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Reviews > Clothing > Jackets > Outdoor Research Mens Logic Jacket > Andre Corterier > Test Report by Andre Corterier

Outdoor Research Men's "Logic" Jacket

Test Report by André Corterier
Date: June 2007

Initial Report
Field Report
Long Term Report
Outdoor Research Men's Logic Jacket (black)

Personal Biographical Information:
Name: André Corterier
Gender: M
Age: 35
Height: 1.85 m (6 ft 1 in)
Weight: 80 kg (175 lb)
Chest: 100 cm (39.5 in)
Waist: 84 cm (33 in)
Arm length: 58 cm (23 in) - shoulder to wrist
Email: andreDOTcorterierATfreenetDOTde
Home: Bonn, Germany

Backpacking Background:
I have started out with backpacking slowly – single-day 24 km (15 mi) jaunts by myself or even shorter hikes in the company of my little daughter. I am getting started on longer hikes, as a lightweight packer and hammock-camper. I’ve begun upgrading my old gear and am now carrying a dry FSO weight (everything carried From the Skin Out except food, fuel and water) of a little less than 10 kg (22 lb) for three-season camping.

Year of manufacture: 2006
Manufacturer: Outdoor Research
URL: http://www.orgear.com
MSRP: 99 USD

listed weight, size L: 18.9 oz (536 g)
measured weight, size L: 534 g (18.8 oz)



Initial Report:

Introduction:
The jacket I received looks just the way it does on the website (in black). It is made of a stretchy synthetic material, smooth on the outside and fuzzy on the inside. Gripping it, it feels somewhat substantial to me - not the result of months of research finding the very lightest material that will *just* do the job. To me, it appears meant to provide a good bit of protection *and* a degree of insulation, functions which are the providence of different layers with my current gear.

Smooth outside, fuzzy inside and mesh pocket material

The jacket shows three pockets, although they're really five - kind of. The two zippered handwarmer pockets consist not of a single layer of mesh sewn against the outer fabric, but of two layers of mesh (each). This creates an inside pocket between the handwarmer pocket and the outside fabric.

The third (fifth) pocket is on the chest, though not quite of the size and location of what I have often heard being referred to as a "Napoleon" pocket. Nevertheless, Outdoor Research calls this a "MP3-player compatible napoleon [sic] pocket". The zipper is slightly diagonal, about 8 cm (3 in) away from the center zipper at the top and 5 cm (2 in) at the bottom. It features an inside port through which I can route a headphone cable. I will be testing the usefulness of this. In keeping with this design aspect, that pocket does not extend down to the top of the handwarmer pockets. I find this mildy disappointing, as I use the "Napoleon" pocket on my general hiking jacket a lot for things like maps, compass and a snack bar. I will see how much backpacking use I can get out of the music pocket. I'll use it for music when running, but generally listen to the woods when I hike.

The jacket has two drawcord toggles at the hem, one on the left and one on the right. I don't see how two are better than one in this instance, as I generally need both hands to adjust them anyway, but maybe that's just me. At least it doesn't violate my sense of symmetry. Collar drawcord toggle There's another drawcord around the collar, access to which is (somewhat) hidden under a little flap in the back of the neck. I find this a neat idea. As heat tends to rise upwards and the head generally loses lots of body heat due to the way the skin around the skull is supplied with blood to keep the brain at working temperature, this little thing might do a lot to preserve heat when I want to. On the other hand, the neckline is (nicely) snug already, so I won't be adjusting it very much. Maybe this feature would have allowed a similar generosity as was shown with the waistline. Anyway - I like this idea very much.

I find the center zipper somewhat fiddly to put together. This may be (certainly is, at least in part) due to the fact that the slider, when the jacket is open, is connected to the righthand side of the jacket, so that I have to insert the lefthand bottom of the zipper into the slider to close it. I'm used to it being the other way around from all my other jackets and in fact believe that what I'm used to is the custom with men's jackets, at least in Europe. But I'm sure I'll get used to this. It is, at any rate, not an issue once I have the jacket closed. The zippers slide smoothly.


Fit:
The jacket fits loosely around my chest, generously around my stomach and snugly everywhere else (in a midweight baselayer). Being slim, I assume this is meant to allow me to develop a more generous waistline without making it look as though I'm about to burst the jacket. As it is, I sometimes feel like I'm wearing a little faux pot belly. My wife said she thinks it's "ugly", but I can't shake the feeling that she was in a "style over substance" kind of mood.

This issue aside, the jacket fits and - yippieh! - has sleeves which are long enough so that my wrists don't feel exposed. Being long-limbed, I often encounter sleeves which are a few cm (an inch) or so shorter than I like, so I'm really happy about these. I generally fit into the jacket (with a bit of room to spare at the bottom) and it comes down far enough to just cover the top of whatever pants I'll be wearing, which I consider to be a good length for a jacket designed for the aerobic end of the spectrum of backpacking activity (I consider running with a pack on "backpacking on fast forward").

