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Outdoor Research Ferrosi Hooded Review

For summertime rock climbing where cool winds and rough surfaces are expected
Best Buy Award
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Price:  $129 List | $82.73 at REI
Compare prices at 3 resellers
Pros:  Inexpensive, great breathability, stretchy
Cons:  Limited weather protection
Manufacturer:   Outdoor Research
By Ryan Huetter ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Mar 30, 2020
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74
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#3 of 11
  • Weather Protection - 30% 3
  • Breathability - 30% 10
  • Mobility - 25% 10
  • Weight - 10% 8
  • Versatility - 5% 4

Our Verdict

The Outdoor Research Ferrosi Hooded Jacket has long been a staple of many outdoor adventurer's wardrobes. It is light, durable, highly mobile — the perfect layer for an active lifestyle. It is also one of the least expensive options in our review, making it an incredible value for the budget-minded adventurer. Throughout many seasons, we have thoroughly tested the Ferrosi, and favor it in conditions that require wind protection and durability against rocks. It is very stretchy and breathable, making it a perfect choice for running, cycling, and climbing. For yet another year, the Ferrosi wins our Best Buy Award.

Compare to Similar Products

Our Analysis and Test Results

The Ferrosi offers proven performance for a budget-friendly price. This jacket is well-known for its breathability and stretchy fit, attributes that make it perfect for vigorous activity like ski touring, trail running, cycling, or rock climbing. Its wet weather protection is marginal due to the thin and porous fabric, but it serves up enough wind protection to make it useful high on a windswept alpine ridge.

Performance Comparison


Serving up wind protection on a cool spring hike  we love the OR Ferrosi as an active outer layer.
Serving up wind protection on a cool spring hike, we love the OR Ferrosi as an active outer layer.

Weather Protection


The Ferrosi Hoody is much less protective than shells with a specialized weave or those with high-tech layered fabrics. However, during a high-output activity like trail running or mountain biking, it is nice to have the option to don a more breathable, heavier-duty wind jacket like this one. The Ferrosi defends against the elements with a tight nylon/spandex weave and DWR treatment rather than a membrane.


During heavy gusts, we certainly felt the breeze while wearing the Ferrosi, but it blocks enough wind to keep you from getting overly chilled. While cross-country skiing, it offers enough protection from light snow and spindrift to stay dry while still remaining breathable. By incorporating a hood, this jacket allows you to seal out the elements even when wearing a climbing helmet (an average-sized ski helmet won't fit).

We tested this jacket in the shower as well and were surprised that it lasted for as long as it did before wetting through — a full 30 seconds in a downpour. It is not waterproof, only lightly resistant, but for cold, windy conditions, this contender is ideal for wearing over a lightweight fleece, such as our award-winning favorite, the Patagonia R1 Hoody. What the Ferrosi lacks in water resistance, it makes up for in breathability.

Extra protection is gained from the thumb loops  which keep the arms in place while reaching overhead.
Extra protection is gained from the thumb loops, which keep the arms in place while reaching overhead.

Breathability


The Ferrosi outperformed almost all other jackets in high-output aerobic activity. The shell material allows perspiration to pass through easily. This is why considering a jacket that is not fully windproof can be a good idea. When reaching the end of a long climb on bikes or skis, we arrived drier than when wearing other jackets with a thicker shell or an inner liner and were able to retain more warmth with less excess moisture to wick away body heat.


It's worth noting that after wetting out the shoulders in our waterfall test, the stretchy body and hood fabric of the Ferrosi still breathed like a champ. Our tester was perfectly dry in less than 30 minutes of moderate activity. If, on the other hand, you don't need lots of breathability and prefer top-quality weather protection in a softshell jacket, a slightly heavier jacket with a liner may be worth the added weight for the extra weather resistance it provides.

Even in this high desert environment  we felt that the Ferrosi was highly breathable.
Even in this high desert environment, we felt that the Ferrosi was highly breathable.

