Earlier this year I was asked by Outdoor Research to take part in the #ORInsightLab. Many of the other participants have pretty nice explanations of the concept of the #ORInsightLab so click through to learn about this cool opportunity. I like to spend a good amount of time testing gear so this review ended up being posted a little later than expected.
I’m originally from Seattle and was familiar with the OR brand as a outdoors company with solid jackets and winter wear. For many years I wore OR gloves while out snowboarding and was excited to see that they are making products for Running and Climbing.
From the climbing line I am testing out the Whirlwind Hoody, Voodoo Pants and Air Brake gloves . This is pretty much a full climbing outfit and the pieces easily mix and match with other products depending on the season.
The first thing that jumps out at me about the Whirlwind Hoody is the color! I’m a big fan of blue and this shade is bright and very photogenic. The fabric is stretchy and wind-proof but not waterproof. There is a touch of DWR, but in a rain storm the jacket will soak through instantly. The hood is very well designed and the thin fabric can either fit inside a helmet or stretch to go on the outside. This is a really nice feature since a hood really helps trap in the heat.
The whirlwind is a pullover and is designed to stuff into it’s chest pocket (the only pocket on the jacket). It has a clip in loop which is nice, but fitting the jacket into the pocket is pretty difficult. You have to make sure to pull out the corners of the pocket when you flip it inside out otherwise the jacket will not fit. Once packed the jacket is quite small when you clip it to your harness, a plus!
I’ve been wearing the Whirlwind Hoody on all of my climbing trips for the past four months. The fabric is great for climbing and I’ve only put one tiny hole in the jacket. It does a really good job of cutting the wind in a small durable package. The problem I have had with most windshirts is that you can’t climb in them. The Whirlwind Hoody is MADE to be climbed in. Another nice feature is that you don’t need to take your helmet off to put on the Whirlwind.
It should be noted that this is not a rain jacket and does a very poor job in the rain. I’ve been caught in two small storms and wished for something a bit more waterproof. So make sure you check the weather and dress appropriately!
I usually just wear the Whirlwind over a T-Shirt but the cut is baggy enough (and stretchy enough) that I can wear it over a light long sleeve or fleece like the Patagonia R1.
This has become my go to jacket for long fair weather climbs and is an exceptional piece for rock climbing!
The Voodoo Pants are a cool to colder weather soft shell pant. The fabric is windproof, has a light DWR and are very very stretchy. These are very similar to the Simple Guide pants by Patagonia. I’ve found that OR is generous in their sizing and while a size 30 is usually tight on me, the Voodoo pants require a belt. The rest of the pant, however, have a slim cut which I like. As you can see in the photo below the pant cuffs fit me just right and it is not mandatory to roll them up for climbing. I commend OR for having a slimmer cut pant!
The Voodoo Pants are stretchy and feature a gusseted crotch, which makes them ideal for climbing. When at high elevation, like the Incredible Hulk, I was also able to layer them over a pair of long underwear without an issue. The soft fabric inside the waist band is a great feature that makes sure the pants don’t chafe on long hikes or climbs. The belt loops work fine but I would love to see a built-in webbing belt. (I always forget to bring a belt). The side cargo pocket is nice and spacious with an easy to undo zipper.
Despite the light weight fabric I don’t really recommend these for hot weather. They are breathable but tend to trap heat which is great for wind/cold weather. They are windproof and the DWR stands up to light rain better than the Whirlwindy Hoody. Paired together I climbed many routes from Romantic Warrior in the Needles to Tradewinds on the Incredible Hulk.
These are great pants that are can do it all, especially when faced with cool weather. As the winter comes around the Voodoo pants will be making frequent appearances in Yosemite. They also are great for summer time alpine climbing. I would often hike in wearing shorts and then change into the Voodoo Pants for climbing.
The Air Break gloves are by far the most comfortable and dexterous gloves that I’ve worn. I usually wear medium sized gloves and sized down to small. The gloves are a mix of leather and stretchy fabric that is warm but not hot. I like having full finger gloves, but have yet to find a pair that does not fall apart. Unfortunately after less than 6 months of use the leather started failing on the finger tips. I expect this is because I wear gloves more than the average user. The The Air Break gloves were my go to pair for both multi-pitch climbing and single pitch climbing. Over the summer while using the gloves I’ve climbed over 100 pitches and used the gloves rappelling and doing bolt replacement. My last pair of gloves fell apart at the stitching, and this did not happen to the Air Brake gloves. I would stay for durability the Seemseaker Glove would be a better option for a user like me. The center of the gloves are still doing great but the leather wore through on the finger tips.
The most important thing to note about these gloves is that they are NOT good in wet weather. I used the gloves in a big rain storm and the leather dried out and shrank. It took a while to get the glove back on afterwards and the fit is no longer as good.
I would recommend these gloves to people but warn that they are more fragile than they appear. The kevlar stiching is bombproof but the soft leather is prone to wear.
When I am not out climbing I spend a good amount of time running so I have been reviewing the Throttle Shorts and Redline Jacket from the HighEx line.
I usually prefer a boxer-brief liner in running shorts but I’ve been impressed with the Throttle Shorts. The material is very soft in the liner and I’ve been chafe free up to 13 miles (something I can’t say about all of my running shorts). The liner does tend to accumulate/absorb sweat pretty fast and it would be nice if the fabric was more breathable to reduce sweating.
I spend most of my time in sunny California but was out on the East Coast for a wedding over the summer. We had a nice coastal storm on the Jersey shore which mean my 10 mile tempo run was drenching.
The outer material on the Throttle Shorts is a soft nylon and was perfect in the rain. The fabric has a light DWR coating that really shed water and didn’t absorb anything. The liner did soak up water but over all the short performed very well in the soaking rain. Usually my shorts turn into a wet sponge and the outer material on the Throttle shorts performed very well!
I don’t like wearing a waist pack running so I look for shorts that have pockets in them. The Throttle shorts have a single large pocket on the right hip.This pocket is larger than average which is a benefit if used correctly. When I put too much in the pocket it would bounce quite a bit, which distracts me. The nice thing is that it easily fits a full size smart phone or iPhone. If used for food you can easily fit 4-6 Gels depending if the bouncing bothers you.
The Red-line Jacket is an ultra-light semi breathable wind shell. It is designed to cut the wind and keeping you warm using as little weight as possible.
In contrast to the Whirlwindy hoody it is super easy to stuff this jacket into the chest pocket. The pocket is large and the fabric is so light weight that it squishes in easily. Yet again you get a clip in loop (Awesome!) and the jacket easily fits in to the pocket on the back of a cycling jersey.
I think that this jacket is very multi-sport compatible and I’ve taken it running, climbing and cycling. For a climbing jacket you really can’t wear it climbing, but it is super small in your pack, weights less than 6 oz! , and clips easily to your harness. I would say it is best fit in summer settings where wind is an issue.
I went on a long bike ride over the Santa Cruz Mountains and once we started towards the ocean a breeze picked up and the temps went down. The Red-Point jacket really cuts through the wind and worked well even when speeding along on my bicycle.
As a running jacket I’m rarely cold, but the advantage of the Red-line jacket is the weight. I can easily throw it in my pack and forget it is there. When it gets cold, or I stop to eat on a long run, I have something to wear. This allows me to bring more protection without worrying about having to carry many extra ounces.
Full Disclosure: Outdoor Research provided these items to DreamInVertical in exchange for this review. The opinions expressed above are my own and reflect my experience with these clothes. Feel free to leave comments regarding your opinion any of the clothing above.
For more Sweet Gear reviews from Luke and Lizzy check out our Gear Reviews page.