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Ortovox 3L Ortler Review

This model is a slim-fitting hardshell that's designed for backcountry skiing and offers ample stretch
Ortovox 3L Ortler
Credit: Backcountry
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Price:  $490 List
Pros:  Athletic fit, good packability, plenty of venting options, decent weather protection
Cons:  Pricey, relatively heavy, limited durability, fabric seemed to get dirty quickly
Manufacturer:   Ortovox
By Jack Cramer ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Jun 1, 2022
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73
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#3 of 12
  • Weather Protection - 30% 8.0
  • Weight - 20% 5.0
  • Mobility and Fit - 20% 8.0
  • Venting and Breathability - 20% 8.0
  • Features and Design - 10% 7.0

Our Verdict

Some jackets can do it all, others can do one thing really well. The Ortovox 3L Ortler lives up to the latter description because it's really good for backcountry skiing but a poor choice for other winter activities. Our testers that choose to earn their turns raved about its athletic fit, stretchy fabric, and impressive breathability for backcountry skiing. However, other folks found the same attributes to be irrelevant or even drawbacks for lift-access skiing. Our alpine climbing testers also griped about its additional weight and bulk along with the fabric's propensity to attract dirt. Despite these flaws, however, this jacket undoubtedly fills an important niche and it gets our full endorsement as an excellent jacket for dedicated backcountry skiers.

Compare to Similar Products

 
Ortovox 3L Ortler
This Product
Ortovox 3L Ortler
Awards  Editors' Choice Award Top Pick Award   
Price $490 List$500 List
$274.45 at Backcountry
$375 List$81.15 at Backcountry
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Check Price at Backcountry
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Pros Athletic fit, good packability, plenty of venting options, decent weather protectionLightweight, excellent fit for active uses, solid weather protection, plenty of pocketsUltralight, less expensive, excellent packability, decent weather protectionGood ventilation, bargain price, lightweight, fully waterproofLightweight, inexpensive, easy to tighten drawcords
Cons Pricey, relatively heavy, limited durability, fabric seemed to get dirty quicklyExpensive, DWR treatment wears off quickly, great all-round performance but not outstanding in any specific areasLimited feature set, questionable durability, high waist hemline, few venting possibilitiesInterior fabric is clingy, feels delicate, limited drawcordsGlossy internal fabric, poor mobility, hand pocket zippers not waterproof
Bottom Line This model is a slim-fitting hardshell that's designed for backcountry skiing and offers ample stretchA well-designed jacket that offers equally great weather protection, breathability, and mobility in a lightweight packageOur favorite ultralight shell to leave in our packs for unexpected stormsAn ultralight waterproof model with underarm vents and and an exceptional price tagThis model is closer to a rain jacket than a hardshell, though it can be used as a lightweight just in case layer
Rating Categories Ortovox 3L Ortler Patagonia Ascensionist Arc'teryx Alpha SL... Marmot Knife Edge Mountain Hardwear E...
Weather Protection (30%)
8.0
8.0
6.0
6.0
6.0
Weight (20%)
5.0
7.0
10.0
8.0
8.0
Mobility and Fit (20%)
8.0
8.0
7.0
6.0
6.0
Venting and Breathability (20%)
8.0
8.0
6.0
7.0
5.0
Features and Design (10%)
7.0
6.0
6.0
6.0
6.0
Specs Ortovox 3L Ortler Patagonia Ascensionist Arc'teryx Alpha SL... Marmot Knife Edge Mountain Hardwear E...
Pit Zips Yes Yes No Yes No
Measured Weight (size large) 17.0 oz 13.6 oz 7.6 oz 12.4 oz 11.4 oz
Material Toray Dermizax NX GORE-TEX Active with GORE C-KNIT, 30D recycled nylon 3-layer Gore-Tex with Hadron face fabric Gore-Tex Paclite 2.5L 100% Polyester Gore-Tex Paclite 2.5L 100% nylon w/ DWR coating
Pockets 1 chest, 1 arm 2 zippered handwarmer, 1 zippered chest, 1 internal stretch 1 chest 2 hand, 1 chest 2 hand, 1 chest
Helmet Compatible Hood Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Hood Draw Cords 3 3 1 1 1
Adjustable Cuffs Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Two-Way Front Zipper Yes No No No No

Our Analysis and Test Results

Ortovox is a german company that specializes in ski clothing and avalanche safety gear. Their Ortler jacket is a lightweight, slimmed-down model that's ideal for backcountry skiing or other wintry human-powered pursuits.

Performance Comparison


Ortovox 3L Ortler hardshell jacket - the ortovox 3l ortler is ideal for backcountry skiing but has...
The Ortovox 3L Ortler is ideal for backcountry skiing but has limited versatility for other activities.
Credit: Tad McCrea

Weather Protection


This jacket is made with a Dermizax NX membrane. In our tests, we found this material to be every bit as waterproof and windproof as advertised. The membrane is sandwiched inside a mixture of polyester and merino wool that feels especially stretchy and supple compared to the materials used on other hardshell jackets.

