Outdoor Vitals Active Ventus Hoodie Review

I reviewed the insulated Outdoor Vitals Vario Jacket a few years back and have happily added this terrific bit of synthetic gear to my backpack. So I was excited to try the Outdoor Vitals Ventus Active Hoodie, a pullover-style insulating layer, and see if cutting a bit of weight might make a significant difference. 

The Ventus Active Hoodie is a minimalist, ultralight mid-to-outer layer pullover with pit vents and an athletic fit. It weighs seven ounces and retails for $180. Here are its vitals (pun intended) and why I might stick with the jacket instead of a pullover. 

Outdoor Vitals Ventus Active Hoodie At a Glance

Hiker poses in front of leafy backdrop wearing outdoor vitals ventus hoodie fully zipped with hood up

The Outdoor Vitals Ventus hoodie

MSRP: $179 (member discount available)
Weight: 7 oz (medium)
Insulation: 25 g/m2 3DeFX active stretch insulation
Shell Fabric: 20D Ripstop Nylon DWR treated
Inner Fabric: 20D Ripstop Nylon
Quarter Zipper: YKK
Color: Black, Blue, Olive
Sizes: small to 2XL

Men’s hoodie here

Circumstances of Review

I shelved my down puffy, as well as the OV Vario jacket, and took the Active Ventus Hoodie instead for two weeks on the Arizona Trail and a month on the southern Appalachian Trail this spring, with temperatures dropping into the 20s at night. 

Outdoor Vitals Ventus vs. Outdoor Vitals Vario

There are two main differences between the Ventus Active Hoodie and the Vario Jacket: the Vario has two zippered front pockets and a full zip, while the Ventus is a quarter-zip pullover with just one mesh interior pocket. 

The Ventus is very light and thin and feels feathery on the body, yet — like the Vario — it packs a punch. It’s made to be worn on the move with an athletic cut that fits close to the body even if wearing a lightweight base layer underneath. This allows the OV body-mapped technology of targeted insulation placement to work best. 

Outdoor Vitals Ventus Material and Features

Key Features:

  • Stretchy 3DeFX synthetic insulation 
  • Durable 20D Ripstop Nylon 
  • Body-mapped insulation
  • Quarter-zip
  • Perforated underarm vents 
  • Drop-back hem (tall sizes available)
  • Stretch cuffs and unobtrusive thumb loops
  • Water-resistant
  • Fitted hoodie
  • Hidden mesh inner pocket
  • Adjustable hem
  • Breathable hydrophobic membrane

3DeFX Insulation

The outer layer of the Active Ventus is made of 20D (denier) ripstop nylon fabric treated with DWR (Durable Water Repellant). The face fabric not only stretches but is breathable, wicks water, and can take a beating. The inner is also nylon, but it’s softer and surprisingly cozy against the skin.

The 3DeFX insulation is a newish fiber that uses four types of spiral yarns. They act like tiny springs to expand and contract, creating a high level of breathability and stretch while still maintaining warmth by trapping air where it’s needed. It has an edge on traditional down in that the natural stuff requires higher-density fabrics to keep the insulation in place. 


Aside from the fabric, the quarter-length zipper and perforated underarm holes promote airflow while sweating, though that also may mean you’ll need another layer to stay warm should the wind pick up. But if you do need to put on another layer, you can use the clever elastic thumbholes to keep the Ventus sleeves from bunching. 

forearm showing elastic cuff and thumb loop hooked over thumb - outdoor vitals ventus hoodie

Temperature Control

That being said, the Ventus feels limited in its range of warming and cooling properties. The perforated holes feel a bit small to vent (unlike a zipped vent) and without a full zip — plus tight half-stretchy sleeves that don’t roll up — I often found myself overheating. 


A big improvement over the Vario is the fit of the hood. It’s pretty much perfect. There are no adjustments, but a light stretchiness keeps the hood in place even when I turn my head. The drop hem is adjustable and stays in place over my tush when reaching and stretching. Plus, the fabric is soft against my skin. 


