The Outdoor Research Vigor Full Zip Hood is a lightweight fleece built for action. Made from a grid fleece fabric that is highly breathable and sweat-wicking, it's a great piece to use as part of a layering system or when you're expecting high-intensity output days. At first glance, this hoodie is reminiscent of the Patagonia R1, but it brings a few different aspects to the table. Though it weighs almost two ounces more, it's less bulky and more comfortable while climbing or hiking. The lightweight nature and breathability of the material do come at the cost of some warmth, but this is an excellent piece if you're looking to be comfortable during cold-weather athletic pursuits.Editor's Note: This product was retested and the review was updated on November 14, 2022.
Outdoor Research Vigor Full Zip Hoodie Review
Compare prices at 2 resellers Pros: Breathable, lightweight, inexpensive, comfortable for athletics
Cons: Average weather resistance
Manufacturer: Outdoor Research
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Outdoor Research Vigor Full Zip Hoodie
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|Pros||Breathable, lightweight, inexpensive, comfortable for athletics||Athletic fit and performance, breathable, technically proficient||Lightweight, easy to layer, breathable,||Affordable, cozy, simple||Inexpensive, warm, comfortable|
|Cons||Average weather resistance||Thin with little warmth, little leisure wear transition,||Thin with lower warmth, no hood, few features||Poor layering, bulky, lacks breathability||Bulky, hoodless, poor layering|
|Bottom Line||Highly featured and even higher performing, this cost-effective option provides a hard-to-beat value||This highly technical fleece works well during high-intensity outdoor activity by offering performance and breathability||This simple, breathable fleece acts as a great layering piece at an excellent price||This price-point jacket provides ample warmth and a casual feel||Affordable, comfortable, and functional, this fleece offers the no-frills basics that you'd want in a jacket|
|Rating Categories||Outdoor Research Vi...||Mountain Hardwear S...||Marmot Reactor 2.0||REI Co-op Groundbre...||Columbia Steens Mou...|
|Layering Ability (15%)|
|Weather resistance (10%)|
|Specs||Outdoor Research Vi...||Mountain Hardwear S...||Marmot Reactor 2.0||REI Co-op Groundbre...||Columbia Steens Mou...|
|Measured Weight||13 oz||13.3 oz||10.9 oz||11.6 oz||16.6 oz|
|Main Material||94% polyester, 6% spandex||100% polyester||100% polyester||100% polyester||100% polyester|
|# of Pockets||3||2||3||2||2|
|Unique Features||Thumb holes, UPF 30, 3-panel hood with binding||Raglan sleeves, thumb holes, three-piece fitted hood||Windflap with roll-over chin guard, flatlock seams||Stretch binding at waist and cuffs||None|
Our Analysis and Test Results
Thin and featured, the Outdoor Research Vigor provides plenty of warmth while moving. The hood fits well against our tester's faces and ears allowing it to fight against the wind and the thumbholes kept the sleeves down and in place while our testers ran up the Flatirons in Colorado. The jacket fit well against the body and our testers noted few spots where heat could come be lost or wind could come into the jacket.
As suggested by the name, the Vigor works best in vigorous movement. When stationary, our testers chilled and wanted a heavier fleece or jacket. The slim, athletic fit helped our testers layer the piece though making it a warm alternative.
The 93% polyester and 7% spandex grid patterned Vigor feels soft against the skin. The addition of the spandex allowed for a bit of stretch and made for few tight spots in the garment, allowing our testers to swing their arms akimbo while warming up for their sport proj. Some of our testers noted that it fit taller and lankier bodies a bit better.
Outdoor Research added lots of customization to make this piece a bit more comfortable. The zipper has a little garage at the chin which helps keep it from biting into the face. The FlatSeam construction helped eliminate chafing though one tester noted that the pocket seams sit in a funny spot on the body. The jacket also has a long fit and a bit of a skirt feel, which makes it nice for fitting under a harness and not riding up.
While the fleece offers solid coverage with the thumbholes and form-fitting hood, the Vigor doesn't have any DWR (durable water repellent) treatment. In light rain or mists, our testers were able to move about in it and stay warm but when heavy winds came or more precipitation arrived they need to fight the chill and wetness with a heavier jacket. It does have a nice light weight and is fairly packable though.
One nice feature of the Vigor is that it has a 30 UPF rating. The additional sun protection in the light weight hoodie is certainly welcome on spring days skiing when the overhead sun blasts and the ambient temperature is still low. This gives it a sun or wind shirt aspect to it making it nice for alpine rock missions as well. Ultimately, make sure to bring a hard shell jacket or heavier layer if the forecast calls for more than a casual sprinkle.
At 13 ounces, the Vigor Full Zip Hoodie weighs in on the lightweight end of the jackets we reviewed. The piece packs up well and can easily be stuffed into the top of a pack. The low profile hood, the streamlined zipper, the two hand warmer pockets and the chest pocket all take up little space. While the jacket could be lighter as a pullover or if it had a couple less pockets, the features add little weight to the garment.
This jacket does best with its breathability. The thermoregulating ActiveTemp technology helps adjust to body temperatures and then facilitates wicking away sweat as does the grid-patterned thinness of the fleece. It was a favorite in terms of activewear for our testers who slogged up steep approaches in the Flatirons while wearing it.
The full-length zipper added additional breathability. When our testers were charging up hills approaching climbs or trail running on brisk mornings, they were able to start off with the hood up and the jacket fully zipped and then transitioned to pushing the sleeves up and the zipper down.
The Vigor Full Zip moves smoothly under other jackets. The three pockets don't add much bulk to the garment and the sleek zippers slide under another layer easily. This jacket has some of the best thumb loops of the jackets we reviewed with the sleeves easily staying on. The thumb loops are built into the wrists and fit over the thumb and palm of the hand well.
The length of the jacket also allows it to be tucked in under a harness and then a jacket can be worn over that. The Vigor doesn't ride up or create friction with the waist belt of a harness. Thanks to the full length zipper, this piece can easily be worn over another jacket though it's best to keep any layer underneath a bit thin as the Vigor doesn't add much warmth.
Should You Buy the Outdoor Research Vigor?
The Vigor Full Zip serves adventure outdoors people quite well. It's highly breathable, light, an easy jacket to layer with, and warm. For those looking for a technical garment at a bargain price, this piece provides. The one caveat is that this jacket has less of a crag to bar feel. The technical nature of the fleece makes it look just like that- highly technical- and less of a normal outerwear jacket.
What Other Fleece Jackets Should You Consider?
The Outdoor Research Vigor Full Zip Hoodie is a high-performing fleece being offered at a great value. This full zippered hoodie is highly breathable, incredibly comfortable, and easy to layer over. The Vigor is most comparable to the Patagonia R1 Air Full Zip Hoody, but is offered at a considerably lower price point. The Patagonia R1 Air follows a similar vein in terms of a high-performance fleece, as does the Mountain Hardwear Stratus Full Zip, which is similarly priced.
— James Lucas and Buck Yedor
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