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Outdoor Research
Ferrosi Hoody
Test Series by: Gail Staisil, Marquette, Michigan

Page Contents:

Initial Report:
November 13, 2009

Tester Information

Name:
Gail Staisil
Age: 57
Gender: Female
Height: 5' 9" (1.75 m)
Weight: 145 lb (66 kg)
Location: Marquette, Michigan USA
Email: woodswoman 2001 AT yahoo DOT com

For the last 19 years, backpacking has become a passion. I am a four-season backpacker and an off-trail navigator. Although I do take yearly trips to the American West or Southwest, the majority of my trips are in Michigan and Canada. My pack weight varies considerably but my base weight is below 18 lb (8 kg). I am primarily a tarp camper who averages more than 50 nights a year backpacking in a huge variety of weather conditions including relentless rain, wet snow and sub-zero temps.

Product Information

Manufacturer
Outdoor Research
Website http://www.outdoorresearch.com
Model Ferrosi Hoody
Color
Expresso/Black (also available in Black or Peat/Pumice)
Material
Cordura, Lycra, stretch ripstop nylon and Spandex
Size
Women's  Large (Available in sizes S-XL) as well as Men's sizes
Manufacturer  Weight  NA
Tested Weight  12.3 oz (349 g)
Model Year 2009 
MSRP  NA

Initial Impressions and Product Description 

Ferrosi Hoody on tester
The Outdoor Research Women's Ferrosi Hoody arrived in overall great condition. There were a few loose threads caught in some seams that could easily be snipped away. Attached were two simple tags touting the size, color, guarantee (lifetime) and a bit of information on the Cordura material that is used on part of the garment. According to the manufacturer, the Ferrosi Hoody is "rugged and wind resistant" and reportedly breathable.

The hoody that I received is in the combination of colors of Expresso and Black and the size of Women's L (Large). I usually wear a size Large in most upper body garments. It has a sleeker fit than many similar type garments but I am very happy with the tailored fit after layering it over a 100-wt fleece hoody. The length of the side seams of the hoody is about average just covering the tops of my thighs. The sleeve length is fine as well just covering the tops of my wrists.

The Ferrosi Hoody is fabricated with two different materials. The black-colored shoulder areas (that extend down the arms) are made with a soft shell fabric that is comprised of 88% Cordura and 12% Lycra (the tag in the hoody has slightly different percentages of 91% and 9% Spandex. The hangtag states that Cordura has "high abrasion resistance" as well as "rugged durability and lightweight strength".

The body and cuff panels (backside) of the hoody are made with a stretch woven ripstop nylon (89%) and Spandex (11%). On this particular version all of those areas are in the color of Expresso.

The Ferrosi Hoody features a DWR (Durable Water Repellent) finish on the fabric. This coating is applied to the fabric to make it water resistant, not waterproof.

Overall, the hoody is very attractive in design and detail. It fits comfortably and I really like the stretch quality of the fabric. I have already worn it during a fast-paced trail hike and while digging carrots and shoveling manure (I didn't plan on wearing it for the last two activities but I still had it on when I went to a farm after my hike). The hoody was so comfortable during all these activities and didn't bind in any manner.

 

Design and Technical Features
 
Offset zipper and chin guardOne of the neat design features of the hoody is the offset zipper that is placed down the center front of the jacket. The top of the zipper is offset at least an inch (2.54 cm) from normal placement. Reportedly the placement is configured for comfort at the neckline and chin area. The zipper does feature a short (less than 5 in/12.7 cm) flap that is folded at the top to enclose the top of the zipper. Both of these features will likely make wearing the fully zipped hoody more comfortable. The zipper features a small pull tab made out of a rubber-type material.

The three-section hood of the hoody garment is close fitting. As stated above, I already tried wearing it with a fleece hoody underneath and there was plenty of room for that type of head covering. I also tried a lightweight hat underneath and it accommodates it nicely. The hood can be snugged tight with adjustable dual-pull stretch loops with small cordlocks. There is a hang loop inside the back of the hood.

Sleeve pocket
There are three pockets on the Ferrosi Hoody. Two identically-sized zippered hand pockets are featured near the lower edges on the front of the hoody. The mesh-lined pockets are roomy enough to place my gloved hands in or store my hat and gloves when I don't need them. The left arm of the hoody features a small zippered pocket suitable for storing keys or another small item. I can easily reach across with my right hand and pull the zipper (with attached corded loop) to retrieve an item).

