As part and parcel of the #ORInsightLab, I've been testing the gear they provided me. While the Men's Valhalla Jacket was an excellent lightweight shell, the favorite piece of gear I've tested from Outdoor Research has been the Men's Lodestar Jacket. It's been my favorite piece of gear to test for one simple reason: it's kept me warm. In fact, not only has it kept me warm, it's kept me scorching-sun toasty warm. As a mountaineer, staying warm is serious business - in fact, on many occasions, staying warm can be the difference between life and death.
And, as a mountaineer, staying warm is not always easy, as high altitude, wind, rain, snow, sleet, and pretty much every other element conspire to steal your body heat. But, with the Lodestar Jacket, staying warm is easy - almost too easy. I took the Lodestar out on a variety of trips, and on each occasion, it excelled. When I was in the Meysan Lakes Basin in November of 2013 at 9,000 feet, the jacket kept me warm under bluebird skies and slightly breezy conditions. In the Panamint Range of Death Valley, the jacket kept me warm through rain, sleet, and snow, and was a great early morning layer when the temperatures were below 20 degrees. I also logged a number of hours with the jacket in a variety of elevations on a couple of other occasions, and it performed well then as well. As a matter of fact, I can't think of one criticism I have of the jacket - which is high praise from me, as I put my gear through the wringer. Lightweight, warm, and with a good fit - what's not to like. Outdoor Research, I have to hand it to you - this jacket is a must-have for mountaineering.