Outdoor Research Ferrosi Hoodie Review
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Outdoor Research Ferrosi Hoodie
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|Pros||Super breathable, durable, inexpensive||Incredibly light, very mobile||Softshell fit and feel, oversized storm hood, designed for freedom of motion||Good mix of breathability and weather resistance, large internal pockets||Budget-friendly, warm, windproof|
|Cons||Poor wet weather protection||Limited weather protection, few features||Expensive, relatively heavy, odor retention||No internal zippered pocket, large fit makes it less versatile, tight fitting hood with ski helmet||Heavy, bulky, stiff fabric|
|Bottom Line||This budget-friendly softshell is one of our favorites for summertime rock climbing||This is one of the lightest softshells out there, perfect for cool windy days at the crag||An ultra-lightweight alternative to your normal softshell, this jacket is warmer and more comfortable than many without sacrificing breathability||Designed for use above treeline, this jacket is a superb choice for backcountry and resort skiing||Perfect for casual and urban outings where cold wind or light rain might be expected|
|Rating Categories||Outdoor Research Fe...||Rab Borealis||Black Diamond Alpin...||Black Diamond Dawn...||The North Face Apex...|
|Weather Protection (30%)|
|Specs||Outdoor Research Fe...||Rab Borealis||Black Diamond Alpin...||Black Diamond Dawn...||The North Face Apex...|
|Measured Weight (size medium)||13.4 oz||10.5 oz||7.4 oz||21.4 oz||27.4 oz|
|Material||86% nylon (46% recycled), 14% spandex||Lightweight Matrix single weave with 2-way stretch and DWR||Schoeller stretch-woven: 93% nylon, 7% Elastane, Schoeller Eco-Repel Bio DWR||63% nylon, 26% polyester, 11% elastane with DWR finish||100% polyester|
|Lined/Insulated?||Yes, lining 91% nylon, 9% spandex||No||No||Brushed backing||Fleece backer|
|Hood?||Yes, climbing helmet compatible, adjustable, stowable||Yes, under helmet with lycra binding||Yes, adjustable||Yes, helmet compatible and adjustable||Yes, adjustable|
|Number of Pockets (zippered unless otherwise noted)||3 (2 hand, 1 chest)||2 (external chest)||1 chest||5 (2 harness-compatible hand, 2 chest, 1 internal)||3 (2 hand, 1 chest)|
|Adjustable Cuffs?||Elastic cuffs||Lycra cuffs||Elastic cuffs||Yes, Velcro||No|
|Available Sizes||S - XXXL||S - XXL||S-XL||S - XL||XS - XXL|
Our Analysis and Test Results
The Ferrosi delivers proven performance for a budget-friendly price. Known for its breathability and stretchy fit, it excels in aerobic sports where breathability is key. 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.
Lightweight softshell jackets that tend to excel in breathability often have diminished performance when it comes to protecting from weather. The Ferrosi Hoodie is no exception. Tried and true, the Ferrosi fabric has long withstood the abuse of coarse-grained granite, gusty mountain winds, and light virga when descending from summertime alpine rock routes. But when the heavy stuff comes in, this fabric wets out quicker than most even though it has been treated with a water-resistant DWR conditioning.
This tight woven nylon/spandex combination blocks wind well, especially when paired with a thin fleece underneath, as it has no additional backing, sheds light rain, and dries out quickly. But for anticipated prolonged wet conditions, we find ourselves throwing on a lightweight hardshell jacket. An adjustable hood fits comfortably over a climbing helmet, although ski helmets feel a bit cramped. Wrist cuffs are fitted rather than adjustable, so those wearing gloves will have to decide whether they can fit them under and get added weather protection or go over the cuffs and deal with the downsides of having them exposed.
The Ferrosi is one of the most breathable jackets we tested. This is a great example of how beneficial it can be to have a jacket that is not entirely windproof. By using a woven fabric with no fleece backing, winds are adequately blocked, but the warmth and sweat you generate while engaging in aerobic, high-output activities like cross-country skiing, running, or biking can still find their way through the fabric and not get trapped. Arriving to the top of a big climb dry and not sweaty makes a big difference, and it is one of the main reasons we continue to appreciate jackets like the Ferrosi.
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, then a slightly heavier jacket with a liner may be worth the added weight for the extra weather resistance it provides.
We tend to see a positive correlation between breathability and mobility — the lighter and stretchier the fabric, the better it breathes, and surprise, surprise, the better it moves. The Ferrosi is no exception and arrives again at the top of the podium for mobility. The super-stretchy material, which blends spandex into the nylon, allows for full range of motion without constriction, and even during the richest of climbing maneuvers, the sleeves barely move.
One thing that Outdoor Research changed with the new Ferrosi is the thumb loops and the arm patterning. In previous iterations, we found that the arms were either too short or too long, and the sewn-in thump loops helped keep the cuffs from sliding back when reaching. The new model gets rid of the thumb loops altogether (but the arm length seems spot on!). Some may be ecstatic about this change, while other folks with longer arms might wish for a return of the thumb loop. Time will tell.
Once one of the lightest jackets in our softshell jacket roundup, the Ferrosi has had some new contenders enter the arena that have shifted the definition of what it means to be lightweight. We put the Ferrosi on the scale and are still impressed at its 13.4-ounce weight, although the lightest jacket in this review is now half that weight!
The biggest benefit we see to jumping past the ultralight offerings and checking this one out is the added durability that the Ferosi fabric offers. Sure, it is a little heavier, but rubbing up against rock or taking a spill at speed on the local MTB trail is going to tear through those other fabrics like tissue paper, whereas we find this jacket to be pretty abrasion-resistant.
Over the years, the Ferrosi has seen several minor updates, but despite these small tweaks, it has stayed true to the original concept and continues to offer broad appeal to outdoor enthusiasts seeking a quality, lightweight softshell jacket. Year after year, even in the face of new competition, Outdoor Research has continued the Ferrosi tradition of choosing simplicity and performance over flash and/or niche applications. Foregoing lots of fancy features for a simple but attractive design and a wide range of color offerings, this jacket is useful for casual outings, light hikes, and anything that a seasoned adventurer can throw at it.
Again, the main limitation of this jacket is its diminished performance in wet weather conditions. Still, for a thin softshell jacket whose main ambition is aerobic activity, we are absolutely fine giving up some weather protection for enhanced breathability and performance in this athletic arena.
While prices of outdoor apparel continue to skyrocket, we are happy to say that the price of the Ferrosi Hoodie has remained the same. Simple yet refined in its updated iteration, this jacket continues to be one of our favored softshells and, at a budget-friendly price, continues to be an award winner.
At its core, a softshell jacket is a hybrid piece meant to fill the gap between hardshell jackets and fleeces. The Outdoor Research Ferrosi Hoodie 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, the Ferrosi 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.
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