Update - May 2017
For Spring 2017, the Women's Outdoor Research Cathode Hooded Jacket review receives an update which notates the latest changes to the side panels and hood of this award winner. Check out the individual review to learn more about these modifications!
Best Overall Insulated Jacket for Women
Rab Xenon X Hoodie - Women's
The competition for the Editors' Choice Award in this review was intense. With new contenders and a new breathability metric, there was a chance that the Rab Xenon X Hoodie - Women's
could have lost its spot as our Editors' Choice. However, this technical jacket just continues to be awesome - it's warm, lightweight, and offers excellent weather resistance. We were especially blown away by how little water it retained in inclement weather and how fast it dried. Plus, it has a few cozy features that just make life a little better when you wear it. The Xenon X Hoodie weighs in at just over 11 ounces and compresses down to the size of a 6 inch sub. We loved this piece for technical adventures, hanging out around the campfire, and running errands around town. In the end, it was the most versatile piece for a great ticket price of just $225 and takes home our Editors' Choice Award for the third year in a row!
Best Bang for the Buck
Outdoor Research Cathode Hooded Jacket - Women's
When considering our Best Buy Award winner, we quickly realized that we'd fallen head over heels for the Outdoor Research Cathode Hooded Jacket - Women's
. We loved its breathable side panels, warm 60 g/m2 PrimaLoft Gold insulation, and its mobile fabric. Most of all, we loved its low price of $199. This is an incredibly versatile piece that is so lightweight that it doesn't even feel like it's on. Even though it's not one of the warmest jackets tested, it does offer more breathability than our Editors' Choice winner and is a good choice for aerobic activities in cool to cold weather. We also loved all of its extra pockets, its integrated stow system, and its stand-out water resistance. In addition to these technical features, most of our testers liked its flattering cut, style, and colors. In Spring 2017, Outdoor Research updated the Women's Cathode. These augmentations include new, wind resistant fabric in the side panels and the removal of the softshell material near the brim of the hood (which makes the hood fully insulated). The new Cathode is also about 0.3 ounces lighter than the older one and, aside from black, the colors have changed as well. Take a peek at the full review to learn more details about these changes.
Top Pick for Warmth
Arc'teryx Atom AR Hoody - Women's
The Arc'teryx Atom AR Hoody - Women's
stands out as a great, warm layer for those frigid belays in the mountains. With 120 g/m2 (60 g/m2 more than most others) of Coreloft insulation in the body and underneath the arms, Arc'teryx designed this model to keep your core toasty. It possesses warmth features like gusseted wrists and a pull string hem to keep wind and water out. The hood has a one-pull adjustment point on the back that will cinch its edges around your face. This also allows a helmet to fit either over or under the hood. Not only that, but it is harness- and hip belt-compatible, with a higher internal chest pocket. We also loved its high and roomy collar that allows you to nestle way down into your coat when the weather turns. To top it off, this product is fairly water resistant and dries quickly.
Top Pick for Breathability
Patagonia Nano Air Hoody - Women's
The Patagonia Nano Air Hoody - Women's
stole our hearts. We found ourselves reaching for this insulated jacket every time we went out the door to go for a cold morning run or a midday hike. It's ideal anytime you need a layer that can move, breathe, and still keep you relatively warm. This is why we gave the Nano Air our Top Pick for Breathability. The features that stand out the most are its soft, supple outer and inner fabrics that slide nicely on the skin and against other materials. Its mobility is outstanding and allowed us to move into contorted positions with ease while on the climbing wall. Furthermore, it was the most breathable piece that we tested. If it's cool outside, once you put this piece on, you really can leave it on all day. Ideal for any winter aerobic sport, this technical item is not only functional, but it's also fashionable. And if you're looking to ditch the hood, check out the Nano Air Jacket - Women's
Best for Specific Applications
Best for layering under tight shells: Patagonia Nano Puff
Best for warmth and breathability: OR Uberlayer Hoody
Best for backcountry skiing: Patagonia Nano Air Hoody
Best technical piece with attractive styling: Arc'teryx Atom LT Hoody