biased, but we’re giving this win to wool.

When your focus is on your run, your yoga practice, your sensei, your boot camp, or your ride, your clothes need to be in the silent, supportive role. They need to keep you dry and comfortable so your brain and body aren’t distracted from the task at hand: having fun, building up cardio, and reaching that invigorating nirvana of sweat plus endorphins.

A photo by Julia Caesar.

Meaning in Adventure: The Ibex Adventure Booklist

Recognizing that now is the era of the non-reader, the 140 character limit, the visual story-teller, the YouTube clip as cultural reference point, it may serve those that love the outdoors in all forms, to harken back to adventure in the written word. Climbing, skiing, backpacking, paddling all have deep literary histories, headlong pages of embellishment, reflection and the type of self-important navel-gazing that time alone in the wild inspires.

Given that Ibex culture comprises of finding a new take on a traditional natural fiber, we present five adventure books that you either haven’t read, or some classics with our slightly different view of why their pages are worth turning. New to you or not, these are texts guaranteed to make you itch with the urge to get out, to find adventure, and journey to wide open spaces, and to make meaning from time outside.

  the-future-of-ice The Future of Ice: A Journey Into Cold, Gretel Ehrlich (2004)
The silence of the arctic is something few authors convey with books on arctic travel. Cold and solitude win out in classics like Endurance but rarely does an author spend time with the sonic isolation that cold and snow offer. Gretel Ehrlich doesn’t shy away from this and as a result, her look at the meaning of seasons bears an impact that meets a high standard for literature, that it can do things other mediums cannot. Here’s the hiccup: there are endless books that kick off in a playful push of hedonistic delight. This is not that book. As a brand that loves winter, Ehrlich offers up adventure and meaning while considering the real, here-and-now threat that climate change poses to our favorite season. Think of it as a post-modern heir to Ernest Shackleton’s call, this time however, the trapped vessel is any fan of ice, snow and beauty.

[Insert Any Book by Jim Harrison] (1971 – 2015)true-north
Chances are, if you asked most outdoor types to name the first book with a Vietnam vet, his lady friend, heavy drinking, and a car filled with dynamite purchased in the hope of blowing up a dam in the American southwest, Harrison’s not the author you’d pick. Yet, Jim Harrison penned A Good Day to Die two years before Abbey’s much lauded, The Monkey Wrench Gang and without the cinematic caricature or overwrought importance. It was Harrison’s novella, Legends of the Fall written in 1989 that gained him the most recognition, at least through a mainstream audience. But for the rest of his leading male characters, Brad Pitt might have been too pretty a hero and that’s where the gritty texts Harrison wrote find their best feel through old growth forests, trout streams and forgotten rural landscapes. Harrison, who died last year, was an unapologetic glutton, a drinker, chain smoker and hard living bird hunter, fisherman, and man of letters in the traditional sense. If his novels don’t move you, his collections of nonfiction and poetry demand a steadfast love of wild places. “The earth’s proper scripture could be written on a three by five card if we weren’t drunk on our own blood.”

into-the-wild Into the Wild, Jon Krakauer (1996)
Before you nod and skim this paragraph having seen Into the Wild on countless other adventure book lists, hear us out. Because it is a polarizing book, replete with countless follow-up articles and arguments for or against its merit. Any argument about Into the Wild highlights the wandering protagonist, Christopher McCandless, as alternatively a mentally ill suspended adolescent, a wise-beyond-his-years sojourner on the hunt for meaning, a happy-go-lucky kid, and a troubled soul. His death from starvation in the Alaskan wilderness catapulted his standing in the outdoor world beyond typical earl adulthood journeys of self discovery into something either pointless and tragic (due to the mapless adventurer dying so close to help) or beautiful and committed. Krakauer, in an interview about the book, made a case for the latter explaining the avoidable death this way, “If you want a blank spot on the map, you gotta leave the map behind.”

deeppowdersnow5Deep Powder Snow, Dolores LaChapelle (1993)
Any serious skier can make a case for organizing a life around sliding on snow. For skiing pioneer, Dolores LaChapelle, her book Deep Powder Snow makes a case for organizing all of life sliding on snow. LaChapelle was a subscriber to the Deep Ecology movement, a philosophical offshoot suggesting a blending of human and natural interests was possible and necessary to solve the environmental ills of the planet. LaChapelle used her pioneering status as a deep powder skier to illustrate a connection to the earth, “There is no longer an I and the snow and the mountain, but a continuous flowing interaction. I cannot tell where my actions end and the snow take over…that’s Deep Ecology.” Deep Powder Snow pauses the philosophy lessons for insights into skiing at the most iconic areas of the American West during skiing’s earliest days in the country. LaChapelle doesn’t rarify all the aspects of her life as a skier; her failed marriage and her avalanche injuries are on display and highlight the precarious balance life requires to carve turns metaphorically and in Alta powder. The outspoken skier died in 2007 at the age of 81 but not before she became a leader in ski mountaineering, an advocate for sustainability, and an icon of skiing history.

