Gear Review: Limited-Edition “Ecstasy in the Rain" Jacket by OUTLIER

A lightweight, zipper and pocket-laden, waterproof tech shell for exploring around town and hitting the trail too

Author

Alex Rakestraw

Photographer

OUTLIER

Today, Brooklyn-based apparel workshop OUTLIER releases the latest installment in its much celebrated “EXPERIMENT” series—a, uh, series, of, well, experimental designs. 

Dubbed “Ecstasy in the Rain,” the piece in question takes the form of a hyper-breathable stretch shell jacket. For the past week Field Mag has tested an early release around New York City during day-long freezing rains and snow showers. The verdict: “Ecstasy” gets you moving and plays well with friends.

The key feature of this jacket is its air-permeable electrostatic membrane. Made by Schoeller of Switzerland, the “e-static” membrane is rated to a 6,000mm water column. Technically that’s not quite non-waterproof, but highly water-resistant. Wear tests in a 30 minute freezing rain saw no seep through whatsoever.

Even better, that air permeability means it works well with winter layers. Like PolarTec’s NeoShell and The North Face’s FUTURELIGHT, Ecstasy’s membrane is electronically-spun to allow for air flow between fibers. 

The specific membrane used here allows for around 1 CFM of ventilation. Worn over a Norrona Primaloft100 hoodie, it was surprisingly comfortable as I zipped around a sleet-soaked Midtown. Rain stayed out. Wind stayed out. Sweat stayed down.

Winter precip provided few chances to test out the jacket’s curious zipper design—a series of front and side zippers that OUTLIER calls “six-way venting.” Anyone familiar with side-zip anoraks knows the pleasant effect a “sweat dump” can have. Here, OUTLIER doubles the fun. Bike commuters and ACRONYM tech-beasts, rejoice!

Other details worth mentioning include ratchet cuffs, Uretek zippers, and a silly amount of pockets. There are seven—three inside, four outside, including a cycling-inspired rear lumbar pouch. A three-point adjustable “eyes-wide” hood rounds out the package.

All in all, “Ecstasy in the Rain” is a great piece of kit. It’s a highly-breathable, layering-friendly city shell that proves functionality is about more than shouting “10k/10k” from the rooftops. 

It’s also—and this is especially important for any urban dweller of repute—pretty darn stylish. Swathed in my black on black, an as-yet-unused bicep pocket hanging off my shoulder, I felt cool, like a bad guy in a Star Wars spin-off. I’m led to believe that’s called #techwear. At least that’s what Reddit says.

Since this is OUTLIER, that merger of style and tech will certainly cost you (in this case, $750). Is it worth the same as a brand new Alpha SV? That, friend, is your call. (Stay tuned for the full details on said Dead Bird Alpha next week.)

If you’re looking for a hardcore alpinism jacket that you can pull double-duty around the city, this isn’t it. But for those seeking a versatile, refined city jacket that looks great, functions especially well, and certainly won’t see replicated on every business bro’s back, give “Ecstasy” a try. 

Published 12-12-2019

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