The sleeve edges are slightly elasticized on the back half of each sleeve and also feature a Cordura fabric insert for durability.

The hem of the hoody also has a drawcord hem for adjustment purposes.

The only adornments on the hoody are the embroidered flower symbol (representing OR's women's line of clothing) on the arm pocket and an "OR" symbol near the hem of the hoody.


Care

The instructions for care of the Ferrosi Hoody seem easy enough. The tag inside the side seam of the hoody states that it should be machine washed in cold water and to tumble dry on low. It should not be bleached, ironed or dry cleaned. 

I'm looking forward to wearing the Ferrosi Hoody for the next four months of adventures. I will wear it primarily not only for backpacking but trail running, snowshoeing and cross country skiing.

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Field Report:

February 16, 2010

USA Locations and Conditions

During the field test period of over three months, I have worn the Ferrosi Hoody during four multi-day backcountry trips (15 days). I have also worn it almost daily for other activities including 42 days of cross country skiing so far this season. Locations ranged from and included boreal and deciduous forest communities, backcountry frozen lakes, groomed and ungroomed ski trails and more. Elevation ranged from 600 ft (183 m) to approximately 1400 ft (427 m).


Trip 1 - Early December Solo Backpacking Trip:

Location: Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore - Michigan, USA
Type of Trip: Trail
Distance: 11 mi (17.7 km)
Length of Trip: 2 days/1 night
Pack Weight: 27 lb (12.25 kg) 
Sky and Air Conditions: Cloudy, light snow 
Precipitation: 0.14 in (0.36 cm)
Temperature Range: 17 F (-9 C) to 25 F (-4 C) 


Trip 2 - Late December/Early January Hike-in Rustic Cabin Trip:

Location: Hiawatha National Forest - Michigan, USA
Type of Trip: Trail
Distance: 16.6 mi (27 km)
Length of Trip: 4 days/3 nights
Sledge Weight: Estimated 60 lb (27 kg) including fresh (heavy) consumables
Sky and Air Conditions: Snow, snow and snow
Precipitation: actual new snow measured was more than 16 in (40.64 cm)
Temperature Range: 11 F (-12 C) to 22 F (-6 C)


Trip 3 - January Wilderness Sledge Trip

Location: McCormick Wilderness - Michigan, USA
Type of Trip: Bushwhack
Distance: 26 mi (42 km)
Length of Trip: 5 days/4 nights
Sledge Weight: Estimated 50 lb  (22.7 kg)
Sky and Air Conditions: Sun, clouds, and light snow
Precipitation: 0.12 in (0.30 cm)  
Temperature Range: 6 F (-14 C) to 40 F (4 C)


Trip 4 - Early February Hike-in Rustic Cabin Trip:

Location: Hiawatha National Forest - Michigan, USA
Type of Trip: Trail
Distance: 19.2 mi (30.9 km)
Length of Trip: 4 days/3 nights
Sledge Weight: Estimated 55 lb (25 kg)
Sky and Air Conditions: Cloudy, light snow
Precipitation: Trace (couple of inches/5 cm of very light snow)
Temperature Range: 5 F (-15 C) to 25 F (-4 C)

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Performance in the Field

Continuous Wear

Tester wearing Ferrosi Hoody on five-day sledge trip
When I first received the Ferrosi Hoody, I sort of wondered if it would be warm enough to wear for all my aerobic-type winter activities. I have since found that it has been the perfect hoody jacket to wear in all kinds of weather (5 F to 40 F/-15 C to 4 C). It has been layered with lightweight tops underneath to form the ideal combination.

Normally I wear one lightweight top underneath the hoody for high aerobic activities such as cross country skiing. During the sledge trip (I pulled a sled with bottom rails to transport my gear over snow and ice) I found that a single medium-weight layer underneath was ideal for that activity. I sometimes started with two layers underneath but I then took one off when the temps rose during the day. Usually my favorite base layers are made of merino wool but I have also layered the hoody with Capilene and other synthetic tops.

Even though the hoody is not waterproof, I have found that its water resistant finish fends off most precipitation. I have even worn it during intervals of falling snow with big heavy snowflakes. I noticed that my top underneath was dry although the surface of the hoody felt wet on the outside.

I have worn the hoody during stormy winter weather where the winds were 20 to 30 mph (32 to 48 km/h). Although I was somewhat protected by the trees in the forest around me, I never became cold during activity. I usually started the activity session with a light down sweater over the hoody but removed it before I had gone a few kilometers (one mile).

