Outdoor Research Realm Jacket - Men's
Outdoor ResearchRealm Jacket - Men's

Made for moving quickly above the treeline.

When you're fighting your way to the top of a mountain while battling relentless winds and mixed precipitation, you need a jacket that shields you from the elements without holding you back or weighing you down. The Outdoor Research Men's Realm Jacket delivers lightweight, breathable, and flexible performance for aerobic alpine assaults.

Three-layer AscentShell fabric withstands the rigors of moving through high mountains while offering the flexibility needed to handle intense movements. It's also extremely breathable to keep you from getting bogged down with heat-robbing sweat, and Dynamic Reach underarm panels offer extra stretch where it's needed most. Fully taped seams prevent any moisture from working its way in through the cracks.

The helmet-compatible hood fits easily over your climbing or ski helmet, and it has a wire brim to keep your line of sight clear while still offering protection from blowing snow. Elastic cuffs and a drawcord hem help seal out icy winds. Plus, the entire jacket stuffs into its own internal pocket for easy storage when you work your way down to lower elevations and friendlier conditions.

  • AscentShell 3L mechanical stretch ripstop fabric
  • Fully taped seams
  • Dynamic Reach underarm panels
  • Helmet-compatible wire-brimmed hood
  • YKK AquaGuard zippers
  • Elastic cuffs and drawcord hem
  • Stuffs into internal pocket
  • Reviews
  • Q & A

A sturdy, light all season piece

  • Familiarity: I've used it several times
  • Fit: True to size
  • Size Bought: Small

This shell is a killer all-season piece. I use this for everything from rainy bike rides, long ski-tours, and really anything where there moisture coming from the sky. The fit is definitely athletic, I usually fit between a small and a medium depending on the piece. I went with a small in this which looks and feels great, unless I am wearing a puffy insulation layer underneath. If I were planning on wearing any more than a base layer or fleece underneath, I would size up to a medium.

harness friendly pockets


Overall this jacket is a perfect pick for those minimalists who want one jacket to handle it all. It's light, inexpensive, breathable, waterproof, and has a really great fit. The small fits me great, but doesn't leave a whole ton of layering room. The only thing I really have left to test is durability, which so far seems a little lacking due to the thin shell material and "budget goretex".

Stay tuned for updates.

Can you confirm the HH or 15,000 mm, an MVTR of 30,000 and a Air Permeability of .3 CFM for the OR Realm?

Hey Rory - Sorry for the long delay here. All of your stats match what I see from OR.

Thank you,


OR Rep

Super Light and Waterproof

  • Familiarity: I've used it several times
  • Fit: True to size
  • Size Bought: Medium

This jacket is very thin but still has beefy features like the zippers, brimmed hood, and synch cords.

I have only used this in summer rain storms (it obviously performed well) but have yet to wear it all day in a storm.

In regards to the front zipper snagging, yes, it does that. But I can still get it zipped up no problem. I think this zipper snags simply because of the thicker material used to waterproof around the zipper. I would rather have a snagging zipper than a leaking one but I can see how this might be annoying to some.

I'm also a medium in everything including this jacket and it fits perfectly with enough room to layer underneath.

Obvious QC Problem

    I was really looking forward to trying this jacket based on other reviews. Ordered one and when it came, the main zipper was jamming about 1/2 way up. There were little tiny tears next to the zipper in the fabric. Sent it back and ordered another and had the exact same problem. I could force thru the jam but obviously should not have to. As usual, Backcountry is great to deal with and makes returns quite simple. Not willing to try for a third so I'm back in the market for a packable, light weight rain shell. Very disappointed.

    Hi Patrick,
    Sorry to hear this jacket wasn't up to par. May I suggest checking out the Patagonia Rain Shadow Jacket or the Haglofs L.I.M. III Jacket. Both of these jackets are similar in price and performance and would be a great lightweight, packable rain shell.

    Super Duper Shell

    • Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer
    • Fit: Runs small
    • Size Bought: Medium

    Most folks have covered why this is a great piece of gear -- it's extremely lightweight, packable, and breathable. I do want to address the durability issue raised below. After plentiful encounters with trees and rocks while skiing and a particularly unfortunate run-in with a Jet Blue drink cart and a cantankerous flight attendant named Rick, I have been pleasantly surprised by this jacket's durability. Despite my less than gentle treatment, to include moments that I was certain I'd ripped out a seam, the Realm still looks brand new. In short, despite the jacket being so light I have had zero durability issues.

    I'll make one last point -- I bought this as a touring shell and it certainly is that. It's wonderful to go uphill in Colorado's obnoxiously potent wind while wearing a shell and not feeling like a soggy burrito. However, it works so well that it has become my day-to-day resort jacket on all but the windiest days and my rain shell for backpacking. Good work, OR.

    When will there be a version for women!?

    Sarah, believe me, having been a rep for OR for 13 years now, I am quite vocal about this! I am hoping S18, but not sure! I will keep pushing!


