ProView – Outdoor Research Men’s MicroGravity AscentShell Jacket
Outdoor Research claims their AscentShell Technology will keep you protected from all the elements while being breathable and dumping heat. In backcountry skiing heat management is crucial, you need to stay warm and protected from the outside elements, while not overheating and sweating. I’m a skeptic when I hear about a breathable shell that protects you from the elements so I wanted to put the Microgravity to the test on both ends of the extreme.
Outdoor Research Men's MicroGravity AscentShell Jacket
Product Description: In the high alpine, you need a hard shell that can withstand brutal, wet, windy weather with constantly changing temps. You also need a shell that can breathe when you’re working hard uphill. But the trick is, you don’t want to carry along the weight and bulk of two different jackets. Enter the Microgravity AscentShell Jacket: The solution to your crazy-weather yet crazy-exertion alpine adventures. With such stellar breathability and every feature you’d need to be comfortable in the mountains, you’ll never have to compromise on protection again. Since 2016, Outdoor Research’s proprietary AscentShell™ technology uses an electrospun process to create a 3L construction that breathes faster, weighs less, stretches more, and far surpasses the comfort of traditional waterproof membranes. Learn more about the science behind our breathable waterproof AscentShell technology right here.
Offer price: MSRP: $249.00
Friendliness to the Earth
A high-performance shell built to shield you from the elements for long days in the alpine. This jacket combines comfort and protection through Outdoor Research’s AscentShell technology to bring forth the next generation of shell that will soon be a staple in everyone’s kit.
- Plenty of Pockets
- Questionable Durability
- Poor Functioning Pocket Vents
In order to put this jacket to the test on both ends of the spectrum, I took it out for two days of testing. One day where we would be on top of a ridgeline blasted by snow and wind in excess of 30 mph, and a mild day where we would be lapping the same skintrack repeatedly with high exertion. In order to truly test the breathability, I kept the shell on well beyond when I typically would take it off due to warmth.
By far this is the most comfortable shell I’ve owned. The jacket is soft and stretched immensely well, never leaving any areas uncovered and exposed.
A very basic style, one color with different colored zippers that looks great.
The main feature of this jacket is the AscentShell technology which gives great breathability (more on this later). The sleeves are long to keep snow off of your arms. The hood is large enough to fit over a helmet. A drawback on this jacket are the pockets are used as vents to dump extra heat. If you store things in your jacket pockets, then you either can’t open the vents, or you risk losing whatever is stored inside. As well as pockets sit right underneath the waist and chest straps of your pack, so even if the pockets are open, pack straps basically hold them shut.
This is a medium-weight shell and it can pack down into its own pocket which makes it handy to be attached to a harness or stuffed into a pack.
First I took the jacket out in some harsh conditions to test its performance in inclement weather. Up on top of a ridgeline with strong wind gusts and blowing snow I remained protected and the wind did not cut through. The next trip was on a warm day to test how breathable it was. While still not as breathable as a mid-layer, this shell was surprisingly breathable and released a lot of heat I was generating when working hard.
This jacket received a hole the size of a pinhead in the arm from skiing out through dense alders. While brush like this is incredibly abrasive on gear, I was disappointed to see a hole developed so soon in the life of the jacket. In conditions outside of a dense bushwack, the durability proved great.
Friendliness to the Earth
Outdoor Research donates to a number of Non-Profit Organizations that work to conserve the wild places where we love to play and explore. By purchasing products through OR, you are supporting the protection of our wild places through their donations to these organizations.
The Final Word
Outdoor Research’s Microgravity Jacket is the next step forward in the realm of high-performance shells. Breathable protection that keeps you on the move is what alpinists and ski mountaineers need and the Microgravity should be on the top of their gear list needed for their next excursion. If Outdoor Research can improve the durability in years to come, this may become the perfect shell.
Shop the Outdoor Research Men’s MicroGravity AscentShell Jacket on Outdoor Prolink. Not a member? Apply today!
About the Gear Tester
Paul Fotter is a Ranger within Glacier National Park during the summers where he works in the backcountry permit office, completes boat inspections for invasive species, completes backcountry patrols, and assists with search and rescue as needed. In the winter, he is a volunteer with the Flathead Avalanche Center where he assists the forecasters with their field work. He is a backcountry skier, climber, and trail runner. Connect with him on Instagram @paulfotter!