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.

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


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


Outdoor Research Mithril (2012)

This is a very technical-looking jacket with exposed, taped seams on the outside to boost water repellence. It does feel more like an outer shell than some tested, at it is made from a thicker material with a warm, fleecy layer on the inside that also helps wick away moisture. It might struggle to find its place in a layering system, because it can feel too warm if worn beneath a waterproof, and it’s slightly too bulky too. But in the vast majority of conditions, this jacket will hold out the worst of the weather as a top layer. It is cut fairly short and so doesn’t cover your backside, but is really comfortable to move in. Hood adjustment is very good, while the elasticated Velcro cuffs really help to get a good fit.

Sizes: S-XXL

Fabric: Ventia Dry

Weight: 638g

Women’s version: Yes

Contact: 0191 296 0212; www.outdoorresearch.co.uk


*Published in Country Walking magazine, Spring 12

Outdoor Research Exit Hoodie (2012)

Thick, warm and rugged. A stylish jacket, that really looks more casual than it should. Performance-wise it’s great, offering plenty of warmth with its dual-texture Alpin-wool fabric. The tough wool outer fabric couples with a microfleece lining on the inside to trap warmth next to the skin. The top certainly is warm, although bulky with it. Pound-for-pound this isn’t the warmest, and is more suited to wearing all day, as it doesn’t really compress down. The dual-material construction offers some wind-blocking properties and the top works well as an outer layer on dry, windy days. It’s not so effective as a mid-layer, though, being too bulky and warm to work under a shell.

Sizes: S-XXL

Fabric: Alpin-wool™ Plus. Wool and nylon blend exterior/wicking polyester interior

Weight: 741g

Women’s version: No

Contact: 0191 296 0212 www.outdoorresearch.co.uk

Review from Country Walking magazine, February 2012

Outdoor Research Habitat Hoody

A fleece with a hood has got to be the perfect choice for winter days in the hills, especially when it’s coupled with a high fleecy collar. This jacket looks and feels absolutely luxurious, locking in an incredible amount of heat. It loses a mark for being the heaviest on test, but it makes up for this by being so warm and comfortable. It’s quite close-fitting and the styling is very feminine with long, articulated arms that easily cover the wrists, and plenty of length in the body to trap warmth at the hips. The full-length front zip has an internal stormflap to prevent warm air escaping, and two mesh-lined handwarmer pockets. Great performance on cold days either on or off the hill.

Sizes: XS-XL
Fabric: Posh Pile™ fleece
Weight: 500g
Men’s version available? Yes
Features: Fleece hood, soft inner fabric
Contact: 0191 296 0212; www.outdoorresearch.co.uk

Outdoor Research Transcendent Hoody 2011

The Outdoor Research Transcendent Hoody weighs 440g (men’s L); 650 fill power down; 20D recycled ripstop polyester shell; hood with volume adjuster; two zipped hip pockets; zip anti-snag strip behind main zip. But hood is not removable; no cuff adjustment; not as warm as heavier options.

The Outdoor Research Transcendent Hoody is very useful spring to autumn backup insulation for hill-walkers, but not warm enough for deep winter.

First published in Trail magazine February 2011

Outdoor Research Credo

A mid-to-heavyweight jacket that offers better than average levels of weatherproofing with fully taped seams and a hard-wearing finish with good stretch levels. The Credo’s fleece lining holds in the warmth well and the main zip is well protected with baffles, both inside and outside. Exposed zips on the hip and chest pockets don’t seem to let water in while the collar and hems have cinches for a better seal and the cuffs are Velcro-tabbed. The lack of venting makes it more suitable for colder weather.

: S-XL
Fabric: Bonded soft shell, nylon face, brushed fleece interior
Weight: 574g
Women’s version: Yes (Solitude)
Contact: 0191 296 0212; www.outdoorresearch.co.uk