Outdoor Research Mentor Jacket Review

I recently picked up the Outdoor Research Mentor jacket (last years model) on clearance and I’ve been super pleased with it.  The new version, produced for 2013, that is made from the super cool new Gore-Tex Pro but the old Gore-Tex Pro seems to work well to me.  Outside of that difference the jacket is essentially the same.  It’s a fully featured jacket that comes in at a scant 18 ounces – which is super light for a hardcore fully featured shell jacket.  It includes a chest pocket, dual internal napoleon pockets, two huge hand warmer pockets, side vents that go all the way down to the hem of the jacket, an over-the-helmet hood, everything is fully waterproofed (zippers, taped seams, etc.) and lots of other little things you will appreciate.

Initially I was unsure if I would like side vents that span the entire length of the jacket but I’ve found that to be my favorite feature.  It allows the jacket to easily be worn with a harness when climbing or mountaineering.  The other thing that it allows for is to let the jacket function as a pack cover.  I can open the side vents all the way and put the jacket on over top of a pack almost like a poncho.  Not sure if this is was intended but its proven very useful to keep my pack dry.

The other thing I appreciate about this jacket is its durability.  Outdoor Research used super durable Gore-Tex on the shoulders and lower sides, where a pack will rub, and less durable but more breathable Gore-Tex on the rest of the jacket to increase breathability.  I appreciate durability when a jacket costs almost $500 – you don’t want to wear holes in it.

Channeling my inner Jolly Green Giant while resort skiing in my Outdoor Research Mentor jacket and Axcess pants. I appreciate that Outdoor Research coordinates color schemes between clothing lines.

Channeling my inner Jolly Green Giant while resort skiing in my Outdoor Research Mentor jacket and Axcess pants. I appreciate that Outdoor Research coordinates color schemes between clothing lines.

This jacket is billed as “trim fit” but I would say that it is more roomy than trim.  I normally wear a small or medium and found that the medium was what I needed – the small fit well from a length perspective but pinched under the arms.  The medium is a tad big but doesn’t pinch and allows enough room to wear my North Face Supernatural down jacket comfortably underneath if I really need to layer up.

Conclusion:

Awesome jacket.  If you are looking for a premium hard shell you will be pleased with the Outdoor Research Mentor jacket.

UPDATE: It appears Outdoor Research no longer lists this product on their website.

Outdoor Research Mentor Jacket