Hands-on Gear Review

Patagonia Re-Tool Snap-T Pullover - Women's Review

Patagonia Re-Tool Snap-T Pullover
Top Pick Award
Price:  $119 List | $119.00 at REI
Compare prices at 3 resellers
Pros:  Warm, comfortable fleece material, decent wind resistance.
Cons:  Not breathable enough for aerobic activities, shorter arm length.
Bottom line:  A classic fleece for wearing around camp or towm.
Editors' Rating:   
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Type:  Midweight
Main Fabric:  Polartec Thermal Pro 100% polyester fleece (51% recycled)
Unique Features:  Kangaroo-style handwarmer pocket
Manufacturer:   Patagonia

Our Verdict

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 preferred 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 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.


RELATED REVIEW: The Best Women's Fleece Jackets of 2018


Our Analysis and Test Results

Review by:
Cam McKenzie Ring

Last Updated:
Wednesday
August 9, 2017

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The Patagonia Re-Tool Snap-T Pullover is made with 9.3 oz Polartec Thermal Pro 100% polyester fleece (51% recycled). At the time of writing it was available in over 30 color combinations.

Performance Comparison


Taking a break along the trail and layering up in the Re-Tool. This pullover is a great layer for your daypack or other camping needs.
Taking a break along the trail and layering up in the Re-Tool. This pullover is a great layer for your daypack or other camping needs.

Warmth


The Patagonia 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 warm on cold days and nights.


The fleece is like a cross between your standard fleece and a hi-pile raschel (without the Muppet-look). The longer fibers 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.

The long fleece fibers are warm and fuzzy  and the doubled collar adds extra warmth on cold days.
The long fleece fibers are warm and fuzzy, and the doubled collar adds extra warmth on cold days.

Comfort


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 liked the soft fleece on the cuffs, which still felt comfortable even when we had the sleeves hiked up our arms. While the collar is cut a little high, it's still loose, and the front V opens enough so that it never feels constricting.

Breathability


We were surprised at how breathable the Re-Tool was. While it didn't quite compare to the highly breathable Outdoor Research Deviator Hoody, it was 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 felt pretty breathable to us relative to a heavier fleece like the Denali, because it is a midweight layer it's 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 that one could have stayed on all day. The Re-Tool is the layer to wear after the hike, and not during.

This fleece has thousands of micro holes to aid in breathability  though because it is so warm you might still find yourself getting sweaty when trying to hike in it.
This fleece has thousands of micro holes to aid in breathability, though because it is so warm you might still find yourself getting sweaty when trying to hike in it.

Layering Ability


The Patagonia Re-Tool Snap-T Pullover wasn't the hardest fleece in our review to layer with, but it wasn't the easiest either. It's roomy enough to fit over a baselayer 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 felt 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.

While this layer did bunch a bit under a hipbelt  the kangaroo pocket was still accessible above it  which was pretty nice on cool days.
While this layer did bunch a bit under a hipbelt, the kangaroo pocket was still accessible above it, which was pretty nice on cool days.

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 didn't have the same freedom in the shoulders as the R1 Hoody.

Wind Protection & Water Resistance


This fleece offered slightly more wind protection than some of the more "porous" layers in this review. The Polartec Thermal Pro used in the Re-Tool 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.


Style


We had to give this fleece top 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 was the length of the arms, which felt slightly short on our main tester, who does have long arms for her size (not the model picture below).

We loved the casual styling and "retro" look of this fleece. It's at home in the mountains and in town.
We loved the casual styling and "retro" look of this fleece. It's at home in the mountains and in town.

Best Applications


We loved 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.

Stacking wood? Toasting marshmallows? Taking in the summit view? Our Top Pick for Around Camp is great for all of these things.
Stacking wood? Toasting marshmallows? Taking in the summit view? Our Top Pick for Around Camp is great for all of these things.

Value


This pullover retails for $119, making it almost a bargain compared to some of the more technical fleeces in this review. It's a few 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.

Conclusion


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.

Other Versions


The Re-Tool is also available as a vest for $109.
Cam McKenzie Ring

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Most recent review: August 9, 2017
Summary of All Ratings

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