The Patagonia Re-Tool Snap-T Pullover is a great "re"-imagining of Patagonia's Synchilla fleece offering. It comes with the classic contrasting seaming, snap collar and chest pocket, but with an updated and more breathable fleece material. While not the best layer for heavy duty aerobic activities (we prefer the Patagonia R1 Hoody for that), it is a great layer to throw in your backpack for the summit or chilly nights. It weighs only about a pound, and while it doesn't pack up too small, it's warm enough and windproof enough to be a great summit and evening layer. As such, we've given it our Top Pick for Around Camp award.
Patagonia Re-Tool Snap-T Pullover - Women's Review
Compare prices at 3 resellers Pros: Warm, comfortable fleece material, decent wind resistance
Cons: Not breathable enough for aerobic activities, shorter arm length
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Our Analysis and Test Results
The Patagonia Re-Tool Snap-T Pullover is made with 9.3 oz Polartec Thermal Pro 100% polyester fleece (51% recycled). It's usually available in at least eight or ten different color combinations.
The Re-Tool Snap-T Pullover is a warm fleece that scored near the top of the pack in this category. While not quite as warm as The North Face Denali Jacket, it still helped keep us toasty on cold days and nights.
The Re-Tool fleece is a cross between your standard fleece and a hi-pile raschel, like The North Face Osito 2, which has a distinct Muppet-like look. The longer fibers on the Re-Tool help retain warmth, and there is a double layer of material around the neck for extra protection. The fleece on the Re-Tool is thicker than the fleece that comes in the body of the Patagonia R2 Jacket, making it warmer than that model. This pullover is a few ounces heavier than some of the more technical fleeces that we reviewed, but you end up with a lot more warmth as a result.
This pullover is very comfortable and was one of our favorite layers to put on after the outdoor fun.
The fleece is soft and fuzzy against your skin, and the looser cut makes it feel more like your favorite sweatshirt than a technical outdoor model. We like the soft fleece on the cuffs, which still feels comfortable even when we have the sleeves hiked up our arms. While the collar is cut a little high, the front V opens enough so that it never feels constricting.
We are surprised by how breathable the Re-Tool is. While it doesn't quite compare to the highly breathable Outdoor Research Deviator Hoody, it is lightyears more breathable than the Denali. The fleece material is part of the Regulator series (Patagonia's technical fleece line) but has been adopted into this more "lifestyle" fleece. As such, you get a lot of performance out of this casual piece.
Although it feels pretty breathable to us relative to a heavier fleece like the Denali, it's still not the best option for aerobic activities. We went on a hike on a cool day in this pullover, and found ourselves heating up a bit, taking it off, then getting cold, then putting it back on, etc. By the end of the day, we wished we'd had our OR Deviator or R1 Hoody with us instead, as those could have stayed on all day. The Re-Tool is the layer to wear after the hike, and not during.
The Re-Tool Snap-T Pullover isn't the hardest fleece in our review to layer with, but it isn't the easiest either. It's roomy enough to fit over a base layer or two with no problem, and it can fit under a rain jacket or other outer layer as long as it's not cut too closely.
This pullover had a slightly boxy cut to it, and it might feel bulky under a closely tailored jacket. If you are looking for something to layer under a winter jacket, check out The North Face Osito 2 instead, as it has a more tapered silhouette. The Re-Tool also feels a little bulky under a backpack waistbelt, though not nearly as bad as the Denali. The bonus though? The kangaroo pouch is accessible with a waistbelt on, giving you a place to keep your hands warm while hiking on a cold day.
Ease of Movement
As you can see in the chart below, this fleece received an average score for ease of movement, but because so many of the technical fleeces in this review performed well in this category, that left it near the bottom of the pack.
The loser cut was never constricting, but the whole garment shifts when say, lifting your arms above your head. It's not nearly as bulky or constricting as the Denali or REI Co-op Fleece jackets, but it doesn't have the same freedom in the shoulders as the Rab Nucleus Hoody.
This fleece offers slightly more protection than some of the "porous" layers in this review. The Polartec Thermal Pro has a gridded design with thousands of micro holes in it, so you do feel some wind, but the longer "hairs" on the fleece tend to cover the holes and block the wind a bit. While the thick pile offers slightly more water resistance than the Marmot Flashpoint, that's still not saying much considering that it's a fleece sweater with many tiny holes in it. The "hardface" technology Arc'teryx Fortrez Hoody is your best option if you want a fleece that can also repel a light rain.
We had to give this fleece high marks for style! It has the classic, retro look of a 1980's fleece from Patagonia, with a slightly less boxy cut than previous years. And while a lot of the models in this review scream "I was just outside hiking," the Re-Tool has a casual styling that would be as appropriate around town as around a campfire.
The kangaroo pocket lies very flat against the tummy, so it doesn't look like you have something living in there. Our only disappointment is the length of the arms, which feel slightly short. If you are looking for something that acts like a fleece but doesn't fell too "techy," check out the Arc'teryx Covert Cardigan, which looks more like a wool jacket.
We love wearing this fleece as a casual piece around town or camp and have given it a Top Pick award for that application. It's a great summit layer for your daypack, or for walking the dog on chilly mornings.
This pullover retails for $119, making it almost a bargain compared to some of the more technical fleeces in this review. It's twenty dollars more than our Best Buy award winner, the Marmot Flashpoint, but you might get more use out of it thanks to the casual styling and comfortable fleece.
The Patagonia Re-Tool Snap-T Pullover is a cozy and warm casual fleece that will instantly become your favorite layer. Our Top Pick for Around Camp is the perfect layer for cold nights and chilly summits, and it comes in dozens of color combinations for all tastes.
The Re-Tool is also available as a vest for $109.
— Cam McKenzie Ring