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The Closest Thing to Down: Outdoor Research SuperStrand LT Hoodie Review

the author standing in the snow and smiling, wearing the pink OR SuperStrand hoodie(Photo/Mary Murphy)
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When Outdoor Research launched its SuperStrand LT jacket earlier this winter, it hoped to create the best warmth-to-weight ratio in a jacket — ever. We finally put that claim to the test.

Outdoor Research’s new VerticalX SuperStrand synthetic insulation is a big deal, for lots of reasons.

For one, its new insulation technology allows the brand to make more packable jackets that can still provide a high level of warmth. And two, it fills a fairly empty void of super-warm puffy products suitable for vegans (or anyone who can’t buy or wear down).

It’s also available for both men and women.

The target audience? Anyone who values packability, warmth, and performance in their layering system for colder days.

The SuperStrand LT: Super Warm, Super Packable

Almost immediately, I knew this puffy jacket would be a contender for my winter jacket “favorites” pile. The loft mimics down in look and feel, the fill provides warmth, the women’s fit is tailored nicely (it doesn’t hang or leave pockets of space), and, best of all, the jacket is really packable.

I can shove this into my smallest of daypacks, zip it into its pocket, or quickly stuff it into a bag at last-minute packing moments.

the author wearing the OR Superstrand Hoodie layer, helmet and googles, getting ready to ski
(Photo/Mary Murphy)

I wore this synthetic puffy from December to March. It was tested at the very onset of cold weather, the height of winter, and the transition into spring here in Colorado. I wore it walking, layering up before and after a run, to the office, hiking, snowshoeing, ski touring, and more.

This jacket provides great warmth at a fairly light weight. The pockets, hood, and length are all nicely built. While I wish the ripstop nylon exterior was just slightly more durable (the exterior fabric is light and thin to the touch), that was really the only fault I could find. With each passing day, especially as the temps got colder, I found myself grabbing this insulated hoodie more and more.

SuperStrand LT Hoodie Specs

  • Materials: Ripstop nylon exterior, 100% synthetic polyester VerticalX SuperStrand insulation mimics 700- to 800-fill down
  • Features: Quilted baffling, zippered pockets, hood
  • Sustainability: Bluesign-approved
  • Verified weight: 9.7 oz. (275 g)

SuperStrand LT Hoodie Conclusion

hood detail on the Outdoor Research superstrand LT hoodie in a lavender color
The quilted baffling detail on the hood of the SuperStrand LT

To point out the obvious, this jacket has synthetic insulation, not down. Meaning I didn’t have to freak out if it got wet or damp, and I didn’t have to worry about clumps or pockets of insulation or leaking down feathers.

There are lots of pros to synthetics for insulation, especially now that this one is even lighter in weight.

Outdoor Research’s new VerticalX SuperStrand technology weaves the insulation onto lattice-like strands. Simply, it works. And it kept me warm.

Not so much a con, but my only feedback with the SuperStrand LT Hoodie is regarding the women’s fit. It’s very tailored in the chest and waist, and if you’re curvier than the measurements listed for the standard letter sizes, consider sizing up.

My women’s small felt just a wee bit tight in the chest, though it didn’t restrict my arm or shoulder movement at all. And the feedback on fit I got from others who tested this hoodie was positive.

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