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Reviews > Clothing > Pants and Shorts > Tasc Switchback Quick Dry Short > Test Report by joe schaffer

Tasc Switchback M's Short

Test Report by Joe Schaffer

INITIAL REPORT - July 18, 2016
FIELD REPORT - September 18, 2016
LONG TERM REPORT - December 4, 2016
NAME: Joe Schaffer
EMAIL: never2muchstuff(at)yahoo(dot)com
AGE: 68
HEIGHT: 5 ft 9 in (1.75 m)
WEIGHT: 175 lb (79.4 kg)
WAIST: 34 in (86 cm)
HOME:  Bay Area, California USA

     I started backpacking when I was 11. I enjoy California's central Sierras, camping every month with a goal to match my age in nights out each year; about 30 solo. For comfort I lug tent, mattress, chair and such. Typical summer trips run 5-8 days; 40 lb (18 kg), about half food and water related; about 5 miles (8 km) per hiking day. I winter base camp most often at 6,000 to 7,000 ft (1,800 to 2,000 m); 2 to 3 nights; 50 lb (23 kg); a mile or so (1.6 km) on snowshoes.


Product: Switchback Quick Dry Short

Manufacturer:  tasc Performance, Inc.
        Weight: not found
        Inseam: 10 1/2 in (27 cm)
Description: (modified from mfr. website)
    Water resistant, naturally UPF 50+, side pockets, back welt pockets, and leg zipper pocket with grommet. Tailored fit.
    Extremely lightweight, quick dry, subtle stretch, incredible comfort and naturally UPF 50+.
    Athletic fit, 10.5" inseam.
    MOSOdry: 55% viscose from bamboo/40% polyester/5% lycra spandex.

My Specs:  Men's 34
   Weight--7 5/8 oz (225 g)
   Inseam--10 in (25 cm)
   Top to bottom--21 13/16 (55 cm)
   Circumference at waist--35 1/4 (90 cm)
   Circumference at leg--21 1/2 in (27.5 cm)    

MSRP: $64 US

Received: July 15, 2016

tasc frontProduct Description:
    This is a long (for me) short pant with a loose fit. It has a 7 in (17.8 cm) metal zipper fly with a large button at the top, two belt loops in front, one each side and two in back at the center and separated 2 1/8th in (5.4 cm). The belt loops are 9/16 in (14 mm) wide by 2 in (51 mm), each with triple stitching vertically and top-sewn into the hem with silver thread. The top belt cuff is 1 7/16 in (37 mm) sewn at the top edge, bottom edge and 1/4 in (6 mm) from the bottom edge. The right leg has a nylon-zippered pocket about 5 in (12.7 cm) wide at the outside hem by about 5 1/4 in (13.3 cm) high in a parallelogram shape tilting down to the front by about 1 1/2 in (3.8 cm). This pocket has two small sewn grommets. The front pocket openings are about 7 in (17.8 cm) reaching about 4 in (10 cm) deep and about 7 1/2 in (19 cm) wide. The back pockets are about 5 1/2 in (14 cm) wide by about 5 1/2 in (14 cm) deep. The top hem of these pockets is tapered from 3/4 in (19 mm) to 0. All pockets are "free standing" made of black mesh. The back pocket side hems are sewn with silver thread, as is the bottom corner of each front pocket. The side seam and the leg cuff are triple stitched. The product is mono-color except for the silver thread reinforcements. The left leg near the side seam at the lower part sports a silver-thread logo about 1 in ( 2.5 cm) high by 7/16 in (11 mm) wide. The product was sealed in a plastic bag with two point-of-purchase tags in heavy cardboard about 1 1/2 in (3.8 cm) by 3 1/2 in (9 cm), attached by a cellulose string and a metal baby pin.

    Kudos for minimal packaging, and perhaps a company innovative enough to source bamboo into their fabric will figure out how to abolish the omnipresent plastasc backtic bag. I like the company's sensitivity to environmental and laborer concerns. The website and Facebook pages are pretty and reasonably informative, though light on technical specs. My browser would not open the product on Facebook. I didn't go to other listed platforms. I couldn't help but make notice of the apparent contradiction in the chat-up that it has a tailored fit and an athletic fit--though perhaps the wordsmith would argue that any fit is tailored.

