Both the Icefall and Glacier use Ibex’ Climawool™ Lite, which is similar to Schoeller Dynamic. It has a woven shell of Nylon and Lycra but has a napped merino wool lining. Climawool™ Lite is an upgrade to Schoeller’s Skifans fabric (Ibex had Schoeller modify Skifans to be more resistant to pilling). We found this fabric to be a good blend of warmth, breathability, and wind and water resistance. The napped merino wool lining increases the warmth, moisture management and comfort range of the fabric over standard Dynamic fabrics.
The Ibex Icefall Jacket is a simple stretchwoven, full zip softshell. It has two mesh lined hand warmer pockets, and a one-hand-operated waist drawcord. The only two “extras” are a nice napoleon pocket and a soft merino wool lining (a side benefit of this is a soft collar). In typical stretchwoven style, the jacket has a fairly trim fit but we found it to be a little roomier than competing all-synthetic garments from Cloudveil and Arc’Teryx. The sleeves are generously long and you have full range of motions without restriction or the waist lifting. The jacket has room for a couple of base layers or even a light insulating layer. We’ve used the Icefall jacket extensively for ice climbing, skiing, snow shoeing, and all other manner of cold weather aerobic pursuits. The jacket weighs about 16.5 ounces.
The Icefall jacket’s wool lining separates it from the rest of the stretchwoven crowd. At only 1.5 ounces lighter than Cloudveil’s Serendipity (the gold standard of softshell jackets), the Icefall is less wind and water resistant, but has a wider comfort range across the temperature spectrum than the Serendipity. It is similar in weight to Cloudveil’s Veiled Peak jacket, but we felt the Icefall offered more performance and comfort with the addition of wool.
One key benefit of the Icefall: after several continuous days of skiing, climbing, and sweating in it and not washing it, it resisted odor very well, when we couldn’t wait to get home to throw our all-synthetic stretchwovens in the wash under similar conditions.
The Glacier Vest loses the arms to come in at under 9 ounces. At twice the weight of a thin wind vest and a few ounces heavier than a 100-weight fleece vest, we were eyeing it with scrutiny in order to discover a potential market niche. Its Climawool™ Lite fabric it is warmer, more abrasion resistant, and more water resistant than thin nylon wovens found on other wind vests. The fabric is more wind-resistant than 100-weight fleece but not quite as warm when worn under a shell. The Glacier is more breathable and more suited for aerobic activity than either a thin wind vest or a fleece vest. Its smooth surface allows it to layer under other garments more effectively than fleece. Vest features include two hand warmer pockets, two large internal storage pockets, and a draw cord waist.
During months of testing, we discovered that the Glacier offers a niche that is not quite filled by any other garments on the market. We wore it in windy summer-and-fall alpine hiking conditions, where temperatures were cool enough to require something over our base layers, and windy enough that we wanted some wind protection. The arm freedom of the vest design provided both insulation and wind resistance without sacrificing breathability or freedom of movement. For these conditions, a stretchwoven vest is a winner.
We do wish that the Glacier included a small Napoleon pocket to stash a packet of Gu or two.