Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Gear Closet: Outdoor Research Interstellar Rain Jacket Review

It isn't all that often that you pull on a new piece of clothing for use in the outdoors and already recognize that it is something special. That was exactly the case with the Interstellar Jacket from Outdoor Research however, as it was became apparent within a matter of seconds that this was an outstanding piece of gear, particularly for those who need excellent protection from inclement weather during their outdoor pursuits.

Outdoor Research bills the Interstellar as its "most breathable hard shell," although in reality the jacket feels like a soft shell instead. It is soft, stretchy, and pliable, making it a great option for runners, cyclists, climbers, or others who tend to be aerobically active when they're outside. The fact that is it also highly breathable puts it head and shoulders above most other rain jackets on the market, and a considerable step up from anything else I currently have in my gear closet.

The secret behind the Interstellar's construction lies with a new design process that OR uses to make the jacket. It has developed a new approach called "electro spinning" that actually weaves the polyester fibers into a crystal-like structure that creates a waterproof, yet still flexible and breathable, fabric that is unlike anything the company has developed before.

When it comes to performance, its tough to match the Interstellar. I've used the jacket for several months now in everything from light mist to heavy downpours and it has yet to allow a single drop of moisture reach the interior. At the same time, it has also kept me from overheating and getting extremely sweaty, as heat and perspiration still manage to escape. Strategically placed fabrics mesh fabrics aid in this process without compromising durability or integrity at all.

The Interstellar's athletic cut, paired with its stretchy fabrics, makes it a joy to wear, even during intense workouts. The jacket hugs the body nicely, but without impeding motion in any way. It has been designed to move nicely with what ever you want to do, which is something that I appreciate. And when you don't need the Interstellar, it also compresses down into one of its pockets for easy of transport while traveling or hiking.

In terms of weight, this jacket isn't as minimalist as some of the extremely lightweight shells we've seen in recent years, but when you factor in its overall performance it is still quite svelte. The Interstellar tips the scales at just 11.6 ounces (329 grams), which is very impressive considering how good it is at its job. That makes it a must-have for frequent travelers, hikers, trail runners, or anyone else who find themselves out in the elements on a consistent basis.

I've been using an older rain jacket from Outdoor Research for a number of years now and it has severed me extremely well. My one knock against it is that it wasn't breathable at all, so while it would keep the rain at bay, I often ended up getting soaked anyway from the heat and perspiration that collected on the inside. That hasn't been the case with the Interstellar. Sure, I still work up a bit of a sweat when getting very active, but its level of breathability is so far improved over my older rain jacket that it is hard to believe that they are aimed at the same crowd. It is also a testament to how far we've come in terms of technical clothing over the past few years as our gear continues to get better and better.

The Interstellar is a bit on the expensive side, carrying a price tag of $299. That will probably deter some casual outdoor enthusiasts from buying this jacket, but those who need the level of performance that it delivers will find that it is worth every penny. Durable, versatile, lightweight, and down-right good looking, this is probably the best rain jacket I've ever used. I think you'll find that to be true as well. I can't recommend this jacket enough. It is a groundbreaking piece of outdoor gear that you'll probably love as much as I do.

Find out more at OutdoorResearch.com.

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