Gear Review: Outdoor Research Women's Gauge S/S Tee

Pre-run in Philadelphia's Fairmount Park. (PC: D. Herscovitch)
When it comes to adventuring around the Northeastern part of the United States in summer, no matter your sport, you're going to deal with humidity. In Southeastern Pennsylvania, it can feel like you're swimming through the air rather than running, for example.

I don't get out running too often these days, but when I do, I enjoy it as long as I'm prepared for the temperatures and humidity. At a certain point, there's nothing you can do, you're going to be a hot sweaty mess. But wearing the right clothing can make a huge difference.

As part of another season of the #ORInsightLab program for Outdoor Research, I received a complimentary Women's Gauge short sleeved (s/s) tee to test. And the hot, humid trails around Philadelphia were the perfect testing grounds.


The Gauge s/s tee is constructed using 51% Polartec® Delta™ fabric, which is designed to better utilize the cooling processes out bodies naturally use, primarily sweat. Some wicking fabrics simply pull moisture away from the skin to ensure it evaporates faster, but doesn't work to prevent you from overheating. Polartec® Delta™ fabric is engineered to reduce friction, help increase airflow, and better dissipate heat than traditional fabric.

An additional 45% of the Gauge s/s tee includes TENCEL®, a fabric made from fibers extracted from the wood. TENCEL is produced using a closed-loop process, so if you prefer your shirts are more environmentally friendly than not, that's pretty cool. Spandex rounds out the last 4% of the material.

Contemplating post-run ice cream. Can't blame me, right? (PC: D. Herscovitch)

Performance, Fit, and Feel

I find I only notice the shirts I'm wearing when I'm running if I'm uncomfortably hot. Funny, right? If the shirt's working to keep me cool, I don't notice it's there. With the Gauge, other than the normal discomfort that comes with trail running when you don't do it too often, I didn't think about what I was wearing at all. It dried quickly, breathed well on my test runs, and helped prevent me from overheating in the hot, humid Philadelphia summer air.

I'm normally a medium in tops, but went with the large in the Gauge to give myself some more room. I tend to prefer my tops looser, and the medium was tight on my chest and arms.  The large is slightly longer than I generally prefer my shirts.

Yep, definitely getting some  post-run ice cream in heat like this! (PC: D. Herscovitch)

I didn't notice any chafing, but would prefer the fabric felt softer next to skin. I've only subjected it to a handful of washes, but given how light the fabric feels, I'm curious to see how it holds up over many, many washes, and if it pills when I brush against trees or rocks. So far so good after a handful of washes, but I did end up with a dirt stain I haven't been able to get out.

Recommended Uses and Final Thoughts

Overall, the Gauge is a great shirt if you're often active in environments where sweating buckets is the norm. It's incredibly lightweight, dries quickly, and helps prevent the wearer from overheating more effectively than other shirts I've worn. I'd recommend it for running and hiking, but really, it's great for any activity as long as you can manage the $59 MSRP. Of course, checking other websites for deals can help with that!