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Reviews > Clothing > Jackets > Outdoor Research Radiant LT Fleece > Outdoor Research - Radiant LT Zip Fleece > Test Report by Shane Williams

Outdoor Research Radiant Fleece
Test Series by Shane Williams
Initial Review: October 20, 2010
Field Report: January 4th, 2011
Long Term Report: March 8th, 2011

Tester Information:

Name: Shane Williams
Email: sherpa[dot]colorado[at]gmail.com
Personal Website: coloradosherpa.net
Age: 36
Location: Colorado Springs, Colorado USA
Gender: Male
Height: 6' 0" (1.83 m)
Weight: 190 lb (86.20 kg)

Bio:

As a child I lived in the last house on a dead end street. Just beyond my house was a wilderness area. I started hiking and exploring there, and I've never stopped. I started backpacking in the South Eastern Appalachian Mountains, including portions of the Appalachian Trail. Today I primarily hike in the Colorado Rockies. My pack weight is approximately 30 (13.61 kg) to 50 lbs (22.68 kg). I often carrying more gear than necessary hoping that I wonít need it. I enjoy weekend excursions into the High Country with friends and lower elevation day trips with my family.

Product Information:

Manufacturer: Outdoor Research
Year of Manufacture: 2010
Manufacturer's Website: http://outdoorresearch.com
Listed Weight: 3.6 oz (102 g)
Measured Weight: 3.6 oz (102 g)
(Courtesy of Outdoor Research)

Initial Observations:

Upon unpacking the OR Radiant Fleece from it's clear wrapping I found documentation attached that describes the materials used to construct the fleece as well as it's suggested utilization as a base or second layer. It also informed me that it has an "Infinite Guarantee", which is impressive. The Fleece is in pristine condition and meets the expectations as described by the manufacturers website.

After giving OR's Radiant Fleece a look-over, I was a little surprised at the name of this product. It really doesn't comply with the industry standard for the term "fleece". Typically when I hear the word "fleece" I think of a synthetic garment that is characterized by a deep pile. While this item is certainly a synthetic garment, it isn't comprised of the traditional deep pile material. This of course is by design, and makes it perfect as a base or second layer. The Radiant has a faint grid like exterior. The interior has a softer feel and has a minutely raised pile. The collar height is 2 in (5.08 cm) and made of the same material as the rest of the garment, but is double-ply. The zipper length is 9.5 in (24.13 cm) and gives the appearance of a mock turtleneck when fully zipped. A close inspection of the seams makes clear the confidence behind Outdoor Research's "Infinite Guarantee". The hem seams have a tight durable single stitch, while the seams that join the fabric panels have a heavily reinforced triple stitch. The length from the base of the collar to the cuff of the sleeve is 34 in (86 cm). The front side measurement from the top of the collar to the bottom hem is 27.5 in (70 cm). The back is slightly longer at 30 in (76 cm).

It's clear that Outdoor Research put a lot of thought into the designing and sizing the shirt as a base layer. The fleece tapers from shoulders to waist as to minimize additional bulk. One of the nicer features of the fleece is the thumb loops. This feature isn't one of the things that people typically go looking for, but once you're worn a shirt with this convince, it sets a new standard. Typically the sleeves of a shirt will slide up when placing gloves on the hands. The thumb loops serve to anchor the hem of the sleeve during glove placement, which eliminates fumbling with gloved hands to tuck the hem back in. The end result is full coverage from shoulder to palm. The Radiant Fleece has a stylish "OR" embroidered on the left breast. There is a tag that's sewn just below the color, inside the shirt. The tag has the typical manufacturers branding, but also has the tag line "Designed by Adventure". I'm inclined to believe that the inscription is true.

As I stated above, I was surprised that OR decided to call this a fleece. Initially I wondered if the material would sacrifice warmth in an attempt to accommodate a thinner footprint. It only took a couple of commutes to work on my bike to disprove those assumptions. In spite of its thin construction, it served well in keeping me quite warm on a fairly chilly morning where the temperatures were around 43 F (6.1C).

General Overview:

Outdoor Research seems to have constructed a well designed mid or base layer in the Radiant LT Fleece. In my brief experience with this item, it seems to be breathable and warm, while eliminating bulky materials. I look forward to seeing how the Radiant Fleece performs over the next few months as I venture into the higher elevations of the Rockies.

Field Report: January 4th, 2011.

