Outdoor Research Women’s Interstellar Jacket is a very lightweight fully waterproof and breathable stretch 3-layer hard-shell jacket designed for a variety of aerobic outdoor activities. This is a top-notch piece with some advanced features.
Key features & benefits
- Extremely breathable.
- Fully waterproof.
- Stretchy material.
- AscentShell membrane.
- Very lightweight for a hard shell.
- Very versatile.
What this is about
Imagine a jacket that looks and feels like a soft shell, stretchy and pleasant, and yet this is a 3-layer hard shell fully waterproof and highly breathable jacket. So this is what you have in this Outdoor Research Interstellar jacket for women.
The jacket is very breathable, almost like a soft shell, and it is as soft as a soft shell jacket, but don’t be mistaken, here you have a fully waterproof material due to its AscentShell membrane sandwiched between the outer fabric and the inner backer. All seams are fully taped and you can clearly see this from inside.
When you hear the words hard shell, you would probably expect a stiff and noisy hard material; well, here is something totally unlike this, a truly innovative design and technology.
So what is AscentShell
In short, this is an air-permeable material that is quieter and softer than Gore-Tex Pro. This permeability helps the vapor to dry faster, so you will feel more comfortable than in an ordinary hard shell. This membrane is an electrospun laminate and it is thinner and more stretchy than other hardshell materials. In essence, this is a polyurethane fibers material that reminds you of a cotton candy. The fibers are first electrically charged and then randomly laid to create a waterproof barrier. It is best that you see this video:
Who is it for
This is a jacket suitable for very aerobic activities, but this then implies it is suitable for practically any outdoor adventure. This may include various outdoor activities like winter sports, mountaineering and climbing, backpacking and hiking. It is suitable also for fitness, wet and humid weather in general, travel, casual use, cold weather. Just see how lightweight and packable it is and use the imagination.
Overview of the features
The outer fabric is a 20D nylon, so this is rather thin but nothing unusual to see in the jackets of this type. I wish to stress again its super soft feel. But note that the inner polyester backer is also 20D, so the AscentShell membrane is well protected from both sides. This is the reason why this is a hard shell jacket. If you are not familiar with this terminology, some waterproof jackets are 2-layer and this means that the membrane is not covered from inside, and some of them have a rubbery feeling.
But regardless of these layers, the jacket is very air-permeable, and the excess body heat will be regulated in the best way and you do not need vents for such a purpose. In fact, they did not build any vents here, this shows how confident they are with this material.
The design also includes what they call the Dynamic Reach underarm panels for a full mobility of your arms.
Here you have a helmet-compatible design with adjustability elements on the three sides so you can use it with and without a helmet, and you also have a brim on the front shown in the picture. Note that this is not removable and you cannot stow it away in the collar.
There are three of them; two are hand pockets and the third is a chest pocket. All are with AquaGuard waterproof zippers. You might want to know that this is a nicely packable jacket and it stuffs into its own pocket, so you can zip it in and attach to the pack.
On the cuffs, you have both elastic and Velcro tabs, so this is the best possible combination which I love to have in my jackets, and you can use it with gloves underneath the cuffs.
Currently, there are only 3 colors available, this is quite disappointing when you compare with some other jackets that are available in tens of colors, like this NF Venture jacket or the Marmot Minimalist. Though the colors you have are really great.
The fit is trim, so go for a larger size if you are in between the sizes. Some thin underlayer is still possible to combine with this jacket. It is quite long, and you also have a drawcord on the hem to cinch it properly when necessary to preserve the body warmth.
Here is a short video by Outdoor Research about this new series they built, please have a look:
Good and less good features
Here is my short summary:
- Exceptionally breathable.
- Full protection against the rain.
- Very soft and pleasant materials.
- Very light for a hard shell.
- Hand pockets a bit too low.
- No vents, but do you really need them?
The price & rating
As of the moment of writing this text, the Amazon price for this jacket is around $300, dependent on the size, this changes all the time so please check the links. This looks expensive, but bear in mind that this is hard shell although it may not look like this, and in view of this the price is rather good. You can realize this if you compare it with other standard hard shell jackets. See how I rate it:
- Type: hard shell, AscentShell 3-layer.
- Weight: 10 oz (285 g) for size L.
- Center back length: 25 in (64 cm).
- Waterproof, windproof, breathable.
- Air permeable.
- Fully seam-taped.
- Movement-mirroring stretch.
– Shell: 20D 100% mechanical stretch ripstop nylon.
– 100% polyester 12D backer.
- YKK AquaGuard zippers.
- Colors: 3.
- Sizes: XS, S, M, L.
Outdoor Research Interstellar Jacket vs Competitors
You might want to see how this Interstellar jacket compares with some other models on the market, this may help in making an informed choice. So here is one hard-shell (Optimizer form the same brand) and one which is just a rain-shell 2.5 layer but top notch (the Patagonia’s jacket). As you realize, the Interstellar is lighter than the rain-shell jacket, and it has more features. Please follow the links to see more and to check for the prices.
COMPARE PACKAGE FEATURES
Roll away hood
Payable Every Month
stretch ripstop nylon
Payable Every Year
Payable Every Year
So in the conclusion of this Outdoor Research Women’s Interstellar Jacket review I would stress again that this is a 3-layer hard shell jacket but it is lighter than many 2-layer shell jackets. This, plus the fact that this is a stretchy material tells you that here you have something truly exceptional. Although the price may look steep, bear these facts in mind, and also compare it with other hardshell jackets to realize that it is far less expensive.
Note that I have included it in my list of the best waterproof jackets for women, just in case you still want to see some other models for women. You might want to know also that they have the corresponding jacket for men with the same features.
Thank you for reading. If you still need something different, please check my page with clothing, there are many soft shell jackets and 3-in-1 jackets described in detail. Please use the comment box below in the case of questions and comments.