    In pouring over the product for my anal attributes of measurements I found seven loose thread ends. Notwithstanding the impression that could be developed from loose threads, the precision of the sewing and tightness of hems suggests a well-made garment. I found no imperfections in stitching, assembly or fabric.

    I have no familiarity with bamboo and would never have suspected this product is half-made from sticks. To me it feels wonderfully soft and cushy. These shorts are so light I'm going to have to get used to the feeling of not wearing anything. I wonder if they might be even more universal if they had some built in suspension, obviating the need for underwear in casual use.

    I find the size of the pockets generous and I like having a zippered pocket. Airy pockets aren't a bad idea, but I don't like how the rough skin on my fingertips catches in the mesh of these pockets. Given that issue I think I'd prefer sewn down pockets. Maybe stuff will be less likely to fall out if it hangs up on the fabric. I don't know what the threaded little grommets are for at the bottom of the zippered pocket.

    The fit is just right for me except the length. The cuff ends at exactly the bottom edge of my kneecap. Longer or shorter would suit me better, but that simply means for me to choose a different length.

    I'm thrilled to test this garment and anxious to see if it meets expectations for moisture resistance, drying time, UV resistance and durability. I'll also want to see if it lives up to not getting stinky; and how well it refreshes in a cold water no-soap rinse.

Field conditions:
    Jul 23-26:
Waldo Lake, Oregon (OR). Backpacking, 4 1/2 mi (7 km) XC, 70-85 F (21-29 C); Walking, 18 mi (29 km) dirt trail, 2 mi (3 km) XC, 40-85 F (4-29 C); 15 hours wearing; 1 hand wash.
    Jul 26-28: Mt. Jefferson Wilderness, OR. Backpacking, 5 mi (8 km) trail, 80 F (27 C); 15 hours wearing; 1 machine wash.
    Aug 4-10: Emigrant Wilderness, California (CA). Backpacking, 23 mi (37 km) mostly trail, 80 F (27 C); 32 hours wearing; 1 hand wash.
    Aug 12-19: Yosemite Wilderness, CA. Backpacking, 22 mi (35 km) mostly trail, 80 F (27 C); 59 hours wearing; 1 hand wash, 1 machine wash.
    Aug 30 - Sep 6: Yosemite Wilderness, CA. Backpacking, 18 mi (29 km) trail, 8 mi (13 km) XC; 49 hours total wearing time. Hot and dry. 1 hand rinse and 1 machine wash.
    Sep 8: Town walking. 3 mi (5 km) 1 hour + 2 hours. Hot and dry.
    Sep 12-20: Dinkey Lakes Wilderness, CA. Backpacking, 18 mi (29 km) trail, 6 mi (10 km) XC; 51 hours total wearing time. Cool to warm and dry. 1 machine wash.
    Sep 25-29: Eagles Nest Wilderness, Colorado. Backpacking,  20 mi (32 k) trail; 21 hours total wearing time. 40 F (4 C) - 60 F (16 C). 1 machine wash.

Test totals to date:
    Hiking miles: 23 mi (37 km)
    Backpacking miles: 121 1/2 mi (196 km)
    Wearing hours: 245
    Hand rinses: 4
    Machine washes: 5

    I think the best test was the 20 mi (32 km) hike around Waldo Lake, starting in cool temps and quickly warming up and ending in high temps. I found the shorts comfortable at all times. I never felt drippy or stuffy. The material never felt scratchy or sticky and stayed dry except where covered by the hip belt of my pack. I expected irritation at the knee cap, but that didn't happen as I pulled the shorts up far enough to provide a comfort layer over the hip bones, leaving the leg cuff above the knee. I got a bit of inner thigh rash after about 15 mi (24 km), though I wouldn't necessarily relate that to any deficiency of the garment.

    The metal zipper seems to have a hitch in it and overall the sharp teeth do not match the smooth feel of the garment. I'm giving these shorts their due without any undergarment. That's worked really well, except when I run out of fingers trying to keep things out of the way. The material is so supple I have to pull down on the fabric with one hand while pulling up the zipper with the other. I don't know if the zipper has gotten worse in the course of this test, but my impression of it has deteriorated to awful.

