Outdoor Research SuperStrand LT Hoodie Review
In a sea of puffy jackets, creating one that stands out from the rest isn’t easy, but that’s what Outdoor Research aims to do with their new SuperStrand LT Hoodie. The hooded jacket has simplicity in mind and easy packability for backpackers or any outdoor enthusiast on the go. The lightweight jacket allows the jacket to be an easy item to pack whether you’re aiming for a day hike or want another layer for a thru-hike. While the season and elevation may change your needs, the SuperStrand checks a lot of boxes.
OR SuperStrand LT Hoodie At-a-Glance
Weight: Varies with size but averages around 10 oz.
Fill: Synthetic down
Circumstance of Review
I tested this jacket in the Northern Colorado winter both in the mountains and along the Front Range. This allowed me to try the jacket in both freezing temperatures and the occasional sunny high 50 degree days. I often hiked with the jacket on and occasionally would stow it away when the Colorado sun was hitting a particular trail.
This is a great hoodie for those who are trying to keep their base weight low, while also packing down fairly small to stow away in a minimalist backpack. With a fairly mid-level price, the SuperStrand is a great option for anyone looking to get inside who may later need to pop a jacket on.
- Packs into its pocket and easily zippers shut for great storability. The ease of stowing this jacket away makes it a great add for any backpacker whether on trail for a day or months.
- Uses VerticalX SuperStrand technology which is designed to maximize warmth while minimizing weight. The synthetic is designed to mimic down clusters. Strands of synthetic material connect and stabilize the clusters.
- Ripstop fabric to help protect against tearing while also shielding against wind. I used this jacket in a few different elements and while at times a shell would be a nice addition, this coat can stand up fairly well on its own.
- Comes in multiple colors for users to pick from. In a world where too many items become part of a “hiker uniform,” it’s nice to see OR create options.
OR Superstrand LT Hoodie Pros and Cons
Warmth and Weight
The Outdoor Research SuperStrand worked in a wide range of temperatures, but on particularly cold or windy days it worked better to have another layer or shell to complement the jacket. I also own a Patagonia Nano Puff and will say that the jacket creates more warmth than the OR version.
However, I still think the SuperStrand is a great pick for most year-round hiking, and only in some weather extremes and higher elevations will users run into some trouble. The most ideal condition I see for the SuperStrand would be someone hiking a trail like the CDT in the summertime who occasionally has to grapple with some colder conditions and needs some good warmth quickly.
When it comes to weight, the SuperStrand LT hoodie fits the bill. The jacket is extremely light, especially with how warm it can be. This makes it an easy decision to pack it along for most outdoor trips as who can’t afford a few extra ounces?
This light weight is in part thanks to OR’s synthetic down. The design is where the hoodie gets its “SuperStrand” name as the company suggests their unique jacket fill is comparable to a 700- or 800-fill real down jacket in softness and loft. The OR hoodie appears very thin but in reality provides a surprising amount of warmth for something so light. If you’re not moving and the temperature is hovering below freezing, you’ll need to compliment the jacket with additional layers.
Combine that with its great packability as the jacket zips into its pocket, and this item becomes a great addition to any backpacker’s gear list.
- A great insulator under most conditions
- Extremely lightweight at just 10 oz.
- Packable and easy to stuff in your bag after collapsing the hoodie into its pocket
- Not great for extreme cold compared to some similar jackets, but for the average user it should get the job done
Sizing and Look
As a 5’9” man who weighs around 165 lbs., I went with my usual sizing of medium for the hoodie and it’s a great fit. The jacket fits snug enough without being too baggy in any areas, which helps to avoid anything getting snagged if you end up hiking through brush or other issues.
Unlike some competition, OR also does a great job of making an overall great-looking jacket whether on trail or in town. The SuperStrand looks great and keeps you warm even when you’re heading out for the night or running errands.
The jacket I tested was blue, but OR also released this hoodie in black, pewter, and larch (which is a shade of yellow), allowing users to choose from a handful of options that best suits them.
- Fits true to size
- Great for on trail or in town
- OR offers a range of colors
- I didn’t find any when it came to fit and look
Finding a Versatile Jacket
Anyone who’s gotten into backpacking learns quickly that the sport isn’t as cheap as originally perceived. You need a surprising amount of gear when just going for a walk. So finding a versatile jacket that fits all your needs for the right price point is important.
What separates jackets is filling. The insides of coats are what give them their warmth and adds to their weight. Down filling is often lighter and is a stronger insulator, however, it also fairs worse if it gets wet compared to synthetic. Synthetic is quick to dry but often weighs more. Many companies have switched to a combination to maximize warmth while also acknowledging users are taking items like coats and sleeping bags into the elements and a combination may work best. OR has a similar design with this jacket with their trademarked synthetic filling, which is designed to closely mimic the structure of natural down plumes.
Another item to account for with insulators is packability. While you may start off wearing your jacket, hiking uphill or a midday sun may lead you to shed layers and you want to make sure you have room in your pack. While obviously, weight is important, a jacket that takes up too much room in a smaller bag can quickly become a hassle.
The OR SuperStrand LT Hoodie checks a lot of the boxes that make up a great hiking insulator and jacket. While far from the cheapest option on the market, the light weight combined with a reasonable amount of warmth will get you through most hikes. As someone who also believes you get what you pay for, this jacket is still cheaper than some competition but made of fairly strong fabric to keep users insulted and warm for miles of trail.
Combining those elements with an ultralight feel and superior packability makes this jacket something I would recommend for any backpacker in the market to add or upgrade their gear list.
Patagonia Nano Puff Hoodie – One of the most popular Patagonia items, their Nano Puff is similar in weight and fit, but does cost a bit more at $249. As noted earlier, I do believe the Patagonia jacket is slightly warmer in some instances.
REI Co-Op Magma 850 Down Hoodie – REI’s version of this style jacket is also known for its packability and comes in as the same price as the OR at $219. However, some reviews worry about durability and it’s important to note this jacket’s filling is only down.
The OR SuperStrand LT Hoodie was donated for purpose of review.
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