Sometimes, highly technical pieces of gear just don’t fit into your schedule. Gosh, it feels terrible saying that – maybe the schedule needs changing, rather than the gear. But, reality dictates that we make ourselves presentable, at least every so often. The reversible Sierra Designs Outside-In Hoody means we don’t have to sacrifice every last bit of function to look like we didn’t just step off a mountain.
The Outside In-Hoody hides its technical side under a more casual look. It’s constructed from two different layers. One side is a 20dx30d, 1.7oz nylon fabric with 10% spandex for stretchy goodness. The nylon side is calendared and has a DWR finish which gives it a 310mm hydrostatic head – not waterproof by any means, but it’ll still shed some precipitation. The other side is a knit, polyester blend that looks and feels like a sweatshirt. The shell side moves 5cfm and the fleece side moves 80cfm.
Sierra Designs includes pockets on both sides of the Outside-In Hoody so you have storage regardless of how you wear it. The fleece side has two hand pockets in typical hoody style. The shell side also has hand pockets – slash style with zip closures – and a single, horizontal chest pocket on the left. Hem and wrists are bound with smooth, stretchy cuffs that keep gusts from stealing your warmth. And the hood has a slightly modified, but otherwise typical drawcord to cinch things down. Minor, but understandable drawback is that the cord is only accessible on the fleece side. So, if you’re wearing the jacket shell out and want to cinch the hood, you have to unzip a bit.
Turn the shell side out and you have an insulated windshirt that does a decent job of trapping heat without getting stuff. Fleece side out lets more heat escape and looks like a fancy hoody. No one has to know your jacket is functional.
Flipping the jacket inside-out (or Outside-In..get it?) does feel like it has an effect on its performance. With 80CFm of air moving through the fleece when its turned out, it doesn’t contribute much insulation. Turning the fleece in changes things drastically. Fleece out feels comfortable up to 60° sunny/70° cloudy and down to 40°/50° if one is moving around. Shell out probably drops that range by 10-15°. I’m not typical when it comes to temperature comfort levels, so pay less attention to the absolute numbers and more to the range. Essentially, you have a single piece that can be functional across a range of 30-35°.
It’s hard not to really like the Outside-In Hoody until you see the price. At $179, you have focus hard on the fact that this isn’t a plain old hooded sweatshirt. Instead, it’s a double-duty jacket with a solid temperature range that can serve technical duties on the trail while remaining presentable for weekday office adventures. Consider if you were to buy a windshell and a hooded fleece separately. You’d be out somewhere north of $200, easily.
It’s tough to find comparable pieces. The closest I can get – and it’s not that close – is the Patagonia R3 Regulator hoody. It’s a much more technical/less casual piece, but it still reverses to adjust warmth level. It lists for $199.
The Outside In is an easy buy on sale. And it will be on sale for 50% off – probably in the fall. At full price, I’d hesitate, honestly. I’d want it in my closet, but I’m not sure I could justify it before it goes on sale.
Available in men’s and women’s versions direct from Sierra Designs or at other retailers (some on sale!).