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Reviews > Clothing > Pants and Shorts > Outdoor Research Ferrosi Shorts > Test Report by Andrew Buskov


Image courtesy of Outdoor ResearchOutdoor Research
Ferrosi Shorts
Outdoor Research's lightweight, soft shell stretch short..
Andrew Buskov
Initial Report: June 15, 2010
Field Report: August 28, 2010
Long Term Report: October 19, 2010

Tester Biographical Information:

Name: Andrew Buskov
Age: 35
Gender: Male
Height: 5 ft 9 in (1.75 m)
Weight: 218 lbs (99 kg)
Email: Rescue(at)Corridor9(dot)net
City, State Zip Madisonville, Kentucky  USA

Backpacking Background:

I’ve been backpacking for years now, and have slowly started developing my ideal style. I’ve gotten my pack weight down to roughly 25 – 30 lbs (11.3 - 13.6 kg) before water, and am whittling it down every hike. Day hiking is nice, but getting out over multiple nights is really what I enjoy. I like to take my time and enjoy the scenery as opposed to hiking hard. I also like being comfortable and insist on an air mattress. I usually tent or hammock, but stay in shelters when needed.

Product Information:

Item: Ferrosi Shorts
Manufacturer: Outdoor Research
Website http://www.outdoorresearch.com
Year of Manufacture: 2010
MSRP: $65
Average Listed Weight: 8.5 oz (240 g) : Large
Actual Weight: 8.5 oz (240 g) : X-Large

Product Overview:
(From Manufacturer's documentation & Website)

The Ferrosi Shorts are Outdoor Research's rugged, wind-resistant , soft shell stretch shorts. They are breathable, abrasion resistant, and have a water-repellent finish. They are designed to be cool and comfortable on those warm  summit days while offering the water protection needed for early morning ascents through dew covered brush. They are made out of an abrasion and wind-resistant nylon that is a bit stretchy due the Spandex material used. This gives them the ability to move with the wearer.

The inside the waistband is brushed tricot-lined material. This feels very soft and comfortable, just like the same material you find at the top of some jacket zippers. While the main body of the pants appears to be quite stretchy, the waist area is not so much. It does offer some stretch, but doesn't feel like other typical stretchy waistbands. There are a total of six belt loops around the waistband, including two that are spaced relatively close together around the spine area. The entire waistband is double stitched and closes with a typical snap and zipper fly.

A total of five pockets can be found on the Ferrosi Shorts. The two front pockets are sewn in a slash style with nice wide openings to the interior. These are also quite deep, topping out at  8.5 in (21.6 cm) from the front edge to the bottom of the pocket. The interior of the pocket is made of a tightly woven mesh material that would seem to allow water to drain quickly. It is sewn with a flat bottom rather than an angled bottom as seen in the picture on the left. The two rear pockets are sewn tightly to the body of the shorts using the same stretchable nylon-Spandex. There appears to be a drain hole to the interior of these shorts on both rear pockets. Also included on the right front thigh is a zippered cargo pocket. This pocket is welded to the front of the short thus having no seams or stitching. It also appears to use a water-resistant style zipper.

The inseam of the shorts are approximately 12.5 in (31.7 cm) in length. There is also a gusseted area running from the bottom of the leg hemline though the crotch and back to the opposite leg hemline. This gives a nice wide gusset and appears to improve moveability during times when stretching or scrambling are necessary.

Initial Impressions:

When I first got the Outdoor Research Ferrosi Shorts out of the package, I noticed that they were a lot different than any other pair of shorts I have. They arrived to my door in perfect condition, with no visible damage or defects. They appear exactly as they did on the website and have met any expectations I had prior to receiving them for testing.

After removing them from the bag I performed the necessary weighing and took some size measurements. I then tried on the shorts and noticed how snug they were; not tight, just snug, but definitely different than anything else I have. Though they were snug, the size fit quite well and matched up with Outdoor Research's sizing chart perfectly. This is a plus for me as I tend to fall right between Large and X-Large with various manufacturers and have thus had to return gear due to sizing issues.

The material feels nice and soft, especially the waistband area. However, it also feels very thin; much thinner than any other pair of shorts I have. I would hope this aids in cooling, but I also hope that this isn't a problem with chafing around my backpack's hip belt. Even the pockets are nice and soft. This is a definite positive as most mesh pockets that I have experienced tend to be rough and scratchy, especially after a long hiking session. One of the little perks that I found in these shorts was a hang loop sewn into the waistband around the area of the informational tags. It appears to be there to hang the pants from while letting them dry so the user doesn't have to hang them from a belt loop. Thought it's just a little feature, it goes to show how much care and thought Outdoor Research puts into their designs.

When examining the water-repellent features of these shorts I was quite shocked. I knew that they were made to keep the wearer dry, but I never thought they would perform as well as they did in tests in the kitchen sink. I was able to fully turn on the water faucet and let the water pour over the shorts without them wetting out. The water rolled off the material like water off a ducks back. Even when I pooled some water in my hand and let it sit there for a few moments it still rolled right off. This is a great feature as I often hike in areas where my shorts and pants get wet out from dew or moisture on plants. I'll definitely be looking forward to test these over the next few months.

