As one tester puts it, the Trew Lightweight Merino ¼ zip has it all— a ”zipper, longer torso, nice weight/insulation ratio, long sleeves, good styling.” Trew specializes in baselayers for snowboarders and is such a newcomer that our testers hadn’t heard of them before, but their NuYarn fabric caught our attention.
NuYarn is a two-ply yarn that takes merino wool and draws it around a thin core of nylon. The result is a garment with fibers that are straight—not spiral—creating a zero-twist yarn unlike that found in traditional merino. Our testers thought NuYarn was more comfortable, lighter, stretchier, and softer against skin than many of the other fabrics tested. One tester admitted she refused to take it off even after she was done snowshoeing for the day: “It’d be the perfect layer to ski up to a backcountry hut, then take off your shells and use them as pajamas. It’s that comfy!”
Designed with multiple stretch panels, it has a fitted look made to wick sweat off your skin; testers noted it dried so quickly there was barely any trapped moisture during trail runs. Areas where a lot of heat is generated, such as armpits, are constructed with mesh for heat release, so testers didn’t overheat during activity yet still kept warm during break time.
This was also the longest shirt we tested, keeping our backs and bellies warm, and good elastic around the bottom hem prevented awkward ride-up. We also like the retro colors and distinctive orange zipper on this top, but if those colors aren’t your jam, it’s available in plain ol’ black, too.
Despite the relatively young age of the company, Gear Junkie names the Trew a best base layer for skiing. Powder Magazine calls it a “base layer you won’t want to take off” and notes the hooded version is “not too tight, nor too baggy, but just right.” Incidentally, they wished they had opted for the hoodless version, like we did.
Notes on fit: Sizes tend to run big—women who normally wear medium were able to fit in a small. But for those who found their size, this flattering and functional top was a clear winner. Trew has a free return policy, making it easy to try on a few sizes and return any that don’t fit.
Flaws but not dealbreakers: The Trew features thumb loops instead of thumb holes, which aren’t quite as good at keeping your wrist and lower hand warm.