Field Report:

Field Experience:
I've worn the jacket nearly every day since I received it. This includes having taken the jacket on a number of trips across the fields and through the woods and hills around my home since I posted the Initial Report. This was mostly dayhiking, as well as jogging and bicycling. Elevations were between 100 and 300 m (330 and 1000 ft), temperatures from (just) below freezing to around 20 C (70 F). It's been windy a lot, precipitation consisted mostly of light drizzle, though I have been out in short squalls of heavy rain with it. There was some heavy fog. I have worn it by itself, under a rain jacket (once), with a light daypack on as well as carrying a kid carrier (about 16 kg /35 lb loaded).

Weather Resistance:
The jacket has stopped the wind rather well. I am very happy about that. While it is not 100 % windproof, I noticed very little wind chill even in strong winds. The DWR finish has also worked really well. The light drizzle it's been exposed to a lot has just rolled off. I went jogging with it once in temperatures just above freezing with a strong wind and a bit of drizzle in it which sometimes stung my cheeks as though there was a bit of ice in it. I was wearing a short-sleeved polypro shirt underneath the Logic jacket. This is weather in which I usually wear a rain jacket to jog in (or even more usually stay at home), because the likelihood of becoming rather wet from both inside and outside while being chilled out by the wind is high. The Logic jacket worked like a charm. It kept the wind and drizzle off my skin, while allowing sweat to escape. I was particularly appreciative of the fuzzy inside surface of the jacket. This seemed to make the Logic jacket a more effective wind shell than my rain jacket is. While my rain jacket is undeniably 100 % windproof, the windproof layer is in direct contact with the skin on my arms if I'm wearing something short-sleeved underneath, and it's *cold*. The Logic jacket felt comfortable on my skin, so I was very happy with that. The air-borne moisture also did not touch me (except for my face). As far as perspiration is concerned, while I felt that I was beginning to sweat, the anticipated feel of accumulated sweat on my skin remained absent. Checking my underlayer in the mirror immediately upon my return confirmed that it showed no dark wet spots (though it does this when I jog with my waterproof/breathable rain jacket). I'd say that the jacket is absolutely perfect for this kind of weather.

The resistance to heavy rain was, predictably, less pronounced. This is *not* a waterproof jacket (nor is it marketed as such). Large, heavy drops, particularly when blown by the wind with some force, penetrate the surface of the jacket despite its DWR treatment. However, this has not resulted in my skin getting wet right away. The top surface of the jacket is held away from my skin by the fuzzy insulating layer. This has resulted in the jacket keeping *me* (though not itself) dry even in heavy, windblown rain for an amount of time which I found surprising (a good ten minutes after I noticed the top surface visibly darkening with moisture it took on).

Warmth:
I like the insulating properties of the jacket. When I put on a long-sleeved jacket, it is usually because I find walking in just a long-sleeved undershirt a bit chilly. The hard shell rain jacket I've sometimes worn in such instances (going for dual use) did not actually provide as much of this as I would have liked, because it was too thin. The fuzzy inside surface of this jacket does trap some air and thus provides for an insulation cushion around my skin. Such warmth was, of course, dependent on the amount of wind I encountered. As the jacket is not entirely windproof, it provides less insulation in windy situations than it does in still air. I can tell the difference between a mediocre wind and a strong wind by the way it feels on my skin even through the jacket, though a slight breeze is not felt on the skin. Even in strong winds, the jacket has provided a welcome degree of warmth - I have only once felt a bit chilly in it, and I really should have worn a long-sleeved base layer that day (temps below 10 C / 50 F, slight, though gusting winds).

I have found it easy to vent the jacket by opening the pocket zippers or by opening the central zipper part of the way or entirely. This was required only rarely, for example when walking up a steep hill with my daughter on my back in warm, still air - in other words, in situations in which I usually would not be wearing a jacket. I encountered this situation on one mixed weather day, when I would encounter such situations for a short time only. For most of the day, with varying winds, varying temperature and varying elevation differences, my comfort level oscillated between the cool and the warm end of the comfortable spectrum. The people who accompanied me oscillated between having their hard shell jackets entirely closed and draped over their arms. This was an aspect of the Logic jacket I very much appreciated, particularly as taking a jacket off and putting it back on would have been an annoying thing to do because of the heavy child carrier on my back.

Comfort:
I have found the jacket very comfortable to wear. The fuzzy inside layer has slipped over long-sleeved clothes with surprising ease, and is generally quiet and - well, comfortable. The stretch of the material is no doubt a factor in this. The one single point at which I would have preferred a bit more stretch was when trying to slide the sleeves up on my forearms. The sleeves were not stretchy enough to allow me sliding them up over the thickest part of my forearm so that they would stay up.