In all, while I wish that they weren't as snug, I have to admit that I'm pleased with the look and feel of the Outdoor Research Ferrosi Shorts. I look forward to testing them over the next few months. I will have additional pictures during the Field Report phase.

Field Report: August 28, 2010

Field Conditions:

Once again, testing this cycle has been few and far between. Temperatures here have seen heat indexes over 115 F (46 C) a couple of times. I was able to get in a bit of testing finally a couple of weeks ago during a trip to colder hiking grounds. Temperatures during the weeklong trip ranged from 32 F (0 C) to around 70 F (21 C).  The areas we camped around were about 11,000 ft (3350 m). There was a bit of rain during the trip, but nothing measurable to note. It did cool off the day rather quickly though.

Performance:

I have to admit; testing the Outdoor Research Ferrosi Shorts was not something that I was looking forward to just based on the way they looked on me while I was looking them over during the initial reporting phase. Just looked tight, felt tight, and made me feel a bit self-conscious. However, after wearing these for 10 minutes on the first day of a multi-day outing, I fell in love. These are great trail shorts, and have been exceptionally well designed to serve as such.

From the top of the waistband down, I felt nothing but comfort all day while wearing these shorts. The interior lining of the waistband kept my hips from feeling chafed all day while carrying 25+ lbs (11+ kg) on them. I was able to move freely and not have the waistband sticking to me or pinching me unnaturally in any way. Even the snap on the belt felt natural and didn't press or cut into me in any way. I didn't even feel the need to wear a belt while wearing these shorts, something that is definitely not usual for me.

The tight feel of the shorts actually led to a more comfortable walk. Not only did I not have to worry about my shorts falling down around my knees for the entire trip, I also didn't have to worry about getting chafed anywhere. The shorts felt like they were hugging my butt and legs like a second skin. Because of this, there was no rubbing, or scraping at all. The length was long enough that the hem didn't rise and bunch up in my crotch area, but not long enough that I felt as if I was wearing a pair of women's capri pants. Having a gusseted crotch also made moving and scrambling over rocks easier and more comfortable.

Even the way the pockets and zippers were designed proved to be comfortable as well as easily accessible. I was able to place small items like lighters or GU (energy gel) packets into my pockets without worrying about the items being squished or rubbing the side of my legs uncomfortably. The slash style pocket on the right thigh proved to be a great place to store a credit card, drivers license, and small amount of cash. Never once did I feel these items stabbing me in my thigh as the pocket kept everything nice and flat. In all reality, I forgot that these items were even in my pocket as I went digging around in my pack after some cash before remembering my pockets.

So far, I've been very pleased with the quality, construction, and fit of the Outdoor Research Ferrosi Shorts. It's been a bit of a surprise to me how comfortable these shorts really are. With the cooling weather, I look forward to getting out into the woods a bit more and will definitely be wearing these at that time.

Long Term Report: October 19, 2010

Field Conditions:

I've had a bit more luck testing these during this most recent testing phase. I was able to wear these on a number of day hikes in the Park area of the Pennyrile State Forrest, a 14,000 a (5600 ha) section of forest that has roughly 23 mi (37 km) of trails. The elevation for the area is between 400 -700 ft (122 - 213 m). All three hikes were around 3 mi (4.8 km) each. Temperatures ranged from 73 - 82 F (23 - 28 C) and there was no precipitation on any of the trips. In addition to the hiking I did, I was wearing these a lot more around town during this phase since I felt more comfortable in them. In total, I'd say I've worn these about 10 times this phase and roughly 18 times over the entire testing period.

Performance:

These shorts still fit as well as they did the day they arrived. Since a majority of hiking happiness depends on comfort, having a well fitting short that doesn't rub the inside of my thighs definitely made my hiking and backpacking trips that much more enjoyable. While they were a bit tight in the beginning, the fit kind of grew on me over the life of the testing phase. Toward the end I noticed that I actually preferred the tighter feel of the shorts as they didn't sag or fall to my knees as much as some of my other shorts did.

The material of the shorts is still well intact with no snags, pulls, or rips. This is great since the past few trips saw me having to scramble through brush and over a broken bridge to complete the trail. At one point on the bridge I had snagged the back of my shorts to the point I just knew I had a small hole in them. When I got home though and inspected the area, I found a bit of wood still hanging on to the short, but no hole. Truly amazing.

The breathability was much appreciated this testing period. When I was in the mountains and the air was less humid the shorts dried out very quickly. However, at the lower elevations that I live and with the high relative humidity that these past few months saw, I was really able to put the Outdoor research Ferrosi Shorts through their paces. They felt nice and dry throughout the entire hiking trip.

As mentioned previously, the fit and function of the pockets remained quite good. Since a majority of my hikes were shorter than my last outing, I stuffed fewer items in my pockets as I had more space in my pack. However, even though I had fewer items, I still felt comfortable and didn't notice those items once while hiking.

I was very pleased with the Outdoor Research Ferrosi Shorts and the way they stood up to the abuse I put them through. They met all my expectations throughout the life of the test. I would definitely recommend them to anyone who is looking for a well fitting, breathable, comfortable pair of shorts.

I'd like to thank Outdoor Research and BackpackGearTest.org for allowing me to participate in this testing series.



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Reviews > Clothing > Pants and Shorts > Outdoor Research Ferrosi Shorts > Test Report by Andrew Buskov



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