Mobility


The Best Buy winning Ferrosi has continued to outperform many new models, even though it is relatively unchanged over the years. This is a great choice for mountain bikers, runners, and climbers who recreate mostly in dry conditions and want wind and abrasion protection without sacrificing the ability to move freely. When reaching up with a harness on, the cuffs fall slightly; however, when wearing gloves, the wrist cuffs stay in place thanks to the stretch of the material. There are good quality thumb loops that allow the wearer to keep the cuffs in place and gain a bit of protection. This year's design update may be a blessing or a curse depending on how long your arms are: we found the previous iteration to have arms that we were forced to roll up, while this one feels just right.

This is a favorite among testers as a rock climbing layer  it moves well and stays put under the harness.
This is a favorite among testers as a rock climbing layer, it moves well and stays put under the harness.


The Ferrosi Hoody works very well when worn over a sun shirt or a light fleece. We found that when layered as such, the athletic fit was perfect — snug but not too tight. If you often find yourself between sizes or wish to layer a thicker midweight fleece below the Ferrosi, then consider sizing up one size.

Baggy enough to wear layers underneath without feeling constricted  the longer hem also lets you tuck it securely under a climbing harness.
Baggy enough to wear layers underneath without feeling constricted, the longer hem also lets you tuck it securely under a climbing harness.

Weight


The Ferrosi is the third lightest softshell jacket in our review, with a verified weight of 13 ounces. Despite this little bit of extra heft, the roomier cut and ability to layer underneath is worth an extra ounce, in our opinion. And, pairing the Ferrosi with an ultralight rain jacket yields a super versatile clothing system that weighs just ounces more than many of the other softshells that we reviewed. Because this softshell jacket weighs so little, it is easy to work into a wide range of clothing systems. You can pack this for an extended alpine trip or get a new PR on your local Strava circuit.


This jacket stows away into one of its hand warmer pockets with plenty of room to spare. It wasn't designed for it, but it's possible to stuff the Ferrosi into its more compact chest pocket, too.

The Ferrosi is a pretty lightweight jacket for its durability.
The Ferrosi is a pretty lightweight jacket for its durability.

Versatility


The OR Ferrosi is a simple jacket that eschews rich features for clean lines, minimal extras, and a light weight. The hooded version tested here is our favorite of the Ferrosi line, and we prefer the extra ounce of weight in order to have more protection. There are only two adjustment cords, rather than three, so this best fits over a hat or a low-profile climbing helmet.


We have long complained that the zippered handwarmer pockets are too low on the body of the Ferrosi to be comfortable or useful when used with a climbing harness, a backpack hip belt, or a waistbelt hydration pack. Since this jacket is more of an athletic garment with less casual crossover, we were a bit disappointed to see that this issue had not been addressed in this newest version.

The arms on this version felt a bit shorter  so we measured it up against the prior model.
The arms on this version felt a bit shorter, so we measured it up against the prior model.

Value


For a decently low price, Outdoor Research created a high-scoring jacket. If you want this jacket without a hood, it can be had for even cheaper. With this combination of low price and great performance, we couldn't help but give this jacket our Best Buy Award.

Conclusion


At its core, a softshell jacket is a hybrid piece that is meant to fill the gap between hardshell jackets and fleeces. The Ferrosi fills this gap wonderfully and is a joy to wear over a base layer or light fleece. Several reviewers purchased the jacket after the conclusion of our review. While other softshells might be a touch more breathable and others more weather resistant, this jacket strikes a fantastic real-world balance packed into a super lightweight piece. If you want excellent breathability coupled with some protection from snow and moisture, this jacket is an excellent addition to your kit.

Taking a hike? Throw the Ferrosi in the pack  it is lightweight  provides some extra insurance for when the wind whips up  and offers a lot of value!
Taking a hike? Throw the Ferrosi in the pack, it is lightweight, provides some extra insurance for when the wind whips up, and offers a lot of value!

Ryan Huetter