What is #ORInsightLab?

I’m excited to announce I’ve been chosen to be part of this winter’s OR Insight Lab!

What is #ORInsightLab? Well, we’re bloggers and social media folks, testing gear for Outdoor Research (OR) and sharing our results with the hashtag #ORInsightLab. The goal of this project is to have real people, testing real products, and sharing the results with both OR, our friends, and social media followers. And, of course, all this hash tagging is generating a buzz around OR products. This will be my first experience with Outdoor Research (besides a pair of gaiters), but I think it’s pretty great that a big company is taking the time to work with people like me and not just the big name athletes.

Enchainment
Fall climbing in the flatirons with the OR Enchainment Jacket

The three products that I’m currently testing are the Floodlight JacketSoleil Hoody and Enchainment Jacket.

For a little over two weeks, I’ve had a few great opportunities to test the Enchainment Jacket. That’s not enough time to become an expert and know every little detail of how this soft shell jacket works, but it’s enough time for some solid early testing feedback.

I think it’s important to understand the differences between a hard shell and a soft shell. Basically, soft shell jackets are designed to be breathable, water resistant, and block wind. Hard shell jackets are waterproof, which means they’re not as breathable. I almost always bring a hard shell with me during mountaineering, but on dry cold days (which we have a lot of in Colorado) I choose a soft shell for high aerobic activities.

The past few weeks in Colorado have been dry, cold and windy. Perfect soft shell testing weather. Here’s what I’ve found so far:

  • The length and fit are great for my body type (height: 5’7″).
  • The stretchy material allows for a lot of flexibility, perfect for climbing.
  • The Enchainment does a great job of blocking wind (Catch my short video on top of the  first flatiron)
  • The jacket fits snug around a helmet and I like the wire brimmed hood.

I’m interested to see how breathable it will be when doing high aerobic activity, such as skinning uphill or ice climbing. Instead of pit zips, OR uses a Nano Sphere technology under the arms. I’m a pretty big fan of pit zips and so it will be exciting to see how the Nano Sphere technology works. It hasn’t been snowy, but this soft shell seems to really rappel water really well (including that cup of coffee that I spilled on myself). I look forward to testing the shell out in snowy/wet conditions.

Bradley and I doing some gear testin'
Bradley and I doing some gear testin’

If you’re interested in learning more about #ORInsightLab, make sure to follow along. I know a handful of the great folks involved in the testing, and I suspect as the winter goes on we’ll see some fun product photos and honest reviews.

I’ll be sharing images, videos on Twitter and Instagram and I’ll continue to update my blog with reviews, stay tuned!

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