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Outdoor Research Refuge Hoody - Women's Review

Stand up to the elements in this breathable yet protective mobile face jacket.
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Price:  $200 List | $138.73 at REI
Compare prices at 2 resellers
Pros:  Great weather protection, good value, cute fit, breathable, fun features
Cons:  Not very warm
Manufacturer:   Outdoor Research
By Amber King ⋅ Senior Review Editor  ⋅  Feb 13, 2019
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64
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#13 of 13
  • Warmth - 25% 5
  • Weight & Compression - 20% 5
  • Weather Resistance - 20% 7
  • Comfort & Coziness - 15% 7
  • Breathability - 15% 8
  • Style & Fit - 5% 9

Our Verdict

We love the Outdoor Research Refuge Hooded Jacket for its dope blend of weather protection and breathability. This mobile jacket moves with your body and vents moisture when you begin to sweat. While it's not the warmest coat out there, it provides sufficient warmth for cool to moderate temperatures. Its flattering chevron pattern and trim fit make it one of the most stylish and fashionable outdoor jackets tested, while its complementary color schemes will receive compliments on the street. While this isn't as breathable or warm as The North Face Ventrix Hoody, its face fabric provides more weather resistance. You can also stuff it into its own pocket! This lightweight yet protective coat is perfect for your next multi-pitch in the shoulder season. Or layer it under a shell when the temperatures plummet. Regardless, it's ready to be worn anywhere…from the ski hill to the city streets. Oh, it's also not that expensive.


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Overall Score Sort Icon
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Pros Great weather protection, good value, cute fit, breathable, fun featuresWarm, compressible, lightweight, weather resistantSuper warm, lots of comfort features, versatile fitBreathable, warm, great comfort features, mobile face fabric, great layering abilityWarm, lofty, inexpensive, cute and stylish, removable faux-fur
Cons Not very warmLacks comfort features, not breathableHeavy, compression isn't the best, sticky zipperNo cinch cord around hoodLacks water resistance, no pull tabs on zippers
Bottom Line Stand up to the elements in this breathable yet protective mobile face jacket.A compressible jacket that is warm and lightweight, perfect for any adventurer requiring a technical, high performing insulated jacket.Designed for standing around in the coldest of temperatures.Offering a unique balance of warmth and breathability, this jacket is highly versatile.An inexpensive and well-performing synthetic jacket perfect for winter weather.
Rating Categories Refuge Hoody Rab Xenon X Hoodie - Women's Stance Ventrix Hoody Peak to Park
Warmth (25%)
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5
10
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8
10
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10
10
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7
10
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9
Weight & Compression (20%)
10
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5
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9
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3
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6
10
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5
Weather Resistance (20%)
10
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7
10
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9
10
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10
10
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7
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7
Comfort & Coziness (15%)
10
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7
10
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7
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9
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8
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8
Breathability (15%)
10
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8
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5
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5
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9
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6
Style & Fit (5%)
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9
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9
Specs Refuge Hoody Rab Xenon X Hoodie... Stance Ventrix Hoody Peak to Park
Weight (ounces) 15.25 oz 10.65 oz 25.95 oz 25.15 oz 25.15 oz
Number of Pockets 3 (2 zippered hand, 1 zippered chest) 3 (2 zippered hand, 1 zippered internal chest) Two zippered hand pockets, single zippered chest pocket and two internal drop pockets, internal mesh zip pocket 3 (2 zippered hand, 1 zippered chest) 3 (2 zippered hand, 1 zippered chest)
Insulation VerticalX 100% polyester insulation 60 g/m2 60g/m2 2oz PrimaLoft Gold Active ThermoLite (180gsm) 80g 100% polyester Ventrix stretch synthetic insulation Synthetic down 100% polyester
Outer Fabric 100% polyester 20Dx30D ripstop Pertex Quantum nylon Nylon plain-weave with DWR treatment (40d, 100% nylon) 92% nylon, 8% ripstop Storm-Lite DP II 100% Polyester
Lining 100% nylon 100% nylon ripstop Polyester plain-weave (40d, 100% polyester) 92% nylon, 8% elastane Microtex Lite II Taffeta 100% Polyester
Hood Option? Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Stuffs into itself? No Yes No No No
Cuff construction Elasticized cuffs Elasticized cuffs Lightweight stretch Elasticized cuffs Stretch-knit
Warranty Information Lifetime warranty Lifetime warranty with original proof of purchase - includes repairs Lifetime; will repair, replace, or refund, no questions asked Limited lifetime warranty; will repair or replace due to manufacturing defect (not regular wear and tear or misuse) Limited lifetime warranty

Our Analysis and Test Results

The Outdoor Research Refuge stands out for its awesome level of weather protection coupled with a breathable yet mobile face fabric. It's a perfect option for pitching out climbs when the winds blow and the temperatures are moderate.

Performance Comparison


This stylish and cute coat is perfect for winter escapades and jaunts on the town.
This stylish and cute coat is perfect for winter escapades and jaunts on the town.

