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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 | $84.98 at Backcountry
Compare prices at 3 resellers
Pros:  Inexpensive, great breathability, stretchy
Cons:  Limited weather protection
Manufacturer:   Outdoor Research
By Ryan Huetter ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Feb 22, 2019
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75
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#3 of 13
  • Weather Protection - 30% 3
  • Breathability - 30% 10
  • Mobility - 20% 10
  • Weight - 10% 9
  • Features - 5% 6
  • Style - 5% 7

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 and is the perfect layer for an active lifestyle. As the third lightest jacket in this review, it is also the least expensive, making it an incredible value for the budget-minded adventurer. Over the course of 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. Where the Ferrosi does not excel is in wet weather conditions. In these cases we tended to favor a softshell with a harder faced outer material such as the Arcteryx Gamma MX which sheds precipitation more effectively.

Other jackets such as the Rab Torque performed nearly as well in these metrics, offering additional weather resistance thanks to the inclusion of a hood. However, the price of these close competitors was at least double that of the Ferrosi. Pair the Ferrosi jacket with a lightweight base layer, and you have a capable wind shell that will shed very light moisture and let you focus on your activity.


Compare to Similar Products

 
Awards Best Buy Award Editors' Choice Award   Top Pick Award 
Price $84.98 at Backcountry
Compare at 3 sellers
$249.00 at Amazon$142.00 at Amazon$219.97 at Backcountry
Compare at 2 sellers
$159.98 at Backcountry
Compare at 2 sellers
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Pros Inexpensive, great breathability, stretchyDurable fabric, great fit, all-around usefulnessGreat for general use, lightweight, weather resistantWaterproof, lightweight, breathableTrim fit, abrasion resistant material, harness and helmet friendly
Cons Limited weather protectionLimited water resistance, fitted cuffsCuffs not adjustable, no hood drawstringsExpensive, large fitNot as wet weather resistant, UK zippers can be awkward to use
Bottom Line For summertime rock climbing where cool winds and rough surfaces are expected.This is a great medium weight softshell jacket that will hold up to rugged use thanks to its durable fabric.A lightweight and weather resistant softshell that offers top performance for a wide range of applications.This hybrid hardshell-softshell offers excellent weather protection for harsh alpine conditions, making it a great choice for alpine climbers and backcountry skiers.The Torque easily wins our Top Pick Award for Climbing with its well thought out designs that appeal to both summer and winter climbers and mountaineers.
Rating Categories Ferrosi Hooded Arc'teryx Gamma LT Hoody Arc'teryx Tenquille Hoody Patagonia Galvanized Rab Torque
Weather Protection (30%)
10
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3
10
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8
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7
10
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10
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4
Breathability (30%)
10
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10
10
0
8
10
0
9
10
0
5
10
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9
Mobility (20%)
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10
10
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6
10
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9
Weight (10%)
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8
Features (5%)
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Style (5%)
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Specs Ferrosi Hooded Arc'teryx Gamma LT... Arc'teryx... Patagonia Galvanized Rab Torque
Type Stretch Woven Stretch woven Stretch woven Waterproof stretch woven Stretch woven
Weight (size medium) 0.8 lbs 1.06 lbs 0.65 lbs 1.1 lbs 1.03 lbs
Material Body and hood: 86% nylon, 14% spandex 90D stretch woven ripstop
Shoulders and lower sleeves: Cordura® 91% nylon, 9% spandex 120D stretch weave
Wee Burly (56% nylon, 34% polyester, 10% elastane) Kauss polyester H2No® Performance Standard shell: 3-layer, 4.4-oz 50-denier 88% polyester/12% spandex Ripstop Matrix
Number of Pockets 3 3 2 3 3
Hood Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Adjustable Cuffs Stretch cuffs Stretch cuffs Stretch cuffs Yes, Velcro Yes, Velcro

Our Analysis and Test Results

Hands-On Review of the Ferrosi Hooded


The Ferrosi Hooded Jacket is the third lightest softshell jacket that we reviewed and offers proven performance for its budget-friendly $129 price tag. 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.

This is a great choice for chilly  but sunny missions in Yosemite Valley.
This is a great choice for chilly, but sunny missions in Yosemite Valley.

Weather Protection


The Ferrosi Hoody is much less protective than shells with a specialized weave, like the Patagonia Galvanized. 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. Even still, it did not fare well in this category when compared to other more windproof jackets like the Patagonia Adze or the Mammut Ultimate.


During heavy gusts, we certainly felt the breeze while wearing the Ferrosi, but it blocked enough wind to keep us from getting chilled. While cross-country skiing, it offered enough protection from light snow and spindrift to keep us dry, while 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; we 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 to wear over a lightweight fleece, such as our award-winning favorite, the Patagonia R1 Hoody. What this model lacks in water resistance, it makes up for in breathability.

In light drizzle the Ferrosi's DWR treatment sheds water as seen on the front  though prolonged showers will wet through as seen on the shoulders.
In light drizzle the Ferrosi's DWR treatment sheds water as seen on the front, though prolonged showers will wet through as seen on the shoulders.

