The world loves merino, and Ibex lives and breathes it. They’ve been putting out high-quality merino layers since 1997 (with some hiccups around 2018 when the shutters closed, then reopened again… a story for another day). And the Ibex Indie Hoodie? It’s been around for years too. It doesn’t need to be new to be effective, relevant, and desirable. That’s one of the things I like about it most: it’s simple and time-tested.
Ibex Indie Hoodie Features:
- No Tags for Maximum Comfort
- Raglan Seams for Optimal Movement
- Minimalist Zipper Placket for Extra Breathability
- Thumb Holes for Layering
- Slim-fit Hood That Stays Up During Activity
- MSRP: $170
A Gift From the Sheep
The Ibex Indie Hoodie is a general-purpose layer. Ibex refers to it as a “performance hoodie for everyday and high mountain adventures”, and to meet that wide focal range of purpose, a near-perfect material is needed. It should come as no surprise then, that the Indie uses a very thin merino wool for its fabric. It’s highly breathable, and it stretches well. I was particularly happy with its stretchiness, since I ordered a size smaller than I ordinarily do.
Because the fabric is so thin, the Indie works best as a stand-alone layer when it’s cool out. In my testing, I found that it was best suited for temperatures in the 40-55 degree range for high-output activity and the 55-65 degree range for more moderate-output activities. For warmer temps, I found myself reaching for alternative base layers with less of an insulative property. The merino is fantastic, but it really shines in the cooler temperatures.
Now, while the Indie does have a preferred temperature range, I’m not sure it has preferred weather otherwise. I tested it on rainy runs, muddy mountain bike rides, sunny climbing days, and plenty in between, and the Indie took everything that was thrown at it. While it certainly saturated quickly in the rain, mud, and sweat, I didn’t notice the sagging or loss of shape that other layers sometimes suffer. It stayed put and kept doing its job. Beyond that, it didn’t chafe me while wet and kept me warm all the same. Rain or sun, the Indie did well for me.
And regardless of the outing, I made it a point to not wash it until the second or third wear, just to test out its odor resistance. I know. The things we’ll do for science. But let me tell you, it never got stinky. If I were to head out on a cool-weather multi-day backpacking trip, I know exactly which base layer I’d bring. It’s not a question. It’s easily the most odor-resistant piece of clothing I own.
What else is there to say about the Indie Hoodie? Well, the hood fits nicely. I didn’t find myself using it too often, but it works decently. The thumb holes didn’t work for me though. They were a bit small for my meaty digits and couldn’t be worn comfortably. Everything else about the Indie was comfortable though. Good material, raglan sleeves, and flat stitching all play a role in that equation.
And the Indie was comfortable across activities. It felt appropriate for runs on colder days, and the zipper helped regulate temperature when I was really pushing. It was a good partner for many a muddy mountain bike ride. Even climbing in the Indie felt right, though I will say that it didn’t do too well for chimney climbing. After a handful of laps up the local chimney route, I noticed a new fuzziness developing on the sleeves and back, and I stopped that test short. Still, what do-it-all garment thrives when heavily abraded against sandstone over and over again? I’m yet to find one.
Ultimately, the name of the game with the Ibex Indie Hoodie is cross-functionality. Combine that with the fact that it’s designed thoughtfully and uses quality materials, and you have a layer that should last quite a long time (as long as you don’t climb chimneys in it) and serve a variety of purposes. Not to get brand-preachy here, but Ibex’s motto is “Buy Less. Buy Better.”, and I think the Indie fits those values to a T. I’m all set for this kind of layer. I’ll be thrashing it for years, and I don’t need another.
Fit and Wash: I’m 5’11” and a lean 165 lbs, and I tested a Medium. Ordinarily, I wear size Large base layers, but the Ibex model was 6’1” and wearing a Medium well, so I opted for a size lower than I usually do. The fit was on the tighter end, but still comfortable. For wash, I subjected the Indie to a whole lot of mud, and it always came out in a standard cold-water wash cycle. After quite a few washes at this point, there’s still no pilling or weirdness in the fabric.
- Thin merino is breathable, stretchy, and comfortable
- Quarter zip helps with temperature regulation
- Handles rain and mud surprisingly well
- Odor resistance like nothing else I own
- Versatile across activities
- Quality materials + good construction = longevity
- Thumb holes are a tad small
- Too insulative for warmer weather
- More expensive than other merino layers out there
The Bottom Line: Ibex Indie Hoodie
The Indie is a keeper. Its comfort, breathability, stretchiness, and odor resistance make it a great companion for today, while its quality materials and construction make it a reliable partner for years to come. No, it’s not new on the gear scene, but it’s a tried and true classic, and it hasn’t changed because it doesn’t need to. For a cool weather base layer or standalone, you can’t get much better.
Buy Now: Available at Ibex