Outdoor Research Ferrosi Hoody (Men's and Women's) Review

3 Outdoor Research Ferrosi Hoodies on top of Earl Peak in Teanaway, Stuart Range behind us.

Intro:
I honestly feel like I have neglected to review one of my favorite and versatile jackets in favor of "new jackets" that have come onto the market. Of all the jackets I own and use, the Outdoor Research Ferrosi Hoody is one of my most beloved and oldest jackets.

Construction/Material:
The Ferrosi is made of 90D nylon and elastane (Spandex) in the main body and 120D Codura Nylon and elastane in the shoulders and lower sleeves. What you get is high abrasion resistance is areas that need it most like your shoulders and arms and maximum breathability in your head, chest, and back. The Ferrosi has a double sided zipper on the left handed pocket so it can fold into its own pocket.

Closest competitor to the Ferrosi Hoody is the Arc'teryx Psiphon SL pullover. For a full review for that jacket click the hyperlink above. The Ferrosi is heavier by 3 oz, doesn't have harness Hemlock inserts, cheaper by 20$, and has pockets for your hands, and has a full length zipper. The Ferrosi fabric weave isn't as dense as the Psiphon so it's more air-permeable. This means it's slightly more breathable for good or for worse depending on your aerobic output and weather. The fabric weave on the Ferrosi has more stretch compared to the Psiphon. The Ferrosi is really a utility softshell that's great at everything from backpacking, climbing, to spring skiing. The Psiphon is a climbing and mountaineering orientated piece. If you're looking for a softshell mostly for climbing and mountaineering I would go with the Psiphon . If you do more hiking, backpacking, or all of the above, I think the Ferrosi is the most versatile.

How it Fits:
For the Males, the Ferrosi Hoody has a standard fit so it's not by any means Arc'teryx slim fit but nor is it bulky and baggy. The draw-cord at the hem allows one to cinch it at the waist for colder conditions but I found that it only needed a little bit. Great articulation in the arms and shoulders means that those with broader shoulders shouldn't have to size up.
 Climbing in the Men's Outdoor Research Ferrosi Hoody at Vantage WA.

For the Females, the Ferrosi Hoody shares resemblance to the Men's fit. Standard fit that offers room for layers but not baggy. The Women's Ferrosi only has a slight tapper at the waist for a slightly more feminine cut and to distinguish from the men's version. Put it more bluntly, the women's Ferrosi is cut more for utility than for fashion.
Women's Outdoor Research Ferrosi Hoody at Surprise Lake - Alpine Lakes Wilderness 
Performance:
I think I have done a wider range of activities with the Ferrosi Hoody than any other jacket. Mountaineering, backpacking, hiking, ski touring, climbing, even cycling.  I will only describe a few recent trips that I've used my Ferrosi on.

The Ferrosi does exceptionally well for summer mountaineering in the cascades as it provides the right balance between breathability and keeping the elements out. A recent climbing trip of Mt. Baker had me wearing the jacket from high camp to summit then back to high camp. Moist marine weather rolled in that evening and I wore the same jacket from high camp to the trailhead. Few jackets can one wear comfortably through such temperature ranges, this is because the Ferrosi breathes so well.

Morning Sunrise on Mt. Baker. 
The Ferrosi hoody is also a great hiking jacket. My wife and I both used our Ferrosi hoodies when we went for an evening day hike to Surprise Lake and Glacier Lake in the Alpine like wilderness. We had dinner at Surprise lake and the wind off the lake kept the temperatures fairly cool for July but the Ferrosi kept both of us comfortable. Both of us hiked out with our ferrosi hoodies on as the sun slowly set over the cascades.

Surprise Lake - Alpine Lakes Wilderness
Summary:
If you are only buying one softshell for your outdoor pursuits, then the Outdoor Research Ferrosi is the quintessential softshell. The Ferrosi Hoody offers outstanding value, versatility, and performance that nobody has yet to compete with and has been refined to the point where it doesn't need to be changed.

Outdoor Research Ferrosi up on Table Mt. with Mt. Shuksan in the background on a beautiful autumn day

Pros:

  • Extremely Breathable
  • Lightweight
  • Cheap (130$)
  • Durable
  • Great articulation and stretch
  • Good water and wind resistance
  • Stuffs into its' own pocket
Cons:
  • Only if you don't own one


*** Update - 9/20/2016 ***
I had the pleasure to use my Outdoor Research Ferrosi on a spectacular trip of the entire Wonderland trail around Mount Rainier in September. My wife and I both used out Ferrosi hoodies in the early mornings while hiking as it blocked the cold, sometimes below freezing wind, but breathed enough to backpack in. During my 8 day trip of the Wonderland, the Ferrosi hoody was my main layering piece and I never used my rain shell that was in my pack. 
OR Ferrosi Hoody crossing the White River on the Wonderland Trail - MRNP

Comments

  1. I'm a little confused about how to use a piece like the ferossi. Does it serve as your action suit with just a base layer under it?

    I'm trying to understand soft shells and how they fit into clothing systems. The mec obsession hoodie for example is interesting but I'm not sure how to use it besides as a niche very cold non windy day active layer.

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    Replies
    1. The Ferrosi, is definitely part of your action suit. It Breathes extremely well and works fantastic with just a baselayer underneath. It can also act as a wind breaker / shell in mild precipitation. I often hike in my Ferrosi in the autumn as hiking in just a baselayer can be too cold and the wind cuts right through it.

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    2. I may be able to illustrate a few examples that can help. 1) It is perfect for those instances where a t-shirt just quite isn't enough or where the wind is uncomfortable. Something like a heavy or even mid weight fleece may be too much but the ferrosi cuts the wind enough to be comfortable without overheating. 2) I went hiking between 10k and 14k feet with temps ranging from 29F to about 60F. I was 100% comfortable wearing a silkweight tshirt, light merino long sleeve and the ferrosi. This is assuming that you are being active. Bring a puffy for rest periods. 3) Finally, I would use this as an abrasion layer over a puffy with delicate fabric. I have heard stories of people ripping their Arc'teryx Cerium LT with the strap of their backpack while putting the pack on. Also, if you are bouldering or canyoneering and walking through tight spaces you could easily get a rip. Wearing the ferrosi over the puffy could save you unwanted expense. Hope this helps.

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    4. Great reply, Couldn't agree more!

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