Outdoor Research Hemisphere Jacket: Elevating Performance in Extreme Conditions

Outdoor Research Hemisphere Jacket: Elevating Performance in Extreme Conditions

Firstly, I would like to state that I realize this jacket is very expensive. At $649 MSRP, this requires the conversion of a lot of loot. For those out there on a budget, it should be said there are other options out there that can certainly work well and don’t need to be at this price point.

What makes the Hemisphere unique? It utilizes Goretex Pro C-Knit Technology 3L and also has Gore Tex Stretch built into the center back area. What this means is it's nearly waterproof, durable, and, due to the stretch, even more comfortable.

One of the biggest disadvantages I have found with rain layers in the past is that it seemed like when putting on this type of shell layer, you generally were less comfortable in many ways except you were less wet. Mobility was reduced, the material was scratchy, and you felt like you were in a plastic bag.

Well, I’ll be the first to tell you, nearly gone are those days. This jacket breathes and moves. It also sheds rain, snow, and sleet. I find myself almost always wearing this jacket now, even on sunny days, because it cuts the wind well on the lift and keeps me at a comfortable temperature. I find myself getting overheated only if it is my fault. This jacket is far more forgiving with that than in the past due to its ability to breathe so much better than what I was used to in the past. There is a big stretch layer in the center of the back. What this does is allow the jacket to flex a decent amount, eliminating the annoying snag when extending your arm which would happen. The stretch also does a decent job of letting the insulation you are wearing under it keep its loft, thus keeping you warmer.

This season seems to have been plagued by varied temperatures and weather conditions. With the ski season being short and being so busy, there are only certain days I am able to get out there, and this jacket allows me to do just that. It means I'm going to get out there rain or shine. This jacket has me covered if it’s sleeting on the bottom and snowing or windy up top sitting on the lift.

One thing I will add without a doubt is that having a 3-layer Goretex jacket is really needed for a reliable shell. In my experience, any weight savings are negligible because it really can't be trusted if it really rains out.

One incredible benefit to this jacket is the warrantee. All of Outdoor Research has what they call the Infinite Guarentee. What that means to me is that if the product fails they will replace it. Yes, you heard that right. I will say too that they are generous with the warrantee far more than any other company out there. Which is super honorable given that many companies out there I feel like don’t exactly stand by the durability or quality of the manufacturing of their products. It’s pretty refreshing and one of the many reasons why OR is one of my Go to companies for outdoor equipment. 

Is the Hemisphere expensive? Yes. Is it worth it? Yes. A good shell can make or break a ski day in poor conditions. It is said many times and many ways in the Army: There is no such thing as bad weather, only bad equipment. This one is your best chance at staying dry and warm, focused on the fun and not the suck.

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