Outdoor Research Ferrosi Grid Review
Cons: Diminished breathability, limited features
Manufacturer: Outdoor Research
Our Analysis and Test Results
We tested the OR Ferrosi Grid over a number of different trips, on local scrambles and day hikes, as well as into the high mountains of the Sierra Nevada during the cool days of fall. It performed admirably and was a review favorite.
The Outdoor Research Ferrosi Grid features the same tried and true Ferrosi fabric we have come to know and love in this venerable line of softshell garments, with a new twist in the form of a soft knit backing. The jacket does a little better than its lighter weight counterpart when repelling heavy rain, as it is not treated with a robust DWR treatment like some heavier jackets we reviewed but can withstand light drizzle without wetting out immediately. There is a hood that can fit over a climbing helmet, but you'd be hard-pressed to get a ski helmet underneath, and the hood does not have any extra closures other than an elastic band.
Where the Ferrosi Grid impressed us most was in cooler weather when the extra warmth and wind protection provided by the fleece backing was helpful in blocking alpine winds. The longer cut hem stayed put and did not ride high, aiding in weather protection. The wrists are simple elastic cuffs without a Velcro closure that fit well around thin gloves but are challenging to get over gauntlet style ski gloves.
The Ferrosi line has been a favorite amongst the active and adventurous thanks to its breathable and lightweight fabric, and we continue to sing its praises with this new addition to the lineup. Our testers hiked and climbed all over the Sierra Nevada while wearing this jacket and found that with proper layering, this jacket effectively allowed moisture to pass through the grid fleece fabric. To be sure, this is a less breathable jacket than the lightest weight models featured in this review, and is not suited to running, mountain biking or other high-output activities. If you are keeping the RPMs in check, like on a hike, climb, or ski tour, then this jacket will breathe appropriately.
We found that the best layering combination to wear with the Ferrosi Grid was a lighter weight sun shirt or base layer rather than a mid-weight fleece underneath. If it is cold enough to require wearing a thick fleece base, then you can get away with an unlined, lighter weight softshell outer that will help you save weight.
This jacket is made for an active lifestyle, and will not hold you back when you are in the skin track or scrambling an alpine ridge route. The Ferrosi fabric is notoriously stretchy, and even with the added fleece moves well thanks to its unlined underarm panels that promote more range of motion. It is notably heavier than the lighter weight version, so it may feel a bit bulky if the conditions do not require the extra warmth or wind protection, so it may be better suited for cooler temps.
The hem is cut appropriately long so that it will stay tucked in underneath a climbing harness, and can cover the back when out on wintertime adventures like ice climbing or skiing.
This jacket weighs in at 1.3 pounds, making it one of the heavier jackets in this review. While the lighter Ferrosi jacket is one of the lightest, the addition of the grid fleece certainly takes this model out of the running for scoring high in this metric. It is much more noticeable when it is being carried in your pack, but does not seem all that cumbersome when the breeze is blowing and you desire more wind and weather protection than the lighter options.
Keeping in line with the rest of the Ferrosi jackets, the Ferrosi Grid Hooded jacket is rather simple and does not have many features. The hood has no closures, only relying on an elastic brim to keep it secure around the head, and the wrist cuffs are also elastic. There are two handwarmer pockets and a single chest pocket, but no internal pockets. For the weight increase, we would prefer to see more features — Spartan design is more acceptable when the jackets weigh half as much as this one does.
The Ferrosi Grid has a simple, elegant style that looks good on the trail or on the way to work or school, featuring clean lines and a relaxed aesthetic. It is available in four colors ranging from black to sapphire (tested here) and looks as good paired with blue jeans as it does on top of convertible hiking pants.
The Outdoor Research Ferrosi Grid Hooded Jacket is a good value. Offering a similar performance as some of the much higher-end jackets despite not having some of their features, we think the fabric alone is worth the price.
The OR Ferrosi Grid Hooded jacket is a solid choice for those looking for a softshell that will keep them moving on the hard pitches while allowing them to dump heat along the way as any good softshell layer should do.
— Ryan Huetter
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