Polartec’s Alpha insulation gives manufacturers the ability to add warmth to really breathable layers. So far, we haven’t seen anyone do it quite as well as the Outdoor Research Deviator Hoody. OR combines Polartec Alpha with Power Dry to keep you warm without getting soggy as the activity level ramps up.
The Outdoor Research Deviator Hoody is a phenomenal layer. It breathes like crazy, allowing your perspiration to escape. Chalk this up to Polartec’s Alpha and Power Grid. Polartech Alpha is a new insulation that Polartec originally developed for the U.S. Special Forces. Think of it as a fluffy material that falls about halfway between fleece and synthetic insulation – it has some of the structure of fleece but it’s much airier. Combined with an ultralight face fabric that blocks wind, you end up with a lightweight, compressible piece that incorporates the best of both worlds – it insulates better than fleece while breathing just as well, if not better. It also dries quickly and keeps working even when wet. Alpha is available in 60g, 80g, and 120g weights. Outdoor Research uses 60g here. Polartec’s Power Dry is a (relatively) heavy, base layer fabric that wicks and dries quickly, using grid-pattern channels to increase insulation. Combine Alpha and Power Dry and you have the perfect pairing for high-output activities in cold weather.
Outdoor Research’s design makes the Deviator perform. They chose a very trim cut. In your normal size, you’ll have room for a base layer and nothing else underneath. Size up if you want some room. But, the Power Dry on the back, arms, and hood stretch enough that you never feel constricted. Two hand warmer pockets (without zippers) go under the insulation to actually keep your hands warm. A third, napoleon pocket holds small items. Sleeves are a perfect length, with just enough extra to take advantage of the well-incorporated thumb holes. The hood is close-fitting, designed to slip under a helmet without adding bulk. The jacket comes together perfectly – it has everything you want and nothing extra.
We took the Deviator Hoody out on some very diverse missions. On ski tours, it was a great layer for staying warm on the skin track. Even with a pack on, your back won’t get soaked. Toss a windshirt or shell on over it and you’re ready to head back down for another lap. Surprisingly, the Deviator made an excellent fat biking jacket. The Alpha insulation on the chest keeps you warm and the Power Grid lets all the sweat evaporate away. Outdoor Research probably didn’t have fat biking in mind when they designed the Deviator, but it’s perfect nonetheless.
The Outdoor Research Deviator Hoody is not the only mid-layer we’ve tried that incorporates Polartec Alpha and Power Dry, but so far, it’s definitely the best. It retails for $185 in both men’s and women’s versions. Both genders get three color options: blue, green, and grey for men and grey, green, and..I don’t know…magenta for women? They call it ultraviolet. Find the best price from over 150 online retailers using our Gear Search tool.