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Reviews > Clothing > Jackets > Outdoor Research Paradox Jacket > Jennifer Pope > Test Report by Jennifer Pope

Outdoor Research Women's Paradox Jacket
Test Series
Initial Report - December 5, 2006
Field Report - February 6, 2007
Long Term Report - April 18, 2007

Biographical Information Product Information Initial Impressions/Product Description Field Report Long Term Report Summary

OR Paradox Jacket


Biographical Information
Name Jennifer Pope
Age 26
Gender Female
Height 5 ft 7 in (1.7 m)
Weight 140 lb (64 kg)
Email Address Jennifer dot Pope at gmail dot com
Location Los Angeles, CA
Backpacking Background
Intermediate. I've been a car-camper as long as I can remember and started backpacking in Northern California when I was 16. I've been backpacking for a little over a year after a hiatus during college. I backpack in the Sierras as well as National Forests and Parks in the Los Angeles vicinity. I also spend time in the California deserts and the mountains and coast of Northern California. I'm a tent camper leaning towards lightweight; but I'm also a fan of gadgets and I like being comfortable. I also frequently day hike close to home and while car camping.

Product Information (back to top)
Manufacturer Outdoor Research
Manufacturer URL http://www.outdoorresearch.com/
Year of Manufacture 2006
Size Tested Medium - Available in XS, S, M, L, XL
Claimed Weight 10.5 oz/296 g (size M)
Actual Weight 11.5 oz/326 g
Color Tested Coffee (brown) with gray lining
MSRP $89.00 US
Jacket material (shell) 52% nylon, 48% polyester
Jacket material (lining) 100% polyester



Initial Report
December 5, 2006

Initial Impressions & Product Description (back to top)

This is a lightweight jacket. My initial impression is that it feels pretty thin. The item is exactly what I expected based on what was portrayed on the manufacturer's website. The jacket appears to be well-constructed and arrived in perfect condition.

Jacket Description

The jacket is taffeta-like on the exterior and lined with a material that feels like felt. The cuffs are elasticized and also have a hook and loop adjustment. There are hand warmer pockets on each side with zippered closures as well as one zippered pocket on the inside of the jacket. The hand warmer pockets are lined with the same fabric that lines the jacket.

hand warmer pocket

There are also two cord lock adjustments on each side.

cordlock


The jacket I’m testing is the coffee (brown) color and it has a faint grid pattern which is only visible from close up. The jacket also has a shiny finish and is lined with gray fabric.

Outdoor Research categorizes this jacket as a “wind shell”.

Jacket Fit

The jacket is a perfect fit. Before the jacket arrived I thought it might be a little small because my measurements were a little above the size chart for a medium (but closer to medium than large). The fit is just right. The sleeves are the perfect length and the jacket fits well with only a baselayer or a baselayer and a thin midlayer. The jacket has more of an athletic fit so it should fit nicely under bulkier layers.

This jacket has pretty versatile looks. In my preliminary use I've been able to wear the jacket casually with jeans and also in a more business-casual sense with slacks.

Jacket Features

The jacket is made with 40D ripstop nylon which is claimed to be wind-resistant, breathable and provide weather protection. The lining and pockets are a brushed tricot. The soft lining is supposed to keep the user “feeling dry and comfortable throughout the day”. The website claims that this jacket is perfect for “sunny days with a cool wind”. I plan to evaluate how well the jacket works in different kinds of weather.

Washing instructions

Machine wash in cold water on the gentle cycle and drip dry. The jacket can be ironed on the low setting.

Field Report
February 6, 2007

Field Conditions (back to top)

I have taken this jacket across California. It's been to the far north end of California down to San Diego; to the coast and to the inland Central Valley. Temperatures have mostly been mild with brief extreme cold and extreme heat. For the most part I have experienced temperatures ranging from 60 to 75 F (15 to 20 C). It has gotten as hot as 90 F (30 C) and as cold as 30 F (0 C). For the most part I have stuck to the lower elevations near sea level or less than 2000 ft (600 m). I have been in exposed coastal areas, sandy beaches, chaparral, open valley and lightly forested areas. I have worn the jacket in sun, wind and light rain.

Field Experience (back to top)

I have worn this jacket for at least 45 days over the two month test period. I find the fit of the jacket excellent for my tastes. It has an athletic cut so it is not big and bulky. The jacket fits me perfectly in the shoulders and the sleeve length is exactly right. This is also a thin jacket. It doesn't feel like there is any insulation between the lining and the outer material.

