The Outdoor Research Valhalla Jacket is the first softshell I have ever owned. Within one month of testing, it has easily become one of my favorite jackets.
The Valhalla softshell is created from GORE WINDSTOPPER with a roomy and stretchy fit that allows you to layer underneath. My favorite combo is with a Sierra Designs Tov Hoodie and the Triple Aught Design Artemis Hoodie for ultimate warmth and protection from the wind. It’s a formidable opponent against most weather. The softshell fabric allows for a quiet, dynamic range of motion.
This jacket comes with two full-length pit-zips, in case the WINDSTOPPER fabric isn’t breathable enough. The jacket also has a plethora of pockets: two outer hand zips accessible above hip belt or harness, two chest zips, inner mesh pocket and an inner phone pocket with a headphone slot.
The GORE WINDSTOPPER sheds light snow and rain. This does not do well in torrential downpours. After about 30 minutes of constant rain, you will be soaked.
As awesome as this jacket is, there are a couple cons:
- The zipper pulls on the pit zips have both fallen off. Once, I managed to find one on the ground and re-attach it, but it detached itself again. Granted, this is only the little OR logo on it, but it still decreases the surface area to pull. When you have bulky gloves on, it makes it difficult to ventilate properly.
- The zipper abrasion on the fabric area in the pit zip area is not pretty. When the zips are open, the teeth rub against the fabric causing it to rapidly pill and wear. Luckily, it’s under the arm, so it’s not as noticeable, but regardless, I’m pretty anal and I like to keep my gear looking as pristine as possible.
At 19.3 oz, it’s not a big chunk of weight to be lugging around while hopping around windy peaks. And it’s great protection for windy and cold commutes as well.
The Outdoor Research Valhalla Jacket has been discontinued. However, Outdoor Research has introduced a few other softshell jackets to the line: the Offchute Jacket ($285) and the Mithril Jacket ($260).
For a review of the men’s Valhalla Jacket, visit the Last Adventurer.