I like the trim fit of the Ferrosi Hoody as the lack of bulk has likely preventing bunching when I am either in the belt harness for my sledge or when I am wearing a waist pack while skiing. The narrow or trim fit of the sleeves do accommodate a few thin layers but I usually have to fasten my watch on the outside of one sleeve as it is too hard to get to underneath. This is not a nitpick, just a change in style.

As referred to above, I have worn the jacket during 42 days of skiing so far this season (mostly on groomed trails but some backcountry). It has also been worn for snowshoeing 11 days (7 days while pulling the sledge).
During the cabin trips the hoody was worn for both back country skiing and snowshoeing. I love it for these activities as I don't get clammy unless I wear too much underneath. I find that one light wool layer gives me the best combination. The hoody is highly breathable and comfortable which is not like many other jackets I have worn.  Backcountry skiing in the Ferrosi Hoody

As stated earlier, I do love the athletic fit but my only nitpick would be that I wish the jacket was slightly longer to cover more of my backside in cold weather. I feel like I need to keep pulling my inner layer down so that I don't have a gap when I bend over to fasten my ski bindings or pick up something.

I have worn the hood of the hoody a number of times when the weather was windy to further protect my head from cold. I usually wear a very light hat underneath. The offset zipper functions well as it has never been in the way and actually adds style to the garment. I have found the side seam pockets useful for car keys and my cell phone but I usually forget to use the pocket on the sleeve for anything.


Slept in the Hoody

Before my sledge trip of five days I realized while I was driving to it, that I had forgotten my light down sweater jacket that I normally wear inside my sleeping bag. I realized that although I had several jackets with me, they were all far too thick and heavy to wear while sleeping. I kind of thought that I was "up the creek" so to speak.

During the first evening as I slipped into my sleeping bag I was convinced that one layer was not going to work as I get cold easily. I experimented by sleeping in the hoody with a light wool layer underneath. It worked so well that I repeated it again the next three nights. This certainly is not the recommended wear but I'm convinced that the breathability of the hoody fabric seemed to allow my body warmth to fill the sleeping bag (keeping me warm).


Durability and Care So Far

The hoody looks amazing after all this wear (total of 57 days). There are no signs of pilling on the stretchy surface and all the stitching has remained intact even though it was exposed to bushwhacking on the sledge trip.
Because of heavy usage, I have washed the jacket seven times. Although it never appeared to be dirty due to its dark color, I washed it simply because I wear it all the time for endurance activities. I'm sure it needed cleaning although I hadn't detected any odors. Even though the manufacturer suggests washing it in cold water, I inadvertently have washed it in warm water with other clothes more than once. The color has held true and it seems to be unaffected.

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Long Term Report:

April 13, 2010

USA Locations and Conditions

During the long term test period, I have worn the Ferrosi Hoody during three multi-day backcountry trips (10 days). I have also worn it almost daily for other activities including 35 more days of cross country skiing as well as snowshoeing this season. Locations ranged from and included boreal and deciduous forest communities, frozen lakes, groomed and ungroomed ski trails and more. Elevation ranged from 600 ft (183 m) to approximately 1400 ft (427 m).


Trip 1 - Late February Overnight Sledge Trip:                                  

Location: Hiawatha National Forest - Michigan, USA
Type of Trip: Trail
Distance: 19.2 mi (30.9 km)
Length of Trip: 2 days/1 night Tester breaking out into an elk field in the Pigeon River State Forest while wearing the hoody
Sledge Weight: Estimated 35 lb (16 kg)
Sky and Air Conditions: Cloudy 
Precipitation: None
Temperature Range: 25 F (-4 C) to 30 F (-1 C)

Trip 2 - March Sledge Trip:

Location: Grand Island - Lake Superior, Michigan, USA
Type of Trip: Ice travel and packed snowmobile trail
Distance: 22 mi (35.4 km)
Length of Trip: 4 days/3 nights
Sledge Weight: Estimated 50 lb (22.7 kg)
Sky and Air Conditions: Sunny
Precipitation: None
Temperature Range: 23 F (-5 C) to 49 F (9 C) 

Trip 3 - April Backpacking Trip:

Location: Pigeon River Country State Forest
Type of Trip: Bushwhack 
Distance: Approx 25 mi (40 km)
Length of Trip: 4 days/4 nights

Pack Weight:
31 lb (14 kg)

Sky and Air Conditions: Light snow, cloudy and sunny
Precipitation: 0.14 in (0.36 cm)
Temperature Range: 22 F (-6 C) to 62 F (17 C)

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Performance in the Field


Garment of Choice
Taking a break behind the ice curtains while wearing the hoody
During the long term period the Ferrosi Hoody has continued to be my jacket of choice. Even though I brought other jackets along on my sledge trips, I wore the Ferrosi Hoody for most of the hours while pulling my sledge (In the picture at left, I just stopped to check out the ice curtains along the cliffs of Grand Island). That usually meant that I wore it for at least 6-7 hours per day.
 
