Enlightened Equipment Torrid Pullover Review 2021
Finally, a synthetic Pullover Jacket that’s warm enough, light enough & compact enough!
New — Available April 27, 2021
As you know we are huge down fans here at Adventure Alan. But we’re pleased to say that we’ve found a light synthetic puff jacket, the Enlightened Equipment Torrid Pullover, that comes close to down for warmth & compressibility but adds a margin of wet weather protection not offered by down. It will be going on a lot more future trips with us.
The Enlightened Equipment Torrid APEX Pullover is an ultralight, synthetic insulated jacket from Minnesota-based company Enlightened Equipment. While it’s true that we normally love down insulation, in this case, the Torrid Pullover is absolutely comparable, and this lofty synthetic insulation has some serious benefits over down. On top of the lightweight warmth, this jacket is also very reasonably priced, coming in at $175, which is less than or equal to most comparable down jackets on the market. And in our opinion besting the Patagonia Micro Puff Hoody Insulated Jacket for weight, cost, and edging it out on warmth.
Note: for reasons that we discuss in more detail below we slightly prefer the new Pullover version of the Torrid vs. the Jacket. But in short, it’s slightly warmer and we prefer the reliability of the 1/2 zipper and love the huge marsupial pocket.
Compare this to more great options in our guide to ultralight puffy jackets.
Field Testing a Warm, Light Do It All Jacket
We recently field-tested Enlightened Equipment Torrid Pullover guiding in the canyons of Utah and in late fall and winter in the Appalachian Mountains. We had conditions ranging from a balmy 60 degrees to well below freezing and with some wind, rain, sleet, and of course snow. The warmth and flexibility of the jacket handled all conditions, many times allowing us to leave our mid-layer at home — using the Torrid Jacket for both functions — something most jackets can’t do! Read on for our full review of the Enlightened Equipment Torrid Pullover.
Full Video Review of Enlightened Equipment Torrid Pullover 2021
If a picture is worth a 1,000 words what is a comprehensive video of the jacket review worth? There’s stuff in here that we can’t begin to cover in worlds.
Torrid APEX Pants too!
When the temps get really cold, and you are standing around camp on a long, dark winter night nothing beats a pair of warm pants. The Enlightened Equipment Torrid APEX Pants are only 5.5 ounces but oh so warm! Pair them with the Torrid Jacket and the combo weighs only 14 oz about the same as fleece shirt, or most folks rain jackets BUT the combo blows away the fleece for warmth.
Key Specs* | Enlightened Equipment Torrid Pullover
Design: Hooded, synthetic insulated jacket with a 1/2 length zipper and large kangaroo/marsupial pocket
Features: Hood with drawcord, elastic cuffs, and hem, water-resistant face fabric, slightly larger size to accommodate layers
Weight: 8.1 ounces | 230 grams in 7d fabric
Face Fabric: Ultralight nylon
Insulation: CLIMASHIELD™ APEX synthetic insulation,
Treatment: DWR treatment on the face fabric
MSRP: $175 in 10d fabric
Key Features | Enlightened Equipment Torrid Pullover
Synthetic CLIMASHIELD™ APEX insulation: One of the key benefits of synthetic insulation is that it maintains insulating properties even when wet. However, one of the main drawbacks of synthetic insulation over down is that the synthetic is typically much bulkier. But this model is ultralight and warm. With the Torrid APEX Pullover, you get the benefits of lightweight and loft without the fear of saturating the jacket and losing its insulating properties.
Huge Marsupial Pocket: Our favorite feature of the pullover. Not only does the marsupial/kangaroo pocket add and extra layer of core insulation, making it warmer than the Torrid Jacket, but the pocket is huge. You can store about 1/3 of your backpack’s gear in it. And even better, our chronically cold hands love the toasty pocket.
Just the Right Features: Sometimes ultralight gear loses some of the “extra” features, but the Torrid Pullover manages to have a huge hand/storage pocket, a great hood, and a perfectly good 1/2 length zipper that provides good temperature regulations and makes it easy to don and doff the jacket.
1/2 length zipper for reliability: Without having to mate the ends (usually the first place for zippers to fail) the Torrid Pullover is more reliable than the jacket. And if even if the zipper does fail the Pullover is still usable. In summary, the 1/2 length zipper is a more conservative and reliable option vs. a full length zipper.
Deep hood: For ultralight hikers who use a quilt, having a hood on your insulated jacket is pretty important since you don’t have the hood on a mummy bag for extra heat retention. This jacket is a great example of a well-designed piece of ultralight gear that keeps the most important features while not having extra weight to carry.
Elastic cuffs and hem: The elastic cuffs and hem help keep the cold and wind out, and the hem can be cinched shut to keep out any blowing snow. Mittens or gloves fit nicely over the cuffs, but be aware they can feel a bit tight sometimes.
About Enlightened Equipment
Enlightened Equipment came onto the backpacking scene in 2007, and grew in popularity as one of the original makers of backpacking quilts, an alternative to the traditional mummy bags. The Enlightened Equipment Revelation and the Enigma are two of the most popular backpacking quilts on the market. We are huge fans of their two-person Accomplice Quilt, which we’ve reviewed here.
Enlightened Equipment Clothing
Enlightened Equipment is known for its customization options, quality construction, and ultralight ethos. All of their gear is made at their location in Minnesota. A few years ago, Enlightened Equipment began designing and offering a few ultralight apparel layers to accompany their quilt and sleeping bag offerings. And we previously loved their new 2020 Enlightened Equipment Visp Rain Jacket with Pit Zips. At 5.4 oz, the Enlightened Equipment Visp Rain Jacket is one of the very lightest WP/B rain jackets on the market. It features a super breathable 3-layer custom Toyota fabric (75,000 g/m2/24h) — the highest spec’ we’ve seen in a rain jacket.
