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Reviews > Clothing > Pants and Shorts > tasc Vital Training Short > Test Report by alex legg


tasc Performance Vital Training Shorts
Test Series by Alex Legg
Initial Report April 11th, 2012
Field Report June 30th, 2012
Long Term Report August 28th, 2012

(Picture from
http://tascperformance.com)

Tester Information:

Name:  Alex Legg
Age:  30
Gender:  Male
Height:  6'4" (1.9 m)
Weight:  195 lb (88 kg)
Email address:  alexlegg2 AT yahoo DOT com
City, State, Country:  Tucson, Arizona, USA

I grew up backpacking in the Rockies.   I hike ranges throughout Arizona and Colorado year round.  I carry a light pack, mostly water.  I prefer a tarp shelter to my heavier 2-person tent.  I do many day hikes and I also spend as many as 5 days out at a time.  Temperatures range from below freezing to above 100 F (38 C), and elevations from 2,000 ft to 14,000 ft ( 610 m to 4, 300 m).  I bag a mountain almost every weekend, and I walk my dogs 4 miles daily through deep sand and overgrown mesquite trees in our local washes.
Initial Report:

Product Information and Specifications:

Manufacturer: thriv NP inc.
Year of Manufacture: 2012
URL: http://tascperformance.com
Listed Weight: Not listed
Measured Weight: 7 oz (198 g)
Sizes: Small, Medium, Large (size I am testing), X-Large, XX-Large
Colors: Black, Heather Grey, Gunmetal
MSRP: US $30.00

Product description and Initial Impressions:

The tasc Performance Vital Training Shorts are very lightweight.  They feel almost like jersey shorts but more comfortable against my skin.  The manufacturer states that they are versatile for all levels of activity.  I like the idea of versatility because I tend to run, hike, backpack, walk dogs, and work out in a gym.  Often a few of those things in the same day.  I am excited to test these out in all of my activities. 

As I first put the shorts on I notice that the elastic waist band is extremely stretchy which helps for optimal comfort.  The tasc name appears multiple times around the inside of the waist band.  I also really like that there is a draw cord.  Many similar shorts I have worn will fall down if I have anything in the pockets or if I run too fast.  The draw cord should eradicate this problem because I can tighten it and tie a knot to secure the waist band in place.

The 200 GSM Performance Fabric features 4-way stretch, moisture wicking and anti-odor technologies.  They feel very stretchy and comfortable.  The tasc name and logo appears on the bottom left corner of the shorts right next to a small V shaped cut in the seam.

I like that there are pockets on these shorts, many similar shorts do not have pockets which generally means that I will not take them backpacking with me.  The pockets are ventilated which seems like a good thing due to the extreme heat that I often find myself in.  There are extra seams at the top and the base of the opening to the pockets. They are very small, and I assume since they run the opposite direction of the main seam that they must be to add strength to the pocket openings so that it will not tear easily.

Trying them out:

I washed the shorts after receiving them on a regular cycle with cold water and my all natural detergent that I also use to clean baby diapers.  When they came out they smelled so fresh and so clean.  Then I hung them up on the line to dry.  I noticed that the waist band and the pockets were taking considerably longer to dry than the rest of the material, and I decided to go ahead and put them on.   I immediately grabbed my truck keys and threw my dogs in the back.  I just had to see how these shorts felt in action.  We took a four mile run through deep sand in one of our local dried out river beds which I generally refer to as washes.  Due to the deep sand and the 85 F (29 C) heat, I started to sweat a lot.  I noticed when I stopped that there was no sweat lingering on the shorts which made me happy.  They felt very breathable and lightweight on my legs.  The material is soft and stretchy, it moved with me very well.  The pockets and waistband were still slightly damp from the wash and it felt good against my skin.  In the desert I will periodically soak my clothes in water to help me remain cool.  I like that the pockets stay damp long after the rest of the shorts because every bit of cool moisture helps me a lot.

Summary:

At this point I think that these are really comfortable shorts.  They feel great against my skin and they breathe well.  I can already tell that I could basically live in them as they are more comfortable than any other pair of shorts I own.  I look forward to stuffing them into my pack and starting a rigorous testing period that I will report back on in the months to come.  I will test the durability and the overall function of these shorts.

Things I like:

1.  Very comfortable (I could sleep in these)
2.  Moisture wicking seems to work well
3.  Pockets on a lightweight short!  Awesome feature!

Things I don't like:

1.  I am pretty tall so they could be an inch or so longer and I wouldn't mind.


Field Report:
Field Conditions:

I wore the tasc Vital Training Shorts on at least 10 trips during the course of the last two months, a few of them are outlined below:

I wore the shorts during a 3-day 2-night trip in Coconino National Forest in northern Arizona.  The elevation ranged from 8,400 ft to 12,637 ft (2,560 m to 3,866 m) and temperatures ranged from 32 F to 65 F (0 C to 18 C).

I also wore the shorts for a 3-day 2-night trip in the Rincon Mountain district of Saguaro National Park.  The elevation ranged from 4,240 ft to 8,482 ft (1,292 m to 2,585 m) and the temperature ranged from 32 F to 80 F (0 C to 27 C)

The Vital shorts came with me on a 2-day 1-night trip in the Santa Rita Mountains south of Tucson, Arizona.  The elevation ranged from 5,400 ft to 9,453 ft (1,646 m to 2,909 m) and the temperatures ranged from the low 50s F to the mid 70s F (low 10s C to mid 20s C).

