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Outdoor Research Ferrosi Hoodie

rated 5 of 5 stars
photo: Outdoor Research Ferrosi Hoodie soft shell jacket

A very useful "on the move" piece that layers well, cuts some wind while still being breathable, doesn't restrict movement and has a very durable, stretchy face.

Pros

  • Great fit
  • Multiple uses
  • Doesn't restrict movement
  • Durable
  • Some weather resistance
  • Excellent thumbholes
  • Looks good

Cons

  • Poor drawcord hem
  • Gets a little stinky

I've had the OR Ferrosi Hoody for about four years and it's typically in my pack from Spring to late Fall. It's sort of a hard one to put in to a specific box as far as performance. I think it's jacket that you need to play with a bit, with different layering and conditions, until you find the lane where it works best. There's no additional insulation to this jacket and at first it might seem like it has very limited uses. But you'll soon find that it's the right one to work in your system under a variety of conditions.

OR can be a little tricky as far as fit with some of their stuff but the Ferrosi is right on the money and you can buy your normal size with confidence. It's a relatively athletic fit but, given the awesome stretch of the material, it's a great layering piece over a fleece which is probably how I use it the most. I'll also typically put it on over a hiking shirt when the temps drop before I'll move to a fleece for warmth.

As far as a standalone when you're not moving, it'll cut some wind and provide some pretty solid weather resistance (needs DWR reapplications) but it's not the one to throw on when you're just looking for warmth. This is definitely designed for movement and that's where it excels.

It has two front pockets with smooth operating YKK zippers with pull tabs so they're functional with gloves. There's one chest pocket, with a mesh backing, that's big enough for a phone and one internal chest pocket which isn't closed on one side so it's pretty much just the backing of the external chest pocket. I have dropped gloves in there but it's not particularly functional. The hood is large and comfy (not brimmed) and has adjustable drawstings on each side to tighten it up if needed.

The arm length will be plenty long for anyone so the cuffs riding up shouldn't be an issue. I really like the design of the thumbholes which I use frequently. The hole itself is covered and the fit over the top of my hands is perfect. One feature that has failed on me is the drawstring hem. It started to stretch quickly and the extra length would continually fall to the side and invariably it would catch a branch. I'm sure there's a reason why drawstrings hem cords don't usually have some kind of an attachment point inside the jacket for the cord but I don't what it is. If you don't want to cinch the hem tight to your body there's no where for the cord to go but down. Eventually, this one stretched so much (and got snagged so often) that I just cut it and knotted it so there's no chance of snagging. Not a big deal to lose that option but it was a point of failure. 

The material on this jacket rocks. You could roll around on granite all day and it would show no wear. I've never babied mine and other than a couple of stains it still looks like new. Pretty remarkable. There's some Cordura panels from the shoulders  to the elbow which makes it an even more solid choice under a pack. The fabric is very breathable when you're working hard and does a good job with wind. It easily handles mist, light rain and snow but it's definitely not a waterproof piece. The stretch is the big seller for me. Zero restriction in movement. It does suck up sweat but it dries relatively quickly. It will also build up stink but not as fast as something like a synthetic hiking t shirt.

So overall I'd say this jacket might make the most sense for those who want one piece to cross over in to a few different layering columns. It's sort of both a good looking utilitarian and niche piece at the same time. Most of OR's latest versions lean towards the techy side as far as looks (not a fan of the blatant color contrasts) but the jacket itself is an absolute workhorse. And when you dial in its uses it's a highly functional piece that will last. It's also frequently on sale so it can be a real bang for your buck purchase. When/If mine craps out I'll absolutely replace it with another.

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Source: bought it new
Price Paid: 80 (msrp 140)

Hands down my #1 go-to upper layer for 3-season use! Feels like a second natural protective outer skin! So comfortable and flexible, it "becomes you."

I have four of these in different colors and REALLY like them. Use on trails, commute to trailhead, out-and-about day off jacket, workday commute jacket. My wife and several members of our hiking clubs are now getting these. Amazing soft shell hoody for aerobic activities.

-- Writing and photos underway. Please check back soon! --

Pros

  • Just the right level and balance of windblocking n' breathability, due to blocked material use design
  • Extremely stretchable, so great for climbing and other active sports
  • Useful for both outer and inner wear
  • Zippered toroso (2) and Napolean chest (1) pockets
  • Effective DWR Finish
  • Choice of colors
  • All around 'GO TO' outer wear for Hiking, Backpacking, Boating, Bicycling, Kickabout Casual, Commuting, and Office Work
  • Essential outer shell wonder!

Cons

  • Addictive useability ... may find yourself living and sleeping in them
  • Slight pilling of fabric over time were rubbed
  • Wish List: main zipper was a two-way
  • Wish List: sleeve cuffs could benefit from cinch adjuster, so can better layer gloves and hike up sleeves when get warm

More photos coming to your finger tips or mouse soon ...

I could live in these things and often do so! We have A LOT of moisture falling on us in different ways. And you need protection to stay healthy and happy. Ferrosi Hoodies are core 'go-to' gear for me.  

I typically bring a second one with me as casual wear for the hike commute.  I have also used it to lend to another for a hike if they forgot a mist/light rain coat, or need another layer ( also helps me justify carrying backup gear).

