Vollebak Ice Age Fleece: Fact or Fiction?
Welcome all to another Friday blurb!
In today’s post, I will cover my experience and opinion on Vollebak, the somewhat underground and very innovative company from London who according to their site “use science and technology to create clothing that no-one else can or will – clothes from the future.”
(Vollebak Garbage Watch. Photo property of Vollebak)
Our first date.
I have known about Vollebak since 2018 and have casually scouted their site for gear and whatnot.
Back then, the first thing that hit me was the crazy MSRP for the “Indestructible Puffer Jacket”. I mean, how much more special could it be than any other $300-$400 puffer?
Shortly after (3.35 seconds), I closed my browser and “disqualified” myself as a customer. Or so I though.
Fast forward 3 years and an avalanche of product design and entrepreneurship lessons, Vollebak once again called my name.
By now, $500 price tags on crap gear weren’t that rare and my perspective had totally changed; it went from “this is dumb” in 2018 to “HOLY SHIT” in 2021.
I decided to get my foot (yeah, just one) wet and go in softly, so I ordered the “Relaxation Hoodie”. $299 wasn’t bad if it would increase my quality of life, and it did. Worked and still does.
Confidence built on this experiment, I decided to pick whatever I wanted. I read each of their descriptions, specs and back-story in order to understand what was what, what it wasn’t and what use cases I could give it.
It didn’t take long to decide that my next “damn I feel good” piece was going to be the Ice Age Fleece.
It was sold out on their website, but reached out to CS. To my surprise, they had a L in Gray-Black, and a gentleman named Alex quickly helped me get a cart set up.
In the process of checking out and chatting, Alex was quite interested about the fit I desired, and we decided the XL was the best choice as I wanted a comfortable, roomier fit.
Alex advised that a new batch was being produced, and they would likely launch in the late fall. I was excited.
Imagine waiting for months for the launch of a limited piece of tech wear, building up that anticipation by researching the technology and manufacturing process, and all the wonders in between. It sucked, but I was willing to continue playing.
One glorious morning in September I receive an email that read, Re: Ice Age Fleece.
Long story short, Alex remembered I’d been waiting, reached out so I could select color/size of choice prior to launch and advised there was a new iteration in Navy Blue. I’d be damned if I wasn’t going with that.
Less than 48hrs later, the UNFOLDED, fully sustainable package from Vollebak was at my door. Too bad it was 80F outside, but I still went through the garment for about an hour in a mix of excitement, wonder and sensory overload. Joyful.
This is some Star Wars sh*t. Part Wookie/Jawa outside, part Mandalorian inside and badass all-around.
Here’s the truth: I really wanted to post this before the launch of their Ice Age Fleece, but it would have made no justice to this garment. The more I wear it, the more my child-like amazement increases.
One week of wear later (approximately 30 hours. 2hs in the am, 3hs in the late evening. House set at 65F, outside temps 44-65) this has become my, ummm, emotional support garment?
At first glance my inner gods opposed the synthetic liner and the wool outer combination, and my brain tried to find every reason to dislike it. That’s exactly how I knew this was what I wanted: SOMETHING I’M NOT USED TO AND HAVE NOT SEEN BEFORE.
My discomfort was the first sign of being in the presence of the future. The things we first oppose, later accept, and ultimately love.
Once I crossed this barrier, I began founding use cases for the IAF. I own a TAD Shagmaster, but rarely (if ever) wear it due to its heat-retention properties and looking like an abandoned bear-human experiment.
(For reference: Shag size L. I'm 5'10", 200lbs and size 44 chest / 34 waist)
I threw the IAF on over a t-shirt and sat on the couch for a coffee break. I put my hands in the pockets and unintentionally passed out. Talk about bonding.
I’ve been wearing the fleece in the house ever since and saying it “works as stated” is a heavy understatement. To give you an idea, it’s 11:41am and I’ve been rocking this thing since 5am.
(Ice Age Fleeze size XL)
Pay to play.
This is a fine garment. When I say fine, I mean (for lack of a more worldly comparison) Gucci-attention-to-detail fine, but better. Its craftsmanship is immaculate, and the qc on point. The $495 MSRP pales in comparison to not just the gear you get, but the overall customer journey and outstanding support as well.
In my opinion, this “fleece” (perhaps a new name for a new thing?) is the embodiment of the fusion between past and future, and a symbol of hope that we are not done evolving, daring, and exploring.
Will I keep this? Yes. Would I recommend or buy it again? Absolutely. In my journey to achieve MED (minimum effective dose, or, non-obsessive minimalism), the Ice Age Fleece is a major value adder to my lineup and a must have in any true gear aficionado collection.
Thanks all for stopping by and hope you all have a great weekend!