You may have seen the headlines: Outdoor Research’s Interstellar Jacket won Outside Magazine’s Gear of the Year award for its superior breathability, staunch waterproofness, and durable, versatile hard shell performance. But before you – or the designers, or the marketing department here at OR – even realized it, we were hearing the same thing from our dedicated group of mountain professionals who took this jacket out into the roughest, wettest environments they could find.
Hear what the Interstellar Jacket test team had to say about Outside’s 2018 Gear of the Year award winner, and why you may want to pick up a piece for yourself.
Name: Jon Rosenberg
Where you can find Jon outside: Empire, CO
Where you can find Jon online: @jonlivesoutside
How did you put the Interstellar through the ringer? To really test this thing I brought it with me while trail running in the front range of the Rockies and brought it up some steep 13ers. I was astounded by how well this breathed and shrugged off the snow that has been pelting the high country during the beginning of April. Heading up to Mt. Sniktau, off of Loveland Pass, the slope rises dramatically from the earth and gains over 1,000 feet in its first mile. I’m always working up a sweat here regardless but having the Interstellar on over my layers (merino wool and an Outdoor Research Ascendant Hoody), I didn’t find that I was suffocating.
Where’s next on the Interstellar adventure list? Backpacking 60 miles of the CDT into Rocky Mountain National Park and picking up a spur to Longs Peak to celebrate my two-year anniversary with my wife.
Name: Molly Harrison
Where you can find Molly outside: Westland, MI
Where you can find Molly online: @mollysharpharrison
What was your favorite thing about the Interstellar? This jacket fits perfectly! At 5'10 with an athletic build and it's often hard to find clothes that fit my long limbs and torso without being too wide- Outdoor Research definitely has athletic women in mind for the clothes they make, and the Interstellar's sleeves fit perfectly with the torso still being trim.
Where’s next on the Interstellar adventure list? I can't wait to take the Interstellar to Alaska this summer and put it to the test! Having such a lightweight, compact shell is going to be a huge upgrade from my rain shells of the past.
Name: Skye Schillhammer
Where you can find Skye outside: Darrington, WA
Where you can find Skye online: @skyeride
How did you put the Interstellar through the ringer? I am a professional videographer and photographer working in action sports, but mostly in mountain biking. I need clothing that can keep me dry, warm and comfortable so I can keep focused on the creative aspect of my work. Living in the Pacific Northwest, I am sometimes battling rain, wind, snow and sunshine all in the same day. The lightweight nature of the Interstellar Jacket is huge for keeping it packable, I can have this in my bag for every single project and know it’s there if the weather gets nasty.
What was your favorite thing about the Interstellar? The Interstellar doesn’t overheat like most “trash bag” feeling rain jackets. Moisture gathering on the inside of clothing is even more difficult to deal with than it coming from the environment, so its breathability is huge. For what I do, I’m always moving, so the stretch built into the AscentShell™ fabric lets me ride, climb, hike, and run without any movement being impeded.
Where’s next on the Interstellar adventure list? I have a full schedule of projects this year ranging from right at home in the Pacific Northwest to across the globe in the highlands of Scotland. The Interstellar will definitely be my go-to jacket.
Name: Devin Johnson
Where you can find Devin outside: Roanoke, VA
Where you can find Devin online: @camp.redwood
How did the Interstellar hold up to your expectations? This shell went beyond my expectations- it was resilient to heavy snow, and beaded up to roll off the entire time. In comparison to my older Aspire shell, being so lightweight meant when it finally did start to soak through, it dried out so much faster- which during these early spring snowfalls is all the more relevant.
Where’s next on the Interstellar adventure list? Kicking off Bike Month! Rain or shine = stoked to only need one hard shell. Once mud season passes, Parks and Rec will be full throttle again for the season and the playing outside won’t stop!
Name: Dave Dillon
Where you can find Dave outside: Tweksbury, MA
Where you can find Dave online: @chasethesummit
How did the Interstellar Jacket hold up to your expectations? As a previous owner of the Outdoor Research Bolin Jacket, I was looking forward to testing its successor. The Interstellar Jacket delivers an incredible value in such a light weight, packable, and waterproof shell. The jacket withstood abrasion while climbing past sharp rocks and fiddling with razor sharp ice screws on my harness. I was impressed with just how stretchy and breathable the fabric felt even while hiking and working up a sweat while still providing adequate wind protection. The jacket never had that "trash bag" feeling like a lot of other rain shells do. The Interstellar Jacket has a slightly shorter hem as compared to the Bolin Jacket which worked in my favor while wearing a climbing harness. The hand pockets were just high enough that they remained functional with a harness on. I also appreciate the napoleon pocket on the chest... this is a MUST HAVE for all shells.
Where’s next on the Interstellar adventure list? I'm looking forward to the Spring weather rolling into the White Mountains of New Hampshire. This also means lots, and lots of rain here in New England. The Interstellar Jacket will remain in my pack for all of my mountain adventures and might even make for a functional layer for spring trail running due to its light weight! I also like the bold colors of the jacket for around town use.
Top photo by Jennaye Derge. All other photos courtesy of Jon Rosenberg, Molly Harrison, Skye Schillhammer, Devin Johnson and Dave Dillon.