Hands-on Review of the Outdoor Research Furio Jacket
Despite the fact that we recognize it as a Top Pick for Rainy Climates and think it has many noteworthy features that are unique and practical, the Furio was not one of the highest rated jackets in our review. In particular, it landed near the bottom of the pack in the Weight and Packability metric, as well as for Mobility and Fit. With such heavy face fabric combined with a ton of zippers, it is not surprising that this jacket was on the heavier side. However, we were disappointed that it didn't fit better, with sleeves a bit too short, the hem line on the high side, and a baggy fit around the torso. By comparison, the Rab Latok Alpine Jacket had a similar amount of features, but managed to keep the weight down, while also fitting the form a bit better for activities like ice climbing.
Despite these complaints, we thought the Furio ranked right up there with the best jackets in the review when it came to weather protection, and also rated at the top of the pile when considering venting and breathability, both metrics where it outscored the Outdoor Research Axiom, which has a significantly different design overall. For those who love the design features of the Furio, like the full side zips, but want something lighter and more packable, check out the all Paclite Outdoor Research Foray, reviewed in our Best Rain Jacket for Men Review.
In the frigid December wind above 13,000 feet we found this jacket kept us plenty warm.
There is no doubt that this was one of the most protective jackets in our review, and so we gave it 9 out of 10 points, the same as the Arc'teryx Beta AR and Marmot Cerro Torre. The wire-brimmed Halo hood was large and comfortable, working well both with and without a helmet. This hood presents a huge overhang that easily hides the face and head from any heavy rain, preventing any hint of water from getting in the collar of the jacket. We couldn't give it a perfect score because of the shorter sleeves and slightly higher hem line, which was a surprising part of the design considering we tested a size men's large.
Testing this jacket in the shower, notice the very large arcing brim of the Halo Hood, which easily kept our face and the inside of the collar dry under the downpour.
This jacket was the only one in our review to use a membrane that wasn't completely 3-layers. While the tops of the arms, shoulders, and hood are made with 3-layer GORE-TEX, the rest of the jacket, including the front, back, and underarms, instead used Paclite 2.5-layer GORE-TEX. Immediately noticeable is the difference in texture, although we had no problems with weather protection. We assume this combo was used to save the consumer a bit of cash.
The light grey is the C-knit backer to the GORE-TEX 3L membrane found on the shoulders, tops of the arms, and hood. The darker grey is the PU coating on the 2.5 layer Paclite membrane found throughout the rest of the jacket, and has a bit of a rubbery texture.
Weight and Packability
Our men's size large jacket weighed in at 19.4 ounces, placing it squarely on the heavier end of the spectrum. While it was only slightly heavier than the Rab Latok Alpine Jacket, its use of burly 70-denier face fabric throughout certainly makes it more bulky than that jacket. Of course, everything is relative as it was still over five ounces lighter than the heaviest jacket in our review, The North Face Free Thinker Jacket. Regardless, we couldn't award more than 5 points.
Mobility and Fit
This is another area where we had some problems with the Furio. The most egregious issue for us with the fit was that the sleeves are an inch or two short, meaning that when we raised our arms up above our head the wrist cuffs would want to slide down our forearms. This surprised us because this is often a problem we have when we need to size down to a medium, but our Furio was a size large. This was contrasted with a rather large cut in the torso that allowed for copious amounts of under layers.
As you can see in this photo, the cut of this jacket was a bit spacious in the torso, while the hem line was fairly short for a size large jacket.
Compared to the Arc'teryx Alpha FL, which was trim in the torso and very long on the arms, we would say that OR has a bit of a strange sizing scale. While we loved the hood, we also noticed that the collar was slightly tight, and didn't really cover our lower face when zipped up all the way, instead resting down near the bottom of our chin. On the other hand, this jacket was soft and quiet. Despite the fact that they use different membranes, the PU coating on the insides of each makes them feel more rubbery, quiet, and supple. 5 out of 10 points.
As a jacket this is designed to be used for alpine and ice climbing, we found it disappointing that our size large jacket had sleeves that were so short, easily riding up our forearms when outstretched.
Venting and Breathability
Displaying the full length side zips for ventilation on this jacket, as well as the ability to go "full cape mode." This feature allowed for awesome ventilation while staying protected from the rain, which is why we named it our Top Pick.
Venting was an absolute strong point for this jacket, ranking it with the Rab Latok Alpine at the top of the heap. The primary feature for venting, and one that is immediately noticeable, is the full-length side vent zippers that run from the arm pit down along the side of the body to terminate at the hem of the jacket. These are fully adjustable with two zippers per side, and are great because they allow you to vent the torso region, while still only exposing a vertical opening, which is less prone to allowing rain or snow to get inside and wet the user.
This feature was a large part of why we think this jacket is the best for rainy climates, and we loved deploying these vents and going full cape mode while skinning uphill. It has even more features that help with venting, such as a two-way front zipper (which unfortunately we found to be fairly tough to get started), and mesh backing for all of its pockets. Compared to the standard pit zips featured on the similarly rated Arc'teryx Beta AR or Patagonia Refugitive, there really is no competition. 9 out of 10 points.
In the backcountry, you have to climb the mountain before you have a chance to ski it. This provided a great opportunity to test the venting and breathability of these hardshells. We liked this one's ability to vent from the sides.
Besides the features we have already mentioned, this jacket has a handful of others as well, making it one of the more featured jackets. Unfortunately, they didn't all work as well as they could have. We like that it has a hood stow away option, which is comprised of a button up loop that links through the back of the hood when it is rolled up. Something is better than nothing, but unlike the Velcro method employed on the Rab Latok Alpine, this hood stow is not possible without taking the jacket off. It has two cross-over chest pockets, as well as two low hand pockets that rest underneath a waist belt or harness.
The pull cords on the hood work great, but the pull end lives down inside the collar. On the one hand, this eliminates danglies that could blow in the wind on the outside of the jacket, but at the same time means that you must open the collar of the jacket up to tighten the hood, a process which is not super easy to dial in. The overall impression when considering features on this jacket is that they are not as refined or as functional as on the Patagonia Refugitive, but are of course a welcome addition.
While we appreciated that this jacket was one of two that had a method to stow the hood away if desired, we thought this method of having to thread the button through the tiny loop was a bit laborious, and required us to take off the jacket in order to do so.
Since we chose to award this jacket our Top Pick for Rainy Climates, we think that this is the best and most suitable use for it. Its feature set makes it a good choice regardless of mountain activity, whether you are alpine climbing, mountaineering, or backcountry skiing. Since it is relatively heavy and bulky, we wouldn't use it too often if it was going to live in our pack, and so it wouldn't be our top choice for backpacking.
Riding out the runnout zone in the cold shade on a north facing aspect in the San Juan mountains.
The Furio is one of the most affordable jackets in this year's review. We believe that the use of Paclite on much of the inside, rather than using standard 3-layer GORE-TEX throughout, surely helped keep this number down. While it wasn't the highest-rated jacket in our review, we still thought it was unique enough to award a Top Pick, and for this price, we think it presents a great value.
The moment one stops moving it makes sense to close up the vents and raise the hood to protect the body against chilling down too quickly. For this reason the ease of use of all the zippers is critical to the pleasant function of a hardshell jacket.
The Outdoor Research Furio is the most affordable jacket in this year's review, and with its strong and burly face fabric should live up to plenty of abuse. Because of its unique combination of venting features, including full side zip vents, a two-way front zipper, and mesh-backed pockets, we think it is a great option for those who live in especially wet climates.
The thick, 70D face fabric used throughout this jacket meant that it was plenty protective against the strong frigid winds we found in the alpine on this day.