Gear Review: Outdoor Research Trance Sweater

Throughout the year, I’ve really learned to appreciate Outdoor Research gear – especially the Trance Sweater.  However, it’s not really a sweater.  And it doesn’t necessarily put you in a trance.  But it certainly is one of the warmest goose down insulated jackets I have worn: it’s lightweight, versatile, packs in its own stuff sack, repels moisture and one piece of gear any person should keep in their snowshoeing arsenal.

A thorough test of the Trance Sweater in some February bitter temperatures helped make a late afternoon snowshoeing trip more than reasonable.  My go-to jacket wasn’t making the cut in blowing snow and strong gusts, so I switched to the Trance Sweater.  I opened my pack, took the Trance from its stuff sack and slipped it on – a perfect solution to the day’s unexpected weather.

My above tree-line experience was saved by the Trance and I continue my hike as though the harsh conditions were meaningless to the experience.  In fact, it made the day tolerable and helped keep my snowshoeing excursion moving in the right direction. 

As with most down jackets, this isn’t excessively “puffy.”  I’ve worn some down jackets that made me look absolutely ridiculous; I looked like the Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man.  But not when I wore the Trance Sweater.  I actually looked like I knew what I was doing – like I was prepared for all-things cold and frigid. 

Another thorough test of the Trance came on an excessively cold morning while waiting for the bus.  I use the bus to commute to work, and some days it gets fairly intense with snow.  Not only was I prepared, I had the gear to prove it – I arrived to work an hour later and everything was just fine.  The boss thought I looked so good in my Trance Sweater, she gave me a raise and promotion.  Not really.  But, I can only wish.

Trance Sweater Features:

*650+ fill down insulation
*Lightweight 30D ripstop polyester shell
*Lightweight, box-quilt construction
*Brushed tricot-lined collar
*Front zipper with internal stormflap
*Zippered napoleon pocket
*Brushed tricot-lined handwarmer pockets with stretch binding openings
*Stretch binding on cuffs and hem
*Stuff sack included

For more information on Outdoor Research, visit

About the author

Ryan Alford