Review: Outdoor Vitals Vario Jacket
The Outdoor Vitals Vario jacket is an ultralight jacket tailored for active pursuits with bodymapped synthetic insulation and underarm perforations for ventilation.
- Shell: 20D Ripstop Nylon DWR treated
- Lining: 20D Ripstop Nylon
- Insulation: synthetic – 40 g/m2 3DeFX active stretch insulation, 50% recycled
- Warranty: Outdoor Vitals Performance Promise
- Weight: 8.5 oz. – women’s size small (men’s medium weighs 10 oz.)
About Outdoor Vitals
Outdoor Vitals is a small cottage-industry company based in Utah. Instead of selling their merchandise in traditional retail outlets, they use direct-to-consumer sales to make their gear more affordable.
Purchase from Outdoor Vitals: $209.97
What I like about the Vario jacket
The Vario jacket takes all of my favorite features of the Ventus hoodie and adds a full zipper, hand pockets, and more insulation. I especially like being able to wear it when walking and hiking in cooler temps without overheating as easily as I do in other insulated jackets due to the stretchy insulation and perforated vents in the underarms.
I also like the longer length of this jacket for keeping more of my body warm with less chance of cold drafts on my back when bending over or sitting. I’m fairly short at 5’1″ and the drop hem in the back completely covers my bum.
The fabric is super soft on the inside and outside, not slick like other jackets, and the outer fabric is treated with a water resistant DWR finish to repel moisture. The lightweight and trim build also means that this jacket will layer well with a rain jacket without being too bulky – an important feature in the Pacific Northwest.
The Vario will be my go-to layer when hiking in the shoulder seasons, and on cool nights during summer camping and backpacking trips. And the sleek look makes it great for wear in the city as well.
Bodymapped insulation: When you are more active, the 3DeFX active stretch insulation uncoils to expand and allow more airflow, and contracts when you are less active for more loft and warmth.
Fit: The cut is athletic and is meant to fit close to the body with a lightweight mid layer and base layer underneath. This helps the body mapped technology work to keep you warm and dry based on activity level. I’m 5’1″ and wear a women’s size small.
Ventilation: A key feature of this jacket is ventilation to prevent overheating and sweating. To keep heat from building up, the underarms have perforated holes without insulation to allow airflow. For additional venting when I start to feel warm, I unzip the front to allow cool air to enter.
Durability: The overall quality on the build is very good. I’ve seen no loose threads or other construction issues, and the fabric is high quality as are the zippers.
Washability: Unlike down insulated jackets, the Vario can be laundered in a washing machine using cold water and regular laundry detergent. As with all of my outdoor apparel, I hang it to dry instead of using the dryer.
Additional features: The sleeves have stretchy cuffs to keep them in place, and thumb loops keep the fabric from bunching when adding layers. The hood doesn’t have adjustability but fits well and moves with your head to maintain visibility.
The ultimate two-layer system: Combined with the Outdoor Vitals Ventus Hoodie, I find this two layer system is better than wearing a heavier single layer. The Vario was made to be worn over layers, while the Ventus fits closer to the body. Worn together, these two layers provide incredible warmth. I can easily make adjustments by unzipping the Vario jacket, or the quarter-zip on the Ventus hoodie.
My review policy
Outdoor Vitals sent me this product to test and review. Regardless, I’m under no obligation to give it a favorable review. As an independent gear reviewer, my policy is to review only items that I have used on multiple backpacking or camping trips and that I feel are quality products worthy of recommending. If I don’t like a product, I send it back and don’t review or recommend it.
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