Testing gear can be a little like driving a rental car. It isn't yours, so you tend to race around in it like you stole it. The burly Outdoor Research Transcendent Hoody suffered some serious mistreatment, misapplication, and the occasional misadventure during testing without much evidence of its hardship. With extremely well thought-out features like over-sized zipper pulls and spacious internal stash pockets, the Transcendent Hoody is a perfect combination of burl and functionality. While not the lightest of lightweight down jackets nor the warmest of the warm, the Transcendent Hoody is ready for whatever punishment you choose to inflict on it (and yourself). The best part about this jacket may just be the price tag. At only $225 retail, it is the second most affordable jacket in the review and has no problem performing better than some that are nearly twice the cost. Considering it is a super well thought out jacket at a very low cost, it was easy for us to award the Transcendent Hoody our Best Bang for the Buck Award.
For the friendlier price tag of $199, this award-winning jacket is offered without a hood as the Transcendent Down Sweater. Weighing in at 13 oz., you can expect the same great performance without the bulk of a hood for those looking to add this piece to their layering collection. For even less bulk, check out the Outdoor Research Transcendent Down Vest, the $149, 9.4 oz. hoodless, sleeveless version of this jacket.