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Outdoor Research Axiom Review


Hardshell Jacket

  • Currently 4.2/5
Overall avg rating 4.2 of 5 based on 2 reviews. Most recent review: March 23, 2014
Price:   $389 List | Varies from $272 - $389 online
Compare prices at 7 resellers
Pros:  Trim fit, lightweight
Cons:  Top hood adjustment is hard to loosen, low hand pockets, small cuff openings
Manufacturer:   Outdoor Research
Review by: Chris McNamara ⋅ Founder and Editor-in-Chief, OutdoorGearLab ⋅ July 8, 2013  
The Outdoor Research Axiom is a moderately lightweight, fully-featured hardshell jacket better suited to hiking than climbing. Our testers found the Axiom's materials (Gore Active Shell) to perform well at high output aerobic activities. The Jacket's design leaves some room for improvement: its hand pockets are set low and get get covered by a pack's hip belt and the hood can be restrictive when worn over a helmet. Other shells have better features, fit, and are more durable for the same or less weight. Even so, the Axiom is one of our highest rated hardshells and performs well for a variety of activities.

RELATED: Our complete review of hardshell jackets

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OutdoorGearLab Editors' Hands-on Review

The Outdoor Research Axiom is a lightweight and simple Gore Active Shell jacket. Unfortunately, the jacket has several significant drawbacks that contribute to our so-so rating: (1) The hood is not helmet compatible. With the zipper closed we found it to be restrictive when looking up and too the sides. (2) The handwarmer pockets sit low, by your waist, and are covered by a backpack's hipbelt. Further, the pockets have mesh backing, which makes them better for hiking than climbing because ice and snow inevitably enter the pockets and melt- which get's you wet.(3) The rear hood adjustment cord is difficult to loosen even without gloves. Consequently, we found that other Active Shell jackets perform at a higher level in general, and especially for winter activities.

The Axiom's best application is hiking, but the jacket's hand pockets sit low and are obscured by a backpack's hip belt. Although you do have access to the chest pocket it would be better if you also had access to the hand pockets when hiking.

For backpacking some of our testers prefer lighter waterproof breathable jackets such as the Outdoor Research Helium 2 - Men's which weighs a mere 6.4 ounces, packs into a minuscule ball, and costs one third as much as the Axiom. An Active Shell jacket will be more durable and more comfortable than the Helium 2's Pertex Shield+ but for the majority of hikers a lightweight rain shell may be a better option.

See how the Axiom compares to the other twenty hardshells we tested in our Hardshell Jacket Review.

Other Versions

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  • Cost - $325
  • Women's jacket that is comparable to the Axiom
  • Designed specifically for women, by women
  • Built for high alpine epics and highly aerobic backcountry tours

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Outdoor Research Maximus
  • Cost - $495
  • Weight - 20.2 oz
  • Burly, 3-Layer Gore-Tex Pro
  • A sturdy, technical rain coat

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The author used the Axiom while hiking the Lost Coast Trail, Northern California.
Credit: Outdoor Gear Lab

Chris McNamara and Max Neale

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OutdoorGearLab Member Reviews

Most recent review: March 23, 2014
Summary of All Ratings

OutdoorGearLab Editors' Rating:   
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Average Customer Rating:   
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100% of 1 reviewers recommend it
Rating Distribution
2 Total Ratings
5 star: 50%  (1)
4 star: 50%  (1)
3 star: 0%  (0)
2 star: 0%  (0)
1 star: 0%  (0)
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   Mar 23, 2014 - 08:17pm
go1dens4 · Climber · Melbourne, FL
I got one of these recently due to a great deal I found, but the review for this is incorrect insaying it is not helmet compatible. The hood is big and allows for a helmet, which the tags attached to the jacket also specify that it is made for. it also packs into the left pocket and allows you to zipper it, I was about to get a OR helium until I read a few more reviews on this and the fact that it packs into itself and has a clip loop makes it great of climbing…

Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this product to a friend.
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Outdoor Research Axiom
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