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I just thought I'd do a litle 'extremely satisfied customer' PR work for a small American (yes, it seems that they actually do make their jackets in the USA) company that I recently found out about.

I was in the market for a softshell jacket, since I tend to work up a lot of steam when I ski, and I've never been happy with my clammy moist Goretex unless its really raining hard. I checked out various materials, including Polartec Powershield, various Gore blends, and a variety of Schoeller materials. I looked at the Arc'Terys Gamma line, Cloudveil Serendipity, Mountain Hardwear Alchemy, Marmot ATV, MEC Ferrata, Salomon STL-551, Taiga's line and a few others.

However, the one that impressed me most was the Ibex Neve jacket ( for a combination of breathability, comfort, windproofing, water resistance, fit and style. The Ibex Neve jacket uses a variant of Schoeller Dryskin Extreme, with the same Cordura enhanced outer layer that the Cloudveil Serendipity uses. But on the inside, instead of a polyester nap, they use a fine Merino wool nap. The Merino wool makes the jacket very soft and comfortable, and also makes sure that it doesn't stink after use (the way polyester fleece does).

The Neve also has pit zips, so it vents better than any of the others. And even though it has cinch cords at the neck, waist and hem, it doesn't look as 'technical' as most of the others and can be worn fashionably around town. (The Salomon doesn't look 'technical' either, but uses a much heavier fabric and wouldn't breath very well in comparison to the Neve, so I don't think its nearly as versatile.)

Ibex also makes a simpler jacket called the Icefall, which uses a wool nap Schoeller blend comparable to Schoeller Dryskin. It doesn't have the pit zips, or the neck or waist drawcords, but looks a little more stylish for the street.

If anyone is in the market for a really nice softshell, check out the Ibex products at

PS - Check out for some interesting fabric breathability test results done at the US Army materials research lab.