The Gear Junkie Scoop: Ibex Hooded Indie
Mate a hooded sweatshirt with a base-layer top and you'd get the Ibex Hooded Indie. This hard-to-categorize piece, which is new this fall, includes a long zipper on the chest, a tight-fitting hood, and sleeves equipped with thumb-hole cuffs.
It is made in the U.S. with a thin wool fabric. The cost is $92, but the Hooded Indie, which comes in a men's and a women's cut, is so cozy you might forget about the price. Pull on the loose-fitting top, zip it to your chin, and scoot the hood up over your head. Its wool–a fine New Zealand merino–ensconces the body in natural warmth.
Ibex Outdoor Clothing (ibexwear.com) is known for its collection of top-end wool apparel, from tights to sweaters to hats. I have long been a fan of the company's Woolies Zip T-Neck top, a $72 piece that has endured dozens of cold weather adventures.
The Hooded Indie fits looser than base layers like the T-Neck top. It is less form fitting than tops I typically wear next to my skin. As a strict performance piece–for running in cool weather or cross-country skiing–I would not pick the Hooded Indie first off my shelf.
But for most other activities, from winter hiking and cycling to simply working around the house on a cold day, the hood-equipped wool shirt is a winner.
Like other Ibex tops, it is breathable and comfortable through a range of temperatures. It can be worn alone on cool days–the thin wool is warm enough down to about 50 degrees, with no wind.
If you're too warm during activity, pull down the nine-inch chest zip for ventilation. Then, as you cool, stretch the sleeves over your hands and insert thumbs in the cuff holes. Your hands will stay toasty like this, half-obscured. Your head will be cozy in a thin wool hood, comfortable and cinched tight. This hybrid base layer top has you covered.
–Stephen Regenold writes about outdoors gear at www.gearjunkie.com.