Outdoor Research Microgravity Review
Cons: Average freedom of movement, less stretchy than most other air-permeable models, fit, low handwarmer pockets could be more functional
Manufacturer: Outdoor Research
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Outdoor Research Microgravity
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|Pros||Great storm protection, above average breathability, no clammy feeling, packs tightly into reversible stuff pocket, helmet-compatible hood, less crinkly||Top-tier stormworthiness, mobility and range of motion, hood design, long-lasting DWR, exceptional breathability, harness and hip-belt friendly pockets||Great weather resistance, long-lasting DWR, breathable, pack-friendly pockets, helmet-compatible hood maintains good peripheral vision||Super 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 user||Incredible 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 functional||No ventilation options, expensive, no easy way to clip to a harness||Average weight and compressed size, bulky cut||Average weather protection overall, no pockets, no clip in point on stuff sack, elastic wrist loops are basic, trim/athletic cut doesn't facilitate layering||Wets 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 model||This stormworthy and function focused model is exceptionally versatile and offers some of the best performance in our review||Top 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 backcountry||If you participate in activities where every ounce matters and you also need excellent weather protection and breathability, few can match this model for its weight||One 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%)|
|Breathability & Venting (25%)|
|Comfort & Mobility (18%)|
|Packed Size (7%)|
|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|
|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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
This jacket will pack down enough to keep most backpackers and hikers more than satisifed.
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.
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.
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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