Steps Inc. PCU level 3 Fleece - First Impressions

I finally got my hands on the Steps Inc. Block 0 Half-zip pullover, PCU level 3 fleece (wow that was a mouthfull) over the holidays and am very impressed with it already. This is designed to be a mid layer for use in extreme cold during vigorous activity. If you are going to be static or taking it easy, it can be worn during mild days, or layered with a hard/softshell.

One of the things I noticed right off the bat was that the Polartec Thermal Pro fabric is really soft. My daughter immediately jumped on me and started nuzzling, and told me I was like a big teddy bear. She was right: it does feel similar to some of her stuffed animals. It will be interesting to see how soft it stays after a number of runs through the wash.

The pullover is one layer and has the same texture on the outside that it does on the inside. The only place that has a double layer is the 3" collar. Some serious thought went into the armpits, which are made with Polartec Power Dry Thermagrid; I think this is a fantastic feature for when you are using it during exercise.

The 15" storm zipper is YKK, but it was lacking the convenience of a pull tab (that was easily fixed with some paracord). Other feedback I would give would be to add a neck guard flap for the zipper, similar to the Triple Aught Design Ranger Hoodie. If I got really demanding, I could be argued that thumb holes would also be nice addition, but since the Block 0 is a fraction of the cost of the TAD Hoodie, I won't complain. Maybe down the line, I'll mod it myself.

One of the bonuses of Steps Inc. is that they provide full military sizing options. I was able to order Medium/Long with no problems, which avoids chilly wrists when my arms are at full extension.

I rode my bike into work recently on a sunny but cold winter day. [ -8°C (73% Humidity) -18°C with the wind chill] I wore a Mountain Equipment Co-op long sleeve base layer, the Block 0 pullover, and a Patagonia Torrentshell. It started off ok, but after about 10km, I started getting pretty warm.

I'm happy to report, though, that the base layer and block 0 had very little sweat on them when I got to my destination. The wicking layers did their job and passed the moisture away from my body. Unfortunately, the Torrentshell trapped it all, and was fairly wet on the inside. I have a level 5 softshell in the mail, and it can't come soon enough! So we'll see if the results will be different once I receive that.

I'll give this pullover a good beating for about 6 months, and see how it survives the winter. After I feel like I've given it a thorough workout, I'll do a full review. Hope you find my first impressions of the Block 0 pullover useful. As always, if you have any questions or comments. Just post them below, and I'll be sure to respond. 

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