TREW Vaporizer Pullover
Function: Thermal Insulating Layer
Size Tested: Extra Small
Reviewer: 5’3”, 120 lbs.
Material: Polartec Power Dry High Efficiency Fleece
Manufacturer’s Stated Weight: 12 oz, 340.2 grams
Blister’s Measured Weight of size Extra Small: 10.60 oz, 300.5 grams
Days Tested: 50+
Locations Tested: Alta Ski Resort, Snowbird Ski Resort, Wasatch Backcountry, Park City, Utah
TREW Gear, based out of Hood River, Oregon, produces rider-inspired clothing and technical outerwear. The Vaporizer pullover is TREW’s mid-layer thermal piece for women, or as they dub it, a “precision heating element.” With clean lines, unique styling, and a high warmth-to-weight ratio, it is intended for aerobic endeavors in chilly temps.
Fit & Sizing
I am a true size Small in most brands like The North Face, Patagonia and Norrona, so naturally I ordered a Small in the Vaporizer, but it was much too baggy for my taste; in particular, the sleeves were ridiculously long. In working through the exchange process with TREW, I experienced great customer service and had a size Extra Small sitting on my porch 2 days later. I shipped the size Small back to Oregon free of charge with an included UPS shipping label.
The Extra Small offered a much better fit, but for me the sleeves on this garment still seem too long. I measured the sleeve to be 24.5 inches (62.2 cm) from the edge of the sleeve to the armpit, measuring along the bottom seam. I have an 18 inch sleeve measurement (45.7cm from shoulder to wrist) and these sleeves are about 1.75 inches too long. I have to bunch the sleeves up a bit in order to properly insert my thumb in the thumb hole, and usually just fold them back to avoid irritation altogether. The thumb holes are comfortable and properly positioned, but the length of the sleeves makes them a little awkward for me to use. Ladies with long arms rejoice – this is the thermal layer you have been searching for. Ladies of average wingspans will probably find the sleeves too lengthy, unless you’re specifically looking for a baggier, freeride fit.
Notable Design Elements
I like TREW’s unique design with the snaps on the collar of the Vaporizer. I find this feature to be flattering, comfortable, and functional as it makes it easy to give yourself a little air flow if you’re feeling hot around the collar. The raglan sleeve pattern gives the piece clean lines too, and the seams lie flat. (A raglan sleeve is distinguished by extending the sleeve fabric to the collar, leaving a diagonal seam). And in general, I often received compliments about the Vaporizer pullover when hitting the après scene at the Peruvian Bar at Alta.
One thing that bothered me a bit was the bulkiness of the stow pocket on the right hand hip. I thought it added quite a bit of bulk to the pullover and left me with an odd silhouette. I didn’t like the pocket, but perhaps I am being overly sensitive, as I asked several female friends for their opinions and none found it as bothersome as I did.
I would compare the thickness and texture of the Vaporizer’s Polartec fleece to that of the Patagonia R1 fleece. The inside of the Polartec material has a waffle-like texture, which allows the garment to insulate while also providing channels for ventilation/breathability. I’ve used this piece while skiing in resort, backcountry touring, running and speed walking (when I got sick of running; I really hate running), and it’s performance throughout indicated the channels do effectively permit moisture to escape. The outside of the material has a smooth hand to it, and is also comfortable to the touch, though the inner “waffling” has a softer, fleecier texture.
When running on a sunny, 35 degree Fahrenheit day, I did not ever feel moist or damp in the Vaporizer. I found it comfortable and totally suitable for aerobic activity. It breathes much better than my standard 100 weight Cloudveil Fleece or my Norrona Trollveggen 2 fleece jacket. The fitted cut also makes it ideal for aerobic use or layering underneath a shell. The hood lies fairly flat, and it did not bother me when I layered the Vaporizer underneath my insulated ski shell on colder days (when the temps dipped below 20 degrees). Again, I never felt clammy or uncomfortable using this layer for skiing, as it breathes so well.
There is a bit of elastic around the Vaporizer’s hem, preventing it from riding up when skiing or running. I believe running is the ultimate test to determine if outerwear has a tendency to stay put, and the Vaporizer behaved nicely during my runs along the Swaner Nature Preserve in Park City, Utah.
The hood on the Vaporizer fit a little loosely for my taste. I was hoping for a form-fitting scuba style hood, but this one is roomier. The hood draped over my eyes while running, which wasn’t ideal. Granted, I do have a very small head, but this hood is large enough that I wasn’t be able to sport it underneath my helmet either, as TREW advertises. Perhaps other gals may not experience these issues with the hood of the Vaporizer, as my head is particularly small, but I would still call the hood loose-fitting rather than scuba style.
I have zero issues to report in terms of wear and tear after over 50 days of use. Polartec Power Dry High Efficiency fleece is a high quality material and TREW’s construction is top-notch; the garmet’s seams are tight and I haven’t detected any flaws in craftsmanship. (Polartec’s fleece is milled in Massachusetts and the Vaporizer is cut and sewn in Oregon.)
In my opinion, with a few minor tweaks to its sleeve length and perhaps a relocation or change in the thickness of the hip pocket, the TREW Vaporizer pullover would be perfect. Those issues aside, I like the colorways and styling of the Vaporizer more than the Patagonia R1, and its performance is better than competing products from Cloudveil and Norrona. So if you’re looking for a quality mid-layer with an edgier style and a slightly larger, more freeride-inspired fit than a traditional thermal layer, the Vaporizer pullover ought to be on your short list.