Outdoor Research Axiom ReviewApril 22, 2015
- Clean, simple design
- Remarkably well-designed hood
- Excellent breathability
- Dependably waterproof
- Good coverage
- Breast pocket sometimes interfered with a pack sternum strap
I found the Outdoor Research Axiom suitable for a range of activities—from ski touring to backpacking. After extensive use, I learned there is a lot to like and little to complain about the Axiom. I'd recommend it to just about anyone for just about any use, providing they are willing to pay the hefty retail price.
Gore-Tex Active Shell has proven itself up to the task of handling multi-day drenchings without a leak. The Axiom improves on that material performance with a stellar design that helps shed water. The hood design is especially worthy of mention—it fits comfortably yet snugly—it’s the best hood I’ve tried. It is roomy enough for a helmet but cinches down to fit well over your head without a helmet. The slightly broader and stiffer than normal “bill” on the hood was very effective at keeping rain off my face and maintaining good visibility.
Active shell is near the top in terms of breathability for three layer membranes. Like most the Axiom does not have pit zips, which we still think are necessary in really warm and wet conditions. I definitely felt clammy working hard in this jacket as the thermometer climbed into the high 50ºF temperatures.
A bomber hood, hand and chest pockets, a long cut that doesn’t expose wrists or plumbers crack when we reach or lean over. The Axiom checks all my function boxes. As I noted above, some testers found the chest pocket interfered with sternum straps, but not everyone found this to be an issue.
Gore markets Active Shell as the day-trip membrane with the Pro Shell as the expedition choice. They encourage lots of washing to keep breathing pores open in the membrane. With good care we found no change in performance over time. And I found the Axiom to stand up to a week of heavy use without a breakdown in performance. All toggles and zips feel secure and well made and the waterproof zips never snagged or felt fragile.
There are lighter and more svelte jackets on the market, but few that weigh as little and pack as small as the Axiom while performing as big and burly. Impressive.