Just as summer was winding down, we sent four lucky winners off with the all-new Refuge Air Hooded Jacket to test out the lightest, stretchiest puffy on their everyday adventures. Now that the country has experienced one or two cold smokes – the results are in and ready to be tallied. Here’s what the team had to say about the newest layer in their arsenal of outdoor gear.
Reviewer: Garrett Tovey
Where you can find Garrett outside: Gardiner, MT
Where you can find Garrett online: @pack.and.paddle
How did you put the Refuge Air through the ringer? I've taken the hoodie out in the field while on collection days conducting research throughout Yellowstone National Park. Fall temps here range from the mid-50s to below zero. I had the hoodie out in -10F and wore it under my hard shell. I was more than comfy. The Refuge Air hoodie has been my go-to mid-layer while tracking wildlife throughout the park. The slim cut is perfect for layering! It never felt bulky, yet still looks fine as a stand-alone layer. The weight and versatility are perfect for long-distance treks into the backcountry.
How did it hold up to your expectations? Exceeded them. I own several comparable layers (Arcteryx Atom LT and Patagonia Nano Air hoodie) and the OR Refuge Air is now my go-to. I was pleasantly surprised at how warm it is considering the light weight. As a wildlife biologist, I'm constantly carrying field gear deep into the backcountry. I have to consider every single ounce when packing gear and this hoodie will certainly make the trip.
What was your favorite thing about the Refuge Air? Compressibility. The Refuge Air hoodie balled up smaller than my usual down layer and made carrying bulky field gear a breeze. This jacket is perfectly at home in the backcountry, as well as the bars downtown.
Where’s next on the Refuge Air adventure list? A long winter season in the backcountry of Yellowstone. I'll spend several weeks deep in the interior, where I'll see -40F and colder. I'm looking forward to bringing the Refuge Air along for the challenge.
Reviewer: Kayla Williams
Where you can find Kayla outside: Whitehorse, Yukon
Where you can find Kayla online: @krakenwalrus
How did you put the Refuge Air through the ringer? Hola, my name is Kayla Williams, a First Nation territory girl from the beautiful town of Whitehorse, Yukon. During my recent adventures I’ve been lucky enough to try out the Refuge Air Hooded Jacket with some camping, hiking, paddle boarding, field work and biking. It is also dog proof, my dogs have stolen it multiple times to cuddle with, it kept myself and the pups warm while we were camping in a few different spots this fall.
How did it hold up to your expectations?
It gave me great stretch and water repellant while I was paddle boarding and biking in the Rocky Mountains. I even was able to layer with it on some of my hikes and field days for work. I am a Fisheries Biologist so I really put the jacket through a lot of field work in the water, and let me tell you, Canadian waters during November are a cold place to be. Luckily, I stayed warm and I was still able to have a lot of mobility while wearing the Refuge Air.
It is a super light jacket, I honestly thought I would rip it with how brutal I am with my equipment, but this dang thing held up! I got it wet and it either repelled rain or dried very quickly, I got ash on it and somehow it came off super easy, and how the heck is it so warm!
Where’s next on the Refuge Air adventure list? The next adventure is New Zealand!!! I am leaving in December to do some hiking and maybe even some rock climbing and since the Refuge Air rolls up super small, I can pack it around the country. I am also going to test the Refuge Air while I go snowboarding and snowshoeing this winter, I believe it’ll make a great mid layer while giving me tons of movement.
Reviewer: Josh Klockars
Where you can find Josh outside: North Conway, NH
Where you can find Josh online: @klocktower
How did you put the Refuge Air through the ringer? Since getting the Refuge, I've been wearing it almost every day. It has seen every state in New England, and been used while hiking in the alpine, on multi-pitch trad, while sport cragging, chopping wood and working in the yard, going to town, and just plain sitting around. Reluctantly, I even washed and dried it once.
What’s your favorite thing about the Refuge Air? The best thing about the Refuge Air is its versatility! It fits comfortably, looks good, moves with the body, all while keeping me warm when I want to be, and cool when I need to be. It has a lot of features, all contributing to superb function.
What’s next? The Refuge Air will be my go-to all winter and spring. Whether it be skinning and skiing, ice climbing, wandering the frozen alpine, or wandering a frozen cityscape, I know the Refuge Air can handle it. Hopefully, I can too.
Reviewer: Liz Watters
Where you can find Liz outside: Truckee, California
Where you can find Liz online: @lizadventures
How did you put the Refuge Air through the ringer? I work on a conservation crew in the Sierra Nevadas. Last week we worked on Heavenly Mountain in Lake Tahoe at about 9,000 feet elevation with temps in the low 20s in the mornings, building a new section of trail. I’ve been wearing my refuge air all day while working, sweating and getting pretty dirty. I’m moving large boulders, using sharp tools, and hiking long distances in jacket.
How did it hold up to your expectations? I’m really impressed with how well it’s holding up. It’s stood up to trail work so far, pretty dirty now but still doing the job!
What was your favorite thing about the Refuge Air? I love that it is somehow both breathable and wind resistant. Also, it keeps me warm without absorbing sweat - super important in trail work!
Where’s next on the Refuge Air adventure list? It will be a great outer layer for some late fall mountain biking. I’ll be taking it on a trip to Moab, Utah to check out some of their trails.