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Outside Magazine Gives Outdoor Research Axiom Jacket Its 2012 Gear of the Year Award

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Axiom strikes ‘perfect balance between weight, features and breathability,’ editor says.

Seattle, WASH. – In the Spring 2012 Outside Magazine Buyer’s Guide, Outdoor Research, a leading independent manufacturer of outdoor apparel and accessories, won the 2012 Gear of the Year Award in the jacket category for its Axiom, a new 13.3-ounce, stretch Gore-Tex Active Shell jacket.

“There are lots of really good lightweight waterproof-breathable jackets on the market,” says Outside Buyer’s Guide Editor Sam Moulton. “But the Axiom is one of the best. It’s remarkably breathable, with all the features you really need, and none that you don’t.

“Perfect balance between weight, features and breathability.”

With a number of new technologies hitting the market in the last year that were created to try and make waterproof/breathable jackets that are more breathable, Outside’s editorial team focused in on testing many of the 2012 models that employ those new technologies, including Gore-Tex Active Shell. They were highly impressed with the Axiom’s breathability.

“I usually can’t wear a waterproof jacket when hiking hard uphill, but I wore this piece all day,” said one tester.

They also praised the Axiom’s design, which – while built with alpine climbing in mind – integrated the right feature set to be extremely functional for a wide range of uses, from backcountry skiing to backpacking, while still remaining very lightweight and packable.

Release of this season’s Axiom follows several years of reinvestment internally at Outdoor Research, and a period where the directive from CEO Dan Nordstrom has been to focus on developing best-in-class products using best available technologies. Moving into its eighth year of successive, profitable growth, the company has grown its product development, customer service, marketing, IT and manufacturing teams with more than 40 new positions since Fall 2010. Those positions include six new management-level hires in the product development department.

The Spring 2012 line, with the Axiom as one of its signature new products, was the first line reflecting the added horsepower of the new hires. Line growth and innovation continues in the Fall 2012 line.

“We’ve had our heads down really focused on raising the bar in all of our product categories for the last couple of years,” Nordstrom said. “So it’s incredibly rewarding to have a publication like Outside, which has such a rigorous testing process, recognize the Axiom, a product that’s very directly the result of all the hard work the team here has put in. Winning a Gear of the Year Award really validates our approach.”

In the Axiom, Outdoor Research is the first North American manufacturer to use the stretch version of Active Shell. Along with that, the design team focused on making the jacket more fully featured than many of the competitor models using Active Shell, while still staying beneath the 14-ounce maximum weight that Gore-Tex stipulates for jackets using the new membrane. The jacket retails for $375.

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