Outdoor Research Motive AscentShell Review – Most Breathable Hardshell?

Outdoor Research Motive AscentShell Engearment

Outdoor Research Motive AscentShell Review – Most Breathable Hardshell?

 

The Outdoor Research Motive AscentShell is a really interesting jacket. It features OR’s AscentShell waterproof breathable membrane is made using electrospinning technology. The result is a lightweight, breathable and stretchy material.


Outdoor Research Motive AscentShell Review - Most Breathable Hardshell? 1Men's Motive AscentShell Jacket

 

Outdoor Research Motive AscentShell Review

The Outdoor Research Motive AscentShell is a really impressive jacket.  Let’s start with the material.  OR created their own 3 layers waterproof breathable membrane from the ground up.  Or should I say, from the nano level up? The AscentShell is made from electrospinning charged polymers to a grounded surface.  This results in an air-permeable and breathable membrane that allows sweat to evaporate through the material.

I do not claim to understand how that all works, I can just give you my experience on how it works in the applications I used it in.  That is, how it performed in snow, sleet, grople, cold as heck rain and wind. The Motive arrived just in time for the 2nd biggest snowstorm in the last 20 years here in Denver.

Outdoor Research Motive AscentShell Review - Most Breathable Hardshell? 2

I put it to work on day one by shoveling copious amounts of heavy, wet snow.  While it was during feet of snow! The membrane did a great job of shedding the snow, of course.  But it really shined at how well it dissipated the heat and moisture I was creating from inside the jacket.

Outdoor Research Motive AscentShell Review - Most Breathable Hardshell? 3

Being that it is spring here, we did get a fair amount of other moisture – cold as heck rain (LOL) and sleet and all the other kinds of wetness that can come from the sky.  It handled it all with ease.

Fit and Function

I am 6’1″ 45″ chest 33″ waist 36/37 on the arms and the XL fits great! I was a bit concerned when I saw on the OR website that they say it is a “trim” fit.  As you can see from the pics and video, it is more of a flattering and perhaps “athletic” fit.  Not boxy, not loose, not too tight, not restrictive.  Just right.  The Goldilocks of fit!

Outdoor Research Motive AscentShell Engearment

Outdoor Research Motive AscentShell Engearment

Lightweight and yet durable

This size XL comes in at 12.6 ounces.  That is really lightweight for what you are getting.  Now, there are plenty of other rain shells that are lighter, but they are often lacking some of the features.  And certainly, none of them are as robust of material as the Outdoor Research Motive AscentShell.  This jacket is actually a robust 50D material. Think about that for a moment.  50D!

Outdoor Research Motive AscentShell Review - Most Breathable Hardshell? 4

Features

The Motive has pretty much everything you would want in a lightweight shell.  It has two zippered hand pockets that are sizable.  The hood is absolutely great! It is not large (nor ski helmet compatible) so it is a great fit over your head without being overkill.

Outdoor Research Motive AscentShell Engearment

Outdoor Research Motive AscentShell Engearment

There are no pit zips on this jacket.  Now, at first, this concerned me.  I use pit zips all the time.  I did not miss them on this shell though.  It really does breathe that well. That is dang impressive!

Outdoor Research Motive AscentShell

Outdoor Research Motive AscentShell

Stretch and quite

These are two of my favorite features.  I love stretch on all my clothes.  As an active person, I am (and I assume you are too!) moving around and doing fun stuff.  I hate restrictive clothing.  The Motive is very pliable and stretch.  Thank goodness!

Outdoor Research Motive AscentShell

Outdoor Research Motive AscentShell

It is also quiet.  It is nice to have a legit waterproof breathable jacket that does not make a lot of noise.  There are times and places for those other WPB membranes, that make noise.  But the activities I used this jacket for do not require the epic 30K+ waterproof rating.

Outdoor Research Motive AscentShell Review - Most Breathable Hardshell? 5

That is the last point on this jacket.  I do not know the exact water column for this membrane, but I would guess it is around 15K.  That might not sound impressive, but I can tell you that it handled being in all the snow, sleet, and rain I could find.  And it handled it with ease.

More importantly (in my opinion) it breathes incredibly well and has tons of stretch. Those are more important to me than tropical rain forest level waterproofing.  If you appreciate the breathability, stretch, and quite as much as I do, then this jacket is for you!

And, it is only $199.  That is an incredible value for what you are getting.  Let that sink in…. $199.  Yep, this is a game-changer!

Outdoor Research Motive AscentShell Engearment

Outdoor Research Motive AscentShell Engearment

If you are looking for a similar jacket with more backcountry ski or splitboard features, check out the Outdoor Research Carbide Jacket.  I love that jacket and here is the review.

 

 

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