I love OR. In fact when I’m out ski touring I look like a walking/talking/skiing OR ad. I just find that they make good quality gear and sell it at a reasonable price. Simple as that. Since I already have OR soft shell pants and jacket as well as a base layer and gloves I was psyched to try out a hardshell. Enter the Enigma.
Pockets: Two zippered hand pockets, two internal pockets-one with media ports
Zippers: Water resistant, main zipper double separating with internal storm flap
Fit: Standard fit
Hood: Fully adjustable, helmet compatible
TorsoFlo: Double-sliding zippers from hem to biceps
Fabric: 70D Gore-Tex Packlight on body, Gore-Tex Pro fabric on shoulders and upper sleeve panels
Seams: Fully taped
The Enigma has four pockets: two on the outside and two on the inside. The outside pockets are large hand warmer pockets that are accessible while wearing either a harness or backpack waist belt. The pockets are large enough to fit both your hands and some items in them at the same time even when wearing gloves. The pockets are located away from the main zipper. The inside of the pockets is a mesh material (presumably to keep the weight down), which unfortunately even after only a few wears has many snags in it (although no major ones).
The two inside pockets are chest pockets located near the main zipper. They start higher than the outside pockets and end about a third of the way down the outside pockets. This means that the inside pockets only overlap with the top third of the exterior pockets, allowing both to be used at the same time. The interior pockets are lined with the same mesh as the exterior pockets and, as such, are showing the same snags. The left inner pocket has a media port through which headphones could be passed.
All the zippers on the Enigma are waterproof. I really like that the main zipper can be opened from either the top or bottom. I found opening the zipper from the bottom super handy to cool me off without letting snow fall into the jacket from above. In the past I have often found that although opening the zipper from the top may cool me off, it also lets snow into the jacket and onto my inner layer.
Overall I like the zipper pull-tabs on all of the zippers. I did find, however, that larger zipper pulls would have been useful on the Torso Flow zippers. As the Torso Flow zippers are harder to reach than the main or pockets zippers, larger tabs may make them easier to open.
I am really happy with how the Enigma fits. It has a bit of shape to prevent it from being too boxy, but it is large enough to fit a small down underneath for colder temperatures.
The cuffs are wide enough to easily fit over gloves, but they also tighten down to be small enough to fit under overgloves. I did find the jacket to be a bit short, but this is a frequent problem for me with most brands.
The hood on the Enigma fits over both climbing and ski helmets. While wearing a helmet I was able to do up the zipper the full way; however, it was a little tight around my neck even without any other jackets or a neck warmer underneath. As such, I found I was more comfortable when wearing a helmet to have the zipper undone a few inches. This is unfortunate because if the weather is poor enough to want my hood up I also usually like to have the zipper fully done up.
I found the hood to be easily adjustable around the face and around the head with a simple toggle system. When you have the hood pulled tight there is quite a lot of elastic cord that sticks out from the back of the hood, which is a little annoying. Although there is a flap that you can tuck the cord under, it is a bit fiddly to do so, especially with gloves on. It seems like the elastic could be a few centimetres shorter as even when the hood is fully extended there is about 5cm of elastic cord remaining. On the other hand, the hood is easy to tighten with only one hand.
The hood does have a brim, which adds a bit more protection for your face from precipitation.
Although many jackets now come with pit zips, I often find they are too small to make much of a difference towards cooling me off. Enter Torso-Flow with zippers from the hem to biceps. On the whole, I really like the Torso Flow feature. I found it most useful when touring up in times when I was too hot to want a hard shell but I was either getting wet from snow fall or was about to reach tree line and knew it was going to get windy. In both of these cases the Torso Flow allowed me to get the extra protection I needed from a hard shell without overheating.
As a small note, like with any pit zips, I found the Torso Flow zippers difficult to open/close while wearing a pack. As such, I found it better to adjust them before I put my pack on. Larger zipper pulls would definitely make them easier to adjust while on the move, especially with gloves on.
At 15.8 ounces (450 grams), the Enigma is one of OR’s lightest hard shells and its lightest four season one. The body of the jacket is made with Gore-Tex™ 70D Packlight fabric to keep the weight down. In order to increase the durability of the jacket, OR put Gore-Tex™ Pro fabric on the shoulders and upper sleeve panels. Although I have not had the jacket long enough to test out the long-term durability, I like the combination of the two types of fabric to keep the Enigma lightweight but also maintain durability in the most hard hit areas of the jacket. OR also took the opportunity of using two fabrics to have two different colours; light and dark blue in the case of my jacket. I’ve gotten lots of compliments on the combination of the two blues and I think it adds a great touch to the jacket. On the other hand, OR has changed their branding and I’m not a huge fan. In addition to the classic OR symbol (which I like), the jacket also has Outdoor Research written on the sleeve. I find this simple writing makes it feel like I’m wearing a company jacket rather than my own piece of clothing.
The Enigma is a lightweight, waterproof, versatile jacket. It has a nice cut that looks good and allows layering underneath. The hood can fit over a helmet and the pockets are harness and waist-belt friendly. The OR specific Torsoflow allows maximum venting when you need it most and the double direction main zipper adds to this.
All of my suggestions for this jacket are minor. The Torsoflow could use larger zipper pulls, the neck could be a bit wider and the hood cord a bit shorter. Also I am not a huge fan of the new OR branding but that has nothing to do with the quality of the jacket.
If you’re looking for a lightweight, multipurpose four-season jacket, consider the Enigma.
Price: $380 CAN
Colours: Black, Blackberry/Lilac, Bluebird/Sapphire, Trillium/Zin
Weight: 15.8oz/450g (size medium)
Measurements: (size medium) Chest 45”, Centre Front 22.5”, Centre Back 26.5”, Sleeve Length 33”
-More durable fabric on shoulders
-Main zipper opens from top or bottom
-Helmet compatible hood
-Hood a little small to have zipper done up while wearing helmet
-Zipper pulls on Torso-Flow could be bigger
-Mesh pocket linings prone to snags
-Elastic to tighten hood around head too long
-Jacket could be a few centimetres longer
Fit / Mobility 1/2
Waterproof / Breathable 2/2
Quality / Price 2/2
This is only our opinion. Do you disagree? Did we miss something? Are we totally out to lunch? Join the discussion in the forums here, and let us know what you think. People like/dislike gear for different reasons so chime in and we'll get a well-rounded evaluation.
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