Oct 10, 2005 at 3:46 pm #1216900
I’m looking to get my first couple pieces of micro-wool apparel. Short-sleeve and long-sleeve shirts. I am having trouble finding retailers to purchase them. Can anyone provide some recommendations? Thanks!Oct 10, 2005 at 4:15 pm #1342663
I’ve had good success buying directly from IBEX at their website (www.ibex.com) or 800 number.
Bascially, they (IBEX, Smartwool and Icebreaker) all use the same quality Merino wool (with some differences, however, in a few instances).
I own each brand and like them all. But, I try to purchase from IBEX because many of their products are made in the US (from New Zealand wool), whereas Smartwool’s aren’t made here. And no, that is NOT bashing foregin countries or foreign labor. It is just that I have concluded it is important to support US-based manufacturers, or one day we won’t have any—-and that’s a fact folks.
And, no I don’t work for IBEX.Oct 10, 2005 at 4:25 pm #1342664
Roger BBPL Member
I would try Prolite gear as a start as it is important to support those companies who are prepared to take a risk importing non local products.Oct 10, 2005 at 4:31 pm #1342665
My Ibex Icefall softshell was made in China
My Ibex Alpstar softshell pants were made in China
My Ibex Tern zip S/S baselayer shirt was made in Fiji
My Ibex Woolies S/S baselayer shirt was made in Fiji
My Ibex Pacifica L/S zip baselayer was made in… wow, the USA.
and these are the facts
If you are interested in supporting US made products ( and that’s a whole different kettle of dubious fish), your best bet is to buy from small cottage industries–because that’s about the only consistant source of US made backpacking/mtneering related goods.Oct 10, 2005 at 6:46 pm #1342667
@ccorbridgeLocale: Southern Oregon
I don’t know about the country of manufacture but this is where I bought my last icebreakers.
It was the best price I could find on the net.Oct 10, 2005 at 6:46 pm #1342668
For smartwool try http://www.sockcompany.com. They carry a lot of smartwool products.Oct 10, 2005 at 7:09 pm #1342670
I, too, recommend Prolite Gear—great folk, great service. Pretty good selection of Icebreaker duds.
No one stateside carries anything like their whole line— too bad, their superfine 190 is probably the best all around baselayer weight around, and this line is least represented here.Oct 10, 2005 at 7:38 pm #1342673
I just thought I might mention a handy tool for finding the best prices on gear. FROOGLE is run by google and gives a comprehensive search of all websites selling products and organises them by price. I’ve found good prices on a lot of gear and all without hours of browsing.Oct 10, 2005 at 8:58 pm #1342677
Kevin, I didn’t say “all” I said “many.” But, all of my IBEX clothes are made in the US. A quick random scan of their products on their website shows many are US made, but not all.
As for Icebreaker, yes they make good stuff and use quality Merino. I’ve been using their wool since the mid-90’s when I went to NZ frequently on business. I’ve met the founder several times and talked with him extensively about wool, the US market, etc. He’s been quite a success story there—-from startup to booming business. During the ’90s, I spent quite a bit of time working on wool-related issues, including working with WRONZ (the Wool Research Organization of NZ), a top-flight reserach and development operation for the wool industry in New Zealand. Although wool was popular elsewhere in the world, it was only then making inroads into the US outdoor market. This was because of the recogniation that Merino was the way to get around the “itch” factor that turned everyone off (at least in the US anyway). As regards the US market, Smartwool was a pioneer and deserves credit for getting wool back into mainstream use.
Smartwool’s socks used to all be made in the US (not long ago). I don’t believe they are now. In fact, I don’t think any of their wool products are made in the US (I may be wrong on that).
For those of you who don’t think it matters that we’re seeing a continuous loss of manufacturing capability and expertise, do you really think there is a happy ending to that trajectory? If so, what does it look like? Will we really be better off that we’ve given up the knowledge and innovation that comes from making things? Will we really be better off that we’re allowing the rest of the world to make everything for us? Not likely.Oct 10, 2005 at 11:10 pm #1342679
Where a particular Ibex garment is made seems to change from year to year–If you peruse their website and are familiar with past points of origin.
Once upon a time many more Ibex items were made in the USA. The bottom line will always win out.
I buy Ibex clothing not because it is made in the States, but because it is generally well designed
and made,regardless of origin. The woven Merino Wool cloth,of course, is manufactured in New Zealand. The garments are cut and assembled,well, in many places it seems.
As for the future of US manufacture— it’s already too late. We’s a post- manufacturing economy, now. For better and for worse.Oct 11, 2005 at 6:15 am #1342685
As regards US manufacturing, it is not too late. We can (and in some areas are) begin to alter the otherwise bleak trajectory. But, we’ll never get there if we aren’t all more mindful of supporting US manufacturers who are trying. (And no, I’m not suggesting that anyone buy poor quality—I’m suggesting that guality must be tops).Oct 11, 2005 at 3:16 pm #1342702
@pyeyoLocale: pacific northwest
I’ve had good luck buying ibex direct from their website,smartwool and icebreaker from mountain gear,both patagonia and rei have their own housebrands of wool,and there are quite a few bike jerseys in performance wool that can be had for a steal if you don’t mind back pockets.Another source for performance wool is irule.co.nz,their stuff is targeted for endurance athletes but is really nicely thought out,they also use a fabric mix of merino and brush tail possum which is 50% warmer then just merino wool.Oct 11, 2005 at 3:55 pm #1342704
i got my ibex woolie at a site called, steep planet. it was the best price i could find at the time. half the price of superfine 190 (icebreaker) which is what i would get if funds were unlimited.Oct 15, 2005 at 7:49 am #1342949
You can buy Smartwool products directly from them. Check out their website. They have sizes(XXL) that are difficult to find otherwise, and the full range of products in one place.
TomOct 31, 2005 at 10:34 pm #1344100
If you’re in San Francisco, Sports Basement has great prices on Ibex woollies zip t’s, rib bottoms and long johns. They also have a pretty wide variety of Ibex wool outerwear.
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