Hands-on Gear Review

REI Space Dye Zip-T Review

By: Amber King ⋅ Senior Review Editor  ⋅  Nov 15, 2016
Price:  $57 List
Pros:  Long length, cute design, great features, fantastic breathability, inexpensive
Cons:  Limited warmth, pilling along seams
Manufacturer:   REI
73
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Warmth - 25% 5
  • Breathability - 25% 8
  • Layering ability - 20% 9
  • Comfort and Fit - 15% 9
  • Drying Speed - 10% 7
  • Durability - 5% 3
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Our Verdict

The REI Space Dye Zip-T was one of the base layers that we continually reached for on a daily basis! Our testers loved its long torso and sleeve length, as well as its features, all of which made it a go-to for around-town wear and quick ski missions.. This synthetic top has the right amount of stretch and doesn't fit too tightly where it matters. That's right ladies - if you have big boobs, this top will most likely fit you! Like the Arc'teryx Rho LT Zip - Women's it has a zip collar, but it doesn't have the same level of warmth. If you're in the market for a very breathable wear alone piece, this is a great option. However, avoid it for abrasive or really cold activities as its warmth and durability is limited.

Discontinued - November 2016
The Space Dye Zip-T has been discontinued, but you can peruse our complete Women's Long Underwear Review for other options!


Our Analysis and Test Results

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The REI Space Dye Zip-T is an affordable and versatile midweight synthetic base layer that will have you looking fine and feeling comfortable whether you're walking your dog or skiing off a summit.

Performance Comparison


Lookin' good Sophia! She loved this top for its stretchy fabric which attributed to great comfort. Unzip the collar for quick and ample heat release. A perfect piece for skiing  wearing around town  hiking  and lots more!
Lookin' good Sophia! She loved this top for its stretchy fabric which attributed to great comfort. Unzip the collar for quick and ample heat release. A perfect piece for skiing, wearing around town, hiking, and lots more!

Warmth


Earning a five out of ten for warmth, this piece is really not meant for cold weather. Of all the tops tested, the REI Space Dye scored second lowest, next to the Under Armour Base 2.0 Crew - Women's. On a trip to Red Rock Canyon in Las Vegas, we did a head-to-head test with the Arc'teryx Rho LT and the REI Space Dye Zip on a windy multi-pitch climbing day. We found that every time a breeze came through, the tester wearing the REI Space Dye was shivering and in need of an extra layer, while the other tester was warm and content. Stand-alone top in cold weather? No thanks! When integrated it into a layering system, we found the fabric kept us warm enough with ample insulative layers, but our testers concluded that they would not wear this in the brunt of winter. Overall, it's a great friend for spring days, but leave it at home on frigid days and pull on a warmer layer like the Smartwool NTS 250 Crew instead.

Amber checks out the next pitch on a multi-pitch climb in Red Rocks Nevada. She shivered in this shirt whenever a brisk wind picked up  making it a great base layer  but a limited wear-alone top.
Amber checks out the next pitch on a multi-pitch climb in Red Rocks Nevada. She shivered in this shirt whenever a brisk wind picked up, making it a great base layer, but a limited wear-alone top.

Breathability


The REI Space Dye is a perfectly breathable layer does well on most spring or fall aerobic missions. It's also the perfect addition to your fair weather hiking, backcountry skiing, or cool weather running arsenal. If you're looking for a layer with better temperature regulation, check out the merino Icebreaker Oasis - Women's.

Layering Ability


We just loved how this layered! Throw a shirt under or over without a care. The smooth polyester blend face fabric is stretchy that won't bunch or twist. It doesn't ride up and earned one of the highest scores of all tops tested in this category. Layer on!

Pictured here  Sophia wears this product with a t-shirt underneath. This is a great layering piece that had her feeling good on our ski mission up Red Mountain Pass.
Pictured here, Sophia wears this product with a t-shirt underneath. This is a great layering piece that had her feeling good on our ski mission up Red Mountain Pass.

Comfort & Fit


Love is the first word that comes to mind when discussing the comfort of the REI Space Dye top. It has a stretchy polyester fabric that hugs your curves and is long enough to keep from riding up while playing in the cold. Additionally, it has a zip neck collar and bomber thumb loops, which adds to its versatility. With all these comfy, cozy features, we found ourselves reaching for it nearly every day. If you're looking for something that feels even better on the skin, check out the Smartwool NTS, our Top Pick for Comfort.

The Space Dye that Sophia sports has a great zip up collar and thumb loops for more versatility!
The Space Dye that Sophia sports has a great zip up collar and thumb loops for more versatility!

Drying Speed


Of our synthetics, this was the slowest to dry, but much faster than any of the merino wool contenders. We still think it would do a great job on the occasional river trip, but if water's really your thing, we'd recommend taking a gander at a faster drying synthetic like the Hot Chillys Micro-Elite Crew - Women's.

Durability


Losing points here, we were unimpressed with the durability of the Space Dye's face fabric and stitching. We didn't notice any shrinkage, but after three months of use there was ton of pilling, making this one of the least durable synthetics tested.

Notice the ample pilling only the arm seams. This top saw the most abrasion and use through our testing period.
Notice the ample pilling only the arm seams. This top saw the most abrasion and use through our testing period.

Best Applications


This is a great all-around layer that we found to be useful in a range of endeavors. Use it as a stand-alone piece while you are camping, hiking, or hanging out near a fall fire. Or choose it as a base layer for warmer days at the ski resort.

Value


For a price of only $57.00, the Space Dye is at the lower end of the pricing scale. However we think the value is questionable with its lack of temperature regulation and durability. Instead, take a look at our high scoring Best Buy Award winner, the Patagonia Capilene 3 Crew for only $55.

Everybody loves a perfect rainbow! Especially when it's right out your front door! For the low affordable price of $55.00  you are buying a piece that can be integrated into everyday wear.
Everybody loves a perfect rainbow! Especially when it's right out your front door! For the low affordable price of $55.00, you are buying a piece that can be integrated into everyday wear.

Conclusion


A midweight synthetic zip-neck base layer, the REI Space Dye looks great on its own and can be integrated into everyday wear. For a price of $57.00 you can buy a better scoring synthetic, but if you are in the market for a long and versatile long underwear top with a zip-neck collar, this might be a good choice for you.

Amber sports the REI midweight Space Dye while sewing up her first trad lead of the season in Red Rocks  Nevada.
Amber sports the REI midweight Space Dye while sewing up her first trad lead of the season in Red Rocks, Nevada.

Amber King

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Most recent review: November 15, 2016
Summary of All Ratings

OutdoorGearLab Editors' Rating:  
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
 (3.0)
Average Customer Rating:  
 (0.0)
Rating Distribution
1 Total Ratings
5 star: 0%  (0)
4 star: 0%  (0)
3 star: 100%  (1)
2 star: 0%  (0)
1 star: 0%  (0)


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