the-river-whyThe River Why, David James Duncan (1983)
Even if you aren’t fishing crazy, reading The River Why is an inspiring look into life consumed by the outdoors. Gus Orviston is a fishing genius, a young man coming to grips with the modern world, and a foil for every soul that’s ever wanted to leave the rat race for a simpler life of outdoor balance. He “learned what solitude really was. It was raw material – awesome, malleable, older than people or worlds or water. And it was merciless – for it let a man become precisely what he alone made of himself.”

Use your summer trips to fuel your fall and winter months


Walking hand-in-hand towards the glaciated Northover Ridge.

Each year, I make a list of summer trips that I hope to do. Every day of vacation is accounted for in a plan that is fantastic (but in retrospect, likely impossible). As summer turns to fall, I find myself comparing my list of summer dreams to what we actually did. There are always some great trips crossed off, but there are usually more than a few glaring omissions. I find myself sitting back wondering where summer went, and pretty soon I’m starting to wonder how it is possible that we did so little. When the glass starts to look half empty, I forget the summer’s awesome experiences. I forget the planned trips that worked out well. And I forget the unplanned adventures that are usually the highlight of the summer. Sound familiar?
There is a time and place for lists. Reminders written on a scrap of paper like, “Take out the garbage” or “Pack an extra pair of Ibex socks” are fine. Our counter is littered with recycled envelopes covered in lists of groceries and tasks to do. I sleep better knowing I have a reminder in the morning and I love crossing things off those envelopes! The lesson here: menial tasks and menu items are completely different than the sacred adventures that inspire my days and nights.
gearing up

Day 24 of our Over the Divide trip – Gearing up on a cold morning for our biggest day of the trip.

This fall, I have been thinking about ways to focus on the great experiences that we had. These are the positive memories that will propel me through the colder winter months and inspire years of other great summer adventures. Here is what I tried:
  1. 1. Pull the list off the fridge and replace it with a dozen photos from the great trips this summer. In doing this, I found myself asking, “When was the last time I got any pictures printed?” It is great to sit in the kitchen with a morning coffee, and look at a fridge covered in good memories rather than lists!
  1. 2. Pick one trip off the list and squeeze it in before winter. Pack some extra layers and some additional food. Get out there and enjoy it! We are planning to ride the Going to the Sun Highway in Glacier National Park after it is closed to vehicle traffic, because we have heard so many great things about this shoulder season adventure and yet have never done it.
  1. 3. Dream up one trip that is more challenging than anything you did this summer, and use that as your motivation for staying active in the months ahead. One great trip may be easier to accomplish than an entire list. This last point is the most important one, because it diverges from long lists and focuses on the core of the experience – the curiosity, inspiration, and adventure involved in preparing for and pulling off one big, great trip. We learn more when we stretch ourselves and the rewards are amplified when we put ourselves out there. To that end, we have been doing a lot of dreaming recently about a fantastically long and challenging adventure which has me waking up early to go for a frosty morning ride, instead of rolling over in the warmth of my bed. Never underestimate the power of dreams, and keep your lists trivial!

by Ibex ambassador Dan Clark

Follow Dan and his family’s adventures: click here

5 Basic Steps to Start Your First Bikepacking Adventure

One could be forgiven for mistakenly hearing you say backpacking, when instead you were talking about bikepacking. After all, the two sports, at their core, are fundamentally similar. Both require at least one overnight stay, preferably off the beaten track. Both require packs, which you transport yourself, that contain the necessary rations and technical accoutrements to make your trip at the very best enjoyable, and at the very least livable. Both can be dog-friendly. And, at least at the beginning of the trip, both demand of participants only the lure of adventure.

The key difference, of course, is that bikepacking requires a bike. But quickly vanquish any images that might be carouseling through your mind right now of bikes weighted down with heavy panniers and enormous front and rear racks, plodding along the side of the road, looking like overloaded pack mules on wheels. That’s cyclo-touring. That’s different.


So what is bikepacking?

It’s more than mountain biking and minimalist camping combined. Bikepacking emphasizes the word’s prefix: bike. It’s an undertaking that stresses mobility, maneuverability, and off-road exploration, not necessarily just getting from point A to point B. It’s about going way out there and having the right equipment strapped to your bike to enable you to eat well and sleep comfortably in the wilderness at night, so you can get up the next morning to shred singletrack and cruise along on untraveled dirt roads until you arrive at your next night’s resting stop. It plucks a sentimental chord for every kid at heart who fancies his or herself an explorer and a bike rider. It’s a part of cycling culture that’s been around since the dawn of the mountain bike. It’s just that in recent years, advances in gear make it possible to carry everything you need, while cycling clothing, constructed from innovative performance fabrics like Ibex’s Merino wool, ensure comfort and breathability for long distances.