My color choice uses:

  • Diablo Red: Trail, bad weather safety visibility, can also use as an emergency flagging device
  • Evergreen: Trail and Trailhead commute, one for the trail the other for the commute (so not sweaty)
  • Mushroom / Walnut: Trail and Trailhead commute, one for the trail the other for the commute (so not sweaty)
  • Black: City/park kick about gear and work commute

Mushroom / Walnut color on Heliotrope Ridge overlooking Coleman Glacier, on Mt Baker, WA.

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Mushroom / Walnut color on Squak Mt, in the 'Issaquah Alps' (a fun local WA name for Squak, Cougar, and Tiger mountain-ettes, at the foot of the Cascades, as one heads towards Snoqualmie pass.

Mushroom / Walnut color on Comet Falls at Mt Rainier

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Sam (which stands for "Small And Mighty" in this case), who leads one of our hiking clubs, stands about 4' 7" tall (in thick socks). In the middle of July, we had some unexpected cold misty weather on Mt Rainier, on the way to Dege peak, above the Sunrise area.  Having forgot her raincoat, Sam borrowed my Mushroom/Walnut-colored Ferrosi as a protective layer. The DWR finish kept the denching mists off of her.  And I got a great photo where she looks, dare I say, kinda like an Ewok, from Star Wars fame!  A 2XL thus makes a good overlay for just about anyone.  We're seeing more and more people in our Meetup Groups getting them now.

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Evergreen / Hops  color at dinner on the way back from Comet Falls.

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Snoqualmie Falls, a fun quick off road view spot on the way to the day's hike on in the Snoqualmie area.  Was wearing a Ferrosi and REALLY NEEDED its water repellency, due to the drenching mist! This magnificent falls take a 269 feet (82 m) plunge! And there's a famous lodge at its head. Fun drive by...but we prefer the outback!

My wife's initial color choice: Margo really liked the woman's blue color best. However, the orchid was on a great sale. Captured view at Talapus Lake en route to other Alpine Lakes, on Snoqualmie Pass, Wash., area.

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Hiking Mt Pilchuck in OR Ferrosi's ... we both wore one that day!

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Orchid color and other Ferrosi Hoodies are starting to propigate through our Meetup Groups now.  Julie's seen here in the 'wild' along the Bowman Bay / Deception Pass trail area in WA State.  It's not so wild or isolated there, just a little rugged, and so very beautiful.  Bowman Bay is also a great place to put in Sea Kayaks!  An unlayered Ferrosi Hoody is an ideal moderate to warm weather paddling shell.  And it repells the water nicely, blocks wind, and breathes very well.  I've had my Mariner II kayak in this area (watch out for sobering currents and hair raising to deadly whirlpools, in this narrow saltwater pass area. 

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Ferrosi Hoodies make a wonderful outer paddling layer!  I've had this Mariner II kayak (my main boat for a very long time still) in the Bowman Bay / Deception Pass areas.  You need water repellency, wind protection, and active wear breathability in a kayak! Long sleeves and hood can give important sun protection too. (This is an older photo taken when I had this boat in Madison, WI on Lake Monona (also Lake Mendota and Lake Superior Apostle Island area, OH YES ... drove it to Florida too and played in salt water, near Hilton Head, Pennsicola area).  Be looking for kayak and kayak gear reviews on Trailspace!

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Ferrosi Hoody jackets come waterproofed with a Durable Water Resistant (DWR) finish.

Black color getting ready for the water repellency demo below.  The black color is great to use to commute to work, for casual day wear ... or to become a secret Ninja, when least expected.  I like how causual wear can become hike wworthy, if your car runs out of gas, or you get an unexpected rain downpour on the way from a parking lot, into REI, or another outfitter.  It also allows me to see how my 'go to' hiking gear is going layer with, solution gear I'm considering.

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What a Durable Water Resistant (DWR) finish looks like in action on my black Outdoor Research Ferrosi Hoody. The video is with room temperature tap water, pouring on my jacket's wrist area. 

How does one protect and/or restore water repellency in a Ferrosi or other DWR protected outer shell layer?I find that I can use a jacket for a least 1-2 years of ~weekly washings, as long as I use Nikwax Tech Wash or Sports Wash (they both work the same for me and the second one costs less). 

However, if by mistake, I wash this jacket even in cold water JUST ONCE or TWICE , for instance in Tide or Costco High Efficiently Laundry soap, these strong effective detergents clean too well. They can strip the DWR finish off the Ferrosi and other gear too!

In the field, it was horrifying to discover on a cool rainy day, that the rain protection was gone! One treatment with Nikwax Tx Tech Wash-In restored my Ferrosi to like new state, for extended use [see Nikwax Tx Tech Wash-In review here on Trailspace]. 

Source: bought it new
Price Paid: Sierra Trading Post & Outdoor Research (via Amazon) sales

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Specs

Men's
Price MSRP: $129.00
Current Retail: $103.73-$149.00
Historic Range: $11.00-$149.00
Reviewers Paid: $80.00
Weight 15 oz / 424 g
Center Back Length 30.75 in / 78 cm
Fabric 86% nylon, 14% spandex 90D stretch woven ripstop body and hood, Cordura 91% nylon, 9% spandex 120D stretch woven shoulders and lower sleeves
Women's
Price MSRP: $129.00
Current Retail: $89.37-$149.00
Historic Range: $20.00-$149.00
Weight 13.2 oz / 373 g
Center Back Length 27.5 in / 70 cm
Fabric 86% nylon, 14% spandex 90D stretch woven ripstop body and hood, Cordura 91% nylon, 9% spandex 120D stretch woven shoulders and lower sleeves
Product Details from Outdoor Research »

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