    I did not notice whether mosquitoes bit through the material, suggesting they found the bare meat below a target of greater opportunity.

    Probably 6 hours of my 10 hour hike were in sun. I didn't burn much anywhere, mostly a slight reddening at the knees. Skin under the fabric did not change color at all.

    They haven't gotten stinky. The leg cuffs have not gotten grimy. The fabric seems to repel dirt and comes clean easily in a hand rinse.

    I did one wash in less than a quarter-teaspoon of Camp Suds after the long hike and that refreshed the shorts nicely. I hung them up in early evening with my socks and shirt. My 70 synthetic/30 cotton shirt was still slightly damp in the collar and cuffs next morning. The wool socks remained wet. The shorts were damp about half-way down from the belt cuff and were a little chilly to put on at 40 F (4 C) for the hike out. They dried very quickly as I wore them. I also hand-washed them once each on the Emigrant and Yosemite Wilderness hikes, where the granite was so hot the garment dried in about an hour. The fabric dries much more quickly after a hand rinse than cotton, but I would say not as quickly as similar weight 100% synthetic.

    I didn't use any of the pockets.

    Though I've spent a few hours total sitting around campfire, the cinder gods have barely turned their evil eye upon the shorts and the one tiny speck of cinder that landed left a tiny divot in the fabric that did not stay blackened when scraped.

    When I first put the shorts on out of the plastic bag, they fit perfectly. As days of wear wore on, they started hanging farther down the hip, requiring a belt. The waist measure grew to 37 in (94 cm), having stretched 1 1/2 in (3.8 cm). They shrank after laundering to 36 in (91 cm). Without a belt I can easily slide them on and off buttoned and zipped. That's great for avoiding the zipper and going over the top, but otherwise a hindrance to have to keep pulling them up. If this stretch is natural to bamboo fabric, perhaps the vendor would point out that garments should feel too snug when purchased in order to allow for an optimal fit when worn.

Field Conditions:
    Nov 2-7: Emigrant Wilderness, CA. Backpacking, 4 1/2 mi (7 km) XC & 10 mi (16 km) trail, 60-40 F (16-4 C); 18 hours wearing over 4 hiking days; 1 machine wash.
    Nov 31-Dec 3: Gooseberry Trail, Stanislaus NF, CA. Backpacking/sledding 3 mi (5 km) snowshoes on trail; 40-20 F (4 to -7  C); 96 hours wearing over base layer.

Test totals:
    Hiking miles: 23 mi (37 km)
    Backpacking miles: 162 mi (261 km)
    Wearing hours: 263
    Hand rinses: 4
    Machine washes: 6


    On my last outing I wore the shorts over leggings the whole 4 days. I got a little wet from working so hard tugging the sled, uphill on the way in and then rotten snow on the way out. I started pitching camp in the dark and had to put a jacket on, but I left the shorts on and they dried before I became uncomfortable. I wore jeans over them around the campfire and remained comfortable down to a low of 20 F (-7 C) when I went to bed. I would have expected to feel a little stuffy as the leggings were synthetic, but I never did. On the way in the sled's rope harness rubbed on the fabric for 3/4 mi (1.2 km), but did not leave sign of wear.

    The garment still looks good as new--no pilling, scuffs, stains, or sign of wear except for one teensie cinder burn about the size of a pin head. I remain impressed with how well the garment breathes; how quickly it dries; and the wide temperature range for comfort. I continue to find the zipper annoying. The amount of waist stretch has not increased, but is more than I would prefer and requires wearing a belt. Resident fashion guru says it wrinkles more than others I've worn in the field.

    Yes or no? I love the material. I could not abide the zipper or the fit.

Quick shots:
   a) light
    b) comfortable
    c) waist stretch
    d) obstinate zipper

    Thank you tasc Performance and for the opportunity to test these shorts. This concludes my reporting for the test.

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Reviews > Clothing > Pants and Shorts > Tasc Switchback Quick Dry Short > Test Report by joe schaffer

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