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Outdoor Research Microgravity Review

This jack-of-all-trades jacket offers some of the best weather protection and durability for an air-permeable model
Outdoor Research Microgravity
Credit: Outdoor Research
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Price:  $249 List | $248.95 at Amazon
Pros:  Great storm protection, above average breathability, no clammy feeling, packs tightly into reversible stuff pocket, helmet-compatible hood, less crinkly
Cons:  Average freedom of movement, less stretchy than most other air-permeable models, fit, low handwarmer pockets could be more functional
Manufacturer:   Outdoor Research
By Ian Nicholson ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  May 24, 2022
Our Editors independently research, test, and rate the best products. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Learn more
75
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#4 of 15
  • Water Resistance - 30% 8.0
  • Breathability & Venting - 25% 8.0
  • Comfort & Mobility - 18% 8.0
  • Weight - 15% 5.0
  • Durability - 5% 8.0
  • Packed Size - 7% 7.0

Our Verdict

Outdoor Research's Microgravity shell is a thicker, air-permeable model that boasts high versatility. Featuring a thicker face fabric and a 3L construction, it offers some of the best weather protection and durability of any air-permeable model in our fleet; it's also one of the most stormworthy. Its extra thickness does make it a little less stretchy than other air-permeable models, and it's also a bit heavier. At 14.5 ounces, it's a few ounces heavier than average, but that weight easily translates into outstanding durability, weather protection, and versatility.

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Pros Great storm protection, above average breathability, no clammy feeling, packs tightly into reversible stuff pocket, helmet-compatible hood, less crinklyTop-tier stormworthiness, mobility and range of motion, hood design, long-lasting DWR, exceptional breathability, harness and hip-belt friendly pocketsGreat weather resistance, long-lasting DWR, breathable, pack-friendly pockets, helmet-compatible hood maintains good peripheral visionSuper light, ultra compact, trim fit, great breathability, weather protection compared to others in its weight class, stuffs into a pocket, hood moves very well with its userIncredible price, Gore-Tex, solid weather protection, excellent hood design, weight and packed volume
Cons Average freedom of movement, less stretchy than most other air-permeable models, fit, low handwarmer pockets could be more functionalNo ventilation options, expensive, no easy way to clip to a harnessAverage weight and compressed size, bulky cutAverage weather protection overall, no pockets, no clip in point on stuff sack, elastic wrist loops are basic, trim/athletic cut doesn't facilitate layeringWets out quicker than other Gore-Tex models, two layer design isn't as long-lasting, clammy interior
Bottom Line This jack-of-all-trades jacket offers some of the best weather protection and durability for an air-permeable modelThis stormworthy and function focused model is exceptionally versatile and offers some of the best performance in our reviewTop tier weather protection and breathability, coupled with an excellent set of outdoor oriented features make this one of our favorite models for soggy excursions into the backcountryIf you participate in activities where every ounce matters and you also need excellent weather protection and breathability, few can match this model for its weightOne of the best values you can get for a piece of rain gear, this Gore-Tex model is packed full of functional features
Rating Categories Outdoor Research Mi... Arc'teryx Zeta SL REI Co-op Stormbolt... The North Face Flig... REI Co-op XeroDry GTX
Water Resistance (30%)
8.0
9.0
9.0
7.0
8.0
Breathability & Venting (25%)
8.0
8.0
8.0
8.0
8.0
Comfort & Mobility (18%)
8.0
8.0
8.0
8.0
7.0
Weight (15%)
5.0
7.0
5.0
9.0
6.0
Durability (5%)
8.0
8.0
6.0
5.0
6.0
Packed Size (7%)
7.0
7.0
7.0
8.0
7.0
Specs Outdoor Research Mi... Arc'teryx Zeta SL REI Co-op Stormbolt... The North Face Flig... REI Co-op XeroDry GTX
Measured Weight (Medium) 14.5 oz 10.9 oz 14.5 oz 7.25 oz 12.5 oz
Waterproof Fabric Material Ascentshell 3L 2-layer Gore-Tex Paclite Plus waterproof breathable laminate 3-layer GORE-TEX 20D FutureLight 3L 2-layer GORE-TEX Paclite
Face Fabric and Layer Construction 100% nylon stretch ripstop 40-D ripstop (N40r) Gore-Tex Paclite Plus 30-D ripstop nylon 100% recycled polyester, DWR finish Polyester
Pockets 2 hand, 1 chest 2 hand pockets 2 hand 1 interior 2 hand
Are Lower Pockets Hipbelt Friendly? No Yes Yes Yes No
Pit Zips No Yes Yes No No
Helmet Compatible Hood (not only fits but not too tight) Yes No No No No
Stows Into Pocket? No No No Yes No

Our Analysis and Test Results

The Outdoor Research Microgravity strikes an excellent balance of storm protection and durability, especially for the weight. At 14 ounces, it is a few ounces heavier than many of the products we tested. However, for the tiny bit of added weight, you'll receive better, longer-lasting weather protection, toughness, and overall versatility — all trade-offs we think the majority of users will appreciate.

