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OR Celestial Jacket : The Only Shell You Need

One of my biggest peeves with outerwear is: I get too hot halfway through my hike. Not a problem if the weather's nice and I can peel off layers. But when it's raining, as it often does here in the Pacific Northwest, I need a jacket that can keep me dry and well-ventilated. I think I've found what I'm looking for in OR's Celestial Jacket.

Made out of ultra lightweight Gore-Tex Paclite, the Celestial jacket is highly breathable, entirely waterproof, and exceptionally windproof. OR has taken a lot of care with this jacket, which is apparent in its many standard features, such as: waterproof zippers, zipper "garages" at the ends of every zip, sealed seams, and generous chest pockets with slanted pockets (all the easier to access contents while wearing a pack).

What sets this jacket apart from other Paclite jackets is its full-length pit zips. My other rain jackets have pit zips, too, but they're located under the arms. OR has relocated the zips to run the length of the torso, from hem to armpit; the zips also move in both directions. It's a nice change and allows me more options when I need to cool down but still need rain and/or wind protection.

Another thoughtful detail is the single hem-pull, which easily cinches the hem along the back panel of the jacket -- with one hand. When tightened, the front of the jacket lies flat for a close fit. The hood has a built-in brim, and can be adjusted using two side pulls and a pull on the back of the hood. I like that the sleeves have elastic at the wrists, as well as a velcro tab for a custom fit.

Finally, and most important, the Celestial jacket keeps me dry. I've been wearing it out in the rain, and naturally, I had to stand in the shower with it for extra good measure. Not a drop of water got through! I'm always impressed by its windproofness, too. Having spent most of my live freezing my butt off on the blustery plains, I know wind. The Celestial does an excellent job at blocking wind, but I'm still always surprised and happy when I'm out and about in bad weather ... and totally dry and warm on the inside.

Available in men's and women's sizes. Colors: black, delphi (women only), wasabi, mojo blue (men only), and cayenne (men only).

Bottom Line: I love OR gear. Their products are always well-made, with a lot of attention to important details. The fact that my Celestial jacket is so light I can wad it into a ball the size of a grapefruit is appealing, too. Any jacket that makes my load lighter and protects me from the elements is tops on my list.--E.D. (May '06)

Price: $249

Manufacturer's Site:


The first flashlight was invented in 1898. Joshua Lionel Cohen, original owner of the Eveready company developed the concept of using a battery to run a light bulb, which he shared with an Eveready salesman, Conrad Hubert. Hubert then turned the idea into a flashlight.

Source: "Invention of the Flashlight," by Mary Bellis, posted on