Gear Review: Women’s Outdoor Research Deviator Hoodie

Disclosure: The Deviator Hoody was donated by Outdoor Research for the purpose of review.

Something miraculous happened recently: I hiked all day in the Rockies and didn’t get cold! Let me explain, I am a fair weather hiker. I like sunny days, 50 degree nights and sweating. I do not like snow, cold rain or temperatures below 50, ever. That’s not to say I won’t hike in those conditions, but I turn into something akin to a watered gremlin. Frankly, I’m just not great company on cold, wet hikes.

Jake and Ashley in Ute Canyon

However, two months ago, a miracle arrived by mail: the Outdoor Research Deviator Hoody. I was immediately excited about it’s color- a vibrant fuschia, my favorite! I dropped everything, donned my new gear and have rarely taken it off since. After wearing it up one of the steepest pitches I’ve ever seen in 70 degrees and while slogging through a snowy downpour up one mountain and night hiking down another, I can happily say the OR Deviator Hoody is my new favorite piece of gear. This hoody deserves at least 4 1/2 out of 5 thumbs up. Here’s why.

1) Looks

I like to look cute in the woods. I don’t put on makeup for our adventures, but most of my gear matches (read: I’m a purple hiking monster). I also like gear that I can use in the front and back country. Working at a toy store means I don’t have to dress up much for work, so my wardrobe consists mostly of sundresses and clothes I can go hiking in. Sometimes this is too limiting, but the Deviator Hoody has been attractive enough to wear anywhere, with anything.

The jacket also has thumb holes, which I love. With other items, my arms are too long to comfortably use the thumb holes all day, but while I feel the pull on my thumbs, the Deviator’s thumb holes are well padded. It doesn’t hurt to wear them all day (in fact, I don’t even notice them). They make layering quick and easy, they keep my hands warmer and, again, it’s a cute look.

Final verdict on the appearance of the OR Deviator Hoody- it’s adorable! I’ll wear this hoody with a sundress to a party and I’ll wear it to climb all the 14ers of Colorado (if I ever get around to that lofty goal). The hood is close-fitting, not my favorite style, but it’s cute when it’s down and very useful when it’s up. It doesn’t block my peripheral vision or whip around my face like some hoodies.

Hood Up, Thumb Holes on. Post hike trip reports are best done in costume!

Thumb Holes on. Post hike trip reports are best done in costume!


2) Versatility

The Deviator Hoody is my most versatile piece of gear. I used to use a polypropylene mid-weight base layer to keep warm, but most days I’d have to stop to drop a layer as the day warmed up or my activities had me sweating and sticky underneath. With the Deviator, I can leave camp in 40 degrees and climb uphill for four hours straight without even thinking about my layers (and that clammy sweaty feeling when layers don’t breath well enough was old news). This hoody is warm but breathable, and its wicking powers are nothing short of supernatural.

It’s first real test was my 40-minute bike commute this summer. I left in a 50 degree drizzle and arrived in a downpour. Obviously, I wore my rain jacket the whole time, but it’s old and doesn’t breath well anymore. Within a few minutes of opening my store and stripping off the rain jacket, I was dry and sweat-free!

Overall, this jacket earns most of my praise for its versatility. The only reason I hesitate to give it 5 thumbs up is it’s price (about $180), but it’s worth the extra cash. It can replace two base layers (one mid-weight for nights around the campfire, and a light-weight for those big uphill climbs) and pack down and weighs less than or as much as either (It weighs in at just 9.7 ounces).

Hiking, climbing, caving... The Deviator can do it all!

Hiking, climbing, caving… The Deviator can do it all!

3) Perspiration Control

On another trip, I forgot my deodorant, as usual. Typically this doesn’t bother me, but I had to be at work the next day and planned on wearing the jacket then, too. I carried on, sweating profusely as always and forgot the consequences. A few hours later we’d summited and were back at the car, where I always keep deodorant in the glove compartment. After a quick application, I was BO-free. The next morning, I threw on my new favorite hoody and headed out the door, content that no one would be leaving the toy store because of my BO!

The breastplate of the Deviator is made of a thin layer of Polartec® Alpha® insulation which dries quickly and breathes well. So far it’s done its job admirably. The sleeves and hood are made of Polartec® Power Grid™, a bumpy, 3-D synthetic fabric that also breathes well and wicks moisture like a champ. This fabric isn’t as warm as the breastplate’s insulation (thus, sometimes chilly arms), but with a windbreak layer I’ve been comfortable even in 50 mph gusts.

Essentially, I’ve never had a piece of gear that only needed to be washed once every two months. In fact, when I finally did wash it, it wasn’t because the jacket smelled bad (it didn’t!), it just had snot-stains on the sleeves. I thought that was bad form at work. I’ve been amazed by this jacket’s ability to hide my natural nastiness!

Jack and Ashley in the Ute Canyon Cabin

For the two months that I’ve been graced with the Deviator Hoody, I’ve put it through the ringer. It’s gone caving, backpacking, climbed 6 14ers, bushwhacked through pine forests and fresh snow, and even got compliments at a dinner party (granted one of ski bums and generally outdoorsy folks). The price would put me off if I was shopping in a store and gearing up for my next thru-hike. However, I can assure you, the jacket is worth $180. It wicks well (after two wash cycles now), hasn’t picked up the dirty hiker funk of all my other gear, breathes even under my 5-year-old rain coat, and is comfortable to boot. There are no seams that drive me nuts (a constant fear for me). So, while you could buy two cheaper layers and survive your next adventure, do yourself a favor and thrive in the Deviator!

Get the OR Deviator Hoodie Here


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