The Outdoor Research Foray is exceptionally versatile; this is thanks to its Gore-Tex Paclite fabric, bomber construction, and a unique venting design. The unique design revolves around two giant side zippers, which run from the user's elbow all-the-way to their waist and make it easily dump heat and move moisture. We found it stormworthy for the harshest of conditions (we took ours to both Alaska and Patagonia), and it struck a nice balance of being light enough for a day hike but sturdy enough for some little bush-whacking. If you want a do-everything rain jacket that can stand up to abuse, this is a great choice.Editor's Note: This review was updated on July 12, 2022, with information on the updated version of this jacket, the Foray II.
Outdoor Research Foray Review
Cons: On the heavier side
Manufacturer: Outdoor Research
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Outdoor Research Foray
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|Pros||Stormworthy, versatile, durable, comfortable, high level of ventilation||Super light, ultra compact, trim fit, excellent breathability, weather protection compared to others in its weight class, stuffs into a pocket, hood moves very well with its user||Incredible price, Gore-Tex, solid weather protection, excellent hood design, weight and packed volume||Unmatched stretch, mobility, freedom-of-movement, good breathability||Better breathability than others in its price range, decent ventilation, roll away hood, nice pit zips, affordable|
|Cons||On the heavier side||Average weather protection overall, no pockets, no clip in point on stuff sack, elastic wrist loops are basic, trim/athletic cut doesn't facilitate layering||Wets out quicker than other Gore-Tex models, two layer design isn't as long-lasting, clammy interior||Average weather protection, you might find the slim fit doesn't accommodate layering||No chest pocket, not quite as breathable as models that use non-coated membrane|
|Bottom Line||A fantastic all-around shell with some of the best ventilation features out there, in a fairly light, durable, and stormworthy package||If you participate in activities where every ounce matters and you also need excellent weather protection and breathability, few can match this model for its weight||One of the best values you can get for a piece of rain gear, this Gore-Tex model is packed full of functional features||The stretchiest rain jacket we have ever tested, it provides unmatched freedom of movement and great breathability, making it ideal for cool weather activities||A great jacket that offers above-average breathability, with an excellent price tag|
|Rating Categories||Outdoor Research Foray||The North Face Flig...||REI Co-op XeroDry GTX||Rab Kinetic 2.0||Marmot PreCip Eco|
|Water Resistance (30%)|
|Breathability & Venting (25%)|
|Comfort & Mobility (18%)|
|Packed Size (7%)|
|Specs||Outdoor Research Foray||The North Face Flig...||REI Co-op XeroDry GTX||Rab Kinetic 2.0||Marmot PreCip Eco|
|Measured Weight (Medium)||16 oz||7.25 oz||12.5 oz||12 oz||13.5 oz|
|Waterproof Fabric Material||2.5 layer Gore-tex with PacLite Technology||20D FutureLight 3L||2-layer GORE-TEX Paclite||Proflex||NanoPro|
|Face Fabric and Layer Construction||50D w/ Gore-tex PacLite waterproof breathable membrane||100% recycled polyester, DWR finish||Polyester||3-layer, 100% recycled polyester||100% nylon ripstop|
|Pockets||1 chest pocket, 2 hand pockets||1 interior||2 hand||2 hand||2 zip hand pockets|
|Are Lower Pockets Hipbelt Friendly?||Almost||Yes||No||Yes||No|
|Helmet Compatible Hood (not only fits but not too tight)||Yes||No||No||Yes||Yes|
|Stows Into Pocket?||Yes||Yes||No||Yes||Yes|
Our Analysis and Test Results
Outdoor Research updated the Foray since our last test period. Above, the Foray is shown on the right, followed by the new Foray II. The main changes between the two jackets are related to the pockets. The handwarmer pockets have been reinforced with additional stitching to handle more weight, and the new jacket no longer packs down into the handwarmer pocket.
This versatile rain jacket provides a high level of durability and ventilation. Its ability to dump massive amounts of heat can be appreciated by anyone but especially those who run on the warmer side.
A five day trip with nonstop rain and cool temps can take a slice out of the fun factor, but with the uber stormworthy Foray, it doesn't have to be a negative experience. During one trip of our real-world testing (on a rainy, five day trip in Washington's Olympic mountains), as well as in our shower and hose tests, the Foray kept us almost completely dry and was one of the absolute best performers.
The Foray uses Gore-Tex with Paclite technology laminated to a beefy 50D polyester exterior to keep the water out. This, coupled with a nicely stiffened front brim, ensured a near-impenetrable shield from the rain that came pouring straight down from the sky. The three-way hood adjustment seals around the face well.
Only the Marmot Minimalist, REI Drypoint, and the Arc'teryx Zeta SL were able to keep pace with the Foray and earned similar scores for water resistance. The Minimalist and Zeta SL's designs offer fewer seams in the shell along the shoulders, and the waterproof hand pockets and traditional pit zips provide more infrequent potential leak points down low. The Foray's wrist cuffs, with elastic on the inside of the wrist and a Velcro cinch on the back, sealed out water as well as any cuff. All said, the Foray kept us bone dry every time we wore it, and we expect it to continue to do so for a long time.
