The Outdoor Research Deviator Hoody is a hybrid midlayer designed for active use. With a windproof front and breathable back and arms, the OR Deviator Hoody has a reputation for being a good option for splitboarding and ski touring.
It’s true, I have a midlayer fetish. Over the years I’ve tried loads and recently I’ve started make my own (yea, patterns, sewing machines etc). So when a midlayer appears that seems to be loved by everyone who has one, it gets me interested. I finally got my hands on a Deviator Hoody at the start of last winter. I’ve worn it splitboarding, running and hiking and it’s definitely one of the best items of clothing I’ve ever used.
OR Deviator Hoody Review | The Basics
Weight → 320g (large)
RRP → £149.99
Fabrics → Polartec Power Grid / Polartec Alpha with 7d nylon shell.
Pockets → Two hand and one zipped chest
Centre Back Length → 70cm (size large)
Sizing → On the small side; consider sizing up
OR Deviator Hoody Review | Fabrics
As is the case with many garments designed for active use, it’s the Deviator’s fabrics that really define how it performs. The hood, back and arms are made up of Polartec Power Grid fabric. Power Grid is a proven and popular textile with a smooth face and a lofted grid interior. It comes in many different weights. The Deviator Hoody uses one at the heavier end of the spectrum which is appropriate for use on a midlayer.
The entire front torso panel has a superlight 7 denier ripstop nylon shell with 65g Polartec Alpha Insulation behind it. On the inside is a stretch mesh fabric. So, essentially the Deviator Hoody is a hybrid of a lightweight grid fleece garment and one of the new breed of breathable active synthetic insulation pieces.
This kind of hybrid construction is nothing new. There are many garments out there that attempt to combine two or more different fabrics in different areas in an attempt to optimise the performance characteristics of each. Some work better than others. The Deviator Hoody works really well.
The front panel pretty much blocks wind completely. It also sheds light precipitation and, due to the Alpha insulation, provides a small amount of static warmth. Alpha is effectively just very thin, high loft fleece that does a good job of trapping air for warmth but most importantly breathes really well. The mesh backer helps to keep moisture moving and also stabilises the insulation. I’ve managed to overhaul the breathability of the outer layer when running but generally the system breathes really well.
OR could use a more air permeable outer shell on the torso section like those found on many active insulation pieces. This would increase airflow and breathability but at the expense of protection from the wind. Air permeability is always a balancing act but there have been many occasions on cold windy days when I’ve appreciated the Deviator’s near 100% windproof front panel. I found I can wear the Deviator for longer than I would usually expect before putting on a shell.
The Power Grid fabric areas work really well, as you’d expect from such a tried and tested fabric. It breathes super well and adds a little warmth too. It’s especially important that the back of the Deviator is entirely Power Grid. There’s no need for insulation there when wearing a pack.
The combination of fabrics work brilliantly in the backcountry. Having a wind and weather resistant front but also big areas of breathable fabric to regulate temperature is just what you need. I love the hood when splitboarding – it’s really easy to throw up or down depending on conditions. It works really well with a cap in sunny conditions too.
Perhaps the only down side to the fact that the Deviator has two distinctly different fabrics is the fact that it makes the garment look a bit different. I wouldn’t use it for casual use like some of the other tech midlayers I own.
OR Deviator Hoody Review | Fit
My Deviator Hoody is a size large; I’m usually a medium but I’m glad I went for the size up. There’s just the right amount of room in the chest, shoulders and arms. A medium would have been trim across my chest for sure. I love the Hoody’s length. It’s easily long enough to stay tucked in a hipbelt or harness and there’s no hem lift when active. Overall the fit is quite close with increases thermal efficiency and helps the garment deal with moisture more effectively too.
OR Deviator Hoody Review | Features
The Deviator Hoody has a close-fitting hood made of the Power Grid material with a simple elastic hem. It works really well. It’s simple and fits great and also works well with a thin beanie or baseball cap underneath. It’s also comfortable under a helmet.
I love the pocket configuration. There’s a reasonably sized chest pocket that works great for on the go stuff, especially when in the skin track. The hand pockets are really cool. They have an elastic binding around the opening rather than a zip. Hand pockets are sometimes not so useful on active garments. Often I prefer to go without and have a nice clean finish under my pack waist belt. As there’s no zip on the Deviator’s pockets, they sit flat and pretty much go unnoticed until you stick your hands in them. They’re mesh lined too so don’t obstruct breathability or add bulk.
The hem has an elastic drawcord that feeds into the pockets to keep things clean and snag free. The cuffs have well designed and nicely finished thumb loops that I like to use instead of gloves on warmer days when splitboarding. They’re also nice for cold runs.
OR Deviator Hoody Review | Verdict
A brilliant midlayer for splitboarding and ski touring, along with pretty much any other active mountain sport. Aesthetics mean it doesn’t have the versatility for everyday use but fit, features and above all the fabrics used mean the Outdoor Research Deviator Hoody is a great choice for the mountains.
It hits a nice sweet spot between insulation, weather protection and breathability. It would make a great choice for anyone who often overheats in the skin track or when hiking but still needs a garment that provides some protection along with pockets and a hood. It’s especially good for cold weather use as the hoody breathes well and offers some protection when active, yet also offers some static warmth under a shell too.
- Lightweight, packable & comfortable
- Great combination of fabrics
- Protects the core without overheating
- Good hood
- Fits well (check the size before buying though)
- Hand & chest pockets
- Other than the subjective matter of looks, nothing!
Disclaimer – I aim to be open and honest when writing gear reviews. On this occasion, Outdoor Research gave me a Deviator Hoody to review. My views and opinions are independent whether I’m reviewing an item that has been loaned or given to me, or a product I purchased myself.