Gear Review Roundup: Outdoor Research Insight Lab (#ORInsightLab) Women's Tops

Last month, I was invited to be a part of Outdoor Research's new #ORInsightLab gear testing project. The goal is to gather a group of what the #ORInsightLab manager calls "influential folks...who are diverse athletes and dynamic social story-tellers" to help share performance insights about products from three specific categories. As part of the project, OR provided me with two complimentary tops to test and review - the Torque Tee and Redline Jacket. After putting both through testing over the past month and a half, I have plenty of feedback share.

And as this post started to take shape, friend and fellow #ORInsighLab member Josh clued me into the concept of Instagram reviews. They're a concise, fun, informative way to review a piece before or in lieu of a blog post. Aside from how quick they are to digest, I'm a huge fan of seeing multiple shots related to a single piece of gear in one place. Josh used the "comments" feature to provide more about specs, the fit, feel, look, and durability of the pieces he tested. I love the idea and used #IGReviews to give my early impressions of both tops. Both photos below are samples from these quick and fun reviews.

Click here for my #IGReview of the Redline Jacket.
Outdoor Research Women's Redline Jacket

The Redline is part of OR's new HighEx™ (High Exertion) collection. It's designed to move with you during trail running and other endurance and high-exertion sports thanks to breathable, stretchy fabrics that aid in moisture management. The Redline is designed with softer, quieter fabric than its predecessor, the Vigor. Reflective logos keep you visible and when you're done with it, the jacket can be stuffed into the chest pocket.

I took the Redline out for early mornings in the Philadelphia area, including runs, and could see it being perfect for morning hikes and chilly days on the trail. It's so lightweight I almost forgot I had it on. I was comfortable running on humid 65-70ยบ morning. The color is beautiful and overall fit of the jacket is great. The sleeves are long enough, the shoulders are the right width, and I've thrown it on a number of times just to walk around town when I need a light layer over a t-shirt.

There are a few areas for improvement, though. There's only one pocket and it's on the left chest. It's not comfortable to have anything in it while I'm running; I'd rather have a pocket in the back. It's also boxy, but the different colored fabrics provide the illusion of shape. I'd like to see it cut in at the waist a bit more. When I'm outdoors and need long sleeves, I'll typically use a baselayer over a jacket, especially if the jacket doesn't have a hood. Jackets that have hoods aren't always ideal for running - the hood flops around - but I'm less likely to wear a hoodless jacket hiking than one with a hood. Overall, I'm a fan of the Redline and would recommend it for running, vigorous hiking and similar activities. MSRP $85.

Click here for my #IGReview of the Torque Tee.
Outdoor Research Women's Torque S/S Tee

The Torque Tee is also part of OR's new HighEx™ collection. Polatrec® Power Dry® fabric draws moisture away from your skin to help disperse sweat into the air quickly and Polygiene® Active Odor Control keeps stink at bay (for normal activity; you will need to wash the shirt eventually). It definitely kept me comfortable during intense CrossFit workouts, which is saying something. The seams are positioned perfectly and don't chafe. I've fallen asleep in it multiple times The color is muted, but if pool (light blue) isn't right for you, the Torque also comes in gem (green) and flame (red).

I found myself hard pressed to come up with areas for improvement for the Torque Tee (good job, OR!). It fits tight on my shoulders, but that's a frequent problem and it's not tight enough to restrict my movement. Despite the fact that I'm 5'8" tall, I have a relatively short (15-16") torso and the Torque is slightly long on me. Overall, I really like it and would recommend it for any intense exercise activity. MSRP $59.

Have you tried either of these tops? Think you would? Leave a comment!