Review of Outdoor Research Ceres Tech Jacket
By Matt Smith
Windproof barrier fleece pieces have become increasingly more popular over the last several seasons. New technical fabrics offer increased breatheability without a substantial increase in weight, and while preserving a function level of wind resistance. One of the most functional pieces I tested over the winter was the Outdoor Research Ceres Tech Jacket.
The Ceres is rather form fitting when compared to other similar jackets. The trim form makes the Ceres very compatible with technical applications. The shorter front helps reduce interference with harnesses and ropes, while the longer back helps eliminate drafts from behind.
The shoulders of the Ceres are made with PowerShield (TM) which I found to shed water very well, to be very durable, and comfortable under shoulder straps. Breatheable, Power Stretch 100 (TM) panels strategically under the arms and near the wrists help reduce hot spots.
The two Napolean pockets are very convenient for warming gloves, hands, and especially for thawing frozen candy bars. The zip pulls are very grippy, and easy to use even while wearing medium weight gloves. The articulated shoulders allow relatively free motion, though the form-fitting torso did tend to ride up slightly when both hands were raised above the head.
I found the WindBloc ACT (TM) to be very wind resistant, perhaps even more so than the Gore Windstopper used by Mountain Hardwear. The Windbloc ACT did seem a little more susceptible to pilling, though eventually any fleece will pill to some degree, so I consider this to be somewhat minor.
A note of caution: many Outdoor Research pieces tend to run on the small size. I typically wear large for non-shell pieces, but I found the large Ceres jacket to be a little shorter than other pieces on both the torso and the sleeves. The neck size was also smaller than I expected. An extra large fit much better. If you tend to be borderline between sizes, or on the high end of a size, I would recommend getting the next size larger.
Summary: The Ceres Tech Jacket from Outdoor Research is a technical jacket, no doubt about it. It offers high wind resistance, low to moderate breatheability, and nice technical features. It weighs 20 oz., and costs about $170.
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Seattle, Washington 98134
Matt Smith is the canyoneering specialist at GearReview.com, and spends a too much time floating in stinky, stagnant pools.