Hands-on Gear Review
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Pros: Durable Gore-Tex Pro membrane
Cons: Mesh hand pockets lets in melting snow and wind, very heavy, stretch fabrics have reduced durability
Best Uses: All purpose
The Outdoor Research Maximus uses high quality Gore-Tex Pro Shell membrane and a durable face fabric but it has a feature set and fit that are inferior to many other shells tested. We therefore, prefer other shells. This is true for both the old version as well as the Spring 2014 version, which uses the new Gore Pro membrane. The new version weighs a substantial 20.2 oz. and offers less comfort and durability than other top-tier expedition shells, like the Arc'teryx Alpha SV.
In our photos below you'll see that the Spring 14 model is yellow and the old version is blue.
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OutdoorGearLab Editors' Hands-on Review
The Maximus is Outdoor Research's top-tier hardshell. It uses Gore Pro Shell, has two high-set handwarmer pockets and a helmet compatible hood.
The jacket is versatile in that it's made of good materials and has a fit that accommodates layering without being too bulky. But the shell falls below average in our rankings. First, its cut is simple and not particularly ergonomic. As you can see in our photos the jacket has straight tubular arms. Other shells, like the Patagonia Super Alpine and Arc'teryx Alpha SV have articulated elbows that feel more comfortable. Second, the Maximus has mesh-backed pockets that let in melting snow and ice. Solid pockets, found on almost all other hardshells, are better. And finally, our testers found the Maximus' Torso Flow side vents to be inferior to traditional pit zippers because they're not as easy to open on the go, and don't vent well when you're wearing a pack. Their main advantage is that they can be fully opened and used poncho style for high output hiking in vertically falling rain. That, however, requires unbuttoning the bottom and unzipping the sides, which can't be done while wearing a waistbelt!! They are far inferior to pit zips and we do not know why OR uses them.
A men's medium Maximus weighs 20.2 ounces on our scale. This is 6+ ounces heavier than our highest rated all-purpose shell, the Patagonia Super Pluma, and 3 ounces heavier than the Arc'teryx Alpha SV, our highest rated bomber mountaineering shell- which is better than the Maximus in every respect except price.
Although the Maximus is $50 cheaper than other high quality shells we believe that it's well worth the additional cost to get a better fitting and better featured shell.
For a women's hardshell jacket, check out the Hardshell Jackets - Women's full review. The Outdoor Research Clairvoyant is the Top Pick for women.
— Chris McNamara and Max Neale
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OutdoorGearLab Member Reviews
Most recent review: August 15, 2013
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