ProView – Outdoor Research Vigor Plus Fleece Hoodie
As fall turns to winter there is no better time to think about layering options for outdoor pursuits. Lucky for us cold weather hobbyists, Outdoor Research has augmented their popular micro-grid Vigor fleece hoodie to make the warm yet surprisingly breathable Vigor Plus. Just as aspens turned gold, and the first flakes began to fall, we were able to test out this versatile layer on the slopes of Colorado’s infamous Capitol Peak.
Outdoor Research Vigor Plus Fleece Hoodie
Product Name: Outdoor Research Vigor Plus Fleece Hoodie
Product Description: This next generation grid-backed woven fleece was engineered for simplicity and function, and contains 93% recycled content. It provides an unbeatable combination of warmth, stretch and breathability, making it the perfect midlayer for backcountry touring and any other high-exertion cold weather activity.
Offer price: MSRP: $169.00
The Vigor Plus hoodie is soon to be your go-to winter mid layer. High-loft grid interior, a substantial hood, surprisingly breathable and super stretchy, this layer will be perfect for high output activities such as winter climbing and skiing yet is stylish enough to wear to your local brew pub on the weekend. Fit’s large, recommend sizing down if between sizes.
- Bulky for a midlayer
- Large Fit
Known as Colorado’s hardest standard route 14er, Capitol Peak provided the perfect opportunity to test OR’s Vigor Plus fleece in variable and cool conditions. Nestled in the Snowmass Wilderness, Capitol Peak is an 18 mile round trip jaunt that is sure to test the resolve of enterprising alpinists. Looking to bag this peak before snow would return to Colorado, we set out to the Aspen area in early October. We found beautiful conditions, albeit cooler temperatures, something the Vigor Plus was made for.
While strong hikers may decide to conquer Capitol as a day trip, we decided to take a slightly more leisurely approach and backpack to Capitol lake, stay the evening and bag the peak and hightail it back to the car on day two.
While the conditions were clear and sunny throughout the two day excursion, a 4am wake up at Capitol lake was brisk to say the least. Dawning the microgrid fleece and using it as an outer layer was perfect for keeping warm in close to freezing temperatures. Leaving Capitol lake in the dark, the trail ascends dramatically. Steep switchbacks to a saddle gets your blood pumping right off the bat. Luckily the Vigor Plus was surprisingly breathable and performed admirably at regulating body temperature. Sweating through a jacket in frigid temperatures is never a fun way to start a 4am hike so in this regard I’d consider the Vigor Plus a superior layer for high intensity activity.
Mobility & Fit
From the saddle, we began the tedious journey through an impressive talus field to the summit of K2, a false summit before a knife edge leading to Capitol Peak. Jumping and scrambling along all shapes and sizes of talus requires a lot of mental fortitude and a high degree of nimbleness. The Vigor Plus is plenty stretchy. Climbing moves and dynamic jumps along the route remained a second thought, and I never felt as if the layer was inhibiting in any way.
While the layer is extremely stretchy, I did feel as if the fit was larger than would be expected. I went with a size large, but wish I would have gone down a size to a medium. I’m a big fan of mid layers and in most other brands a size large is the way to go for me. As a mid layer, typically you’d expect a more trim fit in an athletic garment, but the Vigor Plus fit is certainly on the larger side of sizing.
Along the rest of the route, the jacket held up really well. Whether it was scrambling on class 4 terrain or cruising at a brisk pace back to the car, breathability and warmth remained at comfortable levels. Occasional snags on rocks or bushes didn’t tear the garment either. During warm parts of the hike, the Vigor Plus was easily stowed away in my pack, although more bulky than other mid-layers I’ve owned, the material did condense surprisingly well.
Environmental Impact & Final Thoughts
Icing on the cake for this layer is Outdoor Research uses 93% recycled polyester so you can feel good about the environmental impact of your clothing choice.
In between summits, I’ve used this versatile jacket from everything between belaying, fall fly fishing to sipping on craft brews on patios around town. It’s a stylish and extremely capable layer that can be used in almost any setting.
About the Gear Tester
Neill splits his time working at Outdoor Prolink as their Membership Manager and frequenting the mountains around the west as much as possible. Growing up skiing, climbing and exploring the mountains around Ouray, Colorado he is passionate about the outdoors and getting after it every day.