Outdoor Research's Ascendant Hooded Jacket gets the most out of the Polartec Alpha insulation. It still provides enough warmth from the insulation to keep you happy on the hill but it excels in breathability. The Alpha fabric is super effective at wicking sweat and drawing heat away from you when you're working hard. We love how well this works and that fact that it is soft and comfortable is a massive benefit when you are out for long periods of time.
Midweight Active Insulation Technology provides movement-mirroring stretch, resilient weather protection, and high breathability in this do-it-all midlayer.
Outdoor Research says:
Building on the glowing reception of our Uberlayer Jacket, we ratcheted up the breathability while cutting the weight a little more to build the Ascendant Collection—Pertex Microlight movement-mirroring stretch fabric and Polartec Alpha insulation create the perfect combination for skinning uphill, belaying, or layering under a ski jacket on cold days at the resort. Meet your new favorite layer for fall, winter and spring.
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Some of you may have used, or at least read about Polartec Alpha insulation, a more modern version of a lightweight fleece, that keeps you warm but lets sweat out, even when active. Well the Polartec Alpha Direct insulation is basically the same but with the mesh liner removed, so you get more unimpeded airflow (not to mention less weight and bulk) without sacrificing warmth. It also feels super soft against your skin!
Designed to be worn when you are active - so on the move - there are alternative insulation garments that are more suited to wearing around camp - Polartec Alpha Direct is about keeping you vented even though you are also being kept insulated.
Its quite a breakthrough, especially for cold weather walking when you need insulation but start sweating hard when you reach a strenuous bit. Weight for weight Polartec Alpha is only about half as warm as Primaloft so the king of insulation keeps its crown - but Alpha has its place.
We like the internal thumb loops as it keeps the sleeves in place which is handy when layering. A water-resistant Pertex Microlight outer fabric repels light rain and snow, while still allowing sweat and heat out. Ideal as an outer layer in spring and fall or as a mid layer in winter.
- Reviewed by Ultralight Outdoor Gear
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