The Orvis Pro is a lightweight, synthetic jacket built from lightweight nylon and Primaloft Gold. Designed to shed rain, wind, and provide comfortable protection in rough conditions while out hiking, fishing and of course backpacking, I’ve put it to the test. My review:
The Orvis Pro is a fully synthetic hooded jacket created from PrimaLoft Gold (a high warmth, very packable insulation) for the hood, body and arms, with Polartec Alpha (a very breathable regulating insulation) used for the sides and under arms of the jacket. The shell is lightweight ripstop nylon coated with a light DWR for weather resistance. It has two fleece lined zippered hand pockets, one zippered chest pocket, and an internal pocket that doubles as a stuff sack. It also has reinforced, abrasion resistant cuffs and an insulated hood. It retails for $250.
What I liked
When it comes to warmth, the Orvis Pro performs quite well within it’s target environment. It is a mid-weight grade jacket and generally speaking, when paired with a simple synthetic shirt underneath, the jacket is warm down to about 40 degrees F, or 45 if it’s windy when not active. It does a decent job of blocking wind, but gusts can be felt pushing through the outer shell and insulation at the lower temperature range, which will reduce the usefulness in very cold weather. A nice base or under layer such as a fleece underneath can definitely push the temperature rating down to 30 degrees F. While active, the jacket can be worn into the 30’s quite easily, such as when hiking or working outside. In very windy conditions it will start to struggle to trap warmth, but a hard shell like a rain jacket over top solves that problem.
The real performance win for the Orvis Pro comes down to ventilation and breathability. The use of Polartec Alpha throughout the sides provides an excellent evacuation route for hot air and moisture build up, making it a great option for those who are relatively active outside or run hot. Excess heat build up depletes rather quickly thanks to these panels, and the breathable nature of the jacket overall. It also does an excellent job of staying warm even when damp or wet, so if one does get hot and sweaty, it will still perform very well.
The jacket does a good job of shedding light rain and precipitation thanks to the DWR coating and generally water resistant fabrics. The insulation doesn’t fail when wet and also retains all of it’s loft, which is a serious plus when working around water or when surprise weather rolls in. Dry time is also quite good, with the outer layer in particular drying very fast. The DWR can be re-applied, and the jacket is machine washable too which will extend its usable lifetime.
Comfort wise, the jacket is great. It’s soft, the fabrics have a nice fluffy but smooth feel to them, and all the seams are smooth and unobtrusive. The fit is reasonably relaxed in cut, which provides plenty of room for layering underneath while making it extremely cozy for sitting around camp or a fishing hole. A lightweight fleece layer shouldn’t have any trouble fitting comfortably underneath, while wool and synthetic base layers are definitely possible with room to spare. Mobility is completely unimpeded, at least with my somewhat stalky build. Paired with the relatively smooth and friction free interior, making moving about and staying active becomes much easier.
Style wise, I like the jacket. It’s modern, sleek, and looks rather clean overall. Not much really stands out about the jacket aside from the orange interior, making it an unassuming yet clearly quality product. This I appreciate.
Durability seems quite good. The reinforced cuffs are a nice feature that I really appreciate when working outside, while the ripstop fabrics and consistently clean stitching should allow the jacket to last many seasons. The use of high quality insulation means repeated packing, compressing and even washing shouldn’t be an issue either. The zippers are especially high quality, with some of the easiest and most reliable slides I’ve ever used. I’m yet to get a snag or hang up.
Smaller features like an extremely easy to use zipper, an extended tail to block wind, and the integrated stuff sack help round out the package.
What I didn’t like
The hand pockets are advertised as “fleece lined” but more accurately the outer layer of the hand pocket is simply laminated with a thin fabric and feels more like a microfiber layer. It has no real loft and lacks the insulative properties of the rest of the jacket as it has no insulation layered over top of it either. Basically, it’s just the nylon and “fleece” layer between the outside air and your hands. This results in relatively chilly hand pockets, which is a cold spot for the jacket as a whole. This can be mitigated with the use of gloves.
My only other real quibble is that the fabric doesn’t block wind quite as well as I had hoped, but this does translate into excellent breathability, so it’s more of a tradeoff than a negative.
The Orvis Pro is a solid mid-weight jacket for moderate conditions. The use of high quality, extremely packable synthetics allows the jacket to pack up tiny, while still providing good warmth at a very low weight. It does a good job of shedding light weather events such as a quick drizzle or snow flurries, but can struggle a bit in windy conditions. Overall, it’s extremely comfortable, has excellent breathability, looks quite nice, and fits right at home in a layering system, which can elevate the jacket into the core of a highly effective foul weather setup (just add a hard shell and a solid base layer/fleece). The hand pockets could use an upgrade, with better fleece or a thin layer of outer insulation, but as is, it’s a great option for moderate weather.
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I wanted to extend a huge thank you to Orvis for sending this over for review. We couldn’t do this without their help.
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