While there is an inner mesh pocket that’s great for packing down the hoodie, I found it a bit small and awkward for my hat, gloves, or any other items I might want quick access to. I found myself constantly running my hands along the sides of the hoodie hoping a traditional zip pocket would magically appear. 

Outdoor Vitals Ventus Active Hoodie Pros


At seven ounces, this hoodie is lighter by two ounces than the Vario jacket. Since ounces add up to pounds, this might be a make-or-break for many of us who want to cut weight as much as possible. 

Packs to the Size of a Softball

It’s possible to pack the hoodie into its pocket, though I never felt the need to and simply stuffed it in any available crevice when not in use. This may be a weird thing to care about, but I appreciated that I could bunch it tight into a ball, shake it out, and put it on with nary a wrinkle. Being a little less Hiker Trash is a plus in my book.


Ultralight the hoodie may be, but the ripstop nylon is super tough as I bushwhacked through brush and thorns and seemed to come out without a scratch. It’s not canvas, of course, so be judicious. 


The hood feels a big improvement over the Vario jacket, which felt like a monk’s cowl without a hat to hold it in place. The Ventus’s hood is big enough even with a hair bun and holds firmly over my head.

Contoured Fit

The fabric moves with my body and there’s no bunching. OV has taken hips and ass into account and I love the low hem over my booty. 


Based in Cedar City, Utah, Outdoor Vitals is committed to sustainability in everything they do. They use recycled materials that contain no impurities. It’s really cool that this American company is doing what it can to keep fabric (which accounts for more than 11 million tons of waste) from going to landfills.

Outdoor Vitals Ventus Active Hoodie Cons

hiker holds up right arm to show perforated underarm fabric vent in outdoor vitals ventus hoodie

Difficult to Control Temperature

I am well past menopause, so it was with much surprise that I would experience what felt like hot flashes while wearing this hoodie. These would be followed by shivering should the breeze pick up in the slightest. I simply was not able to make the hoodie work for me without adding an outside layer to keep warm and rolling up the sleeves to stay cool.


But the sleeves really don’t roll. They’re just too tight.  I would prefer an adjustable wrist over elastic, which seems it will wear over time – especially if I keep trying to roll up the non-rollable sleeves!

Only One Mesh Inner Pocket

I love pockets on everything — pants, shorts, jackets. The two-ounce weight savings over the Vario jacket doesn’t feel like enough to justify no pockets on the outside of the hoodie. 


It’s useful to have a hoodie with some water-repelling properties, but I feel like we should be moving away from “forever chemicals.” OV claims these coatings are lightweight, making the hoodie resist moisture and function as a windbreaker. I found the hoodie not useful in the wind, and should it rain, I would wear a rain jacket. 


hiker poses in sunshine with olive drab outdoor vitals ventus

While the Outdoor Vitals Ventus does work decently well moving with my body, I found that as a quarter-zip pullover with slightly tight sleeves, it could often feel claustrophobic should things get the slightest bit warm. But when I stopped moving and cooled down, the perforated underarms made my torso almost instantly cold.

I appreciate that the Ventus is ultralight, but not having large pockets felt like the real deal breaker, so I am sticking with my Vario jacket. 

Shop the Women’s Outdoor Vitals Ventus Active Hoodie

Shop the Men’s Outdoor Vitals Ventus Active Hoodie

Similar Hoodies

Patagonia Nano Air Hybrid Hoodie

  • MSRP: $299
  • Weight: 9.8 oz

Enlightened Equipment Torrid Jacket

  • MSRP: $200
  • Weight: 7.75 oz

Mountain Hardwear Ghost Whisperer Jacket

  • MSRP: $330
  • Weight: 6.9 oz

The Outdoor Vitals Ventus Active Hoodie was donated for purpose of review

Affiliate Disclosure

This website contains affiliate links, which means The Trek may receive a percentage of any product or service you purchase using the links in the articles or advertisements. The buyer pays the same price as they would otherwise, and your purchase helps to support The Trek's ongoing goal to serve you quality backpacking advice and information. Thanks for your support!

To learn more, please visit the About This Site page.

What Do You Think?