I’m always in search of the perfect jacket for the weather here in northern Arizona. We don’t have the extreme heat of southern Arizona, but we still have wide temperature swings most days and have hot summers and snow every winter. I probably have a dozen coats and jackets of different weights and for different purposes. That’s too many, especially for someone who works at home and doesn’t need outerwear most of the week. So I’d love to replace several of them with one jacket.
I tried out the OROS Outlier Jacket to see if it might be The One for general use. Spoiler: It just might be.
OROS is a company that makes outdoor performance wear, including jackets, shirts, tights, hats, etc. Founded and led by a couple of definite outdoorsy guys, it seems like they focus heavily on the science of materials to develop new and compelling offerings. Compared to many online retailers, they have a relatively limited selection of products, but what they lack in quantity they make up for in quality.
Design and Style
The design and style of the Outlier Jacket are really smart-looking. No unnecessary bulk. Straight, clean lines. A choice between a fab curry color and versatile black. And it has the right number and type of pockets for the basics.
There are two hand pockets in the front that feel nice inside and are big enough for anyone’s hands. Plus there is one multi-purpose zipper pocket on the back, reachable with your right hand. Inside it, you can fit things like a large phone, a small collapsible umbrella, a wallet, plane tickets, a water bottle, snacks, or anything about that size. If you plan to lean back on anything, though, I would keep it to flat items.
Because of the straighter lines, I had to request an XL, a size up from what I’d normally order. Their sizing is not especially designed for curvy or busty people. But the jacket is still comfortable, even zipped up. It does have a bit of a mooshing effect on my chest, though. The jacket is also a little bit stretchy, just enough to allow for some movement but not as much as, say, loungewear.
There is also a straight collar that covers the bottom of your neck pretty well, keeping out the cold and filling the gap that sometimes exists when you wear a scarf.
At the wrist, there are two layers: one that’s the outer jacket, and one that they call “interior comfort cuffs” that cling a bit more to your wrists. Since the jacket is slightly stiff, I think these soft cuffs are a good addition.
The zippers are made by YKK, which means they are quality. (I think YKK totally missed out on Y2K era opportunities, but alas.) And according to the website, all their OROS gear is machine washable and dryer safe.
OROS touts this jacket as being able to go “from bike to boardroom,” and it does look that sharp, partly due to its having a pretty low profile. But you’d probably still look out of place in a more traditional work setting if you kept on your jacket during a meeting.
The drive behind OROS’s clothes seems to be to create high-tech clothing that is stylish and functional. Though I only have one data point to go by, I think they’ve accomplished that. The Outlier Jacket is sufficiently warm (but not overly warm) without being bulky. This is due to a combination of materials, but particularly their SOLARCORE insulation. The jacket has a nice solid heft to it, but it doesn’t feel heavy when you’re wearing it.
What is SOLARCORE? According to their website, OROS has combined some of the properties of NASA-developed Aerogel with a flexible, closed-cell foam, which then makes up the insulation layer of OROS’s clothing. They claim it’s “extremely flexible and ultra thin,” which was definitely my experience with it. Additionally, it’s supposed to retain its ability to insulate, even when wet, and to block the wind. I didn’t have the requisite conditions to test those latter two claims, but they do have a free returns and exchanges policy (within 30 days) if you don’t like what you get.
The jacket’s warmth was quite surprising, given its thickness (or lack thereof). It does have zones of thicker material, and they do a good job keeping all the right parts warm while maintaining a sharp silhouette.
In addition to the insulation properties, the shell itself is pretty snazzy too. It’s 91% nylon and 9% elastane, as well as being water-resistant—it’s treated with polyfluorocarbon-free DWRs (my Googling tells me that that stands for Durable Water Repellents). They also use recycled polyester, which is pretty great. If you want, you can choose to offset your order’s carbon footprint at checkout. This adds a small sum to your total with the extra money going to benefit the McCloud River Conservation.
The Outlier Jacket is thinner than you’d expect from something that can keep you sufficiently warm. If you know you’ll need a jacket but just want to bring one layer, the OROS Outlier Jacket is a pretty good choice. It will keep you comfortable in a wide range of temperatures (the website says it covers 65 degrees F down to 20 degrees F), though I do recommend pairing with a hat, scarf, and gloves for the colder end of the spectrum.
Being that I only received the jacket to try out recently, I haven’t been able to put it through the year-round ringer. But I was able to try above-freezing-but-still-cold temperatures. First, I can attest to it being comfortable in temperatures on the warmer end of the spectrum (though it’s hardly necessary in our current 65-degree sunny weather). We haven’t had 20-degree temps yet here in northern Arizona, but I did try it out during a crisp 40-degree morning. Standing around, I did get a little cold, but once I moved around I was quite comfortable. Pairing it with a hat and scarf and gloves would have also done the trick.
I also wore the jacket around the house for a while, in our 65-degree-F “I don’t want to turn the heat on yet” house, over a short-sleeved top. I was quite comfortable wearing the jacket for a couple of hours, not getting overheated.
Here in northern Arizona, I’d call the Outlier Jacket a 3-season jacket, working well for late-autumn up through mid-spring, and probably for an extra month on either side for nighttime use, since our day/night temperature swings are often 30 degrees F.
The website says that the best uses for this jacket are commuting (ostensibly on a bicycle?), hiking, and cross-country skiing. I don’t know about all of that, but I can say that it works great for power walking around my neighborhood, and for light hikes here in the cooler months. For more intense athletes, I’m sure it would work well in even colder weather than we usually have, probably down to the 20 degrees F it’s rated for.
The OROS Outlier Jacket is a comfortable, versatile, incredibly high-quality three-season jacket (which three seasons will depend on where you live) that works equally well on a casual walk, a bike ride, or skiing on a sunny day. And it isn’t one you’ll rush to take off when you get home either; it is surprising how comfortable it remains when going from one end of its temperature range to the other.
The jacket retails for $220 but, as of this writing, is on sale for $185. There is also free shipping on orders $99 and up, which is pretty easy to get to on this site. Some of their other items are on sale as well, so check them out. Though this is more than I personally tend to spend on a jacket, for those who are fitness-oriented, really into high-tech materials, or have more money than time, I think this jacket is a great option.
Note: I received a sample for review purposes.