Ibex OD Henley L/S: Rock star looks paired with rock solid design
Every once in awhile a layer comes along that's so good, so amazingly comfortable, so exceptionally fashionable that it's hard to beat. Ibex has reached this point several times in my mind. Okay, I know this is where many of you think... "Of course you're going to say this, you get this stuff for free to test and blog about." True, but I don't think in the year or so that I've been writing blogs about Ibex products have I ever worn one piece so much and thought so often... "this is my favorite shirt". That statement rings 100% completely true with the OD Henley L/S. This shirt has rock star looks and I've jammed air mandolin to many sweet bluegrass tunes while wearing this garment. As if that's not enough to make me want this shirt it's also solid for layering on the trail, on the rock and on the set. In fact, I've worn this shirt more while on set than I have out on the trail (I need to change that ratio of work to trail time...). So lets dig deeper into this piece and talk about the specifics that make the OD Henley the shirt to top all long sleeves. You get the same 18.5 micron merino wool that most Ibex products feature. I've always thought the feel of this wool is soft and not itchy which has drawn me to Ibex's shirts and the reason I won't wear any synthetics. This shirt has a thickness along the same lines of the Ibex staple, the Woolies 150, except it's a loose fitting shirt instead of a form fitting long sleeve. At 150g this shirt actually has almost identical material specs to the 150 with the exception of being about one ounce heavier. In terms of fit, I noticed the Henley ran a little on the spacious side for my liking. If you're a person who likes a more slender fitting shirt, consider sizing down. I wear a medium in most shirts and a small would have probably fit comfortably for me. You can also try washing the shirt in warm water and running in a dryer to shrink it a little... but I don't want to condone machine drying wool because it could damage the shirt (there's my disclaimer).
Another thing that really makes this shirt spectacular are the seams. Yes, the seams. I love the way the seams on this shirt fall on my arms. This is one of the strangest observations I've ever made about a garment, but it's noticeable in a good way. Ibex has two seams running down each sleeve from the back of the shirt. Continuing with my comparison to the Woolies 150, which has one seam, it feels natural when I shove my sleeves up and I don't feel like the shirt ever gets twisted and uncomfortable when I'm wearing it under several layers. It's funny because the two Ibex garments, I own, that I notice the sleeves and really admire them are this piece and my Hooded Indie (another Ibex staple) which also sports the two seam sleeves. Just the way the sleeves attach to the shirt make it super comfortable for lounging around camp at the end of a day of cold winter backpacking.
So here it is... a Wednesday afternoon and I'm sitting down writing this post. Thinking back over the previous week; I've worn this shirt three of the past seven days. It still smells pretty fresh considering the high intensity days I've put in this shirt. This week it wasn't out in the woods... it was on set for a reality TV show. Running a lot, in and out of vehicles, this shirt was my next-to-skin layer on cold days (17 degrees for the high last Wednesday). I'm already prepping for my next backpacking trip over the New Year's holiday and this shirt will be in the pack. I may do a combo hike in my Woolies 150 or 220 and throw this shirt on at camp or make this the only shirt that comes along. I will say, there's one huge difference between this shirt and the Woolies line. I'll wear this shirt out as a stand alone piece, I always layer my Woolies because I'm not into the skin tight look by itself. With the more loose fitting look and the quarter button design this shirt looks magazine ready with jeans or chino khaki's. The OD Henley is just classic, cool, laid back and timeless. There's really no other way to put it than just a chill shirt.