The DWR on the older version of this jacket didn't last as long as the newest model we've tested this year. The Foray, as well as all other models using Gore-Tex, received an update to their DWR, which extends durability and is claimed to be more environmentally friendly.
Breathability & Ventilation
The Foray and its Gore-Tex withPaclite technology (the new name for what used to be simply Gore-Tex Paclite) offers excellent breathability, though it can be improved upon.
While more breathable than many models in this review and better performing than classic Gore-Tex, it isn't as breathable as the new wave of air-permeable proprietary polyester-based membranes, such as the ones used in the Outdoor Research Interstellar, or Rab Kinetic Plus, nor is it as breathable as Gore-Tex Active.
Most of the new wave air-permeable fabrics don't need much of a temperature differential to breathe well, something that can't be said about the Foray, or many other models in our review. Fortunately, the Foray still breathes better than two-thirds of the models in our review, and to say it breathes poorly would undoubtedly be an overstatement.
What the Foray does have is a broad range of ventilation possibilities. It uses "TorsoFlo", the name for Outdoor Research's full-length zippered vents, which run the whole length of the wearer's torso, under the arm to nearly the wearer's elbow. This design creates the most significant "pit vents" of any rain jacket we tested. They also separate into a poncho if you need complete ventilation; this is helpful for times when it pours rain, and then the sun pops back out, increasing the temperature with high humidity (and you aren't sure if it's about to start storming again shortly).
Comfort & Mobility
The Foray offers a healthy helping of comfort — thanks to Outdoor Research for not shaving off weight by eliminating classic comfort features. Our testers appreciated the small touches found on this model, like the micro-fleece "hood" for the main zipper at the chin.
Small features, like the zipper pulls having large plastic fobs that are easy to operate with or without gloves, do not go unnoticed. We also appreciate the cord lock adjustments for the hood; one-handed operation snugs them up from the inside, but the unique design also allows exterior adjustment once fully zipped up.
The Foray's mobility and range of motion are exceptional, and we never felt restricted in our movement. The hood fits over a helmet, but like most other jackets, it limits side to side movement a little.
Our size medium test jacket tipped our digital scale at just a hair under 16 ounces. The long zippers that create the Foray's massive TorsoFlo core vents add some weight, as does the roll away hood feature and its thicker fabric. For the extra weight, you get a top-notch venting system, and only you can decide if the TorsoFlow venting is worth it.
The Foray is one of the most durable jackets we tested. It features burly, polyester face fabric with the Gore-Tex Paclite laminate, but has more zippers that could lead to trouble over the years. Fortunately, the Foray is backed by a lifetime guarantee. If multi-year durability and ventilation are your focus when choosing a rain jacket, the Foray is an excellent choice.
Somewhat of a surprise considering its relatively heavy weight, the Foray packs away nice and small when stuffed into its pocket. A clip-in loop is a convenient feature for technical use; clip it to your harness or secure it to your backpack for quick access. Due to its features and robust fabric, it doesn't pack down quite as small as some others in our fleet but is impressive.
Fitting for the price point, this is one of the most featured products we tested. The hood of the 2.5 layer Gore-Tex Paclite jacket sports multiple adjustments, while the large stiffened brim has a sleeve of soft fabric on the underside. The elastic cord (for cinching up the face opening) is sewn into the center of this sleeve, creating an independent adjustment for each side of your face. You'll find soft fabric lining the inside of the face opening all the way around, and the cord locks can be adjusted from either the inside or outside — a brilliant feature. A second elastic cord is sewn in at the temples and adjusts at the back of your head. There's also a Velcro tab on the back inside of the collar, which serves to hold the hood in a rolled away position, should you opt to do so.
This jacket has a small, comfortable micro-fleece patch on the chin and a fabric hood for the zipper, which protects your chin. A hanging loop is sewn into the back of the neck, or you can choose to use the outer loop on the outside back of the neck (used for securing the rolled hood) for hanging.
This model has pit zips on steroids; they extend to the bottom hem of the jacket and separate, creating a poncho-style jacket. While we rarely do this, opening the pit zips nearly down to the hem is incredible. A small storm flap protects these zippers; the sizeable zippered hand pockets are lined with mesh for additional ventilation, as is the Napoleon pocket on the left chest. The jacket quickly stuffs away into the left-hand pocket, and there's a clip-in loop when stuffed. Both the main zipper and the chest pocket zipper are of the waterproof type, and all the zipper pulls on this jacket have fantastic ergonomic shaped plastic pulls.
The wrist cuffs seal nicely on this jacket with a Velcro tab. They also have elastic on the inside of the wrist and are lined with a soft fabric for comfort. Due to the separating pit-zips at the hem, the elastic adjust cord only passed through the rear of the hem; note that there are cord locks on both sides, just behind the separating zippers.
The OR Foray is on the spendier side for a rain jacket; however, it offers numerous features and durability, which justify the price. It's also one of the least expensive models to be constructed with Gore-Tex.
If you're seeking a durable rain jacket with ample ventilation and top-tier weather protection, the Outdoor Research Foray is an obvious contender. It will keep you dry through all kinds of pouring rain or blowing sleet and offers excellent ventilation. Its durability makes it exceptionally versatile, though it might be a little overkill for folks who can get away with a lighter, more packable model (which might not be as weather resistant).
— Ian Nicholson
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