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January 17, 2017 Comments (0) Featured, Gear Reviews

Synthetic Insulation Jacket Review

Outdoor Research Centrifuge Jacket


The Outdoor Research Centrifuge Hoody is the definition of versatility. The Centrifuge jacket performs in cold temperatures where you might encounter wind or rain. The jacket is constructed of mapped Polartec® Power Grid™ partnered with waterproof flexible fabrics in key areas of desire. We were very impressed with the design that gives you heat where you need it, breathes where you need it and also waterproofing in areas where you are most likely to get snow and precipitation. Brilliant. The performance fabric includes active insulation, water resistant, quick drying, movement-mirroring stretch and anti-odor properties. The jacket had the perfect blend of keeping the heat in, while at the same time breathing. This is perfect on longer runs where the weather can change quickly. It is nice to have something on your core that can keep you warm when needed but won’t make you overheat. There were several runs where we felt like it did just that.

The jacket has several features that take it a step above most other models in the same class. It boasts Dynamic Reach underarm panels, knit breather panel, balaclava-style hood, zip chest pocket, zip hand pockets and thumb loops. The jacket has every feature that you could possibly want and really performs. The balaclava hood came in handy when one of our testers was on an exposed ridge being battered by high winds. We also really liked the zip chest pocket that was easy to access and could store gels or other smaller items and get to them easily. The underarm panels were also nice and helped the jacket to breathe.

The jacket is very light and form-fitting. We’d say it runs on the smaller end from a sizing perspective, so keep that in mind. When running the jacket was warm enough that I stayed comfortable with only a t-shirt underneath, even on colder days. If we were standing for longer periods we would want more than that, but for running it will keep you warm most of the time. If the weather is extreme just throw on an extra layer as needed. We feel like this jacket can be used in cooler temps as well as extreme. It really does perform. We really liked the versatility of this jacket and felt like it lived up to its claim of being warm, weatherproof and breathable, which is not easy to find in a jacket. The interior layer is extremely soft. The thumb holes give it additional function points. The Centrifuge has not only two standard pockets on the hips, but a single vertical left chest zipper. The jacket zips up high into the neck, providing protection, but does not rub or chafe.

It can be worn during warm-up or cool down in the cooler fall or spring weather, or on the run in the wintertime. It is also versatile in that it can serve both as a top layer or a base layer under a ski jacket on the slopes. The jacket is fashionable with a great color and fit and is a great go-to with jeans when running around town. The OR centrifuge a staple for all seasons, and would recommend it to any active runner out there.

  • Outdoor Research Centrifuge
  • Outdoor Research Centrifuge
  • Outdoor Research Centrifuge

 BEST Running use – During the Run

TAUR Rating 4.75

The Stio Azura insulated jacket uses 60g Primaloft Gold insulation. For the price, this jacket has many features not found in other brands. The zipper features a sewn-in rugged liner so materials do not get caught as you zip; critical at 10,000ft in 0 degrees temps where stuck zippers border on dangerous. Also, the neck is lined with brushed fleece as are the exterior zippered hand pockets and zippered chest pocket. The extra comfort and feeling of warmth are excellent additions. Two bottom draw closures and an interior zippered chest pocket are included with the jacket. Both the outer fabric and especially the inner lining have more of a soft, almost satin feel. While backcountry skiing, which is typically hard on clothing, the fabric held up without fail. This is certainly a 3 season jacket and depending on your level of activity, and preferred warmth, the jacket may span temps from 0 to 65 degrees. The fit is approximately 2 sizes large. A small still having ample room on my 170lb frame. Given the overall function, fit and additional details, the Azura jacket will be my go to winter activity jacket. At $195, it’s an excellent buy.

The Stio Azura vest is a very lightweight product that can be used for multiple outdoor activities. Upon first glance it doesn’t look like there is very much to this vest, however, we quickly discovered that it is a very versatile product and after a few weeks of testing became one of our go-to pieces for cold weather comfort.

