Gear Review: Outdoor Research Women's Ferrosi Hooded Jacket

Taking a break from cross country skiing. (PC: D. Herscovitch)
"You Don't Change The Words To A #1 Hit Song." While investigating specs for this review, that's the first full sentence I saw (at the time this review was published) on Outdoor Research's page about the Women's Ferrosi Hooded Jacket. In short, it's a name most folks familiar with Outdoor Research's products will recognize. The Details & Specs section of the page for the men's version describe the jacket as having a "cult-like following."

Usually, if something's around for a long time, even if it's a jacket design, it's with good reason. I reviewed pants by the same name last year, grateful to find a company that makes pants with longer inseams (I'm 5'9").  Between how much I like the pants and the cult-like following I read about, when Outdoor Research provided a complimentary Ferrosi Hooded Jacket to try, I had high expectations.

I wore the Ferrosi on chilly, damp autumn hikes in Pennsylvania and on a cross country ski in Algonquin Park in Ontario to see how it measured up.

Technology and Features

The Ferrosi Hooded Jacket is designed as a lightweight softshell layering piece for adventures that require water resistant, wind resistant, breathable, quick drying fabric that doesn't tear easily. In short, it's designed for just about everything. 

Outdoor Research's Hybrid Mapped Constructions means the placement of different fabrics is carefully chosen based on how the you move and use the jacket. It's supposed to stretch in places you need it to, be breathable where you're likely to sweat, and to resist abrasion where you're likely to brush up against something that might tear it.

The newest version of the Ferrosi Hooded Jacket features an adjustable hood, zip chest pocket, zip hand pockets, a carabiner loop, and key clip. The left hand pocket doubles as a stuff sack for the jacket, making it easy to pack up and carry around in any backpack. The biggest change between this and past versions of the Ferrosi is the addition of thumb loops on the jacket's elastic cuffs.

Performance, Fit, and Feel

Spoiler alert: the Ferrosi Hooded Jacket is now my go-to cool weather outdoor layering piece.

In this shot, I've got a long sleeve baselayer underneath, and that's it! Starting to get
a little chilly in the snow, but it was a perfect combination while we were skiing. (PC: D. Herscovitch.)

I love everything about it. I took it on a windy, rainy, 40ºF hike in Pennsylvania knowing full well it wasn't fully waterproof, but my thick baselayer stayed dry enough for the four hour adventure thanks to the water resistance. The wind resistant fabric kept blasting gusts from freezing my skin, and the breathability helped me regulate my body temperature when my friend and I were humping it up a hill. Unless I got hit directly in the face with a gust of wind, the hood stayed put over a winter hat.

Separately, I wore the Ferrosi Hooded Jacket on a multi-hour, single day cross country ski in Ontario's Algonquin Park on a 15-20ºF day with a thick baselayer to see how comfortable it kept me in the snow. I was chilly standing still, but perfectly comfortable while was moving, and was able to use the thumb loops while hanging on to ski poles. The Ferrosi's stretch made it easy to ski without my layers getting in the way.

A close-up look at the thumb loops and elastic sleeves. (PC: D. Herscovitch.)

I love the way the fabric moves and stretches; it's the perfect combination of lightweight, breathable fabric in the right places, and not having to worry about brushing up against a rock or branch and having the fabric tear. The Ferrosi isn't waterproof and won't replace my rain jacket, but unless it's pouring, cold, and I really need to stay dry, it's not an issue. 

The jacket is long enough to cover my butt, which I love, and the size large gives me plenty of room to layer underneath. I won't likely use the chest pocket for anything more than lip balm, but the hand pockets have plenty of room for a pair of gloves and other small essentials.

Recommended Uses and Final Thoughts

As the spoiler alert warning suggests, I'm a huge fan of the Women's Ferrosi Hooded Jacket. There's a reason it has a cult following, and the addition of thumb loops (I can actually use, long armed people problems!) really seals the deal. It does everything it's supposed to do, fits well, feels great on, and the color combination options are fantastic for those of us who like to choose between more than pink and black.

Though I only tested the Ferrosi by hiking and cross country skiing in it, I could see myself wearing it on bike rides, backpacking trips, and generally around town - any activity that'll require a layer, but not a thick one, and will allow me to regulate my body temperature. It's also billed as a great softshell for climbing, if you're into that sort of thing!

I received a complimentary jacket to test from Outdoor Research, but all opinions expressed here are my own. What do you think, would this piece work for you? What's your favorite layering jacket? I'd love to hear from you in the comments!