With comfort and durability at the forefront of its strengths, the Outdoor Research Uberlayer Hooded Jacket is one of the most versatile jackets we have field tested over the last six months. With its ability to hold heat where you need it and dump it out where you don’t, the Uberlayer is the ideal choice when hiking to and from the crag, belaying during a project run, or just making coffee while waking up outside in the Pacific Northwest. This versatile mid-layer proved to be extremely durable in the harshest climbing conditions, making it a go-to jacket for anyone serious about staying warm during cooler conditions.
Outdoor Research Uberlayer Hooded Jacket
To guide our review, we have broken the jacket down into its specific components to give you a full summary of its features.
Technologies and Fabrics
At the forefront of its construction, the Uberlayer was designed with active use in mind for those who love the mountains. Using Polartec Alpha Insulation, the Uberlayer allowed body heat and moisture to move through the jacket, causing it to hold heat areas that you need it and dumping it from areas you don’t.
During our field test, the Uberlayer was the ideal jacket when hiking to and from the crag. The Uberlayer provided the perfect amount of warmth for active use without the typical overheating in the forearms that can be associated with a light weight down-jacket. At no time during the testing period did we arrive at the crag to find the Uberlayer wet on the inside because of overheating.
Although not constructed for extreme rain conditions, the Uberlayer was able to fight off an unexpected downpour. Because of its natural softness, the Uberlayer tackled the rain without feeling uncomfortable on the inside of the jacket. It should be note that outlayer of the jacket took a little longer to dry out once wet than your typical polyester shell.
The design of the Uberlayer incorporated a number of features that are complimentary to the climbing lifestyle. First and foremost, the Uberlayer features a two way zipper that is ideal for unzipping from the bottom while belaying or roping up. It also features two inner layer mesh pockets that are big enough for your climbing shoes and as well as the typical guidebook. The jacket integrated one breast pocket into the design for easy access to the important things as well as two regular hand pockets in the front of the jacket.
In an effort to maximize use of this jacket, the design team incorporated a pouch into one of its regular pockets, indicated by a two way zipper pull tap. Although a fantastic feature, during our review we had to try three times before being able to close the zipper of the the pocket, making it less than ideal during practical use.
In terms of fit, the Uberlayer seemed to fit a bit smaller than you may think and we would recommend going up a size when fitting this jacket. We tested a LARGE which was a perfect fit for anyone over six feet tall and with a wingspan to match. The cut of the Uberlayer finds a good balance between the form-fitting style of Arcteryx and the straight-ish fit of Patagonia.
A conversation about fit would not be complete without mentioning that the Uberlayer is one of the most comfortable jackets we have tested. All the materials used in the Uberlayer, including its 100% nylon 30D stretch woven shell and its 100% polyester stretch mesh lining were extremely comfortable, making the jacket a favourite right from the start. It should also be noted that inside seems of the jacket were undetectable when wearing, for those who are sensitive to rough seems and cold zippers. The Uberlayer was comfortable enough to wear with or without a t-shirt and required no under layer for comfort.
Despite a number of fantastic features, the strength of the Uberlayer is its durability and ability to take a lot of punishment. Despite constant abuse, the Uberlayer was able to bounce back from constantly being shoved in a pack or thrown in the dirt. Even after a long day at the crag, the Uberlayer looked in top form when heading to the pub after a long day of climbing.
The Uberlayer was durable enough to wear while climbing. This is a huge plus for us who climb on a regular basis and want to warm up in the jacket we bring to the crag. After multiple days of climbing in the boulders and roping up on a regular basis, the Uberlayer showed almost no signs of deterioration on the cuffs or torso of the jacket. From sandstone to granite, the material of the Uberlayer could handle a lot of friction abuse. During the testing period of this jacket, we did experienced one snag (wind worn sandstone) that left a small tear in the outer shell of the jacket. Despite a large amount of force during the initial snag, the jacket showed only a small tear in the material and after subsequent use, the tear in the material did not change in any way despite no attempt to patch the tear and numerous times in the washing machine!
It should also be noted that the Uberlayer was extremely resistant to stains. For anyone who has spent time living in their test, most jackets can look pretty dirty after a few days on the road, which was not the case with the Uberlayer. At one point during our field test, an entire pot of coffee was spilled on the jacket only to be almost undetectable hours later.
Overall, the Outdoor Research Uberlayer Hooded Jacket proved to be a tough jacket for anyone living the climbing lifestyle. With its active insulation, extremely comfortable fit, and its durability while climbing, the Uberlayer is a must for anyone who is looking for a jacket that has all the best features for any active lifestyle. We would highly recommend the Uberlayer to anyone looking for a versatile jacket or mid layer that can take a beating!
The Outdoor Research Uberlayer Hooded Jacket (MSRP $329.00 CAD) can be special ordered at Climb On Equipment.