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Outdoor Research Vigor Full-Zip - Women's Review

Highly breathable and built for the backcountry
Best Buy Award
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Price:  $99 List | $59.99 at Amazon
Pros:  Super breathable, great price, wind resistant, quick to dry, long arms and torso, thumb loops, stretchy
Cons:  Lacks water resistance, fit constricts under arm pits for some
Manufacturer:   Outdoor Research
By Amber King ⋅ Senior Review Editor  ⋅  May 11, 2020
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75
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#5 of 13
  • Warmth - 20% 6
  • Comfort and Fit - 20% 6
  • Breathability - 20% 8
  • Layering Ability - 20% 9
  • Ease of Movement - 15% 9
  • Weather Resistance - 5% 6

Our Verdict

If you're seeking a fantastic deal on a technical fleece jacket, the Outdoor Research Vigor Full-Zip will not disappoint. This highly breathable jacket features a well-thought-out paneled construction that vents well, providing excellent breathability. It's a favorite amongst our testers for cross-country skiing, ski touring, running, and hiking. While it's not very water-resistant, it wards off wind well when worn on its own and stretches to fit any woman's curves. With extra-long arms and torso, it'll fit even the tallest of women, while the cozy thump loops help to pull it on with any layer. If you're seeking excellent movement, fit, and breathability at a good price, this is our recommendation. Just know the look is a bit "techy" for some with a preference for trail wear.

Compare to Similar Products

Our Analysis and Test Results

The Outdoor Research Vigor is a full-zip fleece jacket that's highly breathable and functional. It wins our Best Buy Award for its excellent performance across the board. While it's not the most water-resistant, it easily layers with a shell as a functional piece of any woman's wardrobe. It also comes at an exceptional price and a dynamic fit.

Performance Comparison


We enjoy the Outdoor Research Vigor Full Zip on a warm day in the San Juan. Here we take a sip of water while cross-country on a high alpine road.
We enjoy the Outdoor Research Vigor Full Zip on a warm day in the San Juan. Here we take a sip of water while cross-country on a high alpine road.

Warmth


The Vigor Jacket is a full-zip midweight jacket, which offers an average level of warmth. As most fleece jackets simply complement an outdoor layered regime to add warmth, this does just that.


The jacket is built with breathable panels throughout that helps to regulate the heat output. It's constructed of 93% polyester, which locks in warmth even if it gets wet. When layered with a solid base layer and insulated jacket, it'll help keep you warm well into the negative double digits. On its own, the thin breathable construction has limited functionality.

A look at the lengthy fit and design of this warm  yet breathability award winner.
A look at the lengthy fit and design of this warm, yet breathability award winner.

Its zipper comes up just under the chin, so it doesn't provide full coverage for the face. It also features breathable panels which take a bit away from its overall warmth. On a windy day, you'll feel the breeze right through them. The thicker materials on the body of the jacket do offer excellent insulation, which will keep you warm.

A look at the garaged zipper that keeps the chin cozy and comfortable. We also LOVE the huge chest pocket that easily fits the smart phone we're taking this picture with.
A look at the garaged zipper that keeps the chin cozy and comfortable. We also LOVE the huge chest pocket that easily fits the smart phone we're taking this picture with.

This jacket doesn't come with a hood, so be sure to wear a coat that has one or your own beanie. This will keep your ears warm in cold weather.

Comfort and Fit


This jacket is comfortable and boasts a very flexible fit. The polyester is soft against the skin, while the jacket stretches (7% spandex in its construction) over any bump or lump. It has plenty of features that'll keep you comfortable on the trail.

Our main tester is 145 lbs, 5"7, so these references are based on her experiences as well as shorter and taller testers asked to put these jackets on as well.


The fit of this jacket is true to size with a long toro. The arm length is exceptionally long and features thumb loops (which we love) to help it with layering. The only fit caveat we noticed is the material can pinch across in the armpits for those blessed with wider shoulders. Many of our taller testers love this jacket.

The arms and torso are incredibly long offering a compatible fit for even tall women.
The arms and torso are incredibly long offering a compatible fit for even tall women.

The neck of this jacket comes all the way up and features a garaged zipper at the top. During cold weather, this was soft and didn't abrade our chin or nose, which was much appreciated. The fit in the neck, however, is a little tight. If you have a thicker neck, you might find it a little less comfortable in this part of the fit.

The materials are incredibly stretchy  making them mobile and more comfortable.
The materials are incredibly stretchy, making them mobile and more comfortable.

The stretch of the jacket offers a lot of wiggle room for fit. If you have a bit of a belly or a large bust, it will most likely work because of its level of stretch. We appreciate the super spacious chest and hand warming pockets, all that easily fit a cell phone. The pockets are positioned in a normal location, so when wearing a backpack, it may be hard to access them.

The fleece-lined pockets are ample and cozy.
The fleece-lined pockets are ample and cozy.