With bikepacking defined and your interest fully piqued, these five tips will help guide your preparation for your first velo voyage.

1. Start with the bike.

Modern mountain bikes are ideally suited for bikepacking. Multiple wheel and tire sizes, advanced suspension systems, wide handlebars, and slacker geometries, allow riders of every size to find a reliable, comfortable, and fun ride. Bikepacking gear (like the equipment you see featured in the video) complements the bike’s performance and handling – an extension of the frame’s design, rather than a hindrance. But if you’re not up for the investment of a new bike, start with the mountain, cross, or gravel bike you’ve got, and work with a bikepacking expert at your local outdoor gear purveyor or bike shop to determine the equipment that’d best suit your goals and your bike’s capabilities.

2. Dress for the ride.

Bikepacking is cycling first and foremost. You’re going to be working your body, hard. So, clothing like denim cutoffs and flimsy tank tops won’t do. Neither will skin tight, Tour de France team kit. The last thing you need on a 500-mile bikepacking adventure is skin chafing, saddle sores, and restriction of movement.

Instead, go for dynamic and durable cycling-specific performance bib shorts or shorts with a chamois for your lower half, and progressive, moisture-wicking, comfortable jerseys with back pockets for your upper half. Technical pieces like Ibex’s short sleeve and long sleeve Spoke Full Zip jerseys, coupled with a natural fibers/spandex blend Bib Short are capable pieces for all-day riding comfort and performance, whether your bikepacking amidst the lush hardwood forests of Vermont’s Green Mountains or maneuvering through the sun-drenched red rocks of Arizona’s desert. Remember, weight and space are at a premium, so think at most only one change of clothing. If stops at towns along the way are part of your itinerary and walking around in bike clothing isn’t for you, consider the Crosstown Polo jersey, which blends cycling-specific functionality into a post-ride polo shirt. The patrons at the pub will never know the difference (except for that dried mud on your legs, of course).

3. Understand the different types.

Your next step is to figure out what kind of bikepacking you’d like to try. Bikepacking can be categorized into three specializations: multi-day mountain biking; ultralight, race, and gravel; and expedition and dirt touring.

Multi-day mountain biking is bikepacking’s one-size-fits-most description. It evokes the sport’s main tenet – to carry just bare essentials for overnighting so that the bike is free to perform the way it’s supposed to while riding during the day. Some multi-day mountain bikepacking trips require careful logistical planning while others may be the result of a spur of the moment decision. These are trips that might be 50 miles over the course of two days or several hundred miles throughout a month.

Ultralight, race, and gravel bikepacking is the competitive side of the sport. It’s less concerned with exploration and more with speed. It features light, high-performance hardtail or full-suspension mountain bikes piloted by trained athletes looking for personal bests on mapped routes. Courses comprise a combination of trail and gravel and paved roads.

bikepacking in packrafts in canada

Ibexdude bike-packrafting in Vallee Brad du Nord


Expedition and dirt touring is all about distance, exploration, and living on and off the bike. Think Ferdinand Magellan, Leif Ericson, and Marco Polo exploring by bike. Riders will need to bring some additional gear for these longer range trips that don’t compromise their bike’s performance.

4. Map out your route.

You have two basic options for route design: a loop or out-and-back, and a through route. Loops start and finish in the same place. No worrying about how to get back to the car. These routes are typically good for those with limited time, and are available in one form or another in most states. Through routes will take more planning, especially determining how to return to the starting point once you’ve reached the trip’s terminus. Most of the famous routes are located within the mountain and west coast states.

5. Familiarize yourself with weather patterns.

The weather determines when to go. But it’s anything but predictable, which is why you’ll need to be prepared for most kinds of conditions. If you’re route takes you into the mountains in the summer, be ready for cooler temperatures and even snow at high elevations; or, if you’re traversing the desert, make sure that you’re prepared physiologically for the unrelenting daytime heat. Pedaling a bike along rough back roads or trail when the temperature isn’t cooperating, at either end of the thermometer, is going to slow your progress way down..

Go long. Go ride.

Invest in high quality bikepacking gear and riding clothing that’s built with weight savings, packability, and versatility in mind. Make sure your bike is in optimal condition, which means taking it to a shop for a tune-up or once over. Recruit a couple of friends. Plan a route. Determine the day and time you’ll depart, and predict your return. Be brave. Be bold. Push off with your planted foot and bikepack your way into a new age of exploration.

Special thanks to the folks at Outdoor Gear Exchange, support your local bike shop!