The interior of the jacket is made with Primaloft Gold synthetic insulation which gives it an incredible warmth to weight ratio. This vest is very light and comfortable, weighing only 9 ounces and we were shocked at how warm it kept me based on how small and thin it looks. The Primaloft is an excellent insulator. We found it to be quite breathable and even kept us warm when it got wet in a freezing rainstorm. It also seemed to keep us very warm when wearing it with a single long sleeve shirt in very cold temperatures while we weren’t moving around a lot and that also surprised us. Typically, we would have needed a much thicker coat or jacket to stay warm, but again and again, the Stio kept us warm and comfortable.

The vest also has some really great features that we were very impressed with. The inside pockets and collar have a soft microfleece that is not only very comfortable but also very warm. One of the interior pockets can also be a stuff sack, allowing you to fold this vest up to about the size of a softball, which fits nicely into just about any running vest. It also has a fully adjustable hem with low-pro cord locks allowing a customize fit. The four pockets all have a dedicated zipper with a custom silicone zipper. There is also an interior zipper pocket with media cord access.

What we liked most about the vest is how warm and light it is. It is also a very versatile piece that can be used as an underlayer or outer layer depending on conditions. We found that it was the perfect piece to throw over our core in windy or exposed weather while running. We really liked that we could throw it in our packs just in case because it was so light. We have found ourselves using this product almost daily. It is an excellent piece for anyone that spends a lot of time outdoors.

  • Stio Azure Jacket
  • Stio Azure Vest
  • Stio Azure Vest
BEST Running use – Fall or Spring Pre/Post-Run

TAUR Rating 4.5 (Jacket)/ 5 (Vest)

Adidas Flyloft


The Adidas Outdoor Flyloft Jacket is a comfortable lightweight, synthetic material, and folds nicely into itself for storage and packing. This 100% nylon synthetic filler adds warmth and is extremely light weight.  It also includes two zippable outside pockets and a security inside pocket to protect valuables.  At only 9.3 oz, it is a great synthetic option for those looking for a light insulation layer in their running packs. The Adidas Flyloft is a Spring/Fall weight insulated jacket that packs easily.

The jacket worked great during numerous fall adventures where temps got down to 30 or 40 degrees. Depending on your level of activity and preferred warmth the jacket may span temps of 20 to 70 degrees. The outer layer of material as resilient enough to handle being scraped against trees and rocks without damage. The Flyloft has an excellent heavyweight zipper and closure all the way to the neck was very comfortable, if not preferred. The fit was slightly 1/2 size large. Medium fitting larger upper body at 170lbs. The one downside to the jacket was a lack exterior or interior zippered chest pockets. The 3.5 stars mean it’s above average with fit and functions but the price and lack of zippered chest pockets bring it down from a 4 to 4.5 start jacket.

The Flyloft is perfect for packing without bulk and looks stylish.  It works perfectly for casual wear.  It is not particularly breathable which would make it hard during strenuous activity.  For a taller woman, the sleeves are a little shorter than we would like but overall, we love how well it layers with sweaters and sweatshirts and keeps your temperature equalized, not too hot nor too cold.

  • Adidas Flyloft
  • Packing size
  • Adidas Flyloft

BEST Running use – Those cold nights during a 100

TAUR Rating 3.5

LaSportiva Asteroid Primaloft Jacket


The Asteroid Jacket is a critical tool in a true winter runners arsenal. The jacket is built using body mapped Primaloft® SILVER ACTIVE insulation. At 29 oz, it is certainly not the light weight option for throwing in your pack. We loved the multiple stash pockets with beautiful fleece liners. The hood is plentiful, built for compatibility with helmets and lined with a soft fleece and snug neoprene visor. Additional features include the internal headphone access and the reflective safety details.

Living here in Utah, our team loved this jacket as an everyday warm jacket, pre and post run jacket and even a ski day option. We struggled to take this jacket off, because it was so comfortable. The sizing was a bit large, but was worth it. The Asteroid is perfect for those epically cold mornings, when you don’t want to be cold. It is certainly too large to use as a running jacket. However, if you are looking for a Down alternative this would be a great suggestion.

  • La Sportiva Asteroid
  • La Sportiva Asteroid


TAUR Rating 4.75


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