Canada + Gear Review: Outdoor Research Women’s Lodestar Ice Climbing Jacket
It might look a little on the girly, thin side at first glance, but don’t let appearances fool you. The Lodestar is one hell of a winter jacket — and the fact that the light gray with hot pink accents looks great is just an added bonus.
I spent New Years in Canada, during what I’m told was surprise cold spell — think -30 C temperatures. And while I was tempted to stay inside curled up as close to the fireplace as possible, my coach had other plans for me. So, I reached into my bag of tricks—by which I mean the goodies courtesy of the #ORInsightLab and used my Floodlight jacket and matching pants for cross country skiing and tobogganing, and relied on the Lodestar for those cold, cold runs.
It’s fur-lined with a quilted style to it, and at first glance and touch, it doesn’t feel super hefty. That’s why I chose it for the more vigorous activities: running to and from the pool, I needed something with pockets deep enough to stash my swimsuit and googles, but that would keep me cozy even with wet hair. And when I say it was cold out, I mean it: while at the pool, two older women saw me lacing up my shoes to head the 2 miles home and offered me rides so I wouldn’t have to run. I respectfully declined, but when Canadians think you’re nuts for being outside, well, you know you’re out of your element.
The Lodestar is perfect even as the temperatures warm up (from -30 to -20, for example…) With zips down the sides and the underarms, it allows you to open them for better venting if it does warm up, or if you’re doing something like hiking to a climbing spot and take it easy on the way but then need to go crazy on the climb itself. The fur-lining, which I thought was a little on the silly side, ended up being super comfortable as I warmed up and realized that I was sweating a bit. It didn’t make me sweatier, which was nice.
From an aesthetic standpoint, you can’t beat it. It stands out from the sea of North Face and Patagonia down jackets, and looks sporty enough that I didn’t look crazy running in it, but nice enough that heading to the downtown in Collingwood, I didn’t look out of place. I’m a sucker for multipurpose!
And for the pack rats out there, I have to say, I was super impressed with how easily this jacket folded into something small, so it barely took up any room in my ridiculously stuffed cold weather gear bag.
I’m heading to US Cyclocross Nationals in Boulder, Colorado, this week, so I’m sure all of my gear will be getting a workout again, so stay tuned!