Brand: Outdoor Research
Model: Refuge Air Hooded Jacket
Our take When the mantra for the day was “just keep moving,” we reached for the Refuge. On one such day, we started skinning in sunny, above-freezing temps and ended—almost 12 hours later—in blowing snow and low-20s on the final push to Colorado’s Weston Pass Hut. “I didn’t even need to use the zipper to regulate,” one tester says. Why so versatile? A new breed of synthetic active insulation called Vertical X Air—made with stiffer fibers than competing tech and a crochet-like design known as a Raschel knit—boosts warmth and breathability. The fibers’ stiffness is also meant to improve loft retention over time (we’ve only had it for a season, but it’s held up).
The details The hood fits snugly over a beanie, but isn’t helmet-compatible. Low-profile thumb loops slide easily under gloves. Complaint: The wispy, 20-denier Pertex Quantum face fabric sprouted pack-strap pills relatively quickly (but they didn’t impact performance). Its DWR held up in light rain.
Trail cred “The jacket’s close fit helps with breathability, and makes it easy to layer over,” our tester says.
1 lb. 1 oz. (m’s L); m’s S-XL, w’s XS-XL