Performance in the Field:

So far I love these shorts!  They are so soft and stretchy, lightweight and breathable.  I wear them almost everyday down here in the hot Tucson summer.  Regardless of my activity, physical or sedentary, these shorts are so very comfortable!  I wear them in the house, the mountains, the gym, and at work.   They are not too bad on long rides in the car either.  I have even worn them to sleep on occasion.

As far as backpacking is concerned, I have taken the Vital shorts along on every trip the past two months.  They have been on countless day hikes as well as at least ten overnights.  The shorts are very compactable; I love how easily they can be rolled up and stuffed into my pack.  These are the only shorts I take along on overnight trips.  When a light pack is important I used to skip taking shorts, I took one pair of pants only.  I used to suffer through the warm days in pants because I didn't have a lightweight pair of shorts with pockets.  I rarely wear my cargo shorts on overnights because I am not a fan of being cold at night or in the early morning.  The tasc shorts allow me more choices for optimal comfort during the course of a trip.  They are not a burden to carry and they are easy to slip on over my shoes.  I like that the non-bulky fit enables them to be worn underneath my pants when I need to warm up quickly. I also think that they are great to sleep in.

I love that there are pockets on these shorts!  When I am running, stuff will bounce around in the pockets, but other than that they are great.  Sometimes it's nice to walk with my hands in my pockets for a while or to store some of my light weight items for easy access while walking.  If I'm on a short hike, I put a car key in one pocket and I hardly notice it's there.  When on a long trip I may have a compass, a lighter, or a small snack in them. 

One of the best features of these shorts is that they dry very fast.  In southern Arizona I stop at water sources and wet my clothes regularly.  This is a practice I have done since I was visiting Arizona as a kid and couldn't handle the heat.  I am always thankful for the cooling aspect wet clothes provides me with, but as the sun sets and the desert temperatures drastically change in a short time, I need dry clothes to maintain a comfortable body temperature.  I have been uncomfortable many an evening due to my clothes not drying as the night temperatures dropped.  The Vital shorts have not yet caused me a problem in this way, and I am pleased about that.

Summary:

These have been a great pair of shorts up to this point!  I am very happy with them and wear them often.  I look forward to continuing my testing period.  Check back in two months for my long term report.

Things I like:

1.  Lightweight/compactable
2.  Breathable
3.  Fast drying


Things I don't like:

Nothing at this time.

I would like to thank tasc Performance and BackpackGearTest.org for the chance to test and report back on this item.

Long Term Report:

Field Conditions:

I didn't get to hike in the SmartWool Wind Briefs as much as I had hoped during the long term testing period.  An injury to my left foot forced me to cancel my Grand Canyon trip, and forest closures in Colorado attributed to the limited use I was able to get while out there.  Luckily I had the chance to do some hiking in the northern part of Colorado before coming back to Arizona. 


I did manage to get in an overnight trip in Roosevelt National Forest in northern Colorado.  The temperature ranged from 45 F (7 C) in the early morning to about 80 F (27 C) mid day.  The elevation ranged from 7,000 ft (2,134 m) to around 9,500 ft (2,896 m).

I also wore the shorts on few day hikes and an overnight trip in the Mount Baldy Wilderness in northern Arizona.  The temperatures ranged from the mid 40's F (4's C) to the mid 70's F (20's C) and the elevation ranged from 9,394 ft (2,862 m) to 11,414 ft (3,479 m).

I took the shorts on 2 overnight trips to Mount Bigelow area of Coronado National Forest in southern Arizona.  The temperatures ranged from 60 F (16 C) to 85 F (29 C) and the elevation ranged from about 7,500 ft (2,286 m) to 8,000 ft (2,438 m).  I did not get the chance to summit the peak due to my foot injury, but I did get to enjoy the cool mountain air and even got a little bit wet!


Performance in the Field:
The tasc Vital Training Shorts have continued to perform well throughout the testing period.  They are still as lightweight and comfortable as they ever were, but they are starting to show slight signs of wear and tear.  I have worn the shorts almost daily for around the house because they are the lightest and most comfortable shorts I have for dealing with the hot weather down in Tucson.  They have also been my hiking and camping shorts on numerous trips.  I found that as long as I was moving I could wear the shorts with just a base layer underneath and I was able to keep from getting cold down to about 45 F (7 C).  If I stopped moving then I had to pull on some long pants over them.  I wore them in heat of around 100 F (38 C) and they kept me as comfortable as can be hoped for in such temperatures.

I have been happy with how quickly the shorts dry out after they get rained on or in my case after my wind shirt blocks water from my upper body, and drips it down onto my shorts.  Perhaps getting wet so often led to the decal on the shorts to begin to wear off.  Other than the decal wearing the shorts look a tad bit faded, but it has not affected their performance.  I have noticed that the drawstring has gotten slightly stretched out over time, but I just re-tied it and the problem was solved. 

Summary:

Overall I am very pleased with these shorts.  They are very lightweight and easy to pack.  I think they may be the most comfortable shorts that I own, and I am happy with their durability.  I plan on continuing to wear the Vital shorts, and I may find myself purchasing another pair in the future.

What I like:

1.  Breathable
2.  Lightweight
3.  Fast drying

Concerns:

1.  Slight fading after 4 months of extensive use

I would like to thank tasc Performance and BackpackGearTest for the chance to test this product.  It has been fun!








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