Orage Gallery Jacket

Morgan Sweeney reviews the Orage Gallery jacket for Blister Gear Review.

Orage Gallery Jacket

Orage Gallery Jacket

Size Tested: Medium

Fit: Performance Long Fit

Material: Prime 20 (2-layer), wool-like ripstop (polyester)

Features:

  • Fully taped seams
  • Removable hood
  • Removable powder skirt
  • Underarm zips
  • Pockets: 2 hand, 1 zippered waist, 1 zippered sleeve, 1 goggle

MSRP: $499.95 (on sale on backcountry.com: $248)

Reviewer: 5’10”, 130 lbs.

Days Tested: 15

Locations Tested: Winter Park, Copper Mountain, Eldora, CO

Intro

The Orage Gallery Jacket is fully insulated and waterproof. Constructed with a waterproof material on its exterior and filled with Primaloft insulation, the Gallery is built to keep you warm, dry, and looking sharp.

Fit/Design

The size Medium Gallery fits larger than most women’s Medium jackets I’ve worn, like the North Face Free Thinker Jacket or the FA Heyburn 2.0 Jacket. It hangs nicely over my shoulders, falling down my torso and past my hip bones. I have a longer than average torso, so more often than not, jackets tend to fall a little short. For instance, with the First Ascent Heyburn 2.0 Jacket, I was unable to wear any of my longer layers beneath the shell because they would hang out and become damp or wet, especially on powder days.

I ran into none of these issues with the Gallery; it is much longer than any layers I own. This fit is what Orage calls their Performance Long Fit.

Morgan Sweeney reviews the Orage Gallery jacket for Blister Gear Review.

Morgan Sweeney in the Orage Gallery jacket.

The jacket is roomy enough to fit layers underneath if needed, however I never made use of this space since I usually only needed to wear a thin base layer to keep warm. For more petite women, however, this jacket might run too long.

Orage puts an emphasis on both function and fashion, so a lot of thought and detail have gone into this jacket to make it burly enough on the mountain and stylish enough for casual wear

An asymmetrical front zipper, wool-like exterior fabric, longer sleeves and an outer pocket with buttons are a few of the details that help make this jacket stylish. While the buttoned outer pocket isn’t of great use while skiing, it makes for easy access while off the mountain. I personally liked the asymmetrical front zipper because it kept the metal zipper from touching my face on cold days. Additionally, the longer sleeves were nice because they fit well over my gloves or mittens—the outside of the sleeve are longer than the inside so as not to get in the way of gripping a ski pole.

Waterproofing

At first glance, it’s hard to believe that the Gallery is a waterproof jacket. Unlike the fabric of the Gore-tex Pro North Face Free Thinker shell, which feels very stiff and burly, the Prime 20 fabric of the Gallery jacket is more supple and soft to the touch. The Prime 20 has a wool-like feel to it so it has a tendency to absorb a small amount of moisture.

On some of the wetter powder days of the season, when the temperatures reached into the high twenties, damp snow would accumulate on the outside of the jacket. A jacket with a smooth surface, like the Free Thinker, does a much better job at repelling moisture than the Gallery. Though this small accumulation of snow made the jacket a bit heavier, I remained comfortable and dry throughout the day—the Gallery held up fine and never soaked through.

Warmth

On their website, Orage rates the waterproofing of the Gallery higher than its warmth. However, after spending a few months in the Gallery, I would rate both the waterproofing and the warmth equally high. While it did keep me dry on wet powder days, it also kept me incredibly warm on below zero days.

I tend to favor waterproof, non-insulated shells—I like having the option of either layering up or down depending on the weather. But my time in the Gallery has brought me around on insulated jackets. It took me a few days to get the layering right with this jacket, because I wasn’t used to wearing such a warm outer layer. Normally, I only wore a thin base layer with the Gallery and was able to stay warm for the entire day. On colder days, I would throw on a slightly thicker layer, which fit nicely underneath the spacious jacket.

Breathability

Given how warm and water proof the Gallery is, it is also surprisingly breathable. When the temperatures reached into the high 20’s, I would get a little heated in it, but I could open up the pit vents and easily normalize my body temperature.

On a spring day at Winter Park that pushed into the 40’s, I put the breathability of the jacket to the test, and let’s just say I found the jacket’s upper limit. In the beginning of the day I was impressed by how comfortable I was in an insulated jacket on such a warm day. However, as the sun rose overhead along with the temperatures, I became extremely hot and had to unzip the front zipper of the jacket. This is to be expected with any type of insulated jacket, however, so I can’t say I was really taken by surprise.

Features

This jacket is adorned with more features than a no-nonsense shell designed for performance only. However, many of the features on the Gallery are very well designed additions.

Normally I am not the biggest fan of internal cuffs on a jacket, especially those with thumbholes—they are often too tight and uncomfortable. But I really like the internal cuffs of the Gallery. There is limited stitching on the cuffs, leaving the fabric smoother and less likely to be irritable underneath a tight mitten. There is also a generous amount of room in the thumbhole, so I never felt that my circulation was being compromised while wearing the internal cuff.

It is also equipped with a removable powder skirt, adjustable cuffs, an insulated and spacious hood and pit zips. The pit zips are lined with mesh, which helps keep out unwanted snow. However I found that the pit zippers were difficult to zip and unzip on my own, so I usually had to call in a friend for some help.

The Gallery has two internal pockets and six external pockets. The vertical breast pockets have a very small opening so it is difficult to access their contents with mittens on, but I took a liking to their small size—it’s perfect for keeping your keys or phone safe.

While the outer pockets were well-designed, I had some issues with the two internal pockets. One is a large stash mesh pocket and the other is a small, zippered mesh pocket. In the Gallery, it seems the stash pocket is designed to hold a phone rather than a pair of goggles or mittens (as is common in other similar jackets). It features both an attached micro fiber lens cloth and a rubber grip that is designed solely for securing a phone.

Morgan Sweeney reviews the Orage Gallery jacket for Blister Gear Review

Orage phone retention system

In theory, this phone grip would nicely keep a phone attached to the jacket, however the internal pocket is not waterproof, as it is made of mesh and lacks a zipper, so I never actually used this feature.

Bottom Line

The Gallery won me over this season. It kept me warm, dry and comfortable in almost every condition on the mountain. Many of my ski jackets are just that—ski jackets. With the Gallery, I found myself wearing it every day, on and off the mountain. It is great for cold nights camping and for walking around town on winter days. Since it is so warm on its own, it made for an easy layering option, and a stylish addition to my wardrobe.

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