Built-in Layering in the Outdoor Research Havoc and Chaos Jackets

It’s a good idea to dress in layers when preparing for backcountry skiing adventures. And as legendary ski mountaineer and Outdoor Research product tester Mike Hattrup says, “Your layers should provide progressively more protection from wind and precipitation.” Simple, right? Your mid-layers should provide warmth and insulation and your shell should protect from the elements. But what if you want to move as fast and light as possible without the hassle and bulk of layers, say when you are on an alpine climb where time is of the essence, or skinning in a snow squall? What if we created a mid-layer that worked like a shell?

“We started looking at prototypes of shells like these for alpine belaying and other very niche technical pursuits,” says International Federation of Mountain Guides Associations (IFMGA) ski mountaineering guide Martin Volken. “Then we started to realize, hey, these make great ski jackets.”The concept behind our Havoc Jacket™ and Chaos Jacket™ was to strike the right balance between mid-layer warmth and shell protection. These shells appeal to minimalists—you don’t need to worry about shedding, although they both function as excellent mid-layers if you want to layer an even more protective shell over them. In essence, they are insulators that can handle the elements.

The Chaos Jacket™, which Volken helped develop, has become a staple in the Outdoor Research line. It combines W.L. Gore’s highly weather resistant, breathable WINDSTOPPER®  fabric with toasty, environmentally friendly PrimaLoft® ECO insulation, which is thicker in the body of the jacket where you most need to retain warmth. The new Havoc Jacket™ is even more minimalist and ideal for true alpine ascents. It also features a WINDSTOPPER® shell but goes lighter on insulation, with 60-gram PrimaLoft® ECO throughout. Both excel when you are getting physical in cold, damp, windy spots—just the places we like to go.

“If it’s precipitating, especially if it’s cold, I need a shell that is going to allow me to keep working,” says Hattrup. “That’s what allows me to concentrate on the task at hand.”