TASC PERFORMANCE VITAL TRAINING SHORT
TEST SERIES BY MIKE CURRY
August 28, 2012
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thefishguy AT hotmail DOT com
5' 11" (1.80 m)
190 lb (86.20 kg)
I've been backpacking, climbing, ski-packing, bushwhacking, and snowshoeing throughout the mountains of Oregon and Washington for the last 25 years. I'm an all-season, all terrain, off-trail kind of guy, but these days (having small kids) most of my trips run on the shorter side of things, and tend to be in the temperate rainforest. While I've carried packs (with winter climbing gear) in excess of 70 pounds (32 kilos), the older I get the more minimalist I become.
PRODUCT INFORMATION & SPECIFICATIONS
Manufacturer: thriv NP, Inc.
|Vital Training Short|
Year of Manufacture: 2012
Manufacturer's Website: http://www.tascperformance.com
MSRP: US $30
Listed Weight: None
Measured Weight: 6.9 oz (196 g)
Color tested: Gunmetal
55% Organic Cotton
40% Viscose from Bamboo
The tasc Vital Training Short arrived in its retail packaging, an interesting cardboard tube that immediately caught my attention as I'd never seen anything quite like it. Inside I found the shorts, some manufacturer literature, and a cardboard hang tag attached by a string tied to a safety pin. The overall packaging gave a very positive impression that this company was attentive to detail.
Turning my attention to the shorts, my initial impressions continued to be positive. The first thing that struck me was how incredibly soft and silky the material was. I've always been a fan of how soft most organic cottons feel, but this material took that one step further to feeling positively silky.
Looking the shorts over closely, I found them to be exceptionally well constructed. The stitching was neat and tidy, and everything looks very well designed. The elastic at the waist seems very stout, there is a drawstring of heavy webbing material, and there are two nice, deep slash pockets. Everything seems well-designed and very well made.
READING THE INSTRUCTIONS
Care instructions are machine wash cold, do not bleach, tumble dry low, warm iron if desired.
|Cool Cardboard Tube Packaging|
TRYING IT OUT
Putting on the Vital Training Shorts was positively luxurious. The material truly felt like silk, and is one of those fabrics that can make me feel a little self-conscious, since it seems like I'm not wearing anything at all. Since I was lucky enough to have had the shorts arrive on a warmer day, I decided to wear them for my daily run. My initial experience was fantastic, and I found the shorts seemed to combine the best in the cooling properties of cotton with the wicking and drying properties of synthetics. The initial experience had me anxious for some more warmer weather. I've had the opportunity to wear them running one more time and on a day hike since, and can honestly say I look forward to getting to put these shorts on, they feel so light and good against my skin!
Regarding fit, I'd say it is spot-on what I expect in a large, and they are very comfortable.
My initial impressions of the tasc Vital Training Short is positive. They appear to be a very well-made pair of shorts that are positively silky to wear and touch, and seem to combine the best cooling properties of cotton with the wicking properties of synthetics. I look forward to testing it in the field.
FIELD LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS
I have used the tasc Vital Training short as outerwear on 4 nights of backpacking and six day hikes during the test period. In addition, I've worn them as a baselayer on warmer days that didn't quite warm up enough to use them alone, and on dayhikes (6) and running (12 runs) as well as one day trip rock climbing. I've also worn them around town on a number of occasions just to better assess long-term wear.
|Vital Training shorts after a day on the trail|
Weather conditions while backpacking have been sunny with temperatures ranging from about 65 F (18 C) to 85 F (29 C). Humidities have been low, except one day at 85 F (29 C) with thunderstorms.
PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD
For hot weather use, these are the most comfortable shorts I own. They feel super-cool and super comfortable. They dry fairly quickly, and feel fantastic against my skin, even when damp with sweat. The fabric actually feels cool against my skin, which is wonderful until the temperature starts to dip, but feels fine in those conditions under a pair of pants. They allow total freedom of movement, and I hardly know I'm wearing them. In fact, I've had to check a couple of times as I was leaving to make sure I was wearing them and not underwear.
I think these shorts look great, and they look pretty much the same as I remember them looking when they arrived. They show no signs of wear, and that impresses me as things I wear rock climbing don't usually last really long. I probably won't wear them rock climbing again, as I usually wear long pants, and found these a bit too revealing for some of my climbing partner's tastes when worn with a harness . . ..
The shorts have a very relaxed fit, but the elastic is strong and keeps them in place. The drawstring is very stout, and has no noticeable stretch, allowing me to customize the fit (but the elastic is so strong I don't feel the drawstring is even necessary, though it's nice). It is a great design all around.
I've laundered the Vital Training shorts at least a dozen times, and haven't noticed any change in appearance or performance. It doesn't seem to retain odors like other clothing I've worn running and backpacking.
Overall, the tasc Vital Training shorts are one of the most comfortable pairs of shorts I've ever owned. They have proven themselves very durable, and look great. I can't think of a single thing I don't like about them when worn in the heat, but they can feel a bit chilly on a cool day.
I would like to thank tasc performance and BackpackGearTest.org for the opportunity to test the Vital Training short. My long-term report will be appended to this report in approximately two months. Please check back at that time for additional information. This concludes my field report.
LONG-TERM TEST LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS
I have used the tasc Performance vital training shorts on 3 additional days of backpacking (on a 6 day trip) during long term testing. Temperatures ranged from 80-85 F (26-29 C). Skies were sunny with little to no wind. In addition I've worn the shorts on at least a dozen runs during long-term testing, as well as on some crag climbs and around town.
PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD
The tasc Performance vital training shorts have continued to perform wonderfully during long-term testing. The continue to be one of my very favorite pairs of shorts for hot-weather use.
About the only new observation I can note is how the shorts have changed over time, which is simply that they haven't . . . they haven't shrunk, stretched, or shown noticible signs of wear, despite a LOT of use. If anything, they might be a bit softer than they were at first, but I'm not sure. They certainly haven't deteriorated in any way. Best of all, the elastic in the waistband hasn't broken down at all . . . one of my biggest beefs with elastic waistbands is when the elastic starts to break down, and there is no sigh of that yet.
They are great shorts, and I love them in hot weather.
The tasc Performance vital training shorts are an outstanding choice for hot-weather that fits and feels great, wicks moisture well, and keeps me cool. They have held up exceptionally well, and are everything I'd look for in a natural-fiber pair of warm-weather shorts.
I plan to use these shorts in hot weather until they are threadbare, which given how well they are holding up is going to be many years from now. For everything from backpacking to running, they are the first thing I reach for in hot weather now.
This report was created with the BackpackGearTest.org Report Writer Version 1.
Copyright 2012. All rights reserved.
I'd like to thank tasc Performance and BackpackGearTest.org for the opportunity to test the vital training shorts. This concludes my report.
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