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Outdoor Research Super Alpine Down Parka Review

This warm, full-coverage parka is a good option for users in cold, windy, and dry climates
Outdoor Research Super Alpine Down Parka
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Price:  $399 List | Check Price at REI
Compare prices at 3 resellers
Pros:  Warm, versatile, lots of coverage
Cons:  Not that comfortable, bulky, poor water resistance
Manufacturer:   Outdoor Research
By Jeff Dobronyi ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Apr 15, 2022
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63
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#15 of 17
  • Warmth - 25% 7.0
  • Weather Resistance - 20% 6.0
  • Comfort - 20% 6.0
  • Style - 20% 6.0
  • Features - 10% 6.0
  • Durability - 5% 6.0

Our Verdict

The Outdoor Research Super Alpine Down Parka is a lightly-shelled down parka with technical applications in mind. It is packed with high-quality down insulation in the torso and synthetic insulation in the arms to provide plenty of warmth for cold winter days, and a shell fabric that can withstand the occasional rain shower. It has a long hem and a hood that can swallow a climbing or ski helmet, in addition to a three-way closure system for windy conditions. It lacks the features of other high-end winter jackets, but saves weight in the process, which makes it useful for winter hiking and camping. There are more technical winter jackets on the market, but if you are looking for a parka that can perform both on trails and on city streets, this is a good option.

Compare to Similar Products

 
Awards  Best Buy Award Top Pick Award Best Buy Award  
Price Check Price at REI
Compare at 3 sellers
$350 List
$244.96 at Backcountry
$256.61 at Amazon
Compare at 2 sellers
$300 List
$148.83 at REI
$209.96 at Backcountry
Compare at 2 sellers
Overall Score Sort Icon
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Pros Warm, versatile, lots of coverageWarm, long hem, comfortable hood, great featuresWarm, lightweight, comfortableWarm, weather resistant, durableComfortable, heavily featured, stylish
Cons Not that comfortable, bulky, poor water resistanceBulky, faux fur hood is polarizingNot that durable, minimal featuresNot very breathable, limited color optionsNot very warm, marginally weather resistant
Bottom Line This warm, full-coverage parka is a good option for users in cold, windy, and dry climatesA warm, stylish, and budget-conscious jacket for those in the coldest regionsA warm, comfortable, and lightweight down parka that is ideal for winter hiking and outdoor activitiesA versatile and high-performance winter jacket with plenty of warmth and weather protection, at a great priceA solid, inexpensive, all-around winter parka with just minor fit issues and limited wet weather performance
Rating Categories Outdoor Research Su... The North Face McMu... Rab Neutrino Pro REI Co-op Stormheng... The North Face Goth...
Warmth (25%)
7.0
9.0
8.0
7.0
6.0
Weather Resistance (20%)
6.0
6.0
6.0
8.0
6.0
Comfort (20%)
6.0
7.0
8.0
7.0
8.0
Style (20%)
6.0
8.0
8.0
6.0
6.0
Features (10%)
6.0
8.0
5.0
7.0
7.0
Durability (5%)
6.0
9.0
5.0
7.0
7.0
Specs Outdoor Research Su... The North Face McMu... Rab Neutrino Pro REI Co-op Stormheng... The North Face Goth...
Down Fill Power 800 550 800 850 550
Total Weight 1.82 lbs. 3.55 lbs. 1.38 lbs. 1.94 lbs. 3.10 lbs.
Pockets 2 zippered hand, 1 zip chest, 2 internal mesh, 1 mesh stash 2 chest height, zippered handwarmers, 2 exterior top-entry Velcro flap pockets, 1 sleeve, 1 interior media pocket, and 2 side-entry waist handwarmers 2 zippered hand, 1 internal chest 5 (2 zippered hand, 1 zippered chest, 2 internal) 6 (2 zippered hand, 2 patch chest, 1 patch arm, [internal] 1 zippered media)
Hood Yes Yes (removable) Yes Yes Yes
Hood Adjustments Adjustable drawcords Rear drawcord 2 side drawcords, rear velcro 3-way adjustable Adjustable
Baffle Type Discontinuous quilting Sewn-through under an outer shell fabric Twisted arm baffle Sewn-through under an outer shell fabric Sewn-through inner layer
Main Fabric Pertex Quantum Pro 30-denier ripstop nylon DryVent 2L 100% nylon Pertex Quantum HydroWall 2L DryVent 2L 100% nylon

Our Analysis and Test Results

With technical design components styling, but enough useful features for urban winter life, the Super Alpine rides the line between backcountry and everyday winter jacket uses.

