Outdoor Research Women's Uberlayer Jacket
Colour: Black, Elderberry, Hydro
Price: $299 USD
Weight: 16.7oz/472g (medium)
Features: At first look, the jacket looks and feels like a mid-layer jacket of fleece thickness. The Hydro (blue) colour was gorgeous and immediately some key features started to stand out:
On solo missions, I know that I save time and energy without having to stop to delayer or add layers throughout the day. I also save weight in my pack from having to pack multiple layers that are now unnecessary with the Uberlayer. I need more friends with Uberlayers!
In any temperature, I found that I only needed ONE baselayer underneath the Uberlayer for it to work optimally, even in warm +3C/35F and in cold -16C/3.2F temperatures. I found that polypropelene or polyester baselayers worked better than merino wool in all conditions.
The jacket worked well in mixed precipitation and I was never wet from snow or rain. It worked well in windy mountain enviroments, but I wouldn't forego packing my windshell altogether. So far the fabric has been able to withstand abuse from bushwhacking and abrasion.
I enjoyed the wired brim in the hood, giving it a bit more structure than a regular hood. The chest pocket fit my iPhone perfectly, and the fleece handpockets are very cozy.
I also find myself wearing this jacket as a midlayer for downhill resort skiing, and around town casual in addition to its backcountry applications. Its ability to thermoregulate sets it apart from any other jacket I own and I can't stop talking about this jacket. It has revolutionized winter wear for me. Uber-terrific!
Cons: Weight could be reduced by tapering the shape around the forearms and waist. I felt the excess fabric in those areas was baggy and unnecessary. I prefer a more streamlined fit for technical garments. You can see the excessive fabric in some of the photos below. Maybe I just need a smaller size?
My family members, who hunt, salivated over the possible applications this Polartec Alpha fabric could have for hunting, when there are also many periods of movement followed by long stationary periods.
When ski touring training at resorts, I felt the cold wind fly through the fabric while descending groomers at fast speeds. Normally I would still be warm from the ascent, so it wouldn't matter but if there were high winds I might put on a shell. In the backcountry, skiing speeds are generally slower so this wouldn't be an issue.
Best uses: Winter hiking, snowshoeing, mountaineering, alpine touring, etc.
Outdoor Research has another big thumbs up in my books! Kudos!
Full Disclosure: I was given the Uberlayer jacket to test and review as part of Outdoor Research's #ORInsightLab team. The opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.