About 3 years ago I bought a Celestial Jacket from Outdoor Research. It’s a very lightweight hardshell made out a 15 denier Gore-Tex Paclite material. When I first got it, I was surprised at how thin it was — paper thin — and had many doubts about the jacket’s durability. But I found myself pleasantly surprised: in the 3 years that I’ve had it, the jacket sustained only one small rip in the lower back area. This was easily patched.
About a month ago, the jacket failed at another point. The hood has an adjustable shock cord going through it behind the brim that helps to frame the face. This channel that the shock cord goes through (made of a lightweight nylon material, not Paclite) ripped out. I had heard of OR’s Infinite Guarantee, which claims that any product can be returned or exchanged “forever”, but had never before used it. I figured there would probably be some sort of catch or fine print, but thought it worth the try.
So today I went into the Outdoor Research Retail Store to see what would happen. I showed them the failure in the jacket and asked if it could be repaired. No, they said, they didn’t think that part of the hood could be fixed and they didn’t make that same jacket anymore, but they could give me credit for it or I could choose to trade it for any jacket in the store. Well then. That was easy.
I spent about an hour going through all of their hardshells. They didn’t have anything equivalent to the 10oz weight of the Celestial Jacket. Their Helium Jacket was even lighter at 6.8oz, but the hood wasn’t very adjustable and the jacket lacked pit zips. Most of the other jackets were ruled out because of being too heavy and not breathable enough. Eventually it came down to the Revel Jacket and the Foray. At 13.7oz the Revel is the lighter of the two but it’s made out of Pertex Shield which I have no experience with. The Foray was heavier at 15.7oz but made out of the same Gore-Tex Paclite as my old jacket — though the Foray uses 40 denier material, so is a good deal thicker and more durable than the old Celestial. I was having trouble deciding if I wanted to get the lighter jacket and risk trying the Pertex material or if I should stick with tried and true Gore-Tex. I already have a Marmot Precip jacket, which at 11.6oz fills the lightweight niche nicely, so I eventually decided to get the slightly beefier Foray jacket.
The guy who was helping me cut off the tag, handed me the new jacket, and I was out the door. In my book that’s a free $200 jacket. It’s refreshing to find a company that stands behind their products 100%. No partial refunds, or limited warranties, or memberships required. After today’s experience, I will certainly be doing more business with Outdoor Research in the future.
And now I find that the Foray Jacket actually weights 13.9oz on my scale. An even better deal!