Outdoor Research is perhaps better known in the mountaineering and outdoor adventure world, as they’ve been making technical and casual gear since 1981. But their influence in the mountain running and trail running niche is certainly growing.
There are some key pieces from Outdoor Research to highlight as they roll out new additions for this winter of 2023 to 2024. In this article, we review four pieces of Outdoor Research running apparel:
- Outdoor Research Swift Bucket Hat ($38) — sun hat with a 360-degree brim
- Outdoor Research Deviator Hoodie ($229) — insulated running jacket
- Outdoor Research Deviator Wind Leggings ($139) — winter running tights
- Outdoor Research Deviator Pro Gloves ($119) — super burly winter running gloves
Outdoor Research Swift Bucket Hat
In the spring of 2023, the Outdoor Research headwear line up expanded to include three new options, including the Outdoor Research Swift Bucket Hat ($38). Ventilation and moisture-wicking are the key features of this hat, but let’s be honest, we’re all hear for the fact that it’s a bucket hat.
Ultraviolet Protection Factor 50-plus material makes up the main shell of the hat over the top of the head and in the semi-structured brim, providing excellent sun protection, while open-hole mesh allows for significant airflow along the sides of the hat. For someone with a full head of hair, this is an ideal configuration. For those without, careful application of sunscreen along the sides of the head would still be key.
I find the hat to be exceptionally comfortable, with the smooth-faced material feeling very soft against the skin. The brim keeps light from getting in around my sunglasses but isn’t quite wide enough to keep my nose out of the sun all the time. On the flip side, the wind doesn’t cause it to fold down and block my vision, which is ideal. I also appreciate my ears and upper one-third to one-half of my face being out of the sun, unlike when I wear my trusty visors and trucker-style hats.
I stashed it in my carry-on for a quick spring trip to the Florida Keys and it performed admirably on a couple of incredible paddle board adventures, as well as beach hikes and short runs. It stays on pretty well in winds up to 25 miles per hour, but because it has no drawstring or cinch of any kind, there’s no way to really secure the hat when the winds swirl. I wear between a 7.25 and 7.5 hat size, and amazingly, the Large/XL size is quite loose. This never happens to me. Perhaps in the next rendition, a little pull toggle could enhance the security of the hat for a wide range of users.Shop the Outdoor Research Swift Bucket Hat
Outdoor Research Deviator Hoodie
The Outdoor Research Deviator Hoodie ($229) has a remarkable warmth-to-weight ratio.
Back in 2018, I reviewed the original Outdoor Research Deviator Hoody — here’s that old Outdoor Research Deviator Hoody review if you’re interested — and was really impressed with how well it functioned, especially on dry, cold days. The 2023 version is even better and a bit warmer, with the thin wind-resistant soft shell layer protecting the exterior through the front, hood, and extending down the arms where most gusts hit.
The breathability is still exceptional with the polyester-spandex grid fleece on the entire back, side panels, and under the arms. I find the sleeves to be just long enough to keep the wind and weather out with gloves on, but I could use another inch or so to really pull my hands up inside, without pulling too tight across the back. No complaints — just a tiny suggestion.
The hood resembles the scuba style with good chin coverage and a narrow brim over the forehead but has a bit more space such that you can easily fit a beanie or visor/ear band combination beneath.
Pockets! The three zip-closure pockets on this jacket are worth every bit of added weight. Each are big enough for a large phone or the equivalent in snacks and thin ear and hand protection items. And the two hand warmer pockets swallow my hands easily, or my wallet/keys/phone when running errands. They’re lined with a thin, breathable knit fabric, so when unzipped, they increase the breathability of the whole garment a bit. Thank you, Outdoor Research, for these highly functional, flat-lying pockets.
The star component of this hoody is the new insulation technology — hybrid-mapped fabrics combined with VerticalX Octa — which makes up the interior of the jacket, with the exception of the gridded fleece on the back and interior of the arms and medial torso strips.
The VerticalX Octa looks like grids of super-light octagon-shaped shag fleece. It’s so very soft and moisture wicking, and because of the “hollow” centers, it breathes exceptionally well. Outdoor Research says it’s 50% lighter than traditional polyester insulation, and all I can say is, I continue to underestimate its warmth considering how light it is.
It’s an absolute pleasure to slip on over a tank to go lift at the gym, and is incredibly cozy over a short or long sleeve technical top or a thin fleece for an under-20-degree Fahrenheit breezy run. If your insulating layer game is feeling a bit lacking, I’d put this at or near the top of the list of pieces to try. On dry days, it’s a great outerwear layer as well, and as I write this, I’m lounging in it post-run on a chilly day completely content.
While we tested the women’s Outdoor Research Deviator Hoodie for this review, a similar men’s Outdoor Research Deviator Hoodie ($229) is available.
Outdoor Research Deviator Wind Leggings
From my perspective, the company took the Outdoor Research Radiant Hybrid Tights from 2018 — here’s our Outdoor Research Radiant Hybrid Tights review — and made a significantly improved version with the 2023 Outdoor Research Deviator Wind Leggings ($139).
