Throttle and Torque: Outdoor Research’s Trail Duds

We’ve reached the final installment in my Outdoor Research review series. I shared my thoughts on the Supercharger pants as well as the Redline jacket, both of which are now among my favorite outdoor clothing. Now I get to move on to the Throttle Shorts and Torque Tee, the last of the goodies OR send my way.

As you know, I toted my Outdoor Research goodies from Atlanta to Flagstaff to LA to Toronto, throughout the northeast, and back south again on my six-week Overland Expo to TBEX expedition in addition to several other shorter southeastern trips. I figured it was a prime opportunity to see how this gear performed under extremely different conditions.

Throttle shorts…

These shorts are designed for trail running so I strapped on my trail shoes and hit the dirt here in Georgia first. I found the fabric to be quite sturdy yet breathable enough for the southeast’s notorious heat and humidity. The mesh sides and liner were great for additional air flow as the sweat began to drip. Given that the material performed well in the southeast, I wasn’t surprised at all to find that they did a great job in the dryer and cooler climates I visited. They proved to be fast-drying and even worked as a stand-in swimsuit for me when Fred and George wanted to visit the beach in Rhode Island.

Hanging out in the Throttle Shorts and Torque Tee in Medano Creek at Great Sand Dunes. The fabrics dried in no time in the arid southwest.

Having said that, I struggled with much of the other aspects of the shorts. The inseam was too long for my tastes and the hip pocket position was bothersome. While it’s certainly handy for stashing smaller items, the back-and-forth motion of the stuff in your pocket while you’re running is distracting (Think jostling car keys…) For my running shorts, I prefer a small pocket in the back of the waistband since I find that position to be more stable with limited “sloshing” of pocket contents.

Those problems alone weren’t a deal-breaker for me. What did make these unworkable for me was the waist-to-hip ratio of the cut which I found it to be off for my particular build. The shorts are generously billowy at the hips but uncomfortably tight in the waist, even going so far as to give me the dreaded muffin-top. I couldn’t have gone with a larger size because the hip area was already roomier than I would have liked and a smaller size would have not been possible in the waist.

Torque Tee…

The Torque Tee pairs up nicely with the shorts so I tested them together. From a fabric stand-point it was quite comparable with my other hiking & running shirts. It’s touted to be odor resistant and I certainly didn’t have any trouble with it holding the stench that comes with sweating profusely in southeastern heat and humidity. Since it handles those conditions well, it’s no surprise that it was great in the dryer and cooler climates of the southwest and northeast. The fabric did get a couple of snags in it but that’s been my experience in almost all of my other technical tees. I think it’s simply the nature of these kinds of materials.

Much like the shorts I struggled with the fit on the tee as well. The waist and hips area was great but the neck was cut way too high for me and I was bound up at the shoulders as well. Admittedly I have broad shoulders so I run into that problem with a lot of brands and it’s one of the reasons I opt for tank tops as much as possible. Going with a larger size to accommodate my shoulders wouldn’t have done the trick since it would have then been too large at the waist and hips for my liking. And I suspect that even in a larger size the neckline would have still bothered me since I have a hang-up about high-necked shirts. So the case of the tee, it could very well be a case of “Dear OR, It’s not you, it’s me…”

The Torque and Throttle did work as a stand-in swimsuit in Rhode Island.

The moral of the story…

So with the Throttle Short and Torque Tee, I think the fabrics are fine. They perform well under a variety of conditions but most notably the humid, hot, wet blanket that is a southeastern summer. They’re quick drying and sturdy enough to take a fair amount of abuse.

Great materials but the hip to waist ratio proved too extreme for my middle-aged figure.
Great materials but the hip to waist ratio proved too extreme for my middle-aged figure.

My roadblock with both pieces was the overall fit. Like I’ve mentioned in my other reviews, at 5’5” I typically run a size 8-10 or medium in most brands. In the case of the Superchargers and Redline, the fit was great so I was completely shocked to find myself struggling with the cut on these. In fact, I kept trying them out to see if it was just a matter to getting used to a slightly different style. In the end, the fit of these didn’t work for me but if you have different style preferences and build, they may work just fine for you. I would absolutely love to hear if these pieces work for any other ladies out there or if it’s just me…

Many thanks…

A big shout-out and virtual high-five goes to Outdoor Research of course. I appreciate the chance to put these outdoor duds to the Val in Real Life test. In spite of the shorts and tee being off the mark for me personally, I’m still a huge fan of their products in general and I absolutely adore the Supercharger pants and Redline jacket.

As always…

Outdoor Research provided me with these items free of charge to review. My opinions and experiences are my own and they may vary from yours.

And now for your moment of green…

Across the country, it was a lot of fun testing Outdoor Research’s gear.