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Outdoor Research Ferrosi Crosstown Hoody - Women's Review

A casual light layer, the Ferrosi Crosstown is a great layer for sun and skin protection in mild weather, but it won't keep you warm in low temps or serious wind.
Best Buy Award
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Price:  $99 List | $48.73 at REI
Compare prices at 3 resellers
Pros:  Easy movement, breathable, lightweight
Cons:  No insulation, not weather protective, pockets don't have zippers
Manufacturer:   Outdoor Research
By Penney Garrett ⋅ Senior Review Editor  ⋅  Dec 26, 2017
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64
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Weather Protection - 30% 2
  • Breathability - 30% 9
  • Mobility - 20% 8
  • Weight - 10% 9
  • Features - 5% 3
  • Style - 5% 8

Our Verdict

The Outdoor Research Ferrosi Crosstown Hoody is a fun and simple jacket that, while not at all warm, is fantastic to have around for specific activities. The material is durable, so it's great for climbing when you need to protect your skin, and the thinness means this hoody is a viable option for sun protection when it's really warm. Styled like a sweatshirt, the Ferrosi Crosstown provides excellent breathability if you're working up a sweat. It's not warm or protective at all, but also only $99. We decided to grace this fun little layer with our Best Buy on a Tight Budget award because, while it's not a serious outdoor piece like many of our other contenders, it still has a lot of great uses for considerably less money than your typical softshell.


Our Analysis and Test Results

Let's be honest — this isn't really a softshell. It doesn't have insulation, waterproofing, zippered pockets, an adjustable hood or cuffs. It's not a technical layer for serious weather the way many of the other jackets in our review are. However, the Ferrosi Crosstown Hoody is well made, durable, breathable, and fantastic for specific outings. Because this jacket is so thin and flexible, it's also great for layering. And the $99 price tag is considerably friendlier than almost all the other pieces in our review, hence the Best Buy on a Tight Budget award designation. An essential piece of your gear quiver this is not, but read on to learn why we loved it and why you might too.

Performance Comparison


The Ferrosi was great for mild weather and aerobic activities  but if the weather turns serious and you stop moving there's no way around it - you will be cold.
The Ferrosi was great for mild weather and aerobic activities, but if the weather turns serious and you stop moving there's no way around it - you will be cold.

Weather Protection


The Ferrosi Crosstown was at the bottom of the pack in this category along with the $59 thin unhooded Charles River Axis. Neither stand up to serious weather of any kind.


We gave each shell a water test by wearing them into the shower. Both the Axis and the Ferrosi were soaked through wholly and immediately. We also wore the Ferrosi up a multi-pitch climb on a windy but sunny 50-degree day in Eldorado Canyon over a wool baselayer. Even when sitting in the sun, we were downright cold while belaying. Despite the poor performance in this area, there were many things we loved about this fun little layer - read on to discover where it shines.

What this smiling summit photo leaves out is the fact that our tester wearing the Ferrosi Crosstown on the left was battling to keep warm the entire day  despite the sun.
What this smiling summit photo leaves out is the fact that our tester wearing the Ferrosi Crosstown on the left was battling to keep warm the entire day, despite the sun.

For more typical softshell features and some true weather protection, be sure to check out our Editors' Choice, the Gamma MX Hoody. If the price tag on that model makes you feel nauseous, take a gander at our other Best Buy winner, the windproof Marmot Moblis or our Top Pick for Warmth, the Ascendant Hoody.

Breathability


Here is where the Ferrosi rose to the very top and performed like a champ. This is due, in large part, to the fact that it is constructed of a very thin nylon/spandex blend. And while simply having a thin fabric is not the same thing as true breathability, we can't deny that it helps.


Fabric quality plays a part in this as well; the Charles River Axis was another very thin jacket, but the polyester material felt more stifling and less pleasant on our skin. The Ferrosi was one of our favorite layers for high exertion warmer weather activities from climbing to hiking to trail running. The other top performer in this category was our Top Pick for Rock Climbing, the Arc'teryx Gamma LT Hoody. And if you need a softshell that can handle colder temperatures but still breathe, check out the Gamma MX Hoody, the Ascendant Hoody, or the highly pocketed and feature-rich Rab Upslope.

The Ferrosi was a thin breathable layer that we loved for high exertion activities when it wasn't too cold. The durable material was also great for protecting skin from rocks and sun while climbing.
The Ferrosi was a thin breathable layer that we loved for high exertion activities when it wasn't too cold. The durable material was also great for protecting skin from rocks and sun while climbing.

Mobility


Mobility was another area that the Ferrosi couldn't help but excel.


The thin nylon/spandex blend, roomy-but-not-baggy sweatshirt tailoring, and comfortable stretchy hem and cuffs all added up to a flexible easy-to-wear layer that we loved wearing (as long as it wasn't too cold outside!). We found the arms to be a good length and the hood was big enough to accommodate most helmeted heads. We also felt significant movement in the Ascendant Hoody and both Arc'teryx models, but our favorite in this category was the stretchy generous fit of the Black Diamond Dawn Patrol.

Whether we were playing on the beach  hiking up to a climb  or going for a run  the Ferrosi Crosstown was comfortable and easy to move in.
Whether we were playing on the beach, hiking up to a climb, or going for a run, the Ferrosi Crosstown was comfortable and easy to move in.

Weight


Weighing only 10.9 ounces, the Ferrosi Crosstown is a featherweight jacket.


