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
Compare to Similar Products
Outdoor Research Microgravity
Check Price at REI
|Check Price at REI|
Compare at 3 sellers
Check Price at REI
|Check Price at REI|
Compare at 2 sellers
|Check Price at REI|
Compare at 3 sellers
|Pros||Great storm protection, above average breathability, no clammy feeling, packs tightly into reversible stuff pocket, deep helmet-compatible hood, less crinkly||Top-tier storm-worthiness, 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||Versatile, durable, long lasting DWR, good stormworthiness, minimal clammy feel||Insanely lightweight, tiny compressed size, stows tightly in a reversible pocket, hood design maintains great peripheral vision, respectable stormworthiness|
|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||Heavy, average packed size, mobility, and freedom of movement||Average breathability, minimal hood, only one pocket, not as versatile in the traditional sense|
|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, offering 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||A durable jacket with function focused design that will keep most satisfied, without putting a hole in your wallet||Light and compressible, ideal for trips where low weight is paramount|
|Rating Categories||Outdoor Research Mi...||Arc'teryx Zeta SL||REI Co-op Stormbolt...||Patagonia Torrentsh...||Helium|
|Water Resistance (30%)|
|Breathability & Venting (25%)|
|Comfort & Mobility (18%)|
|Packed Size (7%)|
|Specs||Outdoor Research Mi...||Arc'teryx Zeta SL||REI Co-op Stormbolt...||Patagonia Torrentsh...||Helium|
|Measured Weight (Medium)||14.5 oz||10.9 oz||14.5 oz||14 oz||6.3 oz|
|Waterproof Fabric Material||Ascentshell 3L||2-layer Gore-Tex Paclite Plus waterproof breathable laminate||3-layer GORE-TEX||3-layer H2No Performance Standard shell||2.5-layer Pertex Shield|
|Face Fabric and Layer Construction||100% nylon stretch ripstop||40-denier ripstop (N40r) Gore-Tex Paclite Plus||30-denier ripstop nylon||350-denier 100% recycled nylon, polycarbonate PU membrane, tricot backer||30D 100 nylon ripstop w/ Pertex Shield+ waterproof breathable insert|
|Pockets||2 hand, 1 chest||2 hand pockets||2 hand||2 zippered hand pockets||1 zippered hand pocket|
|Are lower pockets hipbelt friendly||No||Yes||Yes||No||Yes|
|Helmet Compatible Hood (not only fits but not too tight)||Yes||No||No||No||No|
|Stows Into Pocket?||No||No||No||Yes||Yes|
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 only 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, making it more durable. It features a thicker face fabric, which took longer to wet out in an extended rainstorm, and it felt less cold in windy conditions.
In our side-by-side hose and shower tests, the Microgravity was 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.
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 felt 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 was 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 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 just fine 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 was its interior material is 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 weight. Compared to a majority of models that are only a few ounces lighter, the Microgravity is far more stormyworthy 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 happy.
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 compresses 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