Performance Comparison


The OR Super Alpine has good warmth and technical features with a...
The OR Super Alpine has good warmth and technical features with a backcountry style.
Credit: Sam Willits

Warmth


The Outdoor Research Super Alpine Down Parka is geared towards warmth with plenty of 800-fill power down insulation throughout the torso and hood, and synthetic insulation in the arms. The long hem and full-coverage hood also help keep warmth inside the jacket. It doesn't feel as warm as other jackets that we have tested, but it comes close, and the parka design gives the jacket a cozy feel. Designed for the cold environments of winter alpine climbing and high-altitude mountaineering, this jacket keeps users warm in most winter climates.

Baffles filled with high-quality down make the Super Alpine a very...
Baffles filled with high-quality down make the Super Alpine a very warm jacket.
Credit: Sam Willits

Weather Resistance


The Super Alpine uses a Pertex Quantum Pro waterproof and breathable membrane to keep liquid water out of its down baffles. This shell fabric works reasonably well, though it won't stand up to the most severe downpours. For wet winter climates where rain is common, we recommend a different jacket, but for cold and dry winters where precipitation falls as snow, and not that often, this jacket proves sufficiently weather resistant. The long hem and hood effectively keep wind out from the inside of the jacket.

A waterproof membrane keeps most water out, but in a deluge, the...
A waterproof membrane keeps most water out, but in a deluge, the jacket will get wet.
Credit: Sam Willits

Comfort


Down parkas with thin hardshell fabrics are generally comfortable to wear, and the Super Alpine is no different. The down baffles gently cloak the torso, and the synthetically-insulated sleeves move easily. The chin is guarded by a patch of fleecy material, which is nice. The sleeve cuffs feature a rather stiff edge, which is rather uncomfortable against the wrists, and compared to other lightweight down parkas that we have tested, this one feels more bulky and cumbersome. It is large enough to provide plenty of warmth, but it also limits motion. For the warmth, it is a relatively comfortable jacket to wear, but other jackets are even more comfortable.

A fleece chin pad protects the skin of the face from abrasion.
A fleece chin pad protects the skin of the face from abrasion.
Credit: Sam Willits

Style


As a technically-minded parka, this jacket is styled for outdoor use. It fits in well in more rural and mountainous areas where technical winter clothing is used for both backcountry activities and errands around town. In urban settings, this parka will provide a stylish but specific look. If you are going for the big-puffy-jacket look, this is a great option, but compared to the more stylized trench coats and bomber jackets on the market, this parka comes up short in style.

With a technical "puffy" look, the Super Alpine is at home in cold...
With a technical "puffy" look, the Super Alpine is at home in cold, mountainous climates, but might stand out a bit more in urban areas.
Credit: Sam Willits

Features


The Super Alpine Down Parka has two large external handwarmer pockets with fleece-lined interiors, and one large external chest pocket. These pockets are large enough for plenty of storage of everyday items like phones, wallets, keys, and gloves. It also has two internal mesh stash pockets for larger items like hats and scarves, or for water bottles and mittens when being used in technical applications. These features are sufficient, especially for winter backcountry use, and they are just fine for urban use, but other jackets on the market have more features.

A full coverage hood and large zippered chest pocket are among the...
A full coverage hood and large zippered chest pocket are among the useful features on the Super Alpine.
Credit: Sam Willits

Durability


The thin, fragile shell fabric on the Super Alpine is more susceptible to snagging and tearing than the shell fabric on other jackets, but in our test period, the fabric escaped damage when it caught on small sharp edges around windows and walls. We didn't have any durability issues during our test period, and like the durability chances of the down insulation. However, the synthetic insulation in the sleeves will lose its insulation properties before the down torso does, and the velcro sleeve closures also have a shelf life.

The Pertex Quantum Pro face fabric is thin and pliable, meaning it...
The Pertex Quantum Pro face fabric is thin and pliable, meaning it can hang up on sharp objects easier than thicker face fabrics. This thin construction keeps the jacket's weight down, however.
Credit: Sam Willits

Should You Buy the Outdoor Research Super Alpine Down Parka?


This jacket delivers enough warmth and wind protection for most dry and cold winter climates, and we are also impressed by its durability. It isn't the most affordable winter jacket, but it provides more performance in the most important metrics than some more expensive parkas. There may be better values on the market, but this jacket delivers warmth and comfort in a relatively inexpensive package.

What Other Winter Jackets Should You Consider?


The Outdoor Research Super Alpine Down Parka is a reasonably-priced down-insulated parka built for technical outdoor missions like cold mountaineering and alpine climbing. It is warm, reasonably weather-resistant for below-freezing weather, and relatively comfortable. If you're looking for a super warm and lightweight technical piece, check out one of our Top Picks, the Feathered Friends Khumbu Down Parka or the Rab Neutrino Pro. For something that blends performance with a little better affordability, consider the REI Co-op Stormhenge Down Hybrid Parka or the North Face McMurdo Down Parka. Both of these options perform well and stand out for their value.

We like this jacket a lot, especially in cold, windy, and dry...
We like this jacket a lot, especially in cold, windy, and dry mountainous climates.
Credit: Sam Willits

Jeff Dobronyi
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