Excellent balance between durability and low weight
Layered nicely, comfy whether worn as a shell or as a mid-layer
Hood worked well both over and under a helmet
Hood adjustments required both hands
Collar was low and loose
Handwarmer pockets were useless while wearing a harness or large pack
Perhaps the most versatile softshell jacket we've ever tested, the Outdoor Research Ferrosi Hoody provided just enough of what was needed in nearly all conditions. This crepe-y hoody's flexibility proved to be its greatest strength; even Bruce Lee was pleased.
My wish-list for the perfect lightweight softshell is highly paradoxical-it must be ultralight, but durable; must block nearly all wind, but breathe like thin cotton; should move with me like a base-layer, but provide plenty of pockets and adjustments. The team at Outdoor Research must have a similar list, because this jacket very nearly satisfies these conflicting desires.
Weather Protection The thicker, toothier nylon on the Ferrosi Hoody’s arms and shoulders added considerably to the weather defenses of its hood-less brother (see our review of the Ferrosi Jacket here). This fabric made for improved wet-resistance (especially under pack-straps), and noticeably increased wind-resistance (especially when worn over short-sleeved base layers).
Breathability As we’ve noted previously, the Ferrosi Hoody’s main fabric is among the lightest textiles we’d consider to be softshell material. And while this thin stretch-nylon layer did a surprisingly good job of blocking breezes and misty rain, it also held a bit more humidity than expected for its wispy feel.
Mobility/Comfort The Ferrosi Hoody offered a confidently utilitarian feel that more than made up for its general lack of softness. And although its textures were more noticeable against bare skin than those of more cuddlesome softshells, I never hesitated to wear it over only a thin t-shirt.
Weight Softshells of all persuasions suffer somewhat in the weight-to-performance analysis. The Ferrosi Hoody is no exception, but it packs a huge performance punch for its sub-pound weight.
Attention to Detail Outdoor Research has a reputation for building functional, workhorse mountain apparel, and this jacket was no exception. Though it was not particularly refined, though its execution of most design elements was somewhat coarse, the Ferrosi delivered on the attributes that serious users most appreciate: simplicity, durability, and versatility.
Value Although I have not established a scored subdivision for Balance (such a Mini Rating would do nothing but reduce most GI scores in this category), the Ferrosi deserves recognition for its achievement of such impressive performance equilibrium among increasingly specialized competitors. An excellent value for those who don’t care to own five softshell jackets. For those who own six or more softshells: buy it anyway.