Outdoor Research Foray II Review
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Outdoor Research Foray II
$225.00 at REI
|$129.99 at Backcountry|
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|$249.95 at Backcountry|
Compare at 2 sellers
$169.00 at REI
$52.73 at REI
|Pros||Stormworthy, versatile, durable, comfortable, high level of ventilation||Super stretchy material, above average breathability, nice interior feel, lightweight, stuffs into its pocket||Unmatched stretch, mobility, freedom-of-movement, good breathability||Incredible price, Gore-Tex, solid weather protection, excellent hood design, weight and packed volume||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, easy to overtighten hood and squeeze ears||Average weather protection, you might find the slim fit doesn't accommodate layering||Wets out quicker than other Gore-Tex models, two layer design isn't as long-lasting, clammy interior||No chest pocket, not quite as breathable as models that use non-coated membrane|
|Bottom Line||A fantastic all-around shell with great ventilation features in a fairly light, durable, and stormworthy package||Constructed with a super stretchy material and offering superb mobility, this is the ideal rain shell for demanding activities||The stretchiest rain jacket we have ever tested, it provides unmatched freedom of movement and great breathability, making it ideal for cool weather activities||One of the best values you can get for a piece of rain gear, this Gore-Tex model is packed full of functional features||A great jacket that offers above-average breathability, with an excellent price tag|
|Rating Categories||Outdoor Research Fo...||Mountain Hardwear S...||Rab Kinetic 2.0||REI Co-op XeroDry GTX||Marmot PreCip Eco|
|Water Resistance (30%)|
|Breathability & Venting (25%)|
|Comfort & Mobility (20%)|
|Weight & Packability (15%)|
|Specs||Outdoor Research Fo...||Mountain Hardwear S...||Rab Kinetic 2.0||REI Co-op XeroDry GTX||Marmot PreCip Eco|
|Measured Weight (Medium)||16 oz||10.5 oz||12 oz||12.5 oz||13.5 oz|
|Waterproof Fabric Material||2.5 layer Gore-tex with PacLite Technology||2.5 layer Dry.Q propriatary material||Proflex||2-layer GORE-TEX Paclite||NanoPro|
|Pockets||1 chest pocket, 2 hand pockets||2 zippered hand, 1 zippered chest||2 hand||2 hand||2 zip hand pockets|
|Hipbelt Friendly Hand Pockets||Almost||No||Yes||No||No|
|Helmet Compatible Hood||Yes||No||Yes||No||Yes|
|Stows Into Pocket||Yes||Yes||Yes||No||Yes|
Our Analysis and Test Results
This versatile rain jacket provides an unmatched ability to ventilate with its two full-length pit zips that run from the elbow past the armpit and all the way to the hem of the jacket. This design, which Outdoor Research calls TorsoFlo Technology, allows its wearer to dump an impressive amount of its heat. While anyone can appreciate this design, it is especially nice for those who run on the warmer side or engage in more aerobic activities. While its impressively long side vents make this jacket stand, its Gore-Tex Paclite material, overall design, and level of durability should also be noted.
We used this jacket on a five-day trip with literal nonstop rain and relatively cold temps, weather that can take a slice out of the fun factor during almost any mountaineering trip. However, with the uber-stormworthy OR Foray II, the rain was more of an annoyance that limited our views rather than a negative experience. In our garden hose and shower tests and during this very rainy trip to Washington's Olympic mountains, the Foray proved one of the more storm-resistant models in our review.
The Foray uses Gore-Tex with Paclite technology laminated to a beefy 50D polyester exterior to keep the water out and stands up to moderate abuse. This construction, coupled with a nicely stiffened front brim, ensured a near-impenetrable shield from precipitation of nearly any form. The three-way hood adjustment seals around the wearer's face, moving with its wearer comfortably and facilitating good peripheral vision.
Outdoor Research has upped their game with a better DWR coating. The DWR on the older version of this jacket didn't last as long as the current model we've tested for this year. The Foray's wrist cuffs, with elastic on the inside of the wrist and a Velcro cinch on the back, sealed out water well. 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.
