Outdoor Research Skytour AscentShell - Women's Review
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Outdoor Research Skytour AscentShell - Women's
$379.00 at REI
$450.00 at REI
$299.00 at REI
$360.00 at REI
$69.97 at Amazon
|Pros||Breathable, stretchy and comfortable, water resistant||Warm, lofty insulation, soft, very mobile despite insulation, excellent comfort and fit||Relatively inexpensive yet high-quality, breathable, great mobility, great ventilation||Warm, three jackets in one, well-constructed with thoughtful features, versatile||Warm, resort-oriented look, quite inexpensive|
|Cons||Not very windproof, not all zips are water resistant, somewhat boxy fit||Lackluster ventilation||Non-insulating, thin shell material, not for most casual skiers||Slim fit, heavy, poor ventilation when both layers are worn||No ventilation, bulky insulation, chafes chin, ineffective hem and hood adjustment|
|Bottom Line||This technical shell is capable at the resort in spite of its backcountry-oriented materials and construction||A super warm and soft resort jacket with a cool utilitarian look, this is perfect for someone who runs a little colder||An excellent value for a high performing technical shell that serves inbounds or in the backcountry||This jacket is versatile and has all the necessary ski features for a long day on the hill, all at a reasonable price||This inexpensive jacket was able to keep us warm and dry in most low-exertion skiing|
|Rating Categories||Outdoor Research Sk...||Helly Hansen Powder...||Outdoor Research Ca...||The North Face Ther...||Wantdo Snowboarding...|
|Weather Resistance (20%)|
|Comfort and Fit (20%)|
|Specs||Outdoor Research Sk...||Helly Hansen Powder...||Outdoor Research Ca...||The North Face Ther...||Wantdo Snowboarding...|
|Main Fabric||AscentShell 93% nylon, 7% spandex||70% nylon, 30% polyester||100% Nylon||100% Nylon||150D Dull Mechanical Elastic|
|Insulation||None||Body: 60g PrimaLoft Sleeves: 40g PrimaLoft||None||100% Postconsumer recycled polyester||Insulating padding|
|Waterproofing||3-layer AscentShell||PFC free DWR||3-layer Pertex Shield||2-layer DryVent||DWR, 10k waterproof fabric|
|Pockets||2 zippered hand, 2 zippered chest, 1 forearm, interior stash||2 zippered hand, 1 zippered chest, 1 zippered sleeve, 2 internal drop-in||2 zippered chest, 2 zippered hand, 1 zippered arm, 1 internal mesh, 1 internal zippered chest||2 zippered hand, 1 zippered chest, 1 zippered sleeve, 1 internal goggle Liner: 2 zippered hand||2 zippered hand|
|Weight||1.3 lbs||2.2 lbs||1.2 lbs||2.0 lbs||2.5 lbs|
|Hood Option||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes, removable fur|
|Cuff construction||Velcro||Velcro with wrist gaiters||Velcro||Velcro||Snap|
|Powder skirt||No||Yes||Yes||Yes, behind insulating layer||Yes, snap away|
Our Analysis and Test Results
The Outdoor Research Skytour AscentShell is a jacket that is both backcountry and resort ready. Its constructed from OR's highly breathable and water-resistant proprietary AscentShell fabric with a few resort-oriented features.
The OR Skytour is constructed of a proprietary fabric called AscentShell. This material is made with a process called electro-nanospinning, which slowly layers a fabric until there are holes large enough for water vapor to escape but too small for water to enter. With a DWR treatment, this jacket did very well at both beading water and resisting wet through.
There were a few weak points in this jacket for the weather to creep in. Most noticeable are the non-water-resistant zippers in both the chest pockets and the pit zips. These rely on a storm flap of fabric for water resistance instead of the zipper itself. However, the hand pockets and main zipper sport water resistant zippers that kept our pocket contents very dry.
The helmet-compatible hood with a wire brim helps to lock out precipitation and wind, which we loved. The slightly thinner 40x65 denier fabric was susceptible to high winds. On the coldest and windiest days, we could feel the breeze pushing through this jacket.
Comfort and Fit
We really liked how the Skytour performed on active and mobile testing days. We took this jacket touring and powder skiing and were enamored with how soft and stretchy the fabric felt during these endeavors. For performing more like a hardshell, we liked how this fabric was soft and non-crinkly.
We also noticed that the jersey backing on the shell material was soft to the touch, soft enough to wear over very thin base layers. This jacket also has a slightly wider cut than a very backcountry-oriented jacket. It has a dropped hem and plenty of room in the chest and arms for additional layers, which you might want for this thinner shell.
As a shell with a thinner weave and no additional insulation, this jacket did not perform very well here, understandably. There is only a light jersey knit backing on the AscentShell fabric, which provides hardly any additional insulation. The thinner material also doesn't lock much heat inside, especially on windy days.
This being said, with appropriate layering, this material does a good job of wicking away moisture while working hard. This will help keep you warm over the long term, as sweat and water vapor to stick around to make you feel clammy and cold.
One of the strongest points of the OR Skytour Ascentshell is its ventilation. For starters, this jacket has large and functional pit zips with two-way zippers, which makes it very easy to quickly adjust airflow on the uphill climb.
We took this jacket ski touring in the backcountry and noticed that the fabric itself was very breathable. The Skytour effectively allowed body heat to escape, and it took several hundred feet of climbing before we were reaching for the pit zips. Once these were open, we were able to do entire laps without need to lose this layer.
The OR Skytour AscentShell has a very classic look. It comes in both solid and color-blocked options, all of which sport stylish contrasting zippers.
We found the cut of this jacket to lean more toward a backcountry-oriented fit. While there was plenty of room for layering, there is a very subtly taper and longer hem. This did a good job of helping it swing into resort use, and we found it to be quite flattering.
The Skytour has all of the features you might want for a jacket that takes you from the lifts to the lift-accessed backcountry. There are ample functional pockets, four exterior, and two interior (one zip and one drop) that fit all of our snacks, phones, and other small items. The interior zip pocket even has a media port if you still use corded headphones. There is also a pass pocket to keep your RFID pass away from phones and other cards.
We found the adjustable hem, hood, and cuffs to be noteworthy. The hood drawstrings are easy to pull one-handed, as is the hem adjustment. However, this hem adjustment is your only defense against snow, as the one feature this jacket lacks is a powder skirt. This fits its more backcountry-oriented style.
Should You Buy the Outdoor Research Skytour AscentShell?
If you're someone who mostly skis in the backcountry, but likes to hit the lifts for a big powder day here and there, this jacket can do both for you. If you value breathability and high-exertion days, the Skytour will treat you well. It excels at uphill pursuits while being passable at the resort.
What Other Women's Ski Jackets Should You Consider?
If you are searching for a touring-oriented jacket, check out the award-winning and extremely weather-resistant Norrona Lofoten Gore-Tex Pro. It's a little more minimalist than the Skytour but its breathability and weather resistance are top-notch, and it was our favorite for backcountry use. A jacket that is slightly more burly and featured for the resort is the award-winning Arc'teryx Sentinel.
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