Extensively tested and reviewed by Cairngorm Treks throughout late summer to early winter 2018/19 in the Cairngorms, surrounding mountainous regions, and low-level woodlands.
The Foray Jacket comes in at 390 grams for the size medium, which puts it into a bracket of being a midrange waterproof. To the touch it certainly isn't as rugged as it is with a heavier 3L mountain jacket but it also isn't as flimsy as a super light active sports waterproofs. The Foray hits the 'go anywhere' category and it is instantly clear that OR have created a waterproof jacket that should be as comfortable to wear as it is in the pack.
Made with Gore-Tex Paclite 2L throughout we were impressed to see the updated fabric eliminates PFCs using a PFC(EC)-Free waterproof solution. This more environmentally friendly approach is being adopted by more and more brands and it’s great to see OR taking this onboard.
The outer fabric feels resilient and ready to take on a multitude of environments. The worry of brushing against a tree branch and resulting in a tear is not of concern and after nearly 6 months of use we have noticed next to no signs of wear. Goretex say their “two-layer design is made to be as lightweight and packable as possible, while also being tested to withstand tough weather and repeated use.” We would defiantly agree with their claim and can say that the Foray excelled expectations in its ability to repel heavy downpours, sleet and snow. It's also very good at brushing away any unwanted muck, which came in handy whilst on a few bike and hike adventures. Within the 6 months of use we only needed to re-proof the Foray once.
Internally it appears differently to what we expected from a light waterproof that claims to be very breathable. There is a grey fabric almost rubber like in texture. Our initial fears that it would be uncomfortable to wear were thankfully diminished with the Foray being an extremely easy to wear waterproof. It's quite baggy throughout which is fine, as when wearing extra layers, the Foray can quickly be removed from the pack and worn before the bad weather commences. Next to the skin the inner fabric can stick a little and unfortunately, it's ability to wick away moisture isn't very good. Whilst working hard on a tough ascent the Foray will quickly become quite warm and clammy. OR have obviously picked up on this issue, so have included an interesting TorsoFlo Venting design in the form of underarm zippers that extend all the way to the hem. This is a two-way zipper so a poncho style venting system can be achieved.
This style of venting system certainly helps, and we found breathability and warmth could be well regulated in certain weather conditions. Unfortunately, in driving rain this style of venting, once extended past the arm pits, would let in rain. For use in the warmer months this was an acceptable option as intermittent showers would give us a chance to dry off, but regarding winter conditions a build of moisture will lead to mid layers becoming wet and less efficient in terms of insulation. The poncho style venting we also found to work ok if travelling on lower ground, but once climbing high the waist belt of a pack would either interfere or, if placed over this, a slight gust of wind would send the front of the jacket in all directions and became unpractical.
The hood is a very simple design and adjusts in all of the usual places to keep tight to the head and protects very well even in heavy showers. With it being a jacket that's meant to be stored in a pack ready for use when needed it doesn't include a wired peak. We didn't find this to be much of an issue and held its shape well even in fairly high winds. There is also a small amount of micro-fleece placed around the neck and face to add comfort.
Zippers at the front and small breast pocket are YKK AquaGuard which is a much preferred option than using a storm flap and we noticed no water entering even when the Foray was getting a soaking. For some reason OR decided not to include the AquaGuard to the TorsoFlo venting system and instead opted for a small storm flap. We can only guess that as this is an area which may be open to help with airflow and breathability, they decided to add minimal protection.
Unfortunately, this is an area that could have benefited from a bit of stiffness as the zip can be very hard to open and close, with a second hand needed to pull the jacket to allow a smooth movement.
Pockets are well placed and sized. Two large hand pockets can easily store a full-size map with OR adding in their usual inner loop which is great for attaching a compass. Both are placed above a rucksack waist strap or harness and are very easy to access.The breast pocket is ideal for storing a GPS device or mobile phone and is watertight due to its AquaGuard zipper.
The Foray packs impressively small and although the right-hand pocket has a double zip which can be used as a stuff sac, we tended to stuff it into a small dry sac with the rest of our wet weather gear ready for when needed.
The overall look of the Foray follows the tried and tested design we are used to seeing in a waterproof jacket. This simple approach suits us just fine and there are a range of colours available to suit many tastes.
The OR Foray is a great all-rounder waterproof to suit a multitude of outdoor activities. Made of Gore-Tex with Paclite technology 2L it can be stored within a pack ready to be relied upon when the weather takes a turn for the worse. We were pleasantly surprised to find the Foray stood up against heavy showers just as impressively compared to much more expensive and weightier alternatives. Water runs off with ease and it is repellent against dirt so even with much use we didn't have to re-proof very often. Breathability can be an issue and whilst the TorsoFlo Venting does a great job in regulating warmth and breathability, in heavy showers this is an area where precipitation will enter and can’t be fully utilised in all conditions. The Foray is a jacket in which, after heavy showers, vents need to be left open to increase airflow and let any unwanted moisture escape. Overall comfort is excellent, and the slightly baggy sizing means it can be easily placed on top of any other layers without becoming restrictive. The overall build is confusing, as in many areas OR have added some great features such as the AquaGuard zippers on the front and chest pocket, but then opted for storm flaps for the TorsoFlo and hand pockets. We would have liked to have seen a bit more consistency throughout the Foray. In terms of robustness, as a mid-range waterproof coming in at 390 grams the Foray is packable but also very tough and will suit life in the high hills, lowland forests and moorlands.
Cairngorm Treks is a small family business based in the picturesque village of Tomintoul in the North East region of the Cairngorms National Park. They provide bespoke Mountain Guiding for Single Day Walks and Lightweight Multiday Trekking experiences, including wild camping, in the stunning Cairngorms wilderness and surrounding areas. Whether in the high mountains or lower valleys, their Multiday Treks are equipped with high quality, lightweight camping and trekking gear. They only work with small groups and, whatever your ability, pride themselves on designing your outdoor experience completely to your needs and with professional guidance and expertise. Adventure is waiting...