Gear Review: Outdoor Research Hooded Ferrosi Jacket
A longtime staple in many adventurers’ closets, the Outdoor Research Hooded Ferrosi has some newly improved details for 2019, including wide thumb loops. This softshell hybrid is a lightweight, highly breathable active layer that performs best during high-output activities. The stretchy material optimizes mobility and ventilation when you need a little added warm or wind protection on the trail.
OR Hooded Ferrosi Specs
Weight: ~11 ounces women’s medium, ~13 ounces men’s medium
Packed Size: Approximately 3×6 (about the size of your hand)
Materials: 90D Ripstop (86% nylon, 13% spandex) on body and 120D Cordura (91% nylon, 9% spandex) on shoulders and sleeves
Sizes: Women’s XS-XL, men’s S-XL
Circumstances of Review
This jacket quickly became my go-to active layer this year. I wore it during a range of activities—running, biking, backpacking, and day hiking—in a variety of weather conditions. I wore it through exposed alpine ridges, wet weather, dust storms, and rocky scrambles. On the trails, it was tested most extensively in the deserts of SoCal (on the PCT) and on my hike of the Wind River High Route this past August. Additionally, it also saw some tough conditions in the Sierra, Idaho’s Sawtooth Mountains, and the Beartooths of Montana throughout the spring into late summer.
Thumb Loops: An important addition for 2019, the Ferrosi now comes with wide thumb loops to keep wind out or hold sleeves in place.
Wind Resistance: Pores that block enough wind to keep from getting chilled while remaining breathable.
Zip Pockets: Chest and hand pockets are deep enough without being bulky (and left pocket doubles as stuff sack)
Stretchy Material: Nylon/spandex composition that’s highly breathable and reinforced for abrasion resistance
Adjustable Hood: Oversized stretch hood that fits over hats and helmets with adjustable elastic drawcords for a more snug fit and added warmth
Elastic Drawcord Hem: Adjustable elastic in the waistband to maximize fit and manage drafts
UV Protection: UPF 50+ defends against the sun
Breathability: The Ferrosi excels during high-output activities like cycling, trail running, mountain biking, and backpacking. It is the perfect layer to add some warmth and cut the wind on alpine ridges or while cycling by the ocean. This softshell’s porous fabric allows for perspiration to pass through quickly so you’re not soaked at the top of a climb.
Dries Quickly: Due to its breathability, this jacket dries quickly using your body heat when moving through wet weather.
Mobility and Fit: The Ferrosi runs athletically snug without being too tight, which I prefer for an active layer. The material makes it incredibly comfortable to wear in camp or around town, but is most importantly is flexible and stretchy enough to wear while moving. I found it very comfortable to run and hike in and wasn’t restrictive while scrambling on rocky terrain.
Durability: For a lightweight softshell, the Ferrosi held up remarkably well to frequent hip-belt/shoulder strap contact while wearing a backpack. It also didn’t stretch or tear when rubbing against sharp rocks during some of the scrambles I encountered on the WRHR. I haven’t used the Ferrosi long enough to speak to its durability after heavy use over multiple years, but other friends who have report little or no weathering of the zippers or fabric.
Style Details: I appreciate all the small but crucial details here: stretchy adjustable hood that fits most helmets (climbing and bike but not ski helmets), elastic wrist closures that fit comfortably over light gloves, and wide, deliberately designed thumb loops that don’t bunch up when using trekking poles.
Weight: The Ferrosi weighs in pretty fair for what you get here. It’s lightweight and compact enough to fit into a running vest or front mesh of your backpack. The women’s small weighed in just over 10 ounces and packed down to 3×6. When paired with an ultralight rain jacket, it would cover your needs in a wide variety of weather conditions for about 1 pound.
Inexpensive: For the budget-minded adventurer, this jacket is the perfect balance of price for performance.
Weather Protection: While it does well blocking the wind, this jacket underperforms protecting against wet weather. It’s DWR treated rather than using a membrane, so there’s only enough water resistance to withstand brief rain or light precipitation. It’s a tradeoff; what the Ferrosi lacks in water resistance, it makes up in breathability and because of that, dries very quickly if you stay moving once it gets wet.
Warmth Retention: The Ferrosi doesn’t retain warmth once you stop moving and producing body heat. However, I paired it with a wool top or thin fleece and found that to be the perfect combination in cooler, shoulder-season temps.
Smell: As with all synthetic materials, they can retain odors. After a few weeks of no washing and being constantly stuffed into my clothes bag between sweat sessions, mine got a little funky smelling on the trail.
One of the biggest challenges to sustaining an active, adventure-rich lifestyle, is finding affordable clothing and gear that is multi-purpose and can withstand heavy use on the trail. The Ferrosi is a hybrid superstar. I found it useful for SO many activities—particularly long-distance backpacking—because of its lightweight breathability. At $129, this jacket is a great balance of price to performance. Right now, it’s on end-of-season sale at Backcountry (men’s and women’s) and REI (men’s and women’s).
Marmot ROM $190 (currently on sale)
Mountain Hardwear Keele $150 (currently on sale)
**Disclosure: This product was donated for purpose of review.
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