Hands-on Gear Review

The North Face Oso Hoodie Review

Price:  $140 List | $69.97 at Backcountry
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Pros:  Soft raschel fleece is cozy and warm.
Cons:  Short arms, not very breathable.
Editors' Rating:   
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Style/Design:  Slightly tailored silhouette, short sleeve
Main Fabric:  Polyester Raschel Fleece
Unique Features:  Light shell fabric for hood and shoulders, stretch fabric for cuffs and hem
Manufacturer:   The North Face

Our Verdict

The North Face Oso Hoodie is a cozy and warm fleece that takes the style of the North Face Denali - Women's jacket and combines it with the raschel fleece look of The North Face Osito 2. A taffeta overlay on the shoulders and hood provide abrasion resistance from pack straps and a little extra protection in a light rain. Stretch fabric at the hem and cuffs help to keep them in place. Unfortunately, like many other North Face jackets, we found the arms to be on the short side, so if you've got long arms this might not fit you well. Otherwise it's a comfortable and warm jacket that's great for layering under a shell or throwing on around the campsite or as a jacket on cool days.


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Our Analysis and Test Results

Review by:
Cam McKenzie Ring

Last Updated:
Saturday
September 6, 2014

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The North Face Oso Hoodie is made of raschel fleece with a polyester taffeta overlay on the shoulders and hood. The cuffs at the wrists and bottom hem are made of a different stretch fabric, and the fleece weight is fairly heavy at 315 g/m².

Performance Comparison


The uber-soft fleece is so comfortable to wear you can't help but smile.
The uber-soft fleece is so comfortable to wear you can't help but smile.

Warmth


This jacket is warm and the hood makes it even warmer. Hoods on jackets are often a matter of personal preference. Some people swear by them, and others prefer to wear a beanie instead. But a beanie is not going to provide the continuous protection over your neck and head that a hood does. Our testers felt much warmer wearing a hooded fleece than a jacket/hat combo, particularly when the wind was blowing. This model only comes in a hooded version.

The raschel lined hood on The North Face Oso will keep you warm and cozy on cold days.
The raschel lined hood on The North Face Oso will keep you warm and cozy on cold days.

Comfort and Coziness


The comfort and texture of the raschel fleece on The North Face Oso just can't be beat! We actually prefer wearing this jacket with only a tank top underneath so we can feel the silky fleece against our skin.

The interior of the hood was fuzzy and warm  and a big hit with our testers.
The interior of the hood was fuzzy and warm, and a big hit with our testers.

Breathability


The North Face Oso Hoodie is not as breathable a fleece as the Patagonia R2 - Women's or The North Face Radium Hi-Loft - Women's, but that's mostly due to the weight of the fleece itself. At over 300g it's meant more for keeping you warm than for being active and breathable. This is the layer that you want to put on after you hike…not the one you want to wear during.

Layering Ability and Ease of Movement


The cut of The North Face Oso Hoodie is actually a little more contoured than the Osito 2 jacket, which is nice, and there is still room under the jacket for a shirt or light base layer. It does layer underneath an insulated ski jacket a little easier than the Osito 2. However, the hood did tend to get in the way a bit. This wouldn't be the best layer to wear if you were skiing and wearing a helmet.

This is a great layer to wear while belaying or standing still when it's cold out.
This is a great layer to wear while belaying or standing still when it's cold out.

Wind Protection and Water Resistance


Our testers found that while the raschel fleece is warm and nice against our skin, it doesn't offer much in the way of wind protection like the Polartec Thermal Pro fabrics do (found on the Patagonia Piton Hybrid Hoody). However, the taffeta overlay does provide a bit of extra rain protection for the hood and shoulders, and will keep you drier for longer in a light rain.

The overlay on the hood and shoulders will keep you drier in a light rain.
The overlay on the hood and shoulders will keep you drier in a light rain.

Style and Fit


The two-tone material on The North Face Oso Hoodie gives it a distinct technical look, like the Denali jacket, but without many technical applications. The arms of this jacket are also noticeably short, particularly on our testers with long arms.

The length of the sleeves seem to be a little short on most of our testers.
The length of the sleeves seem to be a little short on most of our testers.

Best Applications


This is a great jacket for wearing as an outer layer on cold days, either for after a hike or for a warm layer between climbs, but you wouldn't want to wear it while being active. The Patagonia R1 - Women's is a better choice for that.

Value


The extra bits of construction on The North Face Oso Hoodie (the hood, taffeta panels and stretch cuffs) increase of the price of the jacket quite a bit compared to the Osito 2. If you really want a hood, the Marmot Flair Hoody has a similar cut but a lower price tag.

This piece has contrasting stretch fabric at the hem and cuffs.
This piece has contrasting stretch fabric at the hem and cuffs.

Conclusion


Overall, The North Face Oso Hoodie is a warm and cozy fleece that's sure to keep you smiling every time you wear it. In the end though, it doesn't have many technical applications, and considering that it's edging up on the higher end of the price spectrum, we'd recommend opting for something a little more versatile.

Other versions


If you are looking for a similar fleece without the hood check out The North Face Osito 2 that is made of the same fabric. The Osito 2 is an update on the popular original Osito. They ditched some features, like the ability to zip it into a North Face shell, in favor of creating a more stand-alone fleece jacket. This piece has a more tailored fit than its predecessor, with the same cozy, fuzzy fleece.
Cam McKenzie Ring

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Most recent review: September 6, 2014
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