One thing I really like about this jacket is its versatility. I can wear this jacket out hiking but I can also wear it with slacks to work. I think it looks snazzy in both capacities.

Warmth/Weather-shedding Capabilities
For me, this jacket is only suitable down to about 60 F (15 C) under good conditions. If it's colder than that, or windy, I start to feel cold. Even when I'm physically active, the moment I stop to take a break, I start to feel chilled. I have also found that although the jacket claims to be a "wind shell" it does not seem to offer that much protection from the wind. If a strong wind is blowing I can still feel the cold breeze. I have worn the jacket in light rain a couple of times. The jacket shed rain well. The jacket hasn't been in heavy rain yet but so far it seems to work well in the rain.

Comfort
This jacket is extremely comfortable. I've found the lining in the jacket to be soft and comfortable. One problem I've noticed is that there seems to be a lot of static electricity in the lining of the jacket. My hair was really sticking to the inside of the jacket.

Washing and Care
The jacket resists (or hides) dirt very well. A couple of weeks ago I noticed that there was a small area on the end of my sleeve that was dirty. It wasn't visible unless I looked really closely but it was dirty nonetheless. I followed the instructions on the tag and washed the jacket in cold water and then hung it up to dry. Surprisingly the jacket dried very quickly. It was completely dry after an afternoon on a hanger. I was pleasantly surprised by how quickly it dried. I really haven't had any problems with wrinkles. After I washed the jacket and hung it up to dry it came out wrinkle-free. I haven't really had any problems with wrinkles after packing the jacket either. The jacket itself packs up compactly.

Long Term Report
April 18, 2007

Field Conditions (back to top)

This jacket has again been used in the coastal area of Los Angeles. Temperatures have ranged from the mid-50s F (10s C) to 80 F (25 C). The jacket has been worn on day hikes and also for casual wear. I also took the jacket on a trip to Joshua Tree National Park, a desert in Southern California. Joshua Tree is at approximately 3,500 ft (1,050 m). Temperatures were very chilly ranging from the 30s F (0 C) at night up to the mid-60s F (15 C) during the day. During this trip it rained and it was very, very windy.

Field Experience (back to top)

I really like this jacket. I wear it a lot. I think two things are true about this jacket: it looks good and it works well. In my field report section above I mentioned that I didn't think the jacket offered much protection against wind. After even more field use I think the jacket is really more susceptible to the cold than the wind. Most windy conditions I experienced were also cool and thus I got cold. Just as OR claims, this is a shell. It's not an insulating layer. When paired with an insulating layer, comfort level in cooler temperatures increased significantly. I wore the jacket with a thin fleece made by Columbia. With these two layers (plus a thin baselayer) I wore the jacket down to 52 F (11 C) without feeling cold in extremely windy conditions.

The jacket has held up remarkably well throughout the test period. I've only need to wash the jacket once and it still looks clean. There are not any tears or piling or other worn areas that I've noticed anywhere on the jacket. There are no loose strings. The jacket looks just like it did when I received it over five months ago.

In warm weather, or when physically active in mild weather, there aren't a lot of venting options with this jacket. The main zipper is the only venting mechanism. Luckily, I was able to tie the jacket around my waist easily and it actually stayed without coming off.

jacket when hot


Keeping in mind that this is still my favorite jacket and I wear it almost daily, I have a few very minor complaints. The biggest would be that it occasionally builds a lot of static. The felt-like lining in the jackets causes static electricity to build cause my hair to stick straight out and me to get shocked and shock my husband. If I have my hair in a ponytail (as I often do when hiking) this is a much smaller problem. I don't really like the hook and loop adjustments on the sleeves. I have never adjusted them and they seem unecessary to me. They make the jacket look more casual thus making it less versatile. This is clearly a completely cosmetic preference and has absolutely no effect on performance.

jacket when cold



Summary (back to top)

An ideal jacket for mild temperatures. Lightweight and warm when layered. Functional and fashionable. My go-to jacket for above-freezing temperatures. If they made one in black, I would buy a second one.



Thank you to Outdoor Research and BackpackGearTest.org for allowing me to test this item.

Read more reviews of Outdoor Research gear
Read more gear reviews by Jennifer Pope

Reviews > Clothing > Jackets > Outdoor Research Paradox Jacket > Jennifer Pope > Test Report by Jennifer Pope



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