Gear Review: Outdoor Research Women's Transition Hoody

I'm always looking for gear that'll serve more than one function and work in more than one season. If a jacket, a pair of pants, or top can be worn in winter, spring, fall, even summer, that piece will be my first choice when it comes to purchasing something new, or hanging on to something instead of passing it on.

The Outdoor Research Women's Transition Hoody is billed as "a winter hoody that can keep up with you," and one of my goals in testing it as part of the #ORinsightlab team this winter was to see if it could do more. I received a complimentary Transition Hoody to put through its paces, and (spoiler alert), it can be more than a winter layer.

Technology and Features

The Transition Hoody features hybrid mapped construction, meaning fabrics are placed where they'll be of the best use. The fabric placement helps give the Transition Hoody a more flattering fit, helps it move with you, and helps you manage your body temperature during aerobic activity. Mid-weight Polartec PowerGrid fabric is used on the chest and arms, areas I know tend to need more insulation, and a lighter weight Polartec PowerGrid fabric adds breathability to the waist, under arm area, and the back.

The lighter weight fabric under the arms, which Outdoor Research identifies as a "dynamic reach panel," is also meant to help if you're wearing the Transition Hoody during an activity that requires you to reach for things, like climbing. The same lightweight material is used in the collar, which zips up above the chin to keep wind and debris away from parts of your face. The balaclava-style hood fits tight to the head, and is meant to fit under a helmet if it needs to.

The Transition Hoody has three pockets, one zip chest pocket and two elastic hand pockets at the waist. Thumb loops help keep the sleeves in place, and give the back of your hand a little more protection.

Fit, Feel, and Performance

When I zipped up the Transition Hoody, I was excited to see that it looks pretty good on, and it's a slim fitting piece. I was also pleased to see color options that didn't involve pink or purple. Given my broader upper body, longer than average arms, the large was a perfect option for me. It meant I could take advantage of the thumbholes, and the back of the Transition Hoody covers my entire derriere. I'd like some more room in the sleeves, but that's a problem I have with just about every top I wear.

The Transition Hoody is a lightweight fleece when all is said and done, and it doesn't offer much in the way of weather resistance. I found it functions best as a next to skin layer on its own, or as part of a layering system over a tight sleeveless top. It was a great choice for me to wear as a next to skin layer on its own during cloudy, winter trail runs and brisk hikes, and also worked well under a windbreaker on a windy, sunny spring hikes on 40-50ºF days. The fact that it's comfortable next-to-skin is a plus, but I can also wear the Transition Hoody over a tank top or tight t-shirt if I need to.

Initially, I wasn't sure about the zipperless hand pockets because you can't store anything in them, but they're perfect for warming your hands up without having to fumble with zippers. Plus, if I'm in need of a place to store things, I'm likely going to have a pack or another layer with me.

The thumbholes make it easy to throw a layer on top of the Transition Hoody without the sleeves bunching up, which I find to be one of the most annoying things about trying to layer. I didn't find myself using the hood at all, but like that it's tight to my head; there's nothing worse than trying to wear a hooded top and having the hood regularly blow off!

Final Thoughts

I'm generally a fan of the Transition Hoody, and recommend it for any woman participating in activities like trail running, hiking, backpacking, or vertical disciplines like climbing. It has plenty of features to make it useful in a variety of situations. I find myself partial to the Deviator Hoody due to its added insulation, but the Transition Hoody is a great option if you don't need a ton of extra warmth.

I received a complimentary jacket to test from Outdoor Research, but all opinions expressed here are my own. Also, as a note, there are affiliate links in this post, and I'll receive a commission for purchases made. What do you think, would this piece work for you? What's your favorite fleece piece? I'd love to hear from you in the comments!