Outdoor Research Trail Mix Cowl Pullover Review

I‘m about to experience my first “real” winter. As a California transplant now happily living in Salt Lake City, I’m counting on fleece to get me through anticipated rough times. The new Outdoor Research Trail Mix Cowl Pullover is a cozy fleece addition to my fall and winter wardrobe. Overall, this pullover is great both on the trail and casually. It is my go-to layer for chilly mornings on a hike, where I need some warmth that will also manage moisture. Also, I’ve been layering it under my winter coat as I get used to below-freezing mornings in Utah. This affordable midlayer is engineered specifically to keep you warm and dry while managing sweat during activity.

outdoor research trail mix cowl pullover

The Outdoor Research Trail Mix Cowl Pullover is a cozy women’s fleece that’s optimized for warmth and moisture management.

Outdoor Research Women’s Trail Mix Cowl Pullover At a Glance

  • MSRP: $89.00
  • Weight:  10.75 oz
  • Sizes: XS – XL
  • Fit: Standard
  • Materials: 100% polyester

Circumstances of Review

outdoor research trail mix cowl pullover

Numb legs for the win.

I’ve kept this layer in my pack throughout many fall adventures. I wanted to test it in a variety of climates and circumstances. These included warmer nights with a cool breeze, chilly mornings in the Northern California backcountry, and as a layer in exceptionally cold weather. For me, it’s a bit too heavy and warm to have as my one layer for a desert trip. Where this jacket shines is in cold weather during extreme activity. I vehemently hate feeling sweaty in my layers and often opt for goosebumps and numb hands over a cozy fleece on cold hikes. Because of this, I was pessimistic about how it would perform once I got my heart rate up, and I was blown away.

On one roughly 40-degree morning in the NorCal backcountry, I vowed to keep this fleece on, even though we had a climb ahead. As I began to sweat I expected the familiar feelings of discomfort and claustrophobia to set in, but they never did. Once I reached the top of the pass and the trail leveled out I stopped sweating, and the jacket regulated my temperature change SO well. I’m used to that cold, slick sensation of sweat drying. However, the Outdoor Research Trail Mix Cowl Pullover is designed with thermo-regulating ActiveTemp™ treatment, which creates wonderful moisture management. Since this initial test, I’ve brought this pullover on many hikes, and have been similarly impressed. It replaces my Melanzana as my go-to midlayer, a turn of events I was not expecting.

As casual wear, I love the look and coziness of this jacket. I don’t have much to report here, but I love wearing it with jeans and boots on morning walks in the fall.

Notable Features

outdoor research trail mix cowl pullover

Thumbs up for thumbholes!

  • Thumbholes. Keep my hands warm without needing gloves.
  • UPF 30. I’m not typically worried about the UPF rating of my winter layers, but it is really nice to have that extra protection on a cold, yet sunny day.
  • Thermo-Regulating ActiveTemp™ Treatment. Again, this feature blew me away. Because it’s so warm and cozy, I thought there was no way it would manage sweat and intense exercise well. I was so happy to be proven wrong here.
  • Two Layer Cowl Neck with Drawcord. This provided extra warmth around my neck at night and even served as a mask in a pinch while passing people on the trail.
  • Internal pocket. There’s a pocket on the inside too. I haven’t used it yet, but it would be a great place to keep your filter at night to keep from freezing.

Pros

Probably whispering “I love you” to my morning coffee. As a midlayer this jacket rules. It can be pulled over your mouth and nose for extra protection.

  • Performance during activity. I’ve thoroughly detailed this, but it’s worth mentioning again how well the thermo-regulating technology works. You’ll catch me in this during climbs, long flat stretches, and downhills until the temperature creeps above 50.
  • Scent control. In other words, I can sweat in this for a week straight before it starts to smell.
  • Durability over time. I’ve washed this a few times and worn it dozens, and it still looks and feels new. When spending almost $100 on a midlayer, it’s important that it lasts.
  • Design. I like the way it looks, and the cowl neck is extremely functional in providing that extra smidgeon of warmth.
  • Versatility. More than half my closet is dedicated to my outdoor gear, and I very much appreciate having a layer I also love to wear casually.

Cons

  • No hood. Because I use a quilt, it’s really nice to have a hooded midlayer to sleep in. When I bring this, I need to also pack a beanie to keep my head warm at night.
  • Weight. This jacket is heavier than many comparable items. If you’re counting ounces, it might be worth it to consider a different option. However, for me, the bit of extra weight has proven worth it.

Overall Value

Probably wishing I was those lucky campers.

Overall, this will be my go-to fall/winter/spring midlayer. The warmth to weight ratio is fantastic, especially when considering how well it manages my sweat. However, I will likely opt for something lighter when it warms up. For the summer months, I prefer to shave weight on my midlayer. Though this jacket is more expensive than the coveted Melanzana hoodie, at $89.00 it is competitively priced for how well it performs.

Shop the Outdoor Research Trail Mix Cowl Pullover

Comparable Items

Melanzana Micro Grid Hoodie

  • MSRP: $69.00
  • Weight: 9.5 oz

Arc’teryx Motus AR Hoodie

  • MSRP: $99.00
  • Weight: 5.5 oz

Outdoor Research Trail Mix Hoodie

  • MSRP: $99.00
  • Weight: 12 oz

This item was donated for purpose of review.

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Comments 2

  • Avatar
    Mary Reagan-Zingler : Nov 30th

    Hi Katie,

    What is the maroon jacket that you are wearing in the post? I love it!

    TY 🙂
    Mary

    Reply
    • Avatar
      Katie Kommer : Dec 2nd

      Hi Mary!! It’s the REI Stratocloud hooded down jacket. It’s a bit on the heavier side, but it is SO warm. I wear it pretty much every day!

      Reply

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