Performance Comparison


Outdoor Research Microgravity rain jacket - the microgravity is an excellent, all-around, do-everything model...
The Microgravity is an excellent, all-around, do-everything model. It's just plain good at nearly any outdoor activity and excels at a wide range of activities. Folks who will get the most out of it will be using it for more aerobic activities.
Credit: Ian Nicholson

Water Resistance


The Microgravity uses AscentShell fabric for its weather protection, Outdoor Research's proprietary air-permeable waterproof membrane. Unlike many other air-permeable shells out there, the MicroGravity is a 3L construction, which means it boasts increased durability. It features a thicker face fabric, which takes longer to wet out in an extended rainstorm, and it feels less cold in windy conditions.

Outdoor Research Microgravity rain jacket - the microgravity offers some of the best storm protection of any...
The Microgravity offers some of the best storm protection of any air-permeable model in our fleet; it's certainly a step up from the older model that it replaces. One aspect worth noting is this jacket doesn't feel as "warm" when it's windy and you are standing around. However, it does breathe exceptionally well when a small amount of air is constantly passing through.
Credit: Ian Nicholson

In our side-by-side hose and shower tests, the Microgravity is one of the more stormworthy models and boasts incredible weather protection, especially for an air-permeable model. We liked the low-profile watertight zipper, with minimal internal storm flap; it's a super-effective combination, which keeps the water out, and allows for a greater level of comfort, alongside less bulk. Many people looking at Microgravity will also be considering the Rab Kinetic 2.0. Comparing the two, the Microgravity has better weather protection than the Kinetic but the Kinetic 2.0 is far stretchier and a little bit lighter.

Outdoor Research Microgravity rain jacket - this model's three hood cinch points seal out the elements and...
This model's three hood cinch points seal out the elements and accommodate a wide range of headwear and head sizes.
Credit: Ian Nicholson

Hood Design

The hood is deep and fits over most bike or climbing helmets; it offers plenty of adjustment to cinch down, even if we did not have anything covering our head. The hood moved with us as we looked side-to-side, and maintained better peripheral vision. It also feels less claustrophobic the most other models in our fleet.

Outdoor Research Microgravity rain jacket - this hood is big enough to fit over a helmet but just barely...
This hood is big enough to fit over a helmet but just barely. Depending on how bulky your climbing or bike helmet is, you may want to consider wearing your hood underneath your helmet.
Credit: Ian Nicholson

Breathability and Venting


This model uses Ascentshell, which is Outdoor Research's proprietary air-permeable waterproof membrane. The fact that it's Air-Permeable means that it maintains a relatively consistent level of breathability, regardless of the user's activity level or outside weather factors. This is due to a small amount of air, which is always passing through the fabric.

Outdoor Research Microgravity rain jacket - the microgravity is one of the more breathable models. its...
The Microgravity is one of the more breathable models. Its air-permeable fabric means there doesn't have to be a big temperature difference for it to perform well and it keeps working even once you've stopped moving. While it doesn't have any traditional vents, most of our testers didn't find that to be problematic; if you really need to, you can dump a little heat by unzipping its mesh-lined pockets.
Credit: Ian Nicholson

In our Stairmaster and real-world hiking tests, the Microgravity is one of the more breathable options out there. It wasn't quite as breathable as thinner, similarly priced air-permeable models, likely due to its slightly thicker materials and 3L construction. However, these are likely the reasons why it is one of the most stormworthy air-permeable model we tested; this was most noticeable when we'd stop for breaks after long, hard pushes in the rain, where this model would feel less cold. It likely felt less cold due to a lack of breathability.

The Microgravity is a good all-around outdoor jacket. It provides plenty of breathability for hiking, backpacking, or ski touring, with the bonus of it being one of the more stormworthy options. For folks wanting something for truly high-output or aerobic activities, we might look for something that is less bulky and more breathable (albeit less stormworthy); however, this model suits the majority of people.

Outdoor Research Microgravity rain jacket - we tested all the models in a series of side-by-side breathability...
We tested all the models in a series of side-by-side breathability tests and the Microgravity was one of the most breathable jackets in our review. It is also among the "cozier" and least clammy feeling models we tested.
Credit: Ian Nicholson

Comfort & Mobility


The Microgravity offers average mobility and range of motion. Like other air-permeable models with polyester membranes, it does features some stretch, but is less than other jackets with similar construction. It will perform adequately for most outdoor pursuits; however, if mobility is a priority, we would look towards articulated models, like the Arc'teryc Zeta or the REI Co-op Stormbolt GTX.

Outdoor Research Microgravity rain jacket - when we reached forward or above our heads, the sleeves didn't pull...
When we reached forward or above our heads, the sleeves didn't pull back. When we reached upwards, the hem (the bottom of the jacket) hardly moved.
Credit: Ian Nicholson

One major plus is its interior material is quite cozy feeling. It also feels notably less clammy than many models in our fleet. It is also a lot less crinkly than the 3-layer Gore-Tex models.