Logic Jacket underneath a child carrier, sternum strap pushed as high as it can usefully go The pockets have been a mixed bag. When worn without a pack or just a light daypack, the handwarmer pockets were nice and warm for my hands. Things put in there (keys, a micro-tool, a mobile phone etc.) have never fallen out of them. However, when carrying a heavy load and trying to transfer this weight to my hips with a large hip belt, use of the pockets was denied to me and I found that only very small, thin items could remain in the pockets without digging into my hips once I pulled the hip belt tight.

The mp3-player pocket has seen a small digital camera, a cell phone and my iPod nano. They were in a good position there and easily reached unless I was wearing a pack (or child carrier) with a sternum strap. Due to the location of this pocket high on my chest, the sternum strap invariably at least partially covered the zipper and proved uncomfortable with anything in the pocket thicker than maybe a finger's width (mobile phone, digital camera). I have also found the pocket not to work well for a map, which I generally do not like to fold more often than it comes and hate to fold twice more. For backpacking purposes, I have found this pocket disappointing. It is the one pocket I can access pretty much all of the time, I would have liked a more traditional "Napoleon" pocket. The pocket has worked extremely well for its designated purpose: Putting my iPod nano in there and routing its headphone cable through the slit provided for this purpose has worked really well and was much appreciated on a number of jogs.

Long Term Report:

Long Term Experience:
There is not much to add to my report regarding the performance of the jacket. I have continued to wear it on all my backpacking expeditions, dayhiking and just going to work, as well as when doing sports on the (fewer and fewer) colder days. The most exposed I've been in this jacket was on a peak-bagging hike in the Swiss Alps, on the Fronalpstock at 1922 m (6306 ft) and the "Gratwanderweg" ("Ridgeline Trail") leading away from it. The day had been warm in the beginning and of course I was moving uphill in bright sunshine, so I felt overdressed in a T-shirt. But when hiking along the ridgeline in a somewhat slower fashion (the ridge dropping off rather steeply on both sides), in a brisk wind and without sunshine, I would have had to abandon the hike without a decent insulating layer. I found that the Logic Jacket was perfectly suited to the task.

Overall Utility:
I have found that I am packing the Logic Jacket whenever I do not *need* a rain jacket, but cannot rule out that going in just a T-shirt may prove insufficient. Yes, it's heavier than some of my insulating layers, but they tend not to protect the arms and/or fail to resist wind enough by themselves. The Logic jacket does both of these things *and* increases the number of trips for which I do not feel the need to bring a rain jacket. If it's already raining when I leave, I'll be wearing a rain jacket. But, if I'm only looking at the possibility of showers, I no longer do. A brief rain shower is not a problem when I'm wearing the Logic jacket. Even a not-so-brief shower isn't. While the jacket eventually soaks through, it takes quite a while for the moisture to proceed all the way to my skin, it still provides some warmth even then and dries rather quickly.

The upshot of this is that I currently plan on taking the Logic jacket on a 10-day hike projected for July. I want something long-sleeved for the evenings anyway, and the rain jacket isn't comfortable (while the Logic jacket remains very comfortable). I don't expect July around here to be very wet, though occasional showers can never be ruled out and the distinct possibility of thunderstorms exist. I won't continue hiking through a thunderstorm in the Logic jacket (that would be asking for trouble). But I am reasonably certain that it will keep me dry enough for long enough to find a sheltered spot to hang my hammock from, and that'll be good enough.

The jacket, rolled up with its fuzzy inside layer facing out, has also proven to be a good cushion in my hammock. Dual use - yay!

The Logic Jacket in the Swiss Alps

Durability:
I was almost able to say that the jacket, despite having seen lots of wear, still looks like new. But I did not get around to finish this report in time. Two days ago, I fell off my bicycle while going roughly 32 kmh (20 mph), onto (wet) rough asphalt. Really, it was an accident - I'm not into (self-) destructive testing. Anyway, the jacket now has two holes in it on the lower right arm close to the elbow, where I broke my initial fall and continued sliding for a few meters (yards). I have had jackets which survived similar crashes over the years both in better and in worse shape. For the Logic jacket's designed purpose I feel that it's stood up rather well. The holes should be easily repaired and I still plan to use it as my only jacket on my longer hike.

Summary:
I continue to consider the Logic Jacket to be the perfect shoulder-season running jacket. Weather resistance, "breathability", insulation, stretch and comfort - everything just perfect to run (or bicycle) in. It appears to me as though the perfect running jacket makes for a very good backpacking jacket. Very good, but not perfect. Giving me a larger Napoleon pocket and letting me slide the sleeves up my arms would make it perfect from my current vantage point. I expect to continue wearing it everyday until it gets too warm for jackets. Even then, for summer trips around here, just the Logic jacket, a T-shirt and a long-sleeved base layer should be sufficient upper body covering for multi-day trips.



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