Outdoor Research Super Alpine Down Parka Review
Compare prices at 2 resellers Pros: Warm, versatile, lots of coverage
Cons: Not that comfortable, bulky, poor water resistance
Manufacturer: Outdoor Research
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Outdoor Research Super Alpine Down Parka
|Price||$279.26 at Backcountry|
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|Check Price at REI|
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|$262.46 at Backcountry|
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$148.83 at REI
|$194.97 at Backcountry|
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|Pros||Warm, versatile, lots of coverage||Warm, long hem, comfortable hood, great features||Warm, lightweight, comfortable||Warm, weather resistant, durable||Comfortable, heavily featured, stylish|
|Cons||Not that comfortable, bulky, poor water resistance||Bulky, faux fur hood is polarizing||Not that durable, minimal features||Not very breathable, limited color options||Not very warm, marginally weather resistant|
|Bottom Line||This warm, full-coverage parka is a good option for users in cold, windy, and dry climates||A warm, stylish, and budget-conscious jacket for those in the coldest regions||A warm, comfortable, and lightweight down parka that is ideal for winter hiking and outdoor activities||A versatile and high-performance winter jacket with plenty of warmth and weather protection, at a great price||A 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...|
|Weather Resistance (20%)|
|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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
— Jeff Dobronyi
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