The world's most in-depth and scientific reviews of outdoor gear

Outdoor Research Foray Pants Review

Highly protective pants that are light and compact for tucking away in your backpack.
Editors' Choice Award
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Price:  $175 List | $129.99 at Backcountry
Compare prices at 2 resellers
Pros:  Light, protective, quiet fabric
Cons:  Few features, no full side zips, no zip fly
Manufacturer:   Outdoor Research
By Jediah Porter ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  May 29, 2019
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88
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#1 of 11
  • Water Resistance - 25% 10
  • Comfort and Mobility - 18% 10
  • Breathability & Venting - 18% 8
  • Features - 5% 6
  • Packed Size - 12% 9
  • Weight - 17% 8
  • Durability - 5% 7

Our Verdict

Of the pants made with high-end brand name fabric, these are the lightest and most compact. The OR Foray offers the proven protection and breathability of Gore-Tex at half the weight of some other Gore-Tex options. The fabric is soft and stretchy and quiet in use. These are the pants you want for carrying in your pack on long through hikes. Whip 'em out when it gets gnarly, but leave them stowed away most of the time.


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Pros Light, protective, quiet fabricMega stretchy fabric, best breathability in the review, built in belt is the bombDurable, among the most weather resistant on the market, comfortable fit, excellent mobilityBy far the lightest and most compact pant in our review, great mobility, elastic waist band is extremely comfortable and functionalCompact, light, affordable
Cons Few features, no full side zips, no zip flyNot quite as abrasion resistant as other models, so-so weather-resistanceAnkle length zips, no venting options, no waist tightening/cinching options, no belt-loopsLess durable than most, hard to pull on over bootsThin fabric prone to tearing, limited breathability
Bottom Line Highly protective pants that are light and compact for tucking away in your backpack.A fantastic all-around pant with rad stretchy fabric, which offers exceptional freedom of movement and the best breathability.A basic, few-frills Gore-Tex pant that offers fantastic storm protection and mobility; it sacrifices little convenience for weight, without giving up anything in the way of performance.Hard to beat for any trip where weight and packed space are at a premium - as long as there isn't too much off-trail travel, where their lower than average durability could be an issue.Budget, lightweight pants totally suitable for occasional use.
Rating Categories Outdoor Research Foray Pants Stretch Ozonic Pants Marmot Minimalist Pant Outdoor Research Helium Pant Marmot PreCip Pant
Water Resistance (25%)
10
0
10
10
0
7
10
0
10
10
0
8
10
0
9
Comfort And Mobility (18%)
10
0
10
10
0
10
10
0
9
10
0
9
10
0
8
Breathability & Venting (18%)
10
0
8
10
0
10
10
0
8
10
0
7
10
0
7
Features (5%)
10
0
6
10
0
8
10
0
7
10
0
7
10
0
9
Packed Size (12%)
10
0
9
10
0
9
10
0
7
10
0
10
10
0
8
Weight (17%)
10
0
8
10
0
9
10
0
8
10
0
10
10
0
9
Durability (5%)
10
0
7
10
0
7
10
0
9
10
0
6
10
0
7
Specs Outdoor Research... Stretch Ozonic Pants Marmot Minimalist... Outdoor Research... Marmot PreCip Pant
Measured Weight 10.2 oz / 289g 10 oz / 283g 11oz / 292g 6.5 oz / 184g 8 oz / 225g
Waterproof Fabric Material Gore-Tex 2.5 Layer Dry Q Active Stretch 2.5 Layer Gore-tex with PacLite Technology 2.5 Layer Pertex Shield+ Nano Pro
Face Fabric and Layer Construction 2L 100% Polyester 50D 40D Dry Q Active Stretch 50D 100% Polyester w / Gore-tex PacLite Waterproof Breathable Membrane 30D 100 Nylon Ripstop w/ Pertex Shield+ Waterproof Breathable Insert NanoPro100% Nylon Ripstop 2.2 oz/ yd
Pockets 1 pocket 1 pocket 2 pockets 1 pocket 3 pockets
Side Zips Length? 3/4-Length Full Length Side Zips 1/4 Length Ankle Zips 1/4 Length Ankle Zips 1/4 Length
Put on Over Hiking or Mountaineering Boots Yes Yes Hiking Boots, but not all Mtn Boots No Yes
Inseam Length, Size Medium 30 in 30, 32, 34 in 31, 32, 33 in 31 in 32 in
Stows Into Pocket? Yes Yes No Yes No
Waist band Style Elastic + shock cord Nylon Belt + Elastic Band 1/2 Elastic Elastic + Shock Cord Elastic + shock cord

Our Analysis and Test Results

Outdoor Research's Foray pants are an ultralight pair of rain pants constructed from Gore-Tex fabric. They are certainly among the lightest such pants on the market. They feature just the right fit and set of functions. If you want excellent protection and will carry your rain pants more than you will wear them, these are the best on the market.

Performance Comparison


Up there with the other Editors Choice, the Foray maxes out our weighted scoring matrix. We design our scoring rubric to reward products that work for how most people use them. With rain pants, most both wear them and carry them in a pack. The ratio of each depends on your climate, your tolerance for wet legs, and your tolerance for going out in wet weather in the first place. Our test team dug into it further and found that people are pretty split in their rain pants usage. Across the country and world, about half will carry their rain pants more than they wear them while half will wear them the majority of the time. These are the top scoring pants for those that carry them more than they wear them. They are light and compact but compromise some durability and usability. The Foray is the pair of pants for those that need excellent protection but also need a compact and lightweight carry.

On a