The Outdoor Research Cathode Hooded Jacket is the most versatile piece we had the pleasure of reviewing. It's light, features breathable stretch panels, and packs away quickly into its own pocket. It has more features than its closest competitors, the Arc'teryx Atom SL and the Patagonia Nano Puff, for significantly less dough. This makes it an easy and obvious choice for the Best Buy Award, for a second year in a row. This year, Outdoor Research gave the Cathode a fully insulated hood (which we love!) and a new stitching design. These are solid improvements that make the Cathode an even greater value.
Outdoor Research tells us that the Cathode will be around for another season or two, then it's going the way of the dinosaur. If you are interested in our Best Buy winning jacket, now is the time to grab it up, cause it won't be around for much longer!
While this jacket is versatile, our other award winners deliver more focused performance. The Editors' Choice Award-winning Rab Xenon X has a significantly better warm-to-weight ratio, while the Patagonia Nano-Air Hoody gets our Top Pick for Breathability with its soft, stretchy, moisture-wicking fabrics.
This already versatile piece is offered in another form, the Cathode Vest. For $150 consider investing in this great layering piece, perfect for days when you need a little breathability or layering under an even heavier coat.