Outdoor Research Women's Transcendent Down Hoody
Sizes: XS to XL
Colours: Black, Lapis (blue), Slate, Garnet/Zin, Pacific Plum/Amethyst, Seaglass/Washed Peacock
Price: $225 USD
Weight: 12.9oz/ 366g
The Transcendent features water-resistant, wind-resistant 20D lightweight 100% ripstop polyester. It is filled with 650 responsibly sourced goose down insulation.
Women's fit- New for Fall 2018, OR is introducing an all new women's fit. This new design fit is supposed to increase movement, layering, and leave room for expansion due muscle hypertrophy. As I see it, the Transcendent Hoody meets all of the criteria. The hoody allows for ease of movement. I don't feel restricted at all in any plane of movement. Secondly, I can layer the hoody (size small) over multiple other layers including baselayers, insulating layers and shells. The puffy's thin profile also allows it to layer underneath shells seamlessly allowing it to be used for a variety of activities. Lastly, I can spot subtle details like the ruching around chest and upper back areas allowing for expansion in case you carry more size in those areas.
Compressibility- The Transcendent Hoody is 650 fill down jacket. Traditionally this means that the jacket is not as compressible as a 800 fill jacket nor as lightweight. I did a quick test to compare against two other jackets and found a striking outcome. The Transcendent jacket compresses smaller than the Patagonia Down Sweater Hoody (800 fill- size small) but larger than the Mountain Hardwear Ghost Whisperer Jacket (800 fill-size medium). I was surprised that this jacket beat out a market favourite 800 fill jacket for compressibility. Impressive! Check out the photos below a scroll over the for captions.
Style- OR has expanded it's colour selection for women in recent years and so the jacket comes in a variety of colours. They have even created a few two-tone jackets such as mine in the Pacific Plum/Amethyst. I am enjoying these new style options for women - I am not a fan of the old way of taking a men's garment and 'shrink it and pink it' for women's outdoor clothing. I also like the new fit of the women's clothing...not too tight and not too loose.
Warmth- I have used the Transcendent Hoody the entire winter which had temperatures from above freezing to -30 below. I generally used the jacket as a mid-layer for resort skiing under a shell which worked fabulously. I also used it to throw on and off before and after cross country skiing and snowshoeing in the car. I can't say that I was ever cold in the jacket - it performs well for warm and is not lacking warmth by any means but I didn't use it as an outer layer when standing around in the winter. I am looking forward to using it this spring as a hiking lunchtime layer and as a stand along when spring camping. It hasn't replaced my belay parka and winter camping expedition down jackets but does the job for an in between layer.
Weather Resistance - The 20D ripstop nylon feels lightweight and slippery. It has been able to handle some light moisture (moist snow and light rain). It protects me from the wind well and the hood is great at bumping up warmth and protection if the weather is not agreeable.
Baffle fill-When I saw the Transcendent online, the wide baffles and photo made me think that jacket would be a mid-poof-sized down jacket landing somewhere between my expedition size down jacket and my lightweight thin down jacket. When it first arrived I was disappointed to see the baffles weren't completely stuffed resembling more of a lightweight thin down jacket. I'm not sure what the ratio of down to feathers is in the baffles but they seem to be evenly filled and puff out somewhat but not to the degree I was imagining. I would recommend that it be distinguished a bit more from the Outdoor Research Illuminate 800 fill (which is competitive with the top 800 fill lightweight jackets on the market) and an expedition puffy, even if it decreases compressibility and increases weight. I would fill the baffles and fatten the jacket out a bit more. Sure it might mean that it doesn't work as a mid-layer anymore, but that's what the jackets like the Illuminate are for. I would love a puffy that works as an outer layer for non-expedition temperatures.
Durability - The 20D nylon fabric has stood up to all the use and abuse I have put it through this winter. While wearing it I threw my alpine skis over my shoulder, leaned the metal edges of my xc skis against it and even got it caught a couple times in doors and backpacks. So far it has stood up to the test of time unlike my 10D Ghost Whisperer puffy that has multiple holes in it. I do hope it continues to shine but if this is what has given the puffy it's lightweightness, I have to question it's long term durability.
Best Uses: Mid-layer for resort skiing, an overlayer for aerobic winter activities, hut puffy, casual.
Disclaimer: I was given this puffy as part of the #ORInsightLab. The opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.