The Outdoor Research Acetylene Jacket is a hybrid midlayer jacket suitable for use as an external jacket for highly aerobic activity in very cold weather. The front and shoulders of the jacket are filled with Primaloft Eco insulation for warmth while the back and arms are a grid-backed radiant fleece for enhanced breathability and moisture transport. This combination is great when wearing a backpack because it virtually eliminates any sweat buildup between your back and your pack, while providing more warmth and wind resistance for the front of your body and shoulders than a regular fleece jacket or pullover.
I’ve taken the Acetylene Jacket down to zero degrees with just a thin baselayer and stayed warm while winter hiking and snowshoeing, but not so warm that I break a sweat. When the sun goes down, I simply layer it under a hard shell jacket just like I would a normal fleece if I’m moving, but it’s also thin enough that I can wear it under a puffy if we’ve halted for a snack or rest break. I’ve also worn the Acetylene Jack in warmer weather up to 30 degrees, but I need to keep the front zipper open to vent it when hiking.
The Acetylene Jacket has three pockets: two large zippered handwarmer pockets on the sides and a large zippered chest pocket. The sleeves have thumb loops to provide extra insulation for your wrists, eliminating heat loss from the gap between the sleeve and your gloves. The collar of the Acetylene Jacket has Primaloft on the outside for warmth and grid fleece inside for comfort, snugly sealing the neck nicely to prevent heat loss. There are also hem toggles on the bottom of the jacket to prevent drafts from blowing up the jacket’s sides.
I’ve honestly always been a bit skeptical about hybrid midlayer garments like the Acetylene Jacket which map different fabrics to different parts of the body because they’re not general purpose for 4 season use like a fleece pullover. But the Acetylene jacket has gotten me to reconsider that point of view since having a midlayer garment with differential insulation and wind resistance zones for cold weather lets me shed my hard shell when hiking and helps eliminate sweat accumulation in my midlayer. That was a real eye opener for me.
While washing the Acetylene Jacket requires more care than throwing a fleece pullover in with the rest of your dirty clothes, the fact that it uses a small amount of synthetic insulation instead of goose down makes it a more practical garment for frequent use. I’ve washed mine in a regular top loading washer with a small amount of Revivex Pro Cleaner, a gentle concentrated soap for cleaning technical garments that I also use for washing the softshell pants I wear for winter hiking. After washing, I just pop them into the drier and set it to tumble dry on low.
In addition to its excellent technical attributes, the Outdooor Research Acetylene Jacket is a very stylish piece to wear around town and I find myself reaching for it frequently when I leave the house. Coupled with its excellent technical performance, I’d say that the Outdoor Research Acetylene Jacket is a home run.
- Trim Fit
- 100% polyester 20D ripstop face
- Radiant LT Fleece, 95% polyester, 5% spandex back and sleeves
- 60g of PrimaLoft Silver Insulation Eco
- Weight of XL (reviewed) 15.1 oz.
Disclosure: Outdoor Research provided Philip Werner (SectionHiker.com) with an Acetylene Jacket for this review.
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