For the ascent.

Unlike most midlayers, the Outdoor Research Men's Ascendent Hooded Jacket is an insulated layer that's actually designed for the ascent. It has that light touch of warmth that backcountry skiers and alpine climbers look for when they're moving fast on the uphill. Polartec Alpha insulation keeps warm while allowing total air permeability, which means the jacket begins to breathe the moment you put it on (unlike most insulators that only breathe after you started sweating). The result is a remarkable difference when you're breathing hard on the ascent.

  • Synthetic insulator warms you on climbs and ski tours
  • Polartec Alpha insulation assures active air permeability
  • Pertex Microlight shell is ultralight, windproof, and breathable
  • Adjustable hood and hem stay secure in windy weather
  • Reviews
  • Q & A

Could do with a few makeovers

  • Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer
  • Fit: True to size
  • Size Bought: small

I hike all winter here in the U. P. of Michigan. It is some of the nastiest weather you will ever encounter. This jacket by OR is great. Have worn it as outer layer while layering under it down to -5 degrees. It does all it says but could do with some upgrades. Like zippered side pockets, as you lose whatever you put in there. The hood cinch in the back of hood is a real pain in the a**. And the waist cinch hangs out like a tail, and if you are in thicket can get hooked on branches and such. And they should have DWR coated it. Why go all out with a windproof jacket and not also make it water repellent.

No more need to de-layer while active

  • Familiarity: I've used it several times
  • Fit: True to size
  • Size Bought: medium

After buying this jacket for my brother, we've been fighting over it because we both enjoy wearing it so much! We have both used it for active pursuits such as xc skiing, hiking, ski touring and snowshoeing. It really hits the sweet spot of keeping you warm, protecting from the wind and blowing snow, and breathing like a dream. I find that it really does replace a fleece and a synthetic insulation piece, allowing you to go lighter, and avoiding the hassle of constant layering and de-layering as athletic output and conditions change. Plus, it looks very stylish around town, especially with a performance fit that avoids the bagginess of so many other jackets.
I will definitely be purchasing one of these for myself in the near future.

Great review, Logan! The Ascendant is amazing at its ability to keep you warm when you are moving, but not overheat! Very cool. Thank you for sharing!

OR rep

Excellent Breathability

  • Familiarity: I've used it once or twice and have initial impressions

This jacket fills a recently created "active insulation" gap in my wardrobe. After spending time on trail shedding other synthetic jacket layers (Atom LT for example), I wanted something I could put on and leave on during my aerobic pursuits. I've used this jacket a couple times on my bike and was impressed with how well it breathes. At a standstill it continues to insulate and allow excess heat to dissipate. I'm very excited to see how this jacket will perform through the colder months.

The sizing on this jacket is a very performance fit. At 6'00" and 160lbs I can fit a close-to-skin baselayer under a size Small. If you have wider shoulders or a broad chest, the sizing might feel tight.