Between the weight and the flexible thin material that stuffs down to a tiny ball, this is a no-brainer layer to bring along almost anywhere. In contrast, the Patagonia Adze Hoody weighs 25.3 ounces, over a pound and a half. The Charles River Axis was another very light layer, at 12.8 ounces, but it was a considerably less impressive jacket. If staying light is a priority for you, but you need more warmth and weather protection, we like the impressive 11.5 ouncesAscendant Hoody, our Top Pick for Warmth. Our Editors' Choice Gamma MX was also notable at 17.1 ounces.

Even if you have to bring another jacket along for warmth  the 10.9-ounce Ferrosi won't take up hardly any room in your pack and can comfortably be used as an underlayer.
Even if you have to bring another jacket along for warmth, the 10.9-ounce Ferrosi won't take up hardly any room in your pack and can comfortably be used as an underlayer.

Features


This simple jacket is not very feature-rich, especially when you consider what's available in the vast world of softshells.


The Ferrosi has a hood, but it only adjusts one way - in the front like a basic hoody. There's a key clip in one of the hand pockets (which don't zip), and the zippers are DWR-treated to keep moisture out, but the rest of the jacket is not. The material on the body is quick-drying, but unfortunately, the thicker cuffs and hem are not - and gravity dictates that that's the central place water ends up when this layer gets wet. The best feature of this jacket is the fact that it's constructed from a 90D stretch woven ripstop, making it very durable. We wore the Ferrosi up some awkward off-width chimney climbs and the material was able to withstand the scraping and scuffing with no problem whatsoever.

The Ferrosi hood fit over a helmet  but couldn't be adjusted from the back like many of the other models in our review. Besides a key clip in one pocket  this jacket didn't provide very many features at all.
The Ferrosi hood fit over a helmet, but couldn't be adjusted from the back like many of the other models in our review. Besides a key clip in one pocket, this jacket didn't provide very many features at all.

If the activities you like to engage in require a more feature intensive layer, have a look at the fabulous pockets of the Rab Upslope, the great mobility and harness-friendly pockets of the Dawn Patrol, or the pit zips and weather protective Gore-tex of the Apex Flex GTX.

Style


The Ferrosi Crosstown was easy to layer and small enough to take almost anywhere, and we loved the hip sweatshirt styling.


This was the least technical-looking layer in our review, making it easy to pair with anything from leggings at the gym to jeans out on the town. The only other shells that scored higher were the two beautifully tailored Arc'teryx models, our Editors' Choice, the Gamma MX Hoody and the Gamma LT Hoody, our Top Pick for Rock Climbing.

The Ferrosi is thin enough that you can easily layer it under another jacket or a vest  a bonus because it's not warm at all on it's own.
The Ferrosi is thin enough that you can easily layer it under another jacket or a vest, a bonus because it's not warm at all on it's own.

Best Application


The Ferrosi is a thin no-frills layer that is best suited for warmer weather activities. Because the material is so durable, we think this is an ideal choice for climbing - especially if you like to get awkward on wide cracks where you need a layer to protect your skin. The fantastic breathability means it's well suited for aerobic activities like trail running and cycling, or if you just want something to protect you from the sun. This is not a piece for heavy wind, snow, rain, or cold, though it is thin enough to comfortably layer underneath more serious layers and small enough to jam into any pack without taking up hardly any room. The Ferrosi Crosstown is also only $99, which is pretty reasonable, but it shouldn't be the first layer you buy if you're looking for a something for skiing, ice climbing, or snowshoeing.

As a thin extra layer for sunny days or high exertion activities  the Ferrosi is great. But if you plan to go play in the snow or have to contend with wind or rain  you will need another jacket with you.
As a thin extra layer for sunny days or high exertion activities, the Ferrosi is great. But if you plan to go play in the snow or have to contend with wind or rain, you will need another jacket with you.

Value


We gave this shell our Best Buy on a Tight Budget award because it's a useful layer to have for only $99. It moves and breathes well, is highly durable and stylish, and it's super lightweight. But it depends on what your needs are: if you plan to be up in alpine conditions ice climbing or shredding, this layer alone will not be even close to enough. For that, we would direct you to almost anything else - our other Best Buy winner, the $185 Marmot Moblis is a great option, as is our Editors' Choice, the Gamma MX Hoody or our Top Pick for Warmth, the Ascendant Hoody. But if you need something for sun protection while cycling, trail running, climbing in mild temperatures, or yoga in the park, the Ferrosi is worth consideration.

Conclusion


The Ferrosi Crosstown Hoody is a lightweight, thin, sweatshirt-styled layer that, while not suited for any inclement weather, was great for certain activities. We loved it for sun protection on warmer days, trail running, and hiking in mild weather. The highly breathable and durable material of this jacket made it very conducive to aerobic outings and climbing - especially when you need a layer to protect your skin from the rock without impeding movement or causing you to overheat. But beware: if the weather turns windy or cold, you will not be a happy camper in this jacket alone. Thankfully it's small enough and light enough that it will easily cram into your pack and fit underneath warmer layers. And while $99 is certainly not a throwaway amount, we think it's a decent price for what the Ferrosi offers, which is why we awarded it our Best Buy on a Tight Budget award. Should this be the first layer you purchase when building your outdoor wardrobe? No way. But as an addition to a comprehensive closet? Absolutely.

We liked having the Ferrosi for mild weathered approaches and to protect our skin while shimmying up awkward climbs. It's not warm or weather protective  nor is it the first layer you should buy when building your outdoor wardrobe  but we definitely enjoyed having it around for the months we tested it.
We liked having the Ferrosi for mild weathered approaches and to protect our skin while shimmying up awkward climbs. It's not warm or weather protective, nor is it the first layer you should buy when building your outdoor wardrobe, but we definitely enjoyed having it around for the months we tested it.


Penney Garrett