New for this season, Outdoor Research follows up the popular men's Lodestar Jacket with a women's version. A staple in my ice climbing rotation last season and most likely again this winter, the Lodestar performs as a mid-layer and outer layer in one, cutting out unnecessary bulk and weight from your ice climbing wardrobe.
This insulated softshell jacket is built using a combination of strategically placed Polartec fabrics. Lightweight, durable, and highly water-resistant fleece lined Powershield Pro adds extra weather protection to your shoulders, arms, and head. Silicone piping on the shoulders helps to keep your backpack straps in place when climbing and take the brunt of the wear and tear.
Throughout your core region, the Lodestar features Powershield High Loft- a combination of a lighter, more breathable face fabric and an open mesh stitch, high loft fleece liner to offer superior warmth and breathability without the weight.
Using feedback from the men's Lodestar, OR had the opportunity to improve upon the design for the women's version. As the jacket tended to ride up a bit when climbing, OR added harness attachment loops at the hem. Only problem, the loops are on the inside of the jacket and I always climb with every layer tucked into my harness in order to easily rack and reach my gear. You could use the loops to hook into the belt of your climbing pants instead.
OR also added pit zips to the women's version and moved the zippered hand pockets a bit higher for better access when wearing your harness or backpack. The helmet compatible hood is fully adjustable and is roomy enough to allow you to look up when climbing.
As a 2-in-1 hybrid piece, the Lodestar may not be as versatile as separate layers but I appreciate the ability to cut out bulk from my system. For the majority of the season, I could get away with simply wearing a base layer under this insulated softshell. On those extra cold days, I threw on the Polartec Alpha insulated vest for some extra core warmth.
The men's and women's Outdoor Research Lodestar Jacket retails for $450 and is available now.
You can see the incredible OR athlete Sarah Hueniken sporting her Lodestar in the video below (with a small cameo of me in my Lodestar at the beginning).