Updated Interstellar with Hood Lock
Outdoor Research outfitted the Interstellar jacket with a Hood Lock, which is a small toggle on the back of the hood allowing some of the hood's bulk to be taken in without actually cinching the whole thing tighter around the face. See the detail photo at right. Note that aside from colors, the Hood Lock is the only new feature on the jacket since our last testing cycle, so the majority of the info in our review still stands.
Hands-On Review of the Interstellar
A combination of technical performance and a highly breathable membrane make the OR Interstellar a great choice if you tend to find yourself climbing or biking in stormy weather. Throughout testing, we found this model to lack a couple of essential features, which kept it out of reach of the award's circle.
The large, helmet compatible hood comes equipped with a wired brim, allowing it to hold its shape, keeping us dry when the rain started to fall.
The Interstellar features exclusive Acentshell technology that is highly water resistant while maintaining the ability to offer exceptional breathability. It's worth noting the DWR finish began to deteriorate toward the end, leaving us a little more waterlogged than we would have liked.
The 3L Ascent Shell fabric kept us dry throughout testing but the DWR finish wore off quickly and needed to be replaced much sooner than that of its counterparts.
AscentShell is an exclusive Outdoor Research technology that uses an electrospun waterproof-breathable membrane, which is key to its breathable functionality. It boasts a high caliber level of breathability and this jacket strongly relies on the ability to breathe rather than the vent. While not always able to be accessed in a downpour, we do value pit zips, and the lack of underarm vents left the Interstellar just a smidge behind our Editors' Choice winner, the Aspire. Fortunately, the Interstellar sports incredible breathability that negated the lack of pit zips.
The soft, stretchy fabric of the Interstellar
earns it high marks in the comfort category. Its large, helmet-compatible hood kept us dry in even the strongest of downpours. One notable feature of the hood is the wired brim that holds its shaping, even when unpacking from its stow pocket. It cinches from both sides to ensure a highly adjustable fit, with or without a helmet. The only problem we encountered with the hood was the location of the drawstrings, which are located on the inside of the collar; they lay against your cheek, making it a touch difficult to access when your jacket is zipped up.
The hook/loop cuff closures of the sleeves are highly adjustable and easy to use.
The Interstellar weighs in at 9.6 ounces, putting it in the middle of the pack and right alongside our Top Pick winner for Versatility, the Mountain Hardwear Stretch Ozonic, which weighed in at 9.8 ounces.
The Interstellar's 20D mechanical stretch ripstop face fabric is soft, flexible, and rather thin. Although we did not encounter any rips or tears throughout the testing process, we are not convinced of the longevity of the delicate nature of the fabric.
One of the features we have found to be very necessary with rain jackets is the built-in stow pocket. The Interstellar doesn't disappoint, it packs down to a reasonably small size and stuffs right into its left-hand pocket, making it easy to stow away. Even though the Interstellar was a couple of ounces lighter, the Aspire still won out on packability, leaving the Interstellar close in the wake of our Editors' Choice award.
The Interstellar introduces its stretchy AscentShell 3-layer fabric which consists of mechanical stretch and a 12D polyester lining. The Interstellar also features Dynamic Reach underarm panels and a trim, flexible fit to allow for a better range of motion. This alone makes it a superior rain jacket for those who tend to find themselves in a harness more often than not.
Thanks to the high location of the pockets, it was easy to warm up our hands while wearing a harness.
With one of the highest price tags of the bunch, ringing up at a whopping $300, this is not a jacket for the budget minded individual. However, it will not disappoint if you are looking for a trusty rain jacket to partner up with whilst out pursuing your climbing endeavors.
If a high price point is not the main concern for you and you like the look and sound of the OR Interstellar, partner up. It won't leave you disappointed while out on the move or while shlepping up your local rock formation, and can hold its own in a downpour.