    OR Rep

    Great Lightweight Shell, Not for Me

    • Familiarity: I returned this product before using it
    • Fit: True to size

    I bought this for my Dad since he was looking for a technical shell to ski in this winter. This is a great light-weight shell, that packs down extremely well for touring and mountaineering. It is also layers well with great maneuverability. Ultimately, he decided to return it for a heavier-weight shell since for him the most important aspect was durability over a few seasons. I cant comment on the performance of this shell, but for a light-weight touring set up it could be the right fit.

    Hi there - Yes, for durability, go with something a bit burlier and heavier, like the Furio or Maximus from OR. The trade off is that it won't be as packable or breathable. Trade-offs, right?! I am looking forward to the Realm for women!

    OR Rep

    I am 6'3 and about 185 lbs. Any size recommendations? I will be using the Realm for some alpine climbing so room for a puffy base layer is a must. Thanks!

    Hey Spencer, I'm 6'2" 180ish, long torso and arms. I have the large and it seems to work good for me. I've not done a lot of over head work with ice tools but some sketchy class 5 in snowboard boots the range of motion in the arms was good. It can creep up your back a little wearing a lighter pack.

    Hope that helps

    Summit of Mount Lassen

    Summit of Mount Lassen

    As a wind shell

    As a wind shell

    Didn't think a shell could get lighter..

    • Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer
    • Fit: True to size
    • Size Bought: Large

    So I picked up the Realm only after one of the local reps was overly excited about how the jacket is made (engineers...) and I figured I'd try it out. Best impulse gear buy of the year. I'm not the type to buy something by the looks but this does have some unique style and looks really good!
    Its crazy light and so far very waterproof. I have yet to wear the jacket in an all out rain storm but so far some light cold snow, "wintery mix snow, sudden rain and a lot of wind have put it up to the test.
    I own a Helium II jacket which has been my goto "just incase" jacket but its now replaced.
    The Realm is only 4oz heavier and fits over layers better. The fully adjustable hood is nice over a helmet better than even the Axiom jacket. Still enough pockets in the chest to house some light gloves, a phone and snack. The jacket is easier to stuff into its own pocket than some others I've used.
    A big plus is the one chest pocket is mesh backed and can be used as a vent when its just too warm
    If I could add one feature it would be one "stuff it" or goggle pocket to the inside for climbing skins. Thats just me..

    Outdoor Research Realm Jacket

    Lightweight and Breathable

    • Familiarity: I've used it several times
    • Fit: True to size
    • Size Bought: Medium

    After giving up on hardshells due to lack of breath ability, I think I've found the one for me. The Realm is everything I want from a shell: light, comfortable, breathable, waterproof, and VERSATILE. So far I've only used this during backcountry ski season, but I'm excited to take it to the crag and the trails.

    The first thing I noticed about the jacket is how light it is. Even with a wire brim adjustable hood, 2 pockets, and velcro wrist tabs, the jacket weights just 11 ounces... that's light for a jacket with these features and it's one of the reasons why the Realm is so comfortable.

    But the best part of the jacket is the membrane. AscentShell is OR's proprietary version of Polartec Neoshell. What does that mean? It means this thing BREATHES and at a price much lower than other Neoshell jackets. I've worn this skinning and while I did get a little wet underneath, this jacket handled the perspiration much better than any other hardhsell I've worn. For reference, I usually skin in just a baselayer top, maybe a light fleece if it's chilly... I'm a very sweaty dude. What's really impressed me with this jacket is that I'll skin/boot up, whack the jacket on, ski, and by the end of the run I'm dry underneath. I was sweaty as hell when I started, but dry at the bottom.

    But all because this is breathable, doesn't mean it won't protect you. I've been out in this when wet snow was falling and no issues at all with wetting out or leaking. I'll definitely be bringing this with me on climbs when I'm thinking it could get nasty out. This guy even packs into it's own interior pocket and has a clip loop.

    The feature that I appreciate the most, and this will sound funny, is the wrist closures. Yes, the wrist closures. Often time jackets have wrists that are too wide, too narrow, awkwardly shaped, with bad velcro, etc. But OR nailed it on this. Half elastic and half velcro means that you don't *need* to redo the wrists every time you take the jacket on/off, but when you do it's super easy and locked down. Cuffs fit well over/under pretty much all gloves I've used, and especially when wearing a large watch such as an Ambit.

    Sizing is spot on. Slim enough so it's comfortable and looks good, but definitely enough room to layer. Tucked under a harness, it won't be billowing over the top and make you look like a mutant mushroom.

    I haven't been super excited on a piece of gear in a bit, but I really am enthusiastic about this piece and can't wait to see how it does over the long run. No concerns as of yet other than long term durability, but that's the tradeoff that I'm willing to pay for a super light piece of gear.

    I encourage you to reach out directly if you have any questions on this or other jackets, such as:
    - Can you explain all these membranes to me?
    - What jacket is right for me?
    - What other lightweight gear do you recommend?


    Lightweight and Breathable

    Awesome review Ben!

    Does it have a carabiner loop when stuffed?

    It does, Sean! Thank you for the question!


    OR Rep