Warmth


Boasting a mere 60 g/m^2 of 100% polyester insulation, the Outdoor Research Refuge isn't the warmest coat around. However, its VerticalX insulation will keep you warm when wet. The jacket does a fantastic job balancing warmth and breathability. The outer layer provides wind protection from the harsh wind while the insulation is packed into the internal layer. While hanging out in double negative conditions, this jacket didn't suffice on its own. The cold cut through the thinner fabrics, chilling us to the bone. However, when worn as a mid layer, it's perfectly employed. Best for moderate temperatures in the winter and a perfect mid layer when the temps plummet, it's wonderfully suited for activities where you might amp up the work, then slow down…perfect for ice climbing, a winter hike, and the like.

A great jacket on its own in the shoulder seasons or during warmer winter days. It also doubles as a great mid-layer when the temperatures really plummet.
A great jacket on its own in the shoulder seasons or during warmer winter days. It also doubles as a great mid-layer when the temperatures really plummet.

Weight & Compression


Like all mobile face construction jackets, it's not as compressible as quilted competitors. It does stuff into its own pocket but does not come with a stuff sack. You can also roll it up into its own hood and stow it away nicely in a backpack if necessary. However, you probably won't need to do that as it's wonderfully breathable and built to stay on your body. Overall, it's a pretty lightweight jacket that does a pretty good job at stowing away for a mobile-face jacket.


Weather Resistance


The shell features a 20D X 30D fabric (with stretch!) that repels water and snow. While skiing during a snowstorm, this soft shell did a fantastic job beading up the moisture and keeping us dry. This shell is bomber offering a higher level of weather resistance than any mobile-faced jacket tested thus far!


While the fabric did eventually saturate in this snowstorm, the internal layer, stacked with water-insulating polyester, kept the moisture away from the skin. Not only does it do a fantastic job with water resistance, but the shell is less porous than other mobile face fabrics and therefore protects well against the wind. Overall, its an awesomely weather-resistant jacket….it's just not weatherproof. Be sure to layer it with a solid shell if you're going out in bone-drenching weather.

Comfort & Coziness


The interior and exterior shell is constructed of a softer, mobile face fabric that moves wherever your body moves. Pockets are placed precisely where you need them, offering ample space for storage. You'll find a breast pocket, two hand-warmer pockets, and two large interior pockets. All have a nice fleece liner and are super cozy. We really appreciate all this storage in a seemingly fitted jacket that doesn't look like it has any!


The hood is large enough to be worn over or underneath a helmet and features an easy to pull cinch cord that offers a precise fit.



The hem features a single pull cinch cord that can be yanked on it you need to lock in heat or block out cold when the temperatures plummet. We also like the headphone jack that attaches to the interior of the chest pocket…a perfect place to stash a phone and pump up the tunes!

A look at the interior pocket that also has a location for a pair of headphones (the blue square above the pocket). Hide your headphones and easily place a smaller smartphone inside.
A look at the interior pocket that also has a location for a pair of headphones (the blue square above the pocket). Hide your headphones and easily place a smaller smartphone inside.

Overall, this jacket is pretty comfortable and cozy with many cool features to keep you going through colder days of the season. Our only caveat is that the space in the arms is a bit limited and the fabric is a little stiffer than other mobile-construction jackets. This makes layering overtop of bulkier or grabbier layers a little bit challenging.

Breathability


The mobile face fabric provides a great level of breathability. While warmth is packed away into a thinner layer, this thinness also elicits the opportunity to off-load heat through the fabric. While this is sufficient for say, climbing or hiking, it's not as breathable as other jackets with this construction like our Top Pick for Breathability, the Outdoor Research Ascendant. It also doesn't have any vents on the jacket aside from just its zippers and pockets.

This fabric is durable and quite porous  offering decent breathability and a good balance to warmth.
This fabric is durable and quite porous, offering decent breathability and a good balance to warmth.

Style & Fit


This jacket is well-fitted and super stylish! It features a simple yet flattering stitching pattern in the front and back. The cut of the jacket is hourglass-like offering a feminine and flattering appeal. Sizing is on point, with a little extra in the fabrics for each size (perfect for layering)! The arms and torso are not super long and is perfect for our medium-limbed testers. If you have a longer torso, you might find the cut to be a little short, but it's worth trying to see if it works for you.


Best Application


Designed as a soft-shell jacket meant to tackle nasty weather while providing warmth, it's a great option if you're seeking a warmer option for aerobic activity. Think winter running, hiking, ice climbing and more! While it's not the most breathable option out there, it'll still do the trick to vent heat while hiking uphill while providing you with protection from the elements. A perfect option for wear during all seasons. Cool summer nights, moderately cold winter days, and everything in between.

Winter running? Hiking? Climbing? Hanging out? This cute and well-fitted jacket offers all of the above.
Winter running? Hiking? Climbing? Hanging out? This cute and well-fitted jacket offers all of the above.

Value


Outdoor Research has a reputation for providing good quality products at a reasonable price. Retailing for $200, the Outdoor Research Refuge proves to be a great deal offering great performance at a relatively low price for an insulated jacket.

Conclusion


The Outdoor Research Refuge has stepped up its game by designing a mobile-face jacket that offers flexibility, breathability, and stand-out weather protection. Its cute design will have you going from the slopes to the chalet and out on the town. It fits the niche of providing a wonderful balance of weather protection and breathability. Keeping you protected when the winds howl and you don't want to sweat too much. Take it home for a decent price.


Amber King