The fit of these tights is much better than the 2018 model for my body type. These have just enough room and stretch through the thighs, articulated knees, and calves for mountain muscles, and there is very little resistance to high step-ups or full hip extension, whether running or scrambling on steeper terrain in the early miles — any resistance felt disappears as they loosen a bit with the miles.
The wide waistband has a thin strip of elastic, which creates a very comfortable fit with no downward slide, even over the course of a long run in the snowy foothills. A stretchy wind blocking membrane is integrated with the polyester knit fabric from the bottom of the waistband to the ankles — creating excellent wind protection — while the heavyweight knit, polyester-spandex fabric through the back of the tights keeps the bum warm, while providing excellent breathability.
The zippers at the bottom of the ankle have the wind protective material behind them, so unzipping gives you a bit more space at the ankle without sacrificing warmth. It’s impossible to get the tights on or off with shoes on.
I’d be remiss if I didn’t highlight the two large pockets on either lateral thigh — I absolutely love this addition to so many of the tights and pants on the market, and I hope it never goes away. The left pocket has a zip closure — yay, zips! — and fits a phone or other similar sized item combined with the security I appreciate greatly. The right-side stuff pocket is great for a few snacks, trash, liner gloves, and similar. The weight of my phone isn’t enough to drag the tights down, but that may be about the maximum weight for either pocket.
These tights are made for the blustery days where wind chill drops and there may be swirling snow or mixed moisture. They dry quickly and keep the legs warm enough to keep ticking away at those miles. I’ve worn them with a down skirt over the top on really cold days, and the smooth face slides well beneath the other layer.
Sizing notes, I find Outdoor Research women’s clothing to run on the small side of the guides, particularly in bottoms. I’m in between small and medium on the measurements, but am a solid medium in reality. So I’d recommend sizing up if you’re in between sizes.
Men, have a look at the men’s Outdoor Research Deviator Wind Pants ($139), which are constructed more like pants than tights.
Outdoor Research Deviator Pro Gloves ($119)
The Outdoor Research Deviator line of gloves has two options — the simpler, lighter weight Outdoor Research Deviator Gloves, and the warmer, more technical Outdoor Research Deviator Pro Gloves ($119). I tested the Deviator Pro Gloves for this review, and these are incredibly warm gloves for the coldest of running days and for excellent warmth, protection, and dexterity while fat biking or backcountry adventuring.
The back of the hand and fingers are covered with multiple layers of heat reflective material and synthetic insulation that provide warmth on par with Aerogel, but adds significantly improved breathability to reduce the sweating out that often occurs when wearing warm gloves during high energy output activities. The Deviator Pro Gloves also have a full goat leather palm — including the fingers, with an extended wrap over fingers two and three — which adds yet another layer of warmth, while allowing for improved grip with poles, handlebars, shifters, or snacks during your long adventure.
You can see the mountaineering heritage in the little details that add valuable functionality to the gloves, and I greatly appreciate every one. Extended wrist gauntlets with wide, adjustable velcro straps provide key coverage for keeping the elements out, even if you happen to make a snow angel — intentionally or unintentionally — while cruising along. Each glove has a pull loop for easier donning and doffing, which I now want on every glove or mitten, and the gloves can be paired together with a little clip/loop combination along the inside of the gauntlet. Large retention loops are attached at the wrist to reduce the risk of losing a glove if your adventure includes removal for fine-dexterity based actions. I find this feature to be key when biking, snowshoeing, and skiing.
Honestly, it’s easy to get too hot in these, unless the temperatures are nearing single digits Fahrenheit and below, or if the wind is really howling. But for a long day out running in the winter, I loved starting in these over a pair of liners and then stashing them in my pack for later use as needed. On the fat bike, they’re incredible and keep the post-ride screaming barfies completely at bay — happy fingers mean you can ride another day!
Sizing notes, trust the measurements on the sizing guide for gloves. I typically wear Large/XL gloves in women’s and Medium/Large gloves for men’s, and the unisex Large of these gloves is very roomy. My ideal size is probably the unisex Medium, but I can easily fit a liner beneath the Large.Shop the Outdoor Research Deviator Pro Gloves
Outdoor Research Apparel Overall Impressions
I am really impressed with these pieces, especially with the evolution in fit, thoughtful features, and exceptional function of the Outdoor Research Deviator Hoodie, Outdoor Research Deviator Wind Leggings, and Outdoor Research Deviator Pro Gloves.
I can also see myself adding the Outdoor Research Swift Bucket Hat option on the sunniest of days, given that breathability and added sun protection is key. I may add my own little chin strap so I don’t lose it off a blustery ridge or to the windy lakes I sometimes paddle on locally.
With pieces like these, the desire to play in “fresh” and “brisk” conditions is only enhanced. Outdoor Research also stands behind their products, guaranteeing performance through the lifetime of the products, which are made in the USA.
Call for Comments
- Have you use any of the products in this review? What were your thoughts?
- Have you used any other gear from Outdoor Research?
[Editor’s Note: If you’re affiliated (i.e., an employee, ambassador, etc.) with a brand, please share your relation in each of your comments on this article. Thanks!]