Remember when New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick was known more for his clothing than his football prowess? Always in a bulky sweatshirt, he actually earned the nickname “The Hoodie.” It even got to the point that people could bet on what color hoodie he’d wear for the 2017 Super Bowl. The nickname was funny, but it underscored people’s perception of what a hoodie should be. Big, cumbersome and fashion-free is historically the name of the game, right? The Outdoor Research Deviator Hoody changes the rules.
I’ve always associated hoodies with kangaroo pockets, massive hoods and thick insulation. Outdoor Research obviously hasn’t. Their Deviator Hoody is about as close as you can get to a baselayer in terms of weight and size while still offering the higher insulation of a midlayer. It doesn’t have a kangaroo pocket, but it has a hood, long sleeves, and a knack for keeping you warm on days when you really need it.
When I first held the Outdoor Research Deviator Hoody, I thought there’d been a mistake. There was no way it could insulate well. The core was way too thin, and the arms and hood seemed like a thin waffle-like fleece. Then I remembered Outdoor Research doesn’t shy away from technical features. And this hoodie’s all about the technical.
Sure, the whole thing was thin. But the core is Polartec Alpha insulation, and the arms and hood are made of Polartec Power Grid. Polartec is known for its high warmth-to-weight ratio, and it delivers in this hoodie too. The thumbholes are tucked so subtly into the sleeves that unless you specifically look for them you won’t know they’re there. The hood hugs your face so perfectly that even when looking over your shoulder you’ll never find yourself staring at the inside of a hood. And the entire thing is incredibly breathable.
There were a few days this past Fall when I wore the Outdoor Research Deviator Hoody as an outer layer. But as insulating and wind-resistant as the Polartec Alpha core may be, the Power Grid in the arms and hood doesn’t feel as stout. When the temps dropped into the 40s, 30s and 20s, I found the hoodie much more appropriate as a midlayer. Couple it with a thicker outer layer and/or an insulating shell, and you should stay warm even on winter hikes.
With its movement-mirroring stretch fabric, the Outdoor Research Deviator Hoody feels like a second skin. Clambering over rocks, pushing up hills or hightailing it down a slope, I never felt like the Deviator Hoody impeded my mobility. And since it’s so breathable and wicks moisture, I never found myself wanting to take it off due to exertion.
Technicalities aside, the Deviator also looks really nice. I don’t often get comments from people on clothing, but two people said to me out loud “wow, I really like that top.” So do I. The Outdoor Research Deviator Hoody may very well be the perfect midlayer if clothing weight’s an option. So Coach Belichick, if you ever want to show some fashion sense along with that function, check out the Deviator. It performs infinitely better than that bulky hoodie you’ve been wearing, and although it costs more (MSRP of $185), you won’t be replacing it anytime soon.
The Outdoor Research Deviator Hoody was provided for review. All opinions and words are my own and honest, and the article above contains no affiliate links.
Outdoor Research Deviator Hoody
- Incredibly lightweight
- Zero bulk means you can stay mobile in high-output activities
- Hood hugs your face perfectly so you don't get 'lost' in it
- Can be worn as an outer layer when the temperature creeps higher
- Amazing sense of style
- Arms don't insulate as well, so extremities tend to stay a bit cooler than your core
- Very athletic fit. If you're on the higher end of a size, go up one