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Ski and snowboard apparel brand Trew Gear crosses into the mountain bike world

Don your favorite snowboard brand on the trail — the mountain bike trail

Rehydrating after a fall mountain bike riding wearing the Trew Gear Up Jack windbreaker
Travis Reill / The Manual

There isn’t a mountain bike to be seen on the Trew Gear website’s homepage. The brand started in 2008, making snow bibs from a garage in Hood River, Oregon. Yeah, it is unapologetically a snow brand

Obviously, no one will be donning Trew Gear’s latest bibs while mountain biking, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t any apparel that will cross over. With mountain biking apparel pretty well established, we were interested in what the brand had to offer.

And offer it did. Trew Gear was kind enough to send two apparel pieces to The Manual — a shirt and a pullover windbreaker. These seemed like great choices to introduce mountain biking and Trew Gear, and I was happy to say “hello.”

Riding up a snowy trail in Trew Gear's Up Jack windbreaker
Travis Reill / The Manual

Initial assumptions

When you jump into the mountain bike world, you can find some of the most ridiculous arguments. One of those arguments is between the wool camp and the polyester/nylon camp. I was in the poly/nylon camp, not because of a disdain for wool, but because of assumptions I had made about it. Wool is itchy. Wool is too hot. Wool gets stinky, like a wet dog.

But, for the most part, I was in the poly/nylon camp because it’s the material the majority of mountain biking apparel is made from. Well, the shirt Trew Gear sent me was wool, and temperatures outside were still in the 90s every day. I prepared for some extra sweaty mountain bike rides. But instead, I quickly realized how wrong I was about my assumptions.

Wearing the Trew Gear Nuyarn Merino Basic T-shirt on a mountain bike ride
Travis Reill / The Manual

Trew Gear Lightweight Nuyarn Merino Basic T

Made from a blend of 70% merino wool and 30% nylon, Trew Gear’s Merino Basic T uses Nuyarn merino wool. Trew Gear boasts that the Nuyarn wool …

  • is 5 times faster at drying 
  • has 85% more elasticity
  • has 35% more thermal retention
  • has 50% greater tensile strength 
  • has 120% stronger seams
  • is 8.8 times more abrasion resistant

… when compared to standard merino wool. And I was more than happy to put this list to the test.

I have been mountain biking in Trew Gear’s Basic T for a handful of months now, and honestly, it is the best shirt I have ever worn. There are a few specific things that I feel make this shirt stand above any others I’ve worn.

First, wool isn’t hot. I mountain biked on many hot days at the end of summer, and I was no “hotter” in this shirt than any of my other poly/nylon shirts. Simply, there was no difference. My assumption that I would overheat in wool was a myth.

The Trew Gear Basic T also did a phenomenal job at wicking away sweat but drying quickly. Sweat evaporated off the Basic T much faster than any of the poly/nylon shirts I have. This was great in the summer, but even more critical now that the weather is colder.

We still sweat mountain biking in cold weather because we typically have several layers on. In the past, I have found that I freeze if I stop for a bit due to my poly/nylon shirt soaking in sweat. With the Nuyarn quick-drying wool, moisture won’t be against my body for so long.

Perhaps the thing that impressed me the most with the Trew Gear Basic T was I couldn’t get that shirt to stink. Despite four days of back-to-back riding where I didn’t wash the shirt, I could not get any sense of body odor coming from the Basic T. Usually I had to change my shirt post-ride if I was planning something like grabbing a beer with the boys after. 

The only “negative” feedback I would give on the Trew Gear Basic T is that it isn’t meant to go into the dryer. But, as a dad, writer, mountain biker, and substitute teacher, I don’t have clothes that don’t go into the dryer. I tried to remember that with this shirt and was successful once. However, it seems to be holding up fine.

Trew Gear’s Lightweight Nuyarn Merino Basic T comes in five color options and six sizes and it retails for $69. 

Wearing the Trew Gear Up Jack windbreaker on a mountain bike ride
Travis Reill / The Manual

Trew Gear Up Jack

The other apparel item Trew Gear sent us was the Up Jack, a windbreaker-style nylon jacket. This pullover hoodie features a half-zip-down to a hoodie-style front pocket. The Up Jack also has a zippered chest pocket that doubles as a stow bag. And it has a roomy hood that fits over and stays on my mountain bike helmet.

Trew Gear says the lightweight nylon Up Jack is ready for any “kind of crazy mountain weather happening.” And while I found that the Up jack does work great as a windbreaker, it certainly has its limits when it comes to rain. A misty or drizzly day? No problem. A downpour? You will be very wet.

But I live in the high desert, in a reasonably dry climate where heavy rains are gone as quickly as they come. For mountain bike trails where I am, I usually reach for something like the Up Jack for cold-weather mountain biking. And the Up Jack did well for what I needed it to do. It cut through the wind exceptionally well while keeping me toasty on cold days. If I got too warm, it was easy to pack into its storage pocket and fit into my hip pack. 

I never felt the clammy feeling some jackets give you with the Up Jack. But I did find myself overheating, which is a reality in any windbreaker you wear on a mountain bike. I wish the Up Jack had more ventilation built into the jacket, but to knock it because of that would be unfair, as it isn’t designed to be a mountain bike-specific jacket.

One big knock for the Trew Gear Up Jack is that it runs big. I was warned and went down a size, but I maybe could have gone down two sizes. So, it may not be the exact jacket I’m looking for when it comes to mountain biking, but the Up Jack has a great look for just hanging around in.

Trew Gear’s Up Jack comes in three colorways and six sizes and it retails for $129. 

Travis Reill
Hi! I'm Travis, a teacher turned stay-at-home dad turned freelance writer. Mountain biking is my passion. Fortunately, I've…
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