Outdoor Research : equipment and clothing for the most ambitious sport enthusiasts


October 16, 2023


Facebook Email
OR Winter Running Gear

Outdoor Research, known as OR among outdoor enthusiasts, has become an essential part of adventurers’ wardrobes in just a few decades. As its name suggests, the brand’s DNA lies in the research and development of cutting-edge technologies and products to equip skiing, mountaineering and climbing enthusiasts, as well as hikers and travellers. When you wear Outdoor Research, you’re guaranteed to wear technical and durable clothing.

Discover why here.

In this article, you will learn more about Outdoor Research:

  1. The story of Outdoor Research
  2. What makes Outdoor Research products stand out
  3. The differences between Outdoor Research and Patagonia

The story of Outdoor Research

The Seattle-based outdoor clothing company was born out of a misadventure involving its founder, Ron Gregg, as he was climbing Mount Denali with his mountaineering partner in 1980. Due to poor-quality gaiters, his partner suffered severe frostbite and had to be evacuated urgently. Gregg, a scientist by trade, then vowed to develop safe, high-quality equipment for outdoor enthusiasts.

That was the beginning of Outdoor Research, which initially offered a wide range of mountaineering and climbing equipment. But there’s more to that story. A few years after launching OR, Ron Gregg went on a trip to Aconcagua wearing a pair of Spandura pants he’d sewn himself by reverse-engineering his favourite pair of Sears polyester jeans. The company has since expanded its range of products to include a collection of technical clothing built for cold-weather activities, from backcountry skiing to resort skiing.

Finally, in a bid to encourage more and more people to go outside and enjoy countless outdoor activities, the brand also makes sure to offer the majority of its most popular models in a selection of inclusive sizes.

Looking for warm accessories for winter? Here’s our selection of tuques, gloves and neck warmers for the cold season.

What sports activities are Outdoor Research products made for?

Alpine touring
Trail running

Check out our list of the best ski jacket brands in this blog article.

What makes Outdoor Research products stand out

OR Winter Jacket


As we mentioned, it all started with a pair of gaiters. But the brand has kept on innovating since the 1980s. Its award-winning signature products include the Seattle Rain Hat (formerly known as the Seattle Sombrero), which was the very first head protection with Gore-Tex, and Mt. Baker mittens, which revolutionized the glove offering by providing warmth and versatility thanks to a removable insulated lining and waterproof shell.

Since the early 2010s, Outdoor Research has received over twenty awards from Outside Magazine, another twenty from Backpacker Magazine, and many more Gear of the Year and Editor’s Choice awards from leading outdoor and sports publications.

On the hunt for a waterproof jacket? Here’s our complete guide to finding the jacket you need.

Field testing

The Outdoor Research R&D team makes a point of carrying out field tests on every product it designs to ensure optimal adaptation to real-life outdoor adventures. To achieve this, the brand partnered with the American Mountain Guides Association (AMGA) several decades ago so that guides could wear its equipment in real mountain conditions.

Outdoor Research also sponsors several elite athletes (climbers, skiers, mountaineers) who test the products long-term to give their opinions and feedback, both positive and negative.

Body diversity

As a leading brand committed to body diversity, Outdoor Research aims to provide warm, breathable – and not least, good-looking – technical clothing for all outdoor enthusiasts. From 2022 onwards, this has led to the creation of a plus-size collection and, more specifically, an entire range of ski clothing (jackets, insulated pants, base layers, gloves, etc.) in sizes up to 4X.

Many of the brand’s most popular hiking and climbing products are also available in plus sizes.

The differences between Outdoor Research and Patagonia

OR Trail Running

It’s never easy to compare two giants of the outdoor industry. These two brands are giants not only on the commercial front but also (and above all) in terms of innovation, technology and the success of their respective products.

Patagonia is primarily known for its technological achievements in insulation, as well as for the diversity of its collections, aimed at both the casual outdoor enthusiast and the avid adventurer. The brand also stands out for its environmental and social commitments, having been a trailblazer in this field since the 1970s.

Outdoor Research stands out for the technical quality of its products, whether in terms of the waterproofing or durability of its clothing, gloves, hats and so on. The brand is widely appreciated among mountaineers, skiers and climbers, to name but a few. It also offers an excellent quality-price ratio.

Looking for waterproof and breathable gear for your outdoor activities? Here’s a selection of products featuring Gore-Tex technology.


Is Outdoor Research a good brand?

Are Outdoor Research jackets warm?


Facebook Email

You might also like