Field Conditions:

Location: Mount Beirstadt
Date: 10/09/2010
Conditions: Sunny 18 F (-7.77 C) - 40 F (4.44 C)
Elevation: 14060 ft (4285 m)

Location: Mount Tabeguache
Date: 11/20/2010
Conditions: Overcast/Windy. Sustained 30 mph (48.28 kph) winds. 15 F (-9.43 C) - 30 F (-1.10 C)
Elevation: 14155 ft (4314 m)

Location: Mount Rosa
Date: 11/27/2010
Conditions: Sunny 28 F (-2.21 C) - 40 F (4.44 C)
Elevation: 11499 ft (3505 m)

Location: La Plata Peak
Date: 12/10/2010
Conditions: Winter Storm. 50 mph (80.46 kph) winds. 13 F (-10.55 C) - 25 F (-3.88 C)
Elevation: 13500 ft (4115 m)

Location: Crags Trail
Date: 12/17/2010
Conditions: Sunny/Windy 20 F (-6.66 C)
Elevation: 11000 ft (3048 m)

Field Report:

Over the past couple of months the OR Radiant Fleece has accompanied me on many adventures. Some of these have been local leisure hikes with the family and others have been physically demanding 13 hour treks into the upper regions of the Rockies. Thus far itís seen a fair sampling of activities and weather conditions, to which it has performed superbly.

The Radiant Fleece has proven to be very effective at regulating my body temperature in rapidly changing weather conditions. Itís light weight, thin design make it a key element in a multi garment layering system, or as a solitary base layer. The thin footprint provides a sleek feel and doesnít bunch or bind when sandwiched between a polypropylene base layer and a windproof/waterproof shell. Its breathability and moisture wicking properties make it a perfect base layer for those times when the activity goes cardio. Initially I was somewhat skeptical about the light footprint and the ability for it to retain heat, but it only took a few outings to prove the advantages of a thinner design.

Iíve used the Radiant Fleece multiple times per week since the testing period began and itís has yet to show signs of wear. The seams and stitching are still intact. The elasticity around the wrist cuff and thumb loops are still have adequate tension. The zipper works perfectly and has not hung or jammed. Iíve washed the Fleece primarily in cold water and no signs of fading, shrinking, or tearing have been observed. The workmanship represented has shown to be premium and it is as sound as the day the item was removed from the package.

One element that the Radiant Fleece doesnít handle well is wind. The same design and construction that make it wonderfully breathable also renders little protection from the wind. On several occasions as Iíve gained a ridgeline, the winds increase, making it necessary to put on a windproof shell. That being said, I donít think that I would necessarily change it. The extra protection would be nice, but would come at the expense of added bulk and less breathability.

Field Image - Mount Rosa Summit

Summary:

Outdoor Research has done an excellent job with the Radiant Fleece. It has a sleek light weight design that features versatility in varied circumstances. Itís proven to be solidly constructed and has held up exceptionally well during this portion of testing. Its performance in the field has been impressive, and Iíve come to esteem it as a trustworthy piece of equipment that can be counted upon. This concludes my Field Report for the Outdoor Research Radiant Fleece.

Long Term Report: March 8th, 2011.

Field Conditions:

Location: Waldo Canyon
Date: 12/18/2010
Conditions: Sunny/Cold 20 F (-6 C)
Elevation: 7200 ft (2195 m)

Location: Mount Herman
Date: 12/22/2010
Conditions: Sunny/Windy 35 F (1 C)
Elevation: 9000 ft (2743 m)

Location: Red Rocks Canyon
Date: 12/27/2010
Conditions: Sunny 50 F (10 C)
Elevation: 7000 ft (2134 m)

Location: Paint Mines
Date: 02/20/2011
Conditions: Sunny 55 F (12 C)
Elevation: 6800 ft (2073 m)

Field Report:

Over the past couple of months Iíve continued to wear the OR Radiant Fleece for the majority of my outdoor activities. Whether itís an early morning snow shoveling session, or a long arduous hike, the Radiant Fleece has become my garment of choice for a base or secondary layer. On colder outings Iíve used The Radiant under a windproof and waterproof shell. In spite of the moisture generated from labor intensive activities, it has proved to be very effective in dealing with moisture.

Many weeks Iíve worn this shirt on multiple occasions and in spite of constant wear and washing, itís held true to itís original fit and form. Iíve noticed that the grid like micro-pile has began to collect small fuzzy balls on the surface of the material, other than that, the signs of wear have been minimal. The quarter length zipper has never given me a single problem and has operated flawlessly since the beginning of this test series. All seams have fared well and there are no signs of loose or frayed ends. The elastic around the cuffs and thumb loops are also still in great condition. After 6 months of testing The Radiant seems to have a lot of wear and life left in it.

Summary:

Outdoor Research has done a great job in the construction and design of the Radiant Fleece. Itís well constructed, warm, and stylish. In addition, it also delivers superb functionality in the field.

Pros:

  • Light weight
  • Durable
  • Moisture wicking ability

Cons:

  • Doesnít provide protection from the wind.


This concludes my Long Term Report and this testing series. Thanks to BackpackGearTesters.org and Outdoor Research for the opportunity to be a part of this test series.


Read more reviews of Outdoor Research gear
Read more gear reviews by Shane Williams

Reviews > Clothing > Jackets > Outdoor Research Radiant LT Fleece > Outdoor Research - Radiant LT Zip Fleece > Test Report by Shane Williams



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