Some days are just great gear days, and the day we put on the Interstellar jacket from Outdoor Research was one of those days. The Interstellar looks on the outside like just another hard shell, and yeah it's that but also so much more. It's no exaggeration to say the Interstellar can be your only shell jacket, a true quiver of one.
First, the tick list: the Interstellar is light. As in ultralight, weighing just 11.6 ounces. Features include a zipped chest pocket and two zipped hand pockets, full-length draft flap with chin protector, velcro cuffs, and drawcords on the hem and helmet-compatible hood. Sounds vanilla, right? But the magic is in the details...
Let's talk perfect pockets. The chest pocket has a second stretchy mesh pocket inside for a phone or wallet. It holds our oversized iPhone 6 Plus just above the bottom of the main pocket, which is really appreciated if you're moving around a lot; also you don't have to worry about it falling out when you're grabbing something else. But that's not all, and we're still talking about the chest pocket! It has a corded key clip, so when you're a hundred feet off the deck no worries about losing your car keys.
The hand pockets are also great. They're mesh-backed so if you need venting you can leave them open. Also, wet gloves or hats will dry against your body without need for an extra dump pocket inside. The pockets also pass our critical test: if you leave the zipper open, there's enough of a lip so a phone or keys won't slide out during casual use. Final point of coolness: turn the left hand pocket inside-out and stuff the jacket inside, then zip it up. Beautiful. All zippers have just-right-sized pulls, and the main zipper has a second critical feature: when all the way up it forms a perfect cup around the chin, whether the hood is up or down. It's funny how many jackets get these two critical features wrong, but you'll appreciate both in daily use almost more than anything else.
Fit and finish are fantastic. The cut overall is trim without being at all restrictive, with perfect articulation for making the big moves. The hem is just long enough to fit a harness over, and the pockets are just high enough to access over the harness. The hood can be pulled over a bare head without unzipping, and - critical feature #3 - the brim can be tucked in if you're not wearing a helmet so it doesn't flop over your head. The shell material is stretchy and quiet while still being waterproof and breathable. Literally the only thing we would add to this jacket is a second chest pocket, but that's just our thing. The Outdoor Research Interstellar jacket is the cream of the crop, and the only shell jacket you need.