Gear Review: Outdoor Research Metaphor Jacket

Weighing in at approximately 39 ounces, the Outdoor Research Metaphor is a 3-in-1 jacket that I have continuously worn throughout Denver’s latest bout with arctic weather.  I am living proof that this jacket does its job well at -18F.  Without it, I would be in a heap of trouble on these cold days in Colorado.  And it’s not too often that these tests become available right outside my door.

Of late, the Metaphor has been my go-to jacket for just about anything related to going outside: snowshoeing, checking the mail, taking out the garbage and shoveling snow from the driveway.  It’s a pretty amazing jacket, especially with its GORE-TEX technology: Paclite Shell and Pro Shell.  This helps the Metaphor with its waterproof superiority.  The GORE-TEX Paclite Shell is lightweight and offers compressible wet-weather protection.  The Pro Shell ties up the rest as a fabric that’s rugged, waterproof and breathable.

In addition, it’s not too bulky either.  Usually with a 3-in-1 jacket, the bulk sometimes becomes distracting and then negates the very reason a jacket like this should be used.  It’s a terrible ordeal if a bulky jacket gets in the way of snowshoeing or any other winter sports activity.  The Metaphor is warm, but at the same time sensibly designed – keeping it away from the doldrums of typical and ordinary.

Last season, I tested the Trio jacket – another 3-in1 ensemble from OR.  Although this jacket proved to be another great OR product, it doesn’t compare to the Metaphor – boasting its GORE-TEX greatness.  All jackets are not made equal, even by the same company.

The Metaphor is not only effective with how it warms but with how it breathes.  After a long snowshoe run, I noticed that my sweat wasn’t progressively getting worse and inordinately cooling me down; it was allowed to dry progressively (meaning it kept me warm through the process).  Not a bad deal when the local news is telling people not to go outside because of the temperatures, but there I went.  Crazy me.  

Metaphor features:

*Durable, waterproof/breathable 3-layer 70D Gore-Tex Paclite body
*Rugged, waterproof/breathable 70D Gore-Tex Pro Shell shoulders
*Fully seam taped
*Dual-pull adjustable hood folds into collar
*Brushed tricot-lined collar
*Front zipper with external stormflap
*Double-sliding pit zippers
*Two zippered hand pockets; zippered internal pocket with media port
*Zip-out, nylon/spandex-knit mesh powder skirt with gripper elastic
*Hook/loop cuff closures
*Dual drawcord hem adjustments

Removable Liner Jacket:
*Lightweight, water-resistant 30D nylon shell and lining
*EnduraLoft insulation: 80 g body, 60 g sleeves
*Brushed tricot-lined collar
*Two handwarmer pockets
*Stretch binding on cuffs
*Dual drawcord hem adjustments
*Zips into shell at waist; snaps at collar and cuffs

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About the author

Ryan Alford