While this is a comfortable jacket, it's not the coziest. The thin, stretchable materials accommodate the beauty and curves of most women but can be a little limited for others. That said, this is a go-to piece for any outdoor adventure as it moves well with the body, breathes, and feels comfortable for all-day wear.

There are no adjustable drawstrings around the hem or any part of this jacket. Its fit versatility comes in the form of super stretchy fabrics. No does it come with fuzzy

Breathability


This jacket has been a go-to for us while cross-country skiing, running, and ski touring. It is breathable and well-thought-out for this exact purpose. We highly recommend it for any technical outdoor adventure.


The build of this jacket is both durable and highly breathable. Venting panels strategically placed on the arms, back, and along the sides use a thinner material with a PowerGrid design. This means the fabrics insulate and breathe at the same time. The full zip and pockets can also be opened to help blow out the heat.

The darker materials are the location of the breathable panels while the bright pink is where you'll find the thicker continuous fleece. This makes for a hugely breathable jacket.
The darker materials are the location of the breathable panels while the bright pink is where you'll find the thicker continuous fleece. This makes for a hugely breathable jacket.

In zones that don't get as hot (the core), continuous fleece is used to help retain warmth. While this isn't the most breathable jacket that we tested, it is certainly well thought out. It's our go-to for winter use simply because there is a nice balance of insulation and venting capabilities. However, the continuous fleece can get hot, which is why we prefer to run with it on colder days.

A look at the breathable PowerGrid design that offers excellent heat off-loading.
A look at the breathable PowerGrid design that offers excellent heat off-loading.

Layering Ability


The use of stretchy and smooth fabrics, in addition to the integration of thumb loops, makes this jacket very easy to layer.


It can easily be worn over a thicker base layer, under a shell, or on its own. The materials slide against the fabrics of even the thickest layers and don't bunch or ball.

Here we use a merino wool base layer  the Vigor jacket  and an insulated jacket on top. It layers easily and moves well when layered.
Here we use a merino wool base layer, the Vigor jacket, and an insulated jacket on top. It layers easily and moves well when layered.

Ease of Movement


This is a jacket we love to wear while climbing, running, and cross-country skiing.


While there's a little constriction under the arms (for our broad-shouldered testers), it moves easily with the body. It only rides up a tiny bit when you put your arms overhead, but moves down when you put your arms down as well. This fabric is incredibly stretchy and mobile — designed to move with you.

This jacket is mobile and a great option for those that love to climb and appreciate a liquid fleece.
This jacket is mobile and a great option for those that love to climb and appreciate a liquid fleece.

Weather Resistance


We tested this while cross country skiing in the snow and while running in windy conditions in Southern Colorado. While it offers some tenacity with wind resistance, it's terrible when it comes to the rain. Be sure you bring a shell with you if you think you'll get caught in a storm.


The jacket's panels of thicker continuous material are made of a soft-shell material that is still quite thin. This continuous design does a great job warding off the wind while keeping you nice and vented. In both snow and rainstorms, we noticed that precipitation would bead for about one second before absorbing right into the fabrics. After a snowstorm, we were wet, but still warm after thick flakes fell from the sky. In our water tests, this was further validated. The water didn't sit on the fabric when flicking water onto them but immediately absorbed. This was throughout, on both the PowerGrid and continuous fleece materials.

The results of our water test. Unfortunately  water absorbs quickly and hardly beads on the fabric.
The results of our water test. Unfortunately, water absorbs quickly and hardly beads on the fabric.

Value


This jacket wins our Best Buy award because it's an excellent technical jacket for a great price! Its style features different, complementary colors used for the thicker and thinner materials, which gives it a bit of techy look. While this isn't our top choice to wear out into town or while hanging with friends, its one of our favorites to take on winter runs and wear throughout the year.

We typically wore this fleece while cross-country skiing  hiking  trail running  and more. Its breathable design offers technical performance that can't be beaten for the price. It's also durable  not showing any wear or tear after months of use.
We typically wore this fleece while cross-country skiing, hiking, trail running, and more. Its breathable design offers technical performance that can't be beaten for the price. It's also durable, not showing any wear or tear after months of use.

Conclusion


The Outdoor Research Vigor Full-Zip stands next to be the best competitors in this review and is offered at a fantastic price. With its excellent performance, this is a technical fleece that you'll get your money's worth for. It stands out for its excellent stretchy fabrics and paneled design that lends to great breathability. This fleece will perform all year round; you can wear it on its own in the warmer months, or complemented with a base layer and jacket when the temperature plummets. Its lightweight and moveable design can easily be taken on backpacking missions, day hikes, climbing adventures, and more.

On this hike up the Old Horsethief Trail in Ouray in blustery weather  the OR Vigor keeps us warm and completely covered. Our Best Buy award winner offers the best performance for the price.
On this hike up the Old Horsethief Trail in Ouray in blustery weather, the OR Vigor keeps us warm and completely covered. Our Best Buy award winner offers the best performance for the price.

Amber King