Outdoor Research Microgravity rain jacket - those used to more traditional "hardshell" fabrics will easily...
Those used to more traditional "hardshell" fabrics will easily notice the difference with this model especially if they partake in more aerobic activities.
Credit: Ian Nicholson

Pocket Design

For being such a great jacket for general outdoor pursuits, it is a little bit of a shame that Outdoor Research didn't raise the lower-hand pockets a little bit more or remove them altogether. Our testing team loved the two chest, Napoleon-style pockets, but the lower hand pockets weren't our favorite.

Outdoor Research Microgravity rain jacket - the handwarmer pockets are low, which is comfortable for walking...
The handwarmer pockets are low, which is comfortable for walking around town but they are useless with a pack or harness on. For such an outdoor-oriented jacket, this is one of the few things we were disappointed in. At least Outdoor Research used very low gauge zippers on this model, which didn't pinch our hips, even with the weight of a six-day pack on (not in this photo).
Credit: Ian Nicholson

They were inaccessible with a backpack on but were low enough profile that they didn't really pinch much under a backpack. However, they aren't as well-positioned or designed as other models that are meant for backpacking, hiking, mountaineering, or ski touring.

Outdoor Research Microgravity rain jacket - at 14.5 ounces, this model is slightly heavier than average;...
At 14.5 ounces, this model is slightly heavier than average; however, the 2-3 extra ounces it weighs are certainly made up for it via increased durability and better-than-average good storm protection. At 14.5 ounces, it is still plenty light enough for most human-powered activities.
Credit: Ian Nicholson

Weight


Weighing in at 14.5 ounces, this model is slightly heavier than average. However, you get a ton of performance benefits for only 2-3 ounces of additional weight. Compared to a majority of models that are only a few ounces lighter, the Microgravity is far more storm worthy and durable — all while offering above-average breathability and a nice feel. These are all trade-offs we think most people will find worthy if they're shopping for an all-around jacket.

Outdoor Research Microgravity rain jacket - this model stows away into a reversible pocket that pulls double...
This model stows away into a reversible pocket that pulls double duty as a stuff sack. Unlike some models, the stuff sack does a good job of compressing, though it does require a little more effort.
Credit: Ian Nicholson

Packed Size


The Microgravity compresses nicely into its left lower-hand pocket, which doubles as a stuff sack and offers a clippable carabiner loop. The Microgravity's pocket is a pretty tight fit, which all of our testers loved; this is because we don't actually use the stuff pocket that frequently, and when we do, it's nice to have it actually compress the jacket, even if it takes a little extra effort to stuff it in.

Outdoor Research Microgravity rain jacket - shown here is the microgravity compressed down next to a one-liter...
Shown here is the Microgravity compressed down next to a one-liter Nalgene bottle.
Credit: Ian Nicholson

This jacket will pack down enough to keep most backpackers and hikers more than satisifed.

Outdoor Research Microgravity rain jacket - this model was pretty average for compressed size but its...
This model was pretty average for compressed size but its slim-fitting stuff sack helped it pack down slightly smaller than average. The Microgravity can be seen on the far right next to a number of other models in our review.
Credit: Ian Nicholson

Durability


The Microgravity features a 3L construction that uses a 100% nylon 45D stretch ripstop face fabric, a 30D knit backer/internal fabric, and a polyester-based (Ascentshell) membrane. The 45D face fabric is thicker, more abrasion-resistant, and just plain tougher than average. This makes it suitable for off-trail travel, extended trips, or for folks who are simply hard on their gear. Its 3L construction helps it maintain its breathability and weather resistance longer than most 2.5L options. In our real-world testing, we found the DWR and its ability to resist wetting out was longer-lasting than many models in our review.

Outdoor Research Microgravity rain jacket - while it's a bit more expensive than other proprietary air-permeable...
While it's a bit more expensive than other proprietary air-permeable models, it is generally more stormworthy and higher performing overall. It's on par (or slightly less) than many Gore-Tex models, but offers the performance and feature set to justify the price.
Credit: Ian Nicholson

Value


The Microgravity is similar to other jackets that offer a comparable construction and feature set. It is slightly more expensive than other air-permeable models but falls in line with the performance of jackets that use name brand materials, like Gore-Tex. The Microgravity easily justifies the price by offering some of the best feel, durability, and weather-resistance of any air-permeable model; it's also easily compressed down.

Outdoor Research Microgravity rain jacket - the microgravity is a sweet all-arounder that will do very well at...
The Microgravity is a sweet all-arounder that will do very well at any number of outdoor actives. It's light enough for day hiking or mountaineering, and breathable enough for more aerobic activities like ski touring and backpacking where you might be wearing you shell for extended periods of time.
Credit: Ian Nicholson

Conclusion


The Outdoor Research Microgravity is a versatile, all-around jacket. It strikes an excellent balance of weight and packability, alongside storm protection and durability; not many models can match the versatility for its weight. The Microgravity is excellent for self-proclaimed "heavy sweaters" or folks who run warm in general, thanks to its steady levels of breathability and its air-permeable design.

Ian Nicholson
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