Friday, March 4, 2011

Wool Jerseys - Not Just for Cycling Anymore

I have always been a fan of quality wool against my bod but sometimes felt it was not versatile enough for my needs.  That has changed now with the addition of the Ibex Giro FZ long-sleeve Jersey to my wardrobe.  I love that jersey when the fall weather turns cool and for rides in the spring when the temp is below 60.  It has an incredible temperature range that keeps me dry and comfortable in a way that my long-sleeve Perl Izumi can't match.  If it is colder then the next step is a windbreaker vest  followed by a long-sleeve shell if it is below 25 degrees.

All that is to be expected from a high quality, long-sleeve cycling jersey - what you may not expect is that it is also the go to top for alpine skiing, snowshoeing, fly fishing, flying, and cross-country skiing. All with great results. The weight of the fabric is perfect for active outdoor effort and the full zip lets you get some more venting when the effort goes up a few notches.  I find I can get by with fewer layers so I don't have to keep stopping to add/shed layers as the conditions change.

The 3 rear pockets also come in handy for storing whatever you need securely while still remaining accessible.  That is important when you need to grab a gel pack without wanting to dig to the bottom of your day pack.  Styling is also another factor that makes this so versatile.  It used to be that you looked like a dork if you tried to wear your snowshoeing wool up on the slopes.  Not anymore, the styles and colors are very attractive so you will actually be getting compliments at how tailored you look.

Flying you say?  I thought this was about outdoorsy stuff (it will be in just a few sentences.) The reason I wear it flying in the winter is both a matter of safety and comfort.  Safety first:  Flying in a private plane means you need to plan for all eventualities - even during the summer.  Though very rare, there may be circumstances that require a landing in a remote wheat field, or USFS landing strip.  You want to make sure you are wearing something you can survive in while you are waiting for someone to find you.  There are cases of pilots surviving the off airport landing only to die from exposure. This jersey fits the bill.

Quick pilot joke - When is the only time you have too much fuel in the plane?  When you are on fire.  Sick., but true.  Fires do happen rarely, but when they do you want to be wearing clothing that will not melt on your skin.  Spandex, polypropylene, and nylon all melt when exposed to heat and will cause some of the worst burns as a result.  If you are in a fire, you do not want them next to your skin since they stick to it when they melt - wool and cotton are great for this reason, but wool is the only natural fiber that retains its insulation properties when wet.  You are better off naked and wet in the cold than wearing wet cotton - it is that bad.

Second, Comfort:  Regardless of the conditions you are flying in, a private plane has only two temperature offerings - freeze or fry.  That is it, with nothing in between.  Having a base layer of Ibex wool provides a great deal of comfort regardless of which of the two environmental settings the plane chooses to provide me.

Ibex wool is very high quality clothing that will serve you well for many years with proper care.  As with anything, you get what you pay for so it costs a little more than synthetics, but with the versatility it provides you may find that you need fewer clothes and layers - so it is a better value in the long-run.

Come by the shop and take a look for yourself because safety and comfort are stylish.

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