Overview of the Enlightened Equipment Torrid Pullover
The Enlightened Equipment Torrid APEX Pullover is the newest of two insulated jacket offerings from Enlightened Equipment (the jacket version has been around for a while). We prefer the new Pullover version of the Torrid vs. the Jacket. In short, it’s slightly warmer and we prefer the reliability of the 1/2 zipper and love the huge marsupial pocket.
It stands out in the crowd for being a warm, lightweight jacket packed with a lofty CLIMASHIELD™ APEX synthetic insulation housed by a lightweight DWR-treated nylon face fabric. The Torrid Pullover is ideal for ultralight backpackers and can be used as an active mid-layer as well, thanks to the breathable fabric and synthetic insulation that doesn’t lose its insulating properties if you sweat in it. Having a light, the warm, reliable layer is imperative for cold nights at camp, guiding, or anything where you’re going to be stationary.
We save weight by using this as a mid-layer as well, and it’s ideal for excursions where the weather might be damp or rainy. This is a very slimmed-down model. It doesn’t have anything you don’t need, and it’s very compact for a synthetic jacket—the synthetic insulation compresses so much it’s almost comparable to down as far as size goes, and definitely comparable as far as weight goes.
What’s Great About The Torrid Pullover
Below we list the best features that make the Enlightened Equipment Pullover (Jacket) a standout.
Ultralight but very warm
One of the biggest downsides to traditional synthetically insulated garments and gear is how bulky and heavy they are compared to down. This jacket really does feel like the best of both worlds, with lofty, warm insulation that you don’t have to panic about keeping dry.
Water resistant face fabric and durable insulation
We love not having to worry about keeping the insulation super protected, and the fact that the face fabric is DWR-treated means an extra layer of protection over the insulation. And of course, the Climashield APEX synthetic insulation adds a greater margin of precipitation resistance vs. down. In this case enough that we left our midlayer at home.
Can be used as a midlayer & warm/puffy layer
We have had good luck with leaving the mid-layer at home and just wearing this jacket on the move and at camp. While we typically don’t like to hike in a down jacket, synthetic can be a wicking layer and will maintain insulating properties even when it gets wet.
Sized for layering
If you’re out in the shoulder season or winter, you’re going to need layers. This jacket falls somewhat in the middle of fit. It’s sized up a bit for layering underneath, but it doesn’t feel ridiculous to put a shell or rain jacket over it for extra wind and rain protection. It’s an excellent layering piece, and comfortable to wear on the move.
HUGE marsupial / kangaroo pocket
Our favorite feature of the pullover. Not only does the marsupial/kangaroo pocket add and extra layer of core insulation, making it warmer than the Torrid Jacket, but the pocket is huge. You can store about 1/3 of your backpack’s gear in it. And even better, our chronically cold hands love the toasty pocket.
We love the warm, full-sized hood
For us, the hood pretty much makes the jacket. It adds significant warmth and wind resistance for exposed campsites and windy ridges. And because we sleep mostly in quilts which lack hood, the hood on our puffy jacket does double duty as a hood for a quilt when things get cold at night.
Super Reliable 1/2 Zipper
Without having to mate the ends (usually the first place for zippers to fail) the Torrid Pullover is more reliable than the jacket. And if even if the zipper does fail the Pullover is still usable. In summary, the 1/2 length zipper is a more conservative and reliable option vs. a full length zipper.
Can be customized or stock
If you don’t mind a lead time, you can pick your custom colors for both the outside and the lining fabric, with dozens of combinations in earth tones or bright jewel tones. There are also stock models available if you’d rather get your jacket faster.
Recommendations for Improvement
Below are some suggestions of what would make the Enlightened Equipment Torrid APEX even better
The cuffs are a little tight
One thing we’ve noticed with a few different examples of the jacket is the tight cuffs. The stitching and elastic can feel overly snug, even for small wrists. And it’s hard to don and doff the jacket over a large watch like a Sports GPS Watch pictured left. Although it will fit easily over a more modest field watch that we prefer most of the time.
No baffles in the design
This isn’t necessarily a technical issue, but some people like the look of baffles, and how they end up creating more of a form-fitting look for the jacket. That said, this isn’t a jacket built for looking nice for a night on the town. It’s a functional, ultralight, warm layer, and if the look is “boxy” without baffles, so be it. Alto, the lining can sneak out a bit under the sleeve when you pull the jacket on — but it can also be easily tucked back in.
Compared to the Competition
As we said earlier we think the main competition to The Enlightened Equipment Torrid Pullover are down jackets in the same weight range. So take a look at our Guide to Lightweight Down Jackets and Pants for Backpacking for a complete overview of the best down jackets on the market including the competition for the Enlightened Equipment Torrid APEX Jacket.
Patagonia Micro Puff Hoody Insulated Jacket is the most well-known and obvious competition. But we feel that the Enlightened Equipment Torrid Pullover definitely beats it for weight, and cost and in our opinion has an edge on warmth. On the other hand, some folks may prefer the baffling and styling of the Patagonia Micro Puff.
The Enlightened Equipment Torrid Pullover (and Torrid APEX Pants) is an excellent choice for a light, warm, and weather-resistant insulating jacket. It works well down to at least freezing, and in many cases can do double duty as both a mid-layer and an in-camp or rest stop insulating jacket. Finally, at this weight, compressibility, warmth & cost it makes a compelling argument that is equal or better to mid-temperature rated (around freezing) down jackets. It will definitely be part of our go-to kit for the future.
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