I began wearing the Outdoor Research Ascendant Hoody during the spring ski mountaineering season, wore it through the longest summer days in Scandinavia and continue to slip into it for those cool Colorado summer evenings. Bottom line: this jacket performs.
Right off I noticed this jacket is warm for its weight. On a May ski mission up 14,110′ Pikes Peak it was hot, cold, foggy and a little rainy. Leaving the car I had the jacket rolled up and stuffed in my pack, ready for deployment as the altitude rose and the temperature dropped. Without knowing any better I’d call this jacket a lightweight fleece with a durable outer covering and that’s not far from the truth.
Contrary to a normal hard or soft shell, the Ascendant Hoody dumps heat like crazy. I wouldn’t necessarily wear it for trail running but when you’r climbing a peak and experience the sudden cold at the top you’ll appreciate how this jacket breathes on the way up but insulates on the way down.
Built on Outdoor Research’s Trim Fit, the jacket has done away with all the bells and whistles that weigh other jackets down. You won’t find zippers on the hand pockets and that’s just fine with me. I don’t own a fleece that packs this small so I appreciate the paired down construction.
In June I rolled into a long trip through Northern Norway, Finland and Sweden, rock climbing, hiking and touring cities like Helsinki and Stockholm. Not only was the Ascendant Hoody at home everywhere, but it also looks like it’s at home everywhere. I usually pack a bit differently when visiting larger cities so I don’t look like I just came from the mountains, but I never had that feeling while wearing this jacket around the big cities.
Water-resistant and wind-resistant, the Ascendant Hoody protected me from everything but the largest of downpours. No complaints here since heavy rain is another category.
The hood fits well though you’d wear it under a helmet instead of over. A great 3-season jacket, I could also see wearing it as a mid-layer in winter or on warmer ski tours.
Photo: Blaine Eldredge
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