Mother Nature is confused. It’s 70 degrees outside, but the autumn wind is super chilly. Embarking on a hike on a day like this is tough to dress for. In pockets along the trail where the wind isn’t howling, it’s warm — t-shirt weather. But when that wind starts a-whipping, it’s full-blown jacket weather. As the seasons change, and the weather starts to fluctuate by the hour, your outdoor apparel shouldn’t have to. Having a few ultra breathable pieces that still provide warmth and protect from the elements is super key this time of year. And bonus points if that apparel transcends outdoor activities and seasons. You know the kind of threads. It’s the first thing you throw in your pack, and the item in your closet that seems to need washed the most. For me, Outdoor Research’s Deviator Hoody has become exactly that go-to piece of gear.
MSRP: $189.99 (for both men’s and women’s)
Pros: Outdoor Research’s Deviator Hoody is a very versatile piece. On a sunny day after the first snowstorm of the season hit the Front Range of Colorado, I wore the Deviator Hoody over my warmest baselayer on a road bike ride in 45-degree weather. I was comfortable warmth wise, didn’t feel bogged down in apparel, and happily rode for about an hour. When the snow melted and the sun came back out in full force, I wore the hoody over a light t-shirt on a windy day hike and never once had to pull it off or put it back on to match the changing weather. In both cases, the light, hybrid mapped Polartec® Alpha insulation on the front body panel created a comfortable, regulated level of warmth. That insulation continuously kept the wind from penetrating through the fabric of the upper body, and made it easier to wear fewer layers underneath the hoody on chillier days. The back panel, sleeves and hood are all made out of a Polartec® Power Grid fabric; a combination of polyester, spandex knit and nylon 7D ripstop. The material wicks moisture well, is very breathable, and provides an incredible amount of warmth for such a thin fabric. The hoody weighs in a 9.3 ounces and packs up very small. The fit is not athletic, and runs a little large, which allows the piece to easily be worn under or over other layers. It’s a sleek looking hoody, so it also works well as a casual light jacket to wear around town. The hoody also features a small zip chest pocket, which I use most often to stash my phone in. The cuffs are elastic and sport thumb loops. And the fabric is anti-odor. It took a little over a week of heavy use before that inescapable odor started to creep in.
Cons: Fit-wise, the Deviator Hoody runs large, which actually helps it be a more versatile piece. But a lot of the extra fabric on my medium sized hoody tends to bunch up around my torso. If you prefer a tighter, more athletic fit, I would suggest sizing down. And although the piece is wind resistant, it’s not water-resistant. If you’re looking to use the hoody as a stand-alone outer layer, keep that in mind.
Where We Took It: Hiking, biking and leisure-ing around Boulder, Colorado.