Primal continues its rebranding push with its new line of gear, HT.A, short for Happy Trails Apparel, which begs the question, “Will I ride happily on trails while wearing this apparel?” I decided to get this newest offering from Primal covered in dirt to see if their claims of joy-filled riding ring true.
One of the main drawbacks of today’s world of web-based shopping is that it can be difficult to judge how a product will feel in reality vis-a-vis its pixellated representation. I mention this because, when I first viewed the Primal HT.A Passport on my screen, I felt no real reaction aside from “Oh, look. A green jersey. I bet it feels like a jersey.” Cue the pleasant surprise I felt when I received my review package from Primal; upon freeing the jersey from its Ziploc prison, I was impressed at how substantial and upscale the jersey was. The materials and finishing are top-notch, sure to impress even the most jaded trail fashionista.
I typically wear a more XC-style jersey to fit my childish physique, but this jersey sports a looser fit that gave me enough breathing room without feeling like I was swimming in fabric. In the past, I’ve donned baggier gear that just seemed to flap around too much and never seemed to be all that comfortable, but the cut on this seemed just right and never made me feel like a parachute out on trail. Additionally, the material used on the Passport, Primal’s in-house blend of poly knit and Micromesh backing dubbed “Aire Mélange” (fancy, no?), is pleasantly thick and weighty, definitely imparting an feeling of quality. Kudos to the materials team at Primal for speccing this!
As previously mentioned, the Passport is a thicker jersey than I’m used to and I tend to run pretty hot, thanks in no small part to my time spent up in the Great White North, so I was interested to see how the jersey would handle my furnace-like body. While there haven’t been too many opportunities this season for “ideal” riding conditions, I was able to get out and ride in temperatures ranging from 35-50ºF, and the Passport did an impressive job of keeping me comfortable. I imagine that the comfort range would extend further upwards on the thermometer, though I may consider switching to a thinner kit once the mercury heads north of 60º.
On the warmer days out riding in my new home of Washington, I was impressed at the Aire Mélenge material’s ability to keep the sweat off my body, helping me maintain a comfortable temperature, even on the steeper climbs. More impressive, though, was the Passport’s ability to block the wind when bombing down the descents, keeping me from getting too much of a chill. This duality makes me believe that Primal may have crafted the ideal jersey for the rider who rarely shies away from the trail when Mother Nature doesn’t want to cooperate.
During my outings when the temperature dipped around the freezing mark, I was still able to ride with the only the jersey for a surprisingly long amount of time. Eventually, though, I did cave and found that, bagginess aside, the Passport still works as a good base layer. As an aside, I paired this jersey with the HT.A Sky hoodie and found it to be a great combination for chillier days on the trail.
Primal really seems to be making great strides to slough off their old image, and have been cranking out some impressive products as of late. The HT.A line does a great job of combining on-trail performance with unobtrusive looks, so there’s no need to change post-ride when going to your favorite pub. The Passport jersey would make for a great addition to the wardrobe of a rider who wants to find a comfortable middle ground between the skin-tight lycra and the downhiller’s deflated Michelin Man aesthetic. Staying true to the name, the HT.A Passport did lead to happy trails.
Thanks to Primal for providing the HT.A Passport Jersey for review.