Ortovox 3L Ortler hardshell jacket - in rainy weather, the ortovox 3l ortler is quick to wet out. it's...
In rainy weather, the Ortovox 3L Ortler is quick to wet out. It's far better when the temperatures are below freezing.
Credit: Jack Cramer

To keep precipitation out, the Ortler is fitted with a tall hood that easily accommodates a ski helmet. The hood's trio of drawcords supply plenty of adjustability and a swatch of soft merino wool at the collar does an excellent job at preventing any chafing. Our biggest complaint when it came to weather protection is that the DWR treatment seems to wear off quickly, which meant the exterior fabric began to wet out sooner than some competitors. Be ready to frequently apply your own DWR treatments to keep this jacket beading water and keeping you dry.

Ortovox 3L Ortler hardshell jacket - we are fairly pleased with the mobility and fit of this jacket for...
We are fairly pleased with the mobility and fit of this jacket for winter climbing, but the fabric seemed to cling to dirt more than others.
Credit: Jack Cramer

Weight


A size large weighs in at 17.0 ounces on our scale; that's a little higher than average compared to the other jackets in this review. Still, 17.0 ounces is awfully light compared to many less specialized rain or ski jackets. We should also mention that the Ortler seems to pack down smaller than its weight would suggest. That's good news when you're skiing uphill on dry days because it's easy to throw this jacket in your pack and avoid sweating it out.

Ortovox 3L Ortler hardshell jacket - the fabric on the dermizax nx is unusually stretchy which greatly...
The fabric on the Dermizax NX is unusually stretchy which greatly improves the mobility and freedom of movement that it provides.
Credit: Jack Cramer

Mobility and Fit


One of the more distinguishing characteristics of this model is the suppleness and stretchiness of the fabric. Unlike many other hardshells, this waterproof fabric doesn't feel crinkly at all. The stretchiness, at the same time, ensures that there that this layer hardly provides any resistance to your body's movements. Fit wise, we should note that this jacket is a bit slimmer-fitting than many others. This slimness can help you feel less encumbered by high-output activities. However, it doesn't leave much room to accommodate larger folks or anyone hoping to wear several warm layers underneath. It's a great shell when you're moving fast, but less ideal on slower or colder days.

Ortovox 3L Ortler hardshell jacket - the ortovox 3l ortler includes adequate venting possibilities and...
The Ortovox 3L Ortler includes adequate venting possibilities and the fabric offers above-average breathability.
Credit: Jack Cramer

Venting and Breathability


It's almost always better to vent excess heat and moisture rather than to rely on a waterproof layer's breathability. With this attitude in mind, the Ortler features a few venting possibilities. It includes a pair of pit zips that are fitted with quality waterproof zippers. We only wish these zippers used longer pull tabs so that they would be easier to grab with gloves on.

The main zipper is rigged for two-way opening and closing. This makes it slightly easier to vent on a stormy day or while wearing a backpack waistbelt. In the breathability department, the Dermizax NX material does a great job. That's great news because the stretchiness of this fabric makes it more likely that you'll keep it on during strenuous activities.

Ortovox 3L Ortler hardshell jacket - the excess material on the ortovox ortler wrist cuff reduces the...
The excess material on the Ortovox Ortler wrist cuff reduces the security of the closure.
Credit: Jack Cramer

Features and Design


When it comes to features, we are pleased with some and disappointed by others. Our testers appreciated the pair of waist drawcords because they were sized well, easy to operate, and effective at seeling the hemline to stop snow from sneaking inside. They also liked the zippered pocket on the left arm for storing a ski pass while they were searching for powder stashes on sidecountry days.

On the other hand, we are disappointed with the reliability of the wrist closures. These closures utilize a patch of velcro to stay close; however, an excess of fabric means that the closure fabric is prone to snagging on stuff and coming undone. There also aren't very many pockets — only the left arm pocket and another on the breast. This is an inconvenient arrangement if you like to carry an extra pair of gloves or a hat inside your jacket.

Ortovox 3L Ortler hardshell jacket - the effective waistcord system and the adequate height of the...
The effective waistcord system and the adequate height of the hemline ensure that powder can't sneak inside the waist of this jacket.
Credit: Jack Cramer

Value


The Ortler is priced a fair bit below the priciest hardshells but it's still an expensive piece of clothing. We think the cost should be worth it for passionate backcountry skiers because the performance is excellent for that specific activity. Shoppers who are also looking for a shell for mountaineering or resort skiing are likely to be less satisfied. In other words, the value that you will receive from this jacket depends on your interests.

Conclusion


People use their hardshells for a wide range of activities. There are lighter models that we prefer for alpine climbing and loose-fitting styles that perform better for resort skiing. But the Ortovox Ortler performs extremely well for the activity it was designed for — backcountry skiing. We think it's a great choice for anyone searching for a quality jacket to wear while they earn their turns.

Jack Cramer
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