Breathability & Venting
The Foray and its Gore-Tex with Paclite technology offer some of the better breathability among the jackets we tested. While it was more breathable than many, it wasn't quite as breathable as the new wave of air-permeable proprietary polyester-based membranes.
Most of the new air-permeable fabrics don't need much of a temperature differential to breathe well. Not so for the Foray or many other models in our review. Fortunately, the Foray still breathes better than two-thirds of the models in our review.
The Foray has the longest side zippers — they're like pit zips on steroids. They extend from nearly the elbow on the sleeve 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. Outdoor Research calls these full-length zippered vents "TorsoFlo technology". This design creates the most significant "pit vents" of any rain jacket we tested. It helps folks who get hot easily and want to dump off some heat in a hurry whenever possible.
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. Both the main zipper and the chest pocket zipper are waterproof, and all the zipper pulls on this jacket have fantastic ergonomic-shaped plastic pulls.
Comfort & Mobility
The Foray II 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 design touches found on this model, like the micro-fleece "hood" zipper cover for the wearer's chin.
We loved the large and easy-to-operate plastic fobs on the zipper and pulls. They were easy to use with or without gloves. We also appreciate the cord lock adjustments for the hood; one-handed operation snugs them up from the inside. However, the unique design also allows external adjustment once fully zipped up.
The Foray's mobility and range of motion are quite good, although not exceptional. Generally, this model is slightly looser than average and doesn't restrict movement. Still, if maximum mobility is important to you, there are better options.
Fitting for the price point, this is one of the most featured products we tested. The hood of the 2-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. Soft fabric lines the inside of the face opening all the way around. Cord locks can be adjusted from the inside or outside — a brilliant feature. A second elastic cord is sewn in at the temples and changes at the back of your head. There's also a Velcro tab on the back inside of the collar, which holds the hood in a rolled-away position. The hood technically fits over a helmet but isn't that comfortable.
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 use the outer loop on the outside back of the neck (used for securing the rolled hood) for hanging.
The wrist cuffs seal nicely on this jacket with a Velcro tab. They also have elastic on 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.
Weight & Packability
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. You get a top-notch venting system for the extra weight, and only you can decide if the TorsoFlow venting is worth it. If you get warm easily, you'll likely find the extra 4-5 ounces worth it compared to models with no pit zips.
Not surprisingly, the Foray was slightly below average from a packability standpoint. The jacket quickly stuffs away into the left-hand pocket, and there's a clip-in loop when stuffed. It's enough to appease most outdoor enthusiasts, but if a minimal packed size is a priority, the Foray isn't among the most compact.
The Foray is one of the most durable jackets we tested. It features sturdy, polyester face fabric with the Gore-Tex Paclite laminate but has more zippers that could lead to trouble over the years. Fortunately, the Foray has a lifetime guarantee. This is an excellent jacket if multi-year durability and ventilation are some of the attributes you value most.
Should You Buy the Outdoor Research Foray II?
If you're seeking a durable rain jacket with ample ventilation and top-tier weather protection, the Outdoor Research Foray II is an obvious contender. It will keep you dry through all kinds of pouring rain or blowing sleet and offers excellent ventilation. Its TorsoFlo ventilation design, while 4-5 ounces heavier than a comparable model, is worth it to those who run warm or want the ability to dump a bunch of heat and moisture quickly. It is versatile for those who want to use this model for various activities, from backpacking to downhill skiing. However, it might be overkill for folks who can get away with a lighter, more packable model (which might not be as weather-resistant).
What Other Rain Jackets Should You Consider?
While the Foray II offers plenty of advantages, namely in versatility and ventilation, a few other performers stood out for specific applications or performances. If you don't need pit vents, we love the Arc'teryx Beta Jacket, which offers similar overall performance and uses similar materials but is lighter and more packable. We also recommend the Mountain Hardwear Stretch Ozonic for its super stretchy material and pleasant fit for climbing or other activities that demand a high level of mobility. The REI Co-op XeroDry GTX is a great go-to if you're looking for a dependable model for a few bucks less.
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