The Outdoor Research Cathode Hooded Jacket feels unbelievably light in the hand and is ideally made for individuals on the go in cold environments.
Sizes available: S-XL
Weight: Listed weight 13.3 oz / 377g (L). On my personal scale, my medium came in at a paltry: 11.9 oz / 337g.
Material: It is evident that Outdoor Research doesn’t skimp when it comes to manufacturing products made from lightweight and durable materials.
- Outer/Lining: Pertex® Quantum, 20D
- Side panels: Schoeller® stretch woven panels. Schoeller has been around since 1868 and contributes to some of the highest quality outdoor and protective fabrics within the industry. That soft shell jacket that you love? The fabric is most likely based off of a Schoeller design.
- Insulation: 60g PrimaLoft® Gold Insulation. PrimaLoft Gold is literally the gold standard for insulation that other manufacturers are attempting to dethrone. Formerly known as PrimaLoft One, this insulation has one of the best warmth-to-weight ratios available, while yielding superior performance to down in wet conditions.
Fit and sizing: The jacket has a slim/athletic/European fit. The slim fit is barely noticeable due to the stretch panels that travel down the sides and the rear of the sleeves. When reaching out or crossing an arm across the torso, the fabric moves with the body and doesn’t create any tight spots or resistance. I can comfortably wear a tech-t and base layer underneath the jacket without any constriction.
The hood fits well with or without a helmet on. The section of Schoeller that runs on the front of the hood aids in keeping the hood in place even in a strong wind. The cuffs are made of a similar Schoeller stretch material and easily hold secure over a pair of gloves.
Unique features: The one feature that stands out is not only the Schoeller fabric, but how they used it in the design. The key piece that increases flexibility and movement of the jacket is the panel that runs up the back of the shoulder. Although I’m of average width, I would presume that wide-shouldered individuals would really enjoy the benefits of this jacket.
Once the Cathode Hooded Jacket is zipped into its own pocket, the zipper pull cord is large enough to be clipped to a carabiner. This allows the jacket to be hung off the back of a harness or kit (try the black color for low-vis operations) without taking up much room.
Application: Any active movement in cool or frigid conditions. If in conditions below freezing and you stop for longer than 15-20 minutes, cold is going to start to creep through due to the breathability of the jacket. If in cold conditions and while stopped for a long period, I would recommend a belay jacket or something similarly built for cold/static conditions. Whether cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, backpacking, or making coffee in camp on a cool summer morning, this jacket should do the business.
1. Weight-to-warmth ratio is very good
3. Materials increase flexibility
4. Large no-snag zippers
5. Single hand hood and hem adjustment
6. Stuffs into its own pocket (6.5 x 5″)
It takes a little effort to get the jacket stuffed into the front pocket and get the zipper closed.
Bottom line: Although this is just an initial impression and I have only been able to use the jacket a small number of times, I am very impressed. I took the Cathode Hooded Jacket on a hike when the temperature was hovering between 7-10 degrees Fahrenheit. The pace was neither grueling nor slow, but I stayed sweat free without getting chilled.
This jacket has now become my go-to layering/outer piece (if the weather permits) in the mountains. In the black color, this jacket could do nicely in an assault pack while taking up about a quarter of the space of a military smoking jacket.
Stay tuned for a full review after this jacket gets put through the ringer!