- Detail Images
Fast, light, and impenetrable.
When the forecast calls for heavyweight weather, fight fire with fire with the powerhouse protection of the Outdoor Research Men's Optimizer Jacket. The Optimizer keeps up with you in dry comfort through rugged mountain missions. Fully sealed seams and Gore-Tex Active work together to keep wind, rain, sleet, and snow at bay while allowing internal moisture to escape easily, while the adjustable, wire-brimmed halo-hood provides a burly shelter for your face and head without sacrificing room for your helmet. Dynamic Reach underarm panels let you lunge for those hard-to-grab holds without restriction, and the waterproof Aquaguard zippers ensure that moisture stays on the outside.
- Rugged protection and lightweight comfort meet in this alpine jacket
- Gore-Tex Active design is waterproof, windproof, and breathable
- Regular fit provides room for layers underneath
- Dynamic Reach underarm panels enable a full range of motion
- Adjustable, helmet-compatible hood with wire brim enhances vision
- Cuffs and hem are customizable via drawcord for precise protection
- Multiple waterproof zippered pockets stash essentials
- Q & A
Great backcounty skiing shell!
- Familiarity: I've used it several times
- Fit: True to size
- Size Bought: Large
I was given this jacket from Backcountry, but this is my personal opinion regarding the OR Optimizer jacket. I've taken this jacket snowboarding, climbing, and have worn it around town during rain and shine. This jacket is light and comfortable. Unlike other waterproof rain jackets I've worn, this one is breathable and doesn't stick to you when wet. You can actually wear it without a mid-layer, and it feels like a normal windbreaker would.
Pros: The OR Optimizer jacket is fit for action. The jacket isn't too long or baggy, it's snug in all the right places. It's a great backcountry skiing jacket because it keeps you totally dry, and you don't sweat like crazy when you're hiking. The Optimizer definitely optimized its hood potential. Multiple qualities of the hood stand out: it fits perfectly over a climbing or skiing helmet; it has a rigid brim, so it repels water away from your face, but also makes for a normal fit when not wearing a helmet; you can zip up the jacket entirely and still take the hood on and off (I have jackets that require partially unzipping to get the hood off easily, especially with a helmet on); the drawcords make the hood snug and keeps the brim from blocking your view. Also, while snowboarding, I like to ride with my jacket zipped all the way up, other jackets that are not ski specific can be pretty uncomfortable with the zipper partially over your mouth. The Optimizer has plenty of space and is really comfy when fully zipped and the hood is down. The extra pockets in a waterproof shell are nice. There's even a spot for headphones to pass through. I really like how the pockets are slightly higher so when you're wearing a harness they are easily accessible. Finally, the jacket is tough, light, and pack-able.
Cons: Although it fits almost perfectly, it doesn't allow much room (around the armpits) for a really warm layer like a big puffy jacket, I would maybe want to size up if I was strictly using it over thick layers. However, for my purposes, I like the precise fit. It doesn't have breathable armpit zippers. Again, it breathes so well I don't think it really needs them, and the pockets are mesh, so as long as the pockets are open, they basically provide the same ventilation that the armpit zippers would. It also does not pack into itself. If you want to stay light and fast and not bring a backpack up a route, there's no easy way to clip the jacket to your harness. Because the Optimizer breaths so well, has harness fitting pockets, and will completely keep the cold wind out, it's a rain jacket that is actually pretty nice to climb in, but if you don't have a small pack it would be hard to attach to your harness. However, it does pack small, and you can get a little creative. If you stuff the jacket into the left pocket, it fits easily, and there's actually a little loop and plastic clip (I'm not sure how strong these are, so trusting it on your harness may be risky), but the zipper is not reversible so you have to use some trickery to open and close the pocket. It is definitely not designed for this, but you could make it work if you had to.
Ultimately, the OR Optimizer is a versatile , comfy, breathable, fully waterproof, and lightweight jacket. It has become my primary skiing/snowboarding shell. Its great for rainy days around town, and will also be used this summer in the mountains, for sure.