Outdoor Research Cathode Hooded Jacket Review

Lately I’ve been trying to find a better light insulation layer to keep me warm during high energy output activities and that will continue to insulate while wet.  I looked at several different options and ended up choosing the Outdoor Research Cathode Hooded Jacket – after using the jacket a few times I know I made the right choice.  It is a very lightweight layer that uses PrimaLoft One to insulate and Pertex Quantum to protect you from the weather.  The Cathode also uses Schoeller panels under the arms and down the sides to help the jacket breathe, stretch and dump excess heat.

UPDATE: Recently Outdoor Research renamed the Halogen Hoody to the Cathode Hooded Jacket.  Why they made the name change I don’t know but understand that this review is for both the Halogen Hoody and the Cathode Hooded Jacket.

The reason I went with the Cathode from Outdoor Research was due to the use of PrimaLoft One insulation and Pertex Quantum for the outer shell.  I have had experience with both of these materials in other clothing items and I am extremely pleased with their performance.  Pertex Quantum is my favorite windproof/water resistant outer fabric on the market right now.  Outdoor Research also chose to include a hood adjust cord (the kind that is located at the back of the hood allowing you to keep the hood from flopping in your face).  Nothing bothers me more than a hood that doesn’t fit right so this feature is a requirement of mine in a hooded jacket. I’m also a big fan of the Schoeller side panels.  I had not heard of that material before looking into this jacket but it stretches and vents well and seems to be a tighter knit and more water resistant than the material used in other similar applications (such as the Atom LT by Arc’teryx)

Other things about this jacket that I liked were the cut (a little longer in the back and a nice arm length so that no skin is exposed when I bend over to adjust my boots or reach my arms out) and the amount of insulation used.  It is a lightweight jacket and it doesn’t try to be too warm.  I run on the warm side and other light insulation layers, like the Atom LT) offer too much warmth and I can’t keep them on when I really start working hard.


Overall this is one of my favorite new jackets.  It hits the sweet spot in the warmth spectrum for a lightweight, active, insulation layer making the Cathode Hooded Jacket a super versatile jacket that will go with you from trips to the grocery store to the tops of mountains.

Outdoor Research Cathode Hooded Jacket

2 thoughts on “Outdoor Research Cathode Hooded Jacket Review

  1. neal

    This sounds like more of an ad than an impartial review.
    I own the Halogen and the cut is very boxy, much more so that for example the Atom LT Hoody. Its so baggy (from ribs down to waist) that unless you have quite a beefy waist and beer gut you will never stretch the schoeller side panels. In fact this bagginess reduces the effective insulation value of the jacket, as well as the venting capabilities, wind scoots in from the hem, making it rather useless for a mountaineer. A jacket made with top notch materials and a sub-standard cut is what this is. I think the Atom LT is very over-priced but it is a far superior fit.

    1. Benjamin Bressler Benjamin Bressler

      Thanks for the comment Neal! This is a great example of why you should always try clothing on before buying it (or purchase from somewhere with a great return policy like Backcountry.com or REI). I, personally, prefer the fit of the Halogen compared to that of the Atom LT. I am 5’7″, weigh 155 lbs. and have rather wide shoulders (no beer gut here). Most Arc’teryx jackets, including the Atom LT, are cut too narrow through the shoulders for me. To get the Atom LT to fit I need to go up a size which makes the sleeves too long and the rest of the jacket feel “billowy”. I also prefer the Halogen because it is cut more parka like (slightly longer overall) than the Atom LT. Like I mentioned in my review, this allows me to bend over and adjust my boots without exposing my lower back to the cold. If you are having trouble with wind scooting in through the bottom you can always try tightening the elastic cinch that runs around the entirety of the hem.