Outdoor Research’s Super Layer goes Uber! Two years ago we reviewed the Outdoor Research Super Layer Jacket, to moderate fanfare. This season, the good folks at Outdoor Research (OR) have upped the ante considerably and released the Uberlayer Hooded Jacket. With improved styling, a hood, and Polartec Alpha Insulation rather than the Primaloft Hi-Loft Silver Insulation found in the Super Layer Jacket, the new Uberlayer Hooded Jacket is a welcome improvement. This is in an active insulation piece (as is the Super Layer), hence the use of the incredibly warm Polartec Alpha Insulation, and breathable 100% nylon 30D stretch woven shell. The Uberlayer is designed to keep you warm while you’re stationary, and release excess heat when you’re active. It’s ideal for belaying a climber, or as a mid layer while ski touring. It’s a trim fit, so it can be worn under a shell on colder days or as an outer layer on days without excessive snow, wind or rain. While the Uberlayer is incredibly breathable, it will also shed a light rain and buff moderate winds; but you don’t want to rely on it to repel heavy storms. This is the single jacket you can count on to keep you warm on those active adventures in the mountains, but it also doubles as an outer layer around town or on fair weather days.
The Outdoor Research Uberlayer Hooded Jacket comes complete with a long list of features; My favourite being the two internal ‘Shove-It’ pockets which are designed to accommodate a pair of skins (one skin per pocket). While most people may use these pockets for other purposes, it’s a good idea to consider keeping your skins warm inside your jacket on the ski down; This way the glue remains tacky and ready for sticking to your skis for the climb back up. While these are the only pockets on the inside of the Uberlayer, there are three more on the outside: Two hand warmer pockets; placed high enough to stay out of the way of pack straps and harnesses. And one Napoleon pocket for your cell phone, wallet, or limp balm. My second favourite feature, one that will probably go unnoticed by most, are the interior glide panels located in the shoulder and arms. What are ‘glide panels’ you might ask? Well, in order to ensure the Uberlayer is as breathable and comfortable as possible, the interior is made up of a soft, micro-perforated material. While this is ideal next to skin, it does tend to create friction with other fabrics. With the addition of glide panels in the arms and shoulders, you can rest assured that the sleeves of the jacket (or your base layer) won’t ride up your arms when putting on the Uberlayer. These slide panels are breathable, just not as breathable as the rest of the interior liner. This is a small but important feature of the Outdoor Research Uberlayer Hooded Jacket that is barely noticeable, but would be sorely missed if absent.
Front and back view and red all over.
- Water and Wind Resistant
- Breathable / Lightweight
- Double-Separating Center Front Zipper
- Internal Front Stormflap
- Interior glide panels applied to lining at shoulder and arms
- Low-Profile Inset Lycra Cuffs
- Drawcord Hem
- Zippered Napoleon Pocket
- Two Zippered Hand Pockets
- Built in key clip
- Two Internal Shove-It™ Pockets
- Adjustable Wire-Brimmed Halo Hood Fits Over Helmet
- Shell - 100% nylon 30D stretch woven
- Lining - 100% polyester stretch mesh lining
- Insulation - Polartec Hi-Pile Alpha Insulation 100% polyester, 98 g/square metre
The Outdoor Research Uberlayer Hooded Jacket is worthy of its name and a welcome improvement over the previous Outdoor Research Super Layer Jacket I reviewed. While the Super Layer Jacket is still for sale on the OR website, it has been heavily discounted; could its days be numbered? I suspect this has something to do with the fact that the Uberlayer (in my opinion) is a far superior jacket.
I can’t say enough good things about the Primaloft® Alpha insulation: it’s super light, packable, and warm. You’ll be amazed at how little insulation is actually in the Uberlayer Hooded Jacket, and just how warm it keeps you. I’m happy to see OR starting to use Alpha insulation in more of their 2015/16 products, such as the Uberlayer and the new Deviator Hoody. I feel that Polartec Alpha is by far the best insulation for your money, especially when you consider its weight to warmth ratio.
In order to effectively test the Outdoor Research Uberlayer Hooded Jacket I’ve been wearing it as a mid layer while skiing at the resort as well as a mid / outer layer on ski touring days over the past few months. I also plan to keep wearing this jacket as spring rolls in and ski season gives way to climbing season. I’ve also found myself wearing it around town; sort of as a throw-on sweater before I head out the door to do errands and take care of life’s less adventurous requirements.
I highly recommend the Outdoor Research Uberlayer Hooded Jacket for anyone looking for a mid/outer layer that keeps you warm like down, but breathes far more effectively; especially when you start moving. I only hope that OR increases Uberlayer’s colour choices and combinations in the coming year, as the current colour choices are limited. If you’re looking for similar active insulation pieces, consider the Marmot Isotherm Hoody, the Arcteryx Atom LT Jacket, the Westcomb Tango Hoody, or the Rab Strata Guide Jacket.
Sizes: S, M, L, XL, XXL
Colours: Hot Sauce, Baltic, Black
Weight: 581g / 20.5oz (size L)
Did we miss something? Are we totally out to lunch? Let us know what you think. People like/dislike gear for different reasons so chime in below and we'll get a well-rounded evaluation.