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Outdoor Research Foray II Review

A fantastic all-around shell with great ventilation features in a fairly light, durable, and stormworthy package
outdoor research foray ii rain jacket review
Credit: Outdoor Research
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Price:  $225 List
Manufacturer:   Outdoor Research
By Ian Nicholson ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Dec 20, 2022
78
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#2 of 16
  • Water Resistance - 30% 9.0
  • Breathability & Venting - 25% 9.0
  • Comfort & Mobility - 20% 7.0
  • Weight & Packability - 15% 4.0
  • Durability - 10% 8.0

Our Verdict

The Outdoor Research Foray II is an exceptionally versatile shell. It uses Gore-Tex Paclite fabric, bomber construction, and a unique venting design. Two giant side zippers run from the user's elbow to their waist, quickly dumping heat and moving moisture. We found it stormworthy for the harshest of conditions (we took ours to Alaska and Patagonia), and it struck a nice balance of being light enough for a day hike but sturdy enough for even more demanding users. This is a great choice if you want a do-everything rain jacket that can stand up to abuse.
REASONS TO BUY
Stormworthy
Versatile
Durable
Comfortable
High level of ventilation
REASONS TO AVOID
On the heavier side
Editor's Note: We have tested different versions of the Foray over the years, and our review features photos spanning multiple rounds of testing with this jacket. The information in this review was updated on December 20, 2022, with our current findings of the most recent version, the Foray II.

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Overall Score Sort Icon
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Star Rating
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Pros Stormworthy, versatile, durable, comfortable, high level of ventilationSuper stretchy material, above average breathability, nice interior feel, lightweight, stuffs into its pocketUnmatched stretch, mobility, freedom-of-movement, good breathabilityIncredible price, Gore-Tex, solid weather protection, excellent hood design, weight and packed volumeBetter breathability than others in its price range, decent ventilation, roll away hood, nice pit zips, affordable
Cons On the heavier sideAverage weather protection, easy to overtighten hood and squeeze earsAverage weather protection, you might find the slim fit doesn't accommodate layeringWets out quicker than other Gore-Tex models, two layer design isn't as long-lasting, clammy interiorNo 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 packageConstructed with a super stretchy material and offering superb mobility, this is the ideal rain shell for demanding activitiesThe stretchiest rain jacket we have ever tested, it provides unmatched freedom of movement and great breathability, making it ideal for cool weather activitiesOne of the best values you can get for a piece of rain gear, this Gore-Tex model is packed full of functional featuresA 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%)
9.0
7.0
6.0
8.0
7.0
Breathability & Venting (25%)
9.0
8.0
8.0
8.0
6.0
Comfort & Mobility (20%)
7.0
9.0
10.0
7.0
7.0
Weight & Packability (15%)
4.0
7.0
6.0
6.0
6.0
Durability (10%)
8.0
7.0
8.0
6.0
6.0
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
Pit Zips Yes Yes No No Yes
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.

Performance Comparison


outdoor research foray ii rain jacket review - the foray ii is an excellent all-around shell, featuring some of the...
The Foray II is an excellent all-around shell, featuring some of the best durability, ventilation, and stormworthiness. Though it's not ultralight, it's a reasonable weight for most backpackers and is an excellent option for those that are hard on their gear.
Credit: Ian Nicholson

Water Resistance


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.

outdoor research foray ii rain jacket review - garden hose to the face and wrists? check. the foray can handle it...
Garden hose to the face and wrists? Check. The Foray can handle it. Jackets with adjustable cuffs and well-designed hood adjustments are superior in howling rainstorms or when working with your hands overhead in the rain.
Credit: Amanda Fenn

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.

The OR Foray uses Gore-Tex with Paclite technology for its weather...
The OR Foray uses Gore-Tex with Paclite technology for its weather resistance, along with a 50D external face fabric, which was among the most durable in the review.
OR's new DWR (Durable Water Repellent) coating works even better...
OR's new DWR (Durable Water Repellent) coating works even better than the previous one.
Gore-Tex with PacLite technology and an improved DWR coating provide great weather protection.

