Wool is highly compressible, has a warmth to weight ratio comparable to down, stays warm when wet, is naturally thermo-regulating, manages moisture and odor control. With all this greatness, why hasn't wool been yet used as insulation? Both Ibex and Smartwool have decided to now give wool it's time in the sun, creating the perfect mid and even outer layers for cold weather adventures.
Smartwool's PhD SmartLoft Divide (pictured above) is a form fitting mid-layer jacket that uses the company's new proprietary SmartLoft Wool insulation for the core, stuffed inside a quilted nylon front panel with DWR finish. The jacket is lined with merino wool jersey knit, while the sides and back panel feature Merino Max double jersey knit fabric.
Jacket features include a secure zip pocket on the left chest with media cord routing, hand warmer pockets, and inside stash pocket. Thumbholes help add some extra coverage in cold weather. The PhD SmartLoft Divide will come in 4 different colorways and retail for $200.
Ibex helps maintain the loft integrity of their Wool Loft Insulation through the addition of 10% Ingeo (PLA), a cornstarch derivative that serves as a binding agent with the wool. The Ingeo helps support the wool loft, prevents migration of the fibers, and enables the garment to be washed easily.
Ibex Wool Loft Insulation will be featured throughout the Ibex Aire WI Series of garments, including the Aire WI Hoody ($325), Aire WI Sweater ($300), Aire WI Vest ($280), and Switch WI Shirt Jac ($495). The Ibex Aire WI Hoody is a lightweight, packable, fitted jacket with 70 g/m2 wool insulation in the hood and sleeves, with 100 g/m2 insulation in the core area.
The wool insulation is baffled inside the jacket shell made from 100% recycled ripstop nylon. Jacket features include hand warmer pockets, chest pocket, elastic cuffs, adjustable hood with cord lock, and an Interior mesh pocket that doubles as a stuff sack.
Expect to see many more wool insulated pieces hitting the shelves starting Fall 2012.