Outdoor Research Ascendant Hoody - Women's Review
Compare prices at 3 resellers Pros: Breathable, mobile face fabric, cozy fleece liner, technical features, helmet compatible
Cons: Not super warm or wind resistant
Manufacturer: Outdoor Research
Our Analysis and Test Results
The Outdoor Research Ascendant Hoody is one of the most breathable and mobile insulated jackets out there. It off-loads heat easily while wicking away moisture with its super soft fleece-lined interior. Take it with you on your next sweaty endeavor!
Featuring 95 g/m2 Polartec Alpha Direct (100% polyester), this jacket provides decent warmth for the months of the Spring and Fall on its own. The breathable nature of this activewear jacket is not conducive to super cold winter days as a standalone piece, but it does a great job as a mid-layer in the wintertime.
Our testers found it performed just fine while moving on warmer days, but it does require an extra layer (like a shell or fleece) when temperatures dip into the 30s and 40s. That said, it does have a hemline cinch cord and a well-fitted hood that helps to lock in any generated warmth. If you're seeking a great jacket to run or cross-country ski in the winter, this is one of our favorites. It will keep you warm while you move; however, it will cool down quickly if you have to hang out in the snow for a while.
Weight & Compression
Wearing this jacket is comfortable and cozy because of its lightweight nature. Weighing in at just 11.74 ounces, many of our testers mentioned that they hardly noticed it on. While it is lightweight, it does not have its own stow-away system and the quilted-face fabric design. That said, it can pack down to about the size of a small handbag.
To stash it away, we simply zip it up and roll it into its hood. By doing this, we were able to compress it to a modest size without the use of a smaller stuff sack. Even though this contender doesn't have its own stow-away system, it's a great lightweight piece that can still be used for lightweight missions.
The Pertex Microlight ripstop stretch-woven shell does a great job wicking away droplets of water and keeping out a light wind. However, this jacket is thin and will not keep you dry and warm in a downpour or a wicked wind. Given its lighter design, make sure to wear a thin wind shell if you choose to wear it by itself in windy conditions; or layer it under a rain shell when it rains.
Comfort & Coziness
This is one of the more comfortable insulated contenders we reviewed. Slipping on this gem is like wearing a soft fleece because the entire interior is lined with a super-soft fleece liner. It's so warm and cozy that we wanted to wrap ourselves in it - even when we weren't outside. The fleece lining continues throughout the body, arms, hood, and even into the pockets of the jacket. While this is super cozy and comfortable, some of our testers mentioned that the fleecy nature of the material wasn't as easy to layer as others with smoother liners.
In addition to cozy fleece, we LOVE its thin, quiet, mobile face fabric that moves with you while you dyno for a climbing hold or hike through the mountains. The zippered breast pocket is large enough to fit a regular-sized iPhone, but not much else. The handwarmer pockets are larger and accommodate gloved hands, but we didn't like that they didn't have a zipper. This made us afraid to store anything of value inside of them; that said, the breast-pocket sufficed for that function.
The hood is helmet-compatible and provides a snug fit around the face with the pull of a string.
The hemline also has a cinch cord around the back that can cinch down the hem to keep out snow or lock in warmth.
The wrists are elastic (but not gusseted), allowing you to push them up quickly.
The Nylon 20-D face fabric and the fleece liner does an amazing job of wicking away moisture, keeping you cool on the move; this is an active piece, best used while moving onwards and upwards. While hiking in warmer desert conditions, we didn't have to take it off with just a single t-shirt underneath, as it moved moisture easily from our bodies to the air. This is one of the most breathable jackets tested.
Our favorite function is in cold weather. While it's not the warmest coat out there, it's one of our top choices for winter running. It off-loads heat and wicks away moisture, transferring it effectively to the exterior of the breathable face fabric, so moisture does not sit and cool next to the skin.
Style & Fit
Featuring a slim and athletic fit, many of our testers adored its color combinations and flattering design. The style is simple and athletic without any fancy patterning or stitching, and the continuous fabric features one color with contrasting color along its borders and throughout the interior of the fabric.
The arms and torso are long enough to accommodate our longer-limbed testers, and the stretchy face fabric makes this jacket an excellent option for those with a larger chest or broader shoulders. Outdoor Research did an exceptional job of constructing this stylish yet straightforward hoodie jacket.
This is a moderately priced piece. If you're searching for an active-wear insulated jacket, this is a great option, but some jackets offer better warmth and performance for just a little bit more.
The Outdoor Research Ascendant Hoody stands out for its fantastic breathability and comfort features. This lightweight insulated jacket is an ideal standalone piece during the warmer months or a fantastic mid-layer when the mercury dips below freezing.
— Amber King