Breathability


We gave the highest score in the breathability metric to the Ferrosi Hoody, as it outperformed all other jackets in high-output aerobic activity. The shell material allows perspiration to easily pass through. Here is one reason to consider a jacket that is not fully windproof, as the slight difference in wind permeability between this jacket and the Sigma SL made a lot of difference in how sweaty we felt. When reaching the end of a long climb on bikes or skis, we arrived drier than when wearing other jackets that had a thicker shell or an inner liner and were able to retain more warmth with less excess moisture to wick away body heat.


When the weather deteriorates, you can throw on a waterproof or puffy jacket depending on conditions. Finally, it's worth noting that after wetting out the shoulders in our waterfall test, the stretchy body and hood fabric breathed like a champ. Our tester was perfectly dry in less than 30 minutes of moderate activity. The jacket was worn over an R1 Hoody. If you don't need lots of breathability and prefer top quality weather protection in a softshell jacket, we recommend the Arcteryx Gamma MX, which is much more weather resistant and has better features.

We most appreciated the breathable fabric of the Ferrosi during activities like mountain biking.
We most appreciated the breathable fabric of the Ferrosi during activities like mountain biking.

Mobility


The most mobile jacket in our review, our Best Buy winner has continued to outperform many new models, even though it is relatively unchanged over the year. 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 stayed in place and didn't fall 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; these perform better than the loops featured on the Mammut Ultimate.


The Ferrosi Hoody works very well when worn over a sun shirt or an light fleece like the Top Pick winning OR Deviator Hoody. We found that when layered as such, the athletic fit was perfect and was 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.

Taking the Ferrosi for a test on the North Ridge of Mount Baker  we found it to be incredibly mobile for alpine climbing.
Taking the Ferrosi for a test on the North Ridge of Mount Baker, we found it to be incredibly mobile for alpine climbing.

Weight


This is the third lightest softshell jacket in our review, with a verified weight of .8 pounds. While it is heavier and less water resistant than the lighter models from Arc'teryx (such as the Tenquille Hoody), the roomier cut and ability to layer underneath is worth an extra ounce. Pairing the Ferrosi with an ultralight rain jacket that weighs less than seven ounces yields a super versatile clothing system that weighs just ounces less 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.

Features


This is a simple jacket that eschews rich features for clean lines, minimal extras and 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 than a model like the Rab Torque, we would hope that future iteration of this jacket move the pockets up a few inches to be more compatible with these accessories

This jacket stows away neatly  allowing it to slip into a small hip pack for short day hikes.
This jacket stows away neatly, allowing it to slip into a small hip pack for short day hikes.

There is just one offset elastic cinch on the right side of the hem while most jackets have two. However, we found that the single cinch worked quite well. Finally, we love the simple elastic wrist closures that keep the cuffs secure. They fit easily over lightweight gloves but are not bulky when we used with larger, gauntlet style gloves. Another great feature this affords is that the cuffs stay put on your forearms if you pull the sleeves up. For lightweight softshells, the elastic wrist closures are an excellent design choice.

The thumb loops featured on the 2019 Ferrosi are top-notch quality and useful. While many thumb loops seem to be an afterthought, these are double stitched, have a wide opening, and are user-friendly.

The reinforced thumb loops were one of our favorite features.
The reinforced thumb loops were one of our favorite features.

A Note on Durability
This jacket is a lightweight softshell jacket that is designed to be used in rough terrain like rock and alpine climbing. That said, it is not very reinforced, and the price reflects that. If used heavily, the hem cords will fray and the shoulders and elbows will experience wear as the material becomes thin and abraded. That's okay! We have put our Ferrosis through the wringer over the years and found them to have a 2-3 year lifespan with rough use.

Style


Though the jacket isn't warm enough to be very useful around town, its mountain style points were quite high.


We probably took more pictures of this jacket than many of the others directly because it looked picturesque at every turn. The fit also contributed style points. It is very tailored and refined. If you plan on layering heavily under this jacket, be warned: it's snug.

This trim softshell is made for an active lifestyle.
This trim softshell is made for an active lifestyle.

Best Applications


This jacket could be considered an ultralight softshell jacket, or a heavy-duty windshirt. It is best suited for athletic mountain sports where breathability and mobility are necessary, and for weather conditions that require wind and light protection from precipitation. Extremely useful as a spring-summer-fall outer layer for alpine climbing, trail running or mountain biking, we also loved this jacket for its breathability when engaging in high-output sports like cross-country skiing in the winter time, though in general, we prefer a heavier weight jacket for cold weather conditions.

Value


For the incredibly low price of $129, Outdoor Research created a high-scoring jacket. If you want this jacket without a hood it can be had for $99. 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 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.

The OR Ferrosi Hoody is one of our favorite all-around jackets  and it comes at a bargain price.
The OR Ferrosi Hoody is one of our favorite all-around jackets, and it comes at a bargain price.


Ryan Huetter