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Get To Know AscentShell Technology

Author: Outdoor Research

March 11, 2019

When you’re pushing hard above tree line, change might be the only constant. A puckering wind that wasn’t there below the ridgeline. The on-again-off-again graupel pattering and then melting onto your helmet. The heat that rises and falls inside your jacket between each pitch.

Designing a fabric technology that can keep you dry but also release all your surplus heat was a challenge we at Outdoor Research took on with pleasure. The dream fabric would feel soft to the hand, fit snug under a harness, be seam taped and water repelling, and still stretch and move with every reach and twist.

We took those dreams, tested a solution, and named it AscentShell™ technology: Active waterproof stretch.

“We’re fabric geeks,” says Jason Duncan, Head of Innovation at OR. “We spend a lot of time getting the perfect fabric. We never give up or do half measures... our athletes would hold our feet to the fire.”

AscentShell is an Outdoor Research exclusive, proprietary fabric that’s a waterproof, breathable three-layer fabric that broadens your comfort zone during aerobic effort throughout changing conditions. It’s created by an electrospinning process where charged polymers are affixed to a grounded surface. Those polymers gather into a breathable membrane that, under a microscope, you can see forming a web that allows sweat vapors out but stops water from coming in.

This process also allows all AscentShell™ gear to be soft to the touch and keep a great mechanical stretch while remaining waterproof. That’s why we keep talking about Active Waterproof Stretch.

Today, you can find AscentShell™ in some of our best-selling and top rated hard shell jackets that run the gamut of outdoor activity.

While we originally designed AscentShell™ with jackets in mind, its versatility and multi-use jobs (plus, feedback from our ever-scrutinizing athlete team) quickly demanded we expand this fabric into other products.

Words got us this far, but to truly appreciate AscentShell you need to feel it, get outside in it, and put it through the ringer to really appreciate all it can offer. Check out the video to see AscentShell in action, and consider comfort the next time you’re shopping for a hard shell.

Outdoor Research

Outdoor Research® is dedicated to inspiring the journey ahead with award-winning technical apparel and accessories. Based in Seattle since 1981, we are committed to improving our customer’s experience through innovative materials, purpose-driven features, and versatile products that are backed by our Infinite Guarantee®. We rely on the real-world testing of our athlete ambassadors, mountain guides, and local adventurers involved in our core sports: alpinism, rock and ice climbing, hiking, backpacking, paddling, trail running, and backcountry skiing and snowboarding. We’re here for the fun, adventure, excitement, and For the Journey Ahead™. Get to know us at or follow along on the journey via Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube.