The Outdoor Research SuperStrand LT Hoodie has excellent levels of comfort and warmth-to-weight ratio but does have some drawbacks for the price, says Chris Townsend.
The Outdoor Research SuperStrand LT Hoodie is a lovely jacket, and my favourite of those tested in our guide to the best synthetic insulated jackets, due to the comfort, warmth and low weight. However, the design isn’t perfect and it is expensive.
Price: £220 | Weight: 315g | Materials: shell: ripstop nylon; fill: 85% recycled VerticalX SuperStrand polyester | Features: stretch rim hood, handwarmer pockets, inner stuff pockets | Sizes: S-XXL | Women’s version: Yes
The hood isn’t adjustable and the fit round my face isn’t snug, so cold winds can blow in and if strong blow the hood half off my head. There’s no chest pocket either, and the handwarmer pockets are cut off by a hip belt. They are still just about usable if you pull the jacket up a little for access.
They claim the fill is the lightest, softest and most compressible insulation available. The fill mimics the shape of down clusters and is held in place by a lattice structure. The brand say it’s just as soft, light and lofty as 700-800 fill power down, which is quite a claim. I’m certainly impressed with the warmth for the weight. The fill is very soft and comfortable too.
The Outdoor Research SuperStrand LT Hoodie is very wind-resistant though not fully windproof and has distinctive discontinuous quilting that reduces the amount of stitching needed, which is said to make it easier to compress the jacket – it can be squeezed into a very small bundle. Breathability is good.
The Large size fits me well. I can wear it comfortably over a light fleece and under a waterproof jacket. We wore the SuperStrand in cool spring and early summer weather, and found it too warm when walking but great as camp wear. I think it’s a great jacket for backpacking due to the low weight and bulk.