Outdoor Research Alibi (2014)

Here’s an impressive jacket from Seattle-based Outdoor Research, a brand that – despite being massive Stateside – is still a relatively rare sight in the UK hills. The Alibi has a hybrid construction, utilising waterproof panels in the hood and shoulders to give protection where the ‘weather hits hardest’. This does work for short showers or snow, but it’s no substitute for a waterproof jacket: rely on just this for a rainstorm in Wales and you’ll get soaked. Like the Montane Sabretooth, the Outdoor Research Alibi is cut to keep climbers interested: though the tail is nicely scooped, it’s on the short side and features a double zip to aid harness use. Cuffs are comfortable one-size affairs and the hood is helmet-compatible, though the unwired peak can be flappy in strong winds. There is a great feature in the shape of a secondary thermal hood tucked away in a pouch behind the neck; this bulges in a manner you’d expect would annoy when stowed, but actually doesn’t. The Alibi is insulated with air-trapping fleece lining in the core trunk areas, but the back and underarms use rough-backed stretch fabric, making this jacket warm but not too warm. Versatility is expanded further in the form of venting via two vertical zips rising from the hem. These turn the Outdoor Research Alibi into a kind of half-tabard and are highly effective at shifting heat, though they can be awkward to operate with a rucksack hipbelt. Two handwarmers plus a Napoleon chest pocket as well as a zipped inside pocket mean there is plenty of storage, though the pockets are on the small side and won’t, for instance, take a map.

Specifications:
Outer fabric Ventia Hybrid
Weight 640g (size M)
External pockets 3
Internal pockets 1
Hood? yes (2)
Pit zips? yes
Men’s sizes S-XL
Women’s sizes none
Website www.outdoorresearch.com

Verdict

Clever and versatile, the Outdoor Research Alibi is packed with a raft of Alpine-spec features that will appeal to a broad range of users. It’s probably overkill for most UK hill conditions, but at least you will get year-round use for your £190.

Review by Simon Ingram
First published in Trail magazine September 2014