When you think of merino wool, you usually think of baselayers. For winter activities, wool can make a great outer layer as well. The Breakaway 2 Jacket is a softshell wool hybrid that offers the perfect combination of warmth, wind protection, and breathability for highly aerobic cold weather activities.
Until a couple of days ago, we have seen some pretty cold weather here in San Francisco, at least what Californians consider cold. Not one to remain indoors because of weather, I have been wearing the Ibex Breakaway 2 Jacket I was sent for all of my rides.
The front of the Breakaway 2 Jacket is made from a lightweight softshell type material called climawool, a unique 4-way stretch fabric made up of 74% nylon, 20% merino, and 8% elastane. A DWR finish ensures the jacket remains water repellent in light rain.
This climawool fabric is the answer to your prayers on those long, chilly winter descents. Instead of having to stop and put on a full windproof jacket, you can simply keep riding up and over the hill. While the front of the jacket does a great job at blocking the wind, the merino wool backside and underarms offer superior breathability and temperature management where you need it most.
Perhaps a strange thing to obsess about, but nevertheless important to my uncoordinated self, the collar features a bite panel to aid in unzipping the jacket with one hand. Even better, the jacket has enough structure, in addition to a smooth and heavy zipper, that you can actually unzip and zip the jacket one handed without any help.
A large zippered back pocket with reflective Ibex logo may not be the three standard cycling jersey pouches you are accustomed to, but will fit everything you need for your ride, including a pair of gloves for the downhills. You also have a zippered chest pocket with internal earbud access for electronics or quick access snacks.
The sizing is pretty standard- a medium fits me perfectly with a nice tailored look, while leaving enough room to fit a cycling jersey or baselayer underneath. As wool doesn't hold the stink, you can wear the Breakaway 2 Jacket for a few outings before needing to wash. When it comes time, simply throw the jacket in your washing machine with the rest of your clothes.
Bottom Line: The Ibex Breakaway 2 Jacket has become my go to outerwear piece for cold weather, high aerobic activities such as cycling. The softshell front blocks the wind, while the merino wool back and underarms help regulate body temperature.
The Breakaway 2 price is a bit steep at $275, but you will most likely wear this versatile jacket again and again for many seasons to come. The Breakaway 2 comes in both a men's and women's version, in a variety of different color combinations.