Review: Outdoor Research Shadow Insulated Hoodie

In the ever-growing world of outerwear it’s hard for products to actually stand out.

By: Ben Dawson + Save to a List

The aspens are all but fading and dropping their leaves at high altitudes in Colorado. This annual and timeless shift from fall to winter means it’s time to dust off your warm clothes only so you can wear them for an hour or so before the sun rises and temperatures rise enough to put your shorts back on. Of course every year is different and while some areas of the country have already seen record snowfall it’s been mostly seasonably warm in Colorado’s front range. This time of year can be a confusing one in the mountains. The days are warm but just as the sun dips out of view and gives way to the evening’s alpenglow it feels a lot more like winter. It’s the perfect time of year to try out the Shadow Insulated Hoodie from Outdoor Research. I’ve been gear testing this hoodie for the better part of fall and now winter and I’m happy to have it along for the ride. From cool morning walks in the foothills with my three month old son and my favorite adventure pup to high output scrambling missions in the alpine the Shadow Insulated Hoodie has been a treat to wear.

Get your Outdoor Research Shadow Insulated Hoodie here.

I’m a hot body. I run hot pretty much all of the time. It’s nice because it makes packing easier. However, I actually find it sometimes makes layering more difficult. Even mid layers like the Shadow usually only find a spot in my quiver later on in winter. That being said I think OR has struck a nice balance in this layer. It keeps me warm when I’m sitting around camp but I don’t overheat if I start to push it a little bit. In this regard, everyone is different, but this jacket has worked well for me and I think it will work well for anyone who is after an attractive, comfortable, versatile, mid layer that is made well without being overly technical. Bonus points here for being eco-friendly.


10 out of 10 would wear this jacket again and again. It’s really comfortable. The fleece lined pockets are a welcome addition for someone who runs hot but for some reason always has cold hands. The fit is nice, it fits more like an outer layer. I could pull a shell over this but it would be a little bulky. I’m 6’2 with an average build and I usually wear a size large across the board. I like the fit of the large but if i was purchasing it with the intention of layering over top of it I might consider a size down.


This jacket looks great. It would be at home in town or in the backcountry. I’m a sucker for earth tones and the Loden colorway suits me just right. The cut of the jacket is also really nice. It’s clearly designed for an athlete. It offers great mobility while staying in place and not riding up as you move.


The Shadow features an adjustable and insulated hood that stays off your face as well as an elastic drawcord hem and elastic cuffs with thumb loops. All of these features work well and help keep the jacket in place.


At 16.7 ounces, or 437, grams this jacket is a nice weight. It actually feels lighter when you are wearing it. That really lends to the comfort of the jacket. It’s fairly packable too. While the Shadow doesn’t include a stuff sack and doesn’t pack into its pocket, it’s easy enough to get into a small pack.


In terms of functionality so far the Shadow has lived up to the hype. It keeps me warm when I need it to and it hasn’t turned me into a sweaty mess on the mountain. It offers good breathability while maintaining its wind resistance. I’m not sure this would be my choice as a wind layer for cold and windy alpine starts but those usually call for specialty layers. The Shadow is water resistant. I’ve had it out in a light Colorado drizzle and it kept me dry. Because of the synthetic material, it will still insulate when damp. This is great news for chopping wood in the snow or traveling in the van in the winter.


So far the durability seems on par with what you would expect from OR. It’s held up nicely to sharp granite and piercing willows. Perhaps just as important, the zipper has functioned flawlessly.

Friendliness to the Earth

The Shadow gets bonus points for being eco friendly while maintaining its functionality. This is thanks to Outdoor Research’s new VerticalX™ ECO SR insulation. It’s comprised of recycled polyester and bio based sorona. It’s an eco friendly insulation that actually works the way you’d like it to.

This review was originally posted on

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