I have also continued to wear the hoody for all my cross-country ski outings that normally were two or more hours in length. During the long term period I cross-country skied an additional 35 days (yes, cross-country skiing is one of my passions).

In addition, I wore the Ferrosi Hoody while shoveling the roof of my late parent's home which is located a few hours away from here. It was an arduous task as there had been a period of warm weather that consolidated the snow to a dense several foot/one meter layer (where the wind had drifted the snow against the house).

Between chopping the snow and scooping it over the edge of the roof, I worked for several hours. I was completely comfortable in the hoody although I did take my hat off to ventilate a bit.

I have also worn the hoody while doing day treks via snowshoes. Actually, I think all my friends are getting tired of seeing me in the same hoody all the time but they have complimented me on the style and function of it.


Comfort/Breathability

I have continued to wear the hoody with mostly one light weight layer underneath. It usually consists of light wool top or a synthetic blend. Sometimes I would wear a medium weight top underneath but that was mostly if the weather was below 15 F (-9 C). This combination of the base layer and hoody worked great for me as basically all my activity while wearing the hoody has been aerobic in nature.

It has been c
omfortable and breathable to wear even with the last few weeks of abnormally high temps. Lately when I would start my outings it would be below freezing but then warm up to the 40 F to 50 F (4 C to 10 C) range. The upper end is pushing it for comfort while doing aerobic activity but I quickly learned to wear a very lightweight short sleeve shirt underneath it. A few times I ended up lowering the hoody to set at my waist as I got too hot.Shoveling the family homestead while wearing the Ferrosi Hoody

I actually forgot to take the hoody on one of my other sledge trips during the long term period and I really missed it as I had to wear my lined shell jacket which is not as breathable. (I shouldn't decide to both go on a trip at the last minute and then have to pack in a few hours time!)

I have worn the hoody in temps from 5 F (-15 C) to 62 F (17 C) during the entire test period. The hoody has continued to be both comfortable and to fend off light precipitation. I found myself cross-country skiing one day when it was lightly rainy and foggy. My base layer remained dry.

I have mostly enjoyed the versatility of the hoody. It has been worn for a variety of activities and I never felt like I was restricted in movement while doing any of them. I like the fact that the hoody is trim fitting as I don't have to deal with extra wind drag while performing my sports. As stated in the field test period it would be nice if the hoody body was a bit longer in the back but that's my only nitpick.

During the long term period I decided that I needed to remember to use the sleeve pocket for something. I have stashed my cell phone in there for emergencies and
sometimes my car keys. Although they are a little awkward to place and remove from the pocket, it is nice to have additional storage
 

 

Durability and Care 

What can I say? I have worn the hoody for 57 days in the field period and 51 days in the long term. It looks fabulous! It has been washed a total of
twelve times during the entire test period of close to five months. During the last trip the hoody experienced the demands of four days of bushwhacking through very tough alders, pines, beaver dams and swamps. I was actually quite surprised that there was no damage or snags evident at the end of the trip. The hoody survived better than my body (scratches and bruises).
 

Ice Crossing while wearing the Ferrosi Hoody

Summary

In conclusion, the Outdoor Research Ferrosi Hoody has definitely exceeded my expectations for a light weight garment. Its stretchability, breathability, durability and versatility have been all favorable for my very active lifestyle. I will continue to wear it in other seasons for trail running and mountain biking and most likely will just wear it for casual wear in the warm weather months (which just aren't very warm here!!).

 

Pros 
 
  • Breathable
  • Versatile for several activities
  • Comfortable
  • Durable
  •  
Cons 
  • Length of hoody body (backside) could be longer

Tester Remarks

Thanks to Outdoor Research and BackpackGearTest.org for this opportunity to test the Ferrosi Hoody. This concludes my Long Term Report and the test series. 


Last Photo Courtesy of: Cathy Susan, Ann Arbor, Michigan


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