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.

outdoor research foray ii rain jacket review - one of two unique side-vents featured on the outdoor research foray...
One of two unique side-vents featured on the Outdoor Research Foray. These two vents (one seen here completely unzipped) offered by far the best ventilation of any jacket we tested.
Credit: Ian Nicholson

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.

outdoor research foray ii rain jacket review - we tested each model via a series of side-by-side breathability...
We tested each model via a series of side-by-side breathability tests. Even with this model's massive vents closed, its Gore-Tex with Paclite technology fabric proved among the most breathable models we tested.
Credit: Ian Nicholson

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.

outdoor research foray ii rain jacket review - the gore-tex fabric that this model uses is quite breathable, though...
The Gore-Tex fabric that this model uses is quite breathable, though not air permeable. However, as long as its wearer is working hard (which is normally the reason people need their jacket to breathe), it moved moisture in a similar fashion to many of the air-permeable models we tested.
Credit: Ian Nicholson

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.

outdoor research foray ii rain jacket review - the paclite fabric breathes well when closed up, but ventilation is...
The Paclite fabric breathes well when closed up, but ventilation is where this jacket really shines. With the huge TorsoFlo vents, you can even wear it over a small pack, either poncho style or with the hem attached but vents fully open.
Credit: Amanda Fenn

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.

outdoor research foray ii rain jacket review - the foray's torsoflo ventilation dumps heat quickly.
The Foray's TorsoFlo ventilation dumps heat quickly.
Credit: Ian Nicholson

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.

outdoor research foray ii rain jacket review - the foray ii offers decent mobility and range of motion.
The Foray II offers decent mobility and range of motion.
Credit: Ian Nicholson

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.

outdoor research foray ii rain jacket review - the foray rarely felt restrictive when we lifted our arms overhead...
The Foray rarely felt restrictive when we lifted our arms overhead, but it still raised the hem up a bit.
Credit: Ian Nicholson

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 model's hood fits over some bike and climbing helmets, but it's...
This model's hood fits over some bike and climbing helmets, but it's a little tight. It cinches down reasonably well over a variety of head sizes and headwear, from beanies to baseball caps. It's one of the better models to maintain peripheral vision for its user, even with the jacket cinched up.
There are three cinches that can all be operated with one hand to...
There are three cinches that can all be operated with one hand to customize how closed down the hood is (though you need two hands to loosen it). The only thing we didn't love is that the two cinches that operate the opening of the hood are pulled on from the inside of the jacket, which means you need to unzip it in order to tighten or loosen it.
The hood has a three-point cinch system that can be tightened with one hand, but you'll need both hands to loosen it.

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.

outdoor research foray ii rain jacket review - the foray ii packs into one of its hand pockets, shown here next to...
The Foray II packs into one of its hand pockets, shown here next to a 1L Nalgene for reference.
Credit: Ian Nicholson

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.

outdoor research foray ii rain jacket review - the foray is one of the more durable products we tested; it's very...
The Foray is one of the more durable products we tested; it's very wind resistant and great at keeping out blowing rain. It also boasts the largest ventilation features of any jacket we tested.
Credit: Amanda Fenn

Durability


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.

outdoor research foray ii rain jacket review - we love the foray. if you want a durable rain jacket with...
We love the Foray. If you want a durable rain jacket with class-leading ventilation features, it's a great option.
Credit: Ian Nicholson

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.

outdoor research foray ii rain jacket review - not only did the foray ii's gore-tex seal out all the wet snow...
Not only did the Foray II's Gore-Tex seal out all the wet snow during our three-day trip in Washington's Olympic National park, but the awesome ventilation meant our tester could leave it on during several of the steep climbs.
Credit: Ian Nicholson

Ian Nicholson
 
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