Spring Pow — Test OR Valhalla Hoody

This post by WildSnow.com blogger  

I handed Jason an Outdoor Research Valhalla Hoody loaner jacket yesterday morning. “Here, test this. Your ramshackle thrift shop jacket probably won’t keep you dry.” We did a couple laps, it was good, and Jason stayed dry. Despite our WildSnow pit zip taboo, he said he loved the huge ones on the Valhalla. They go from bottom hem to nearly your elbow. I guess if you’re going to have pit zips, might as well have ones that do something more than stimulate your imagination.

Testing Outdoor Research Valhalla Hoody shell jacket.

Testing Outdoor Research Valhalla Hoody shell jacket. Click to enlarge.

Valhalla is made with Gore Windstopper X-Fast, in our view plenty waterproof for mid-continental ski touring. In lengthy wet snow or rain you’d probably want something a bit more on the sealed side of things, but X-Fast breaths like crazy, has that soft shell hand, and kept Jason totally dry during about 5 hours of heavy work (including shoveling out the WildSnow Field HQ water tank shed.)

We like the Valhalla collar, works well as a stand-alone or with the hood. The cut is roomy. Hood is nominal and not removable, made to fit either under helmet or not be used with helmet. Chest pockets are located the way we like (Napoleon style) but are somewhat small. Another pair of side pockets are located lower on right and left. These may be located high enough to use while your backpack waist belt is buckled, and they provide venting.

Interior pod-pocket is of course included, with clear plastic window.

This is not your “minimalist” shell (large weighs 21 ounces), but more of the type of jacket you’d wear most of the time instead of stowing in your pack (which is practical due to the huge side/pit zips and vent pockets). Super versatile.

Fall of 2013 you’ll be able to shop for Valhalla Hoody jacket by OR.


5 Responses to “Spring Pow — Test OR Valhalla Hoody”

  1. SteveR April 10th, 2013 1:35 pm

    I didn’t like pitzips at one time, but I completely changed my mind this winter.

    In conditions where I once would have worn a soft shell, I’ve started wearing my hardshell with just a short sleeve base layer underneath.

    I have found that if I am wearing just a short sleeve baselayer under my shell, then the pit zips work amazingly well – so long as there is some breeze.

    If there’s no breeze? Well then I put the shell in my sack and just wear a thin fleece.

  2. Joe John April 10th, 2013 5:38 pm

    Just what I need!

  3. Jason April 11th, 2013 1:04 am

    Pit zips are great – I think they should be on EVERY technical jacket. They add virtually nothing to weight. I don’t see any downside to having them, and I’ve wished they were there on every jacket I’ve worn that didnt have them – instant breathability.

  4. Justin April 11th, 2013 7:43 am

    Is windstopper x-fast the same as regular windstopper, just stretchy? How does that stuff compare as far as breathability to neoshell or power shield pro?

  5. Eli April 13th, 2013 12:59 am

    I wore another OR softshell (Alibi) this winter whilst touring in early-season conditions in the Alps and the massive side zips made it the first properly comfortable jacket I’ve owned for ski touring. I wore it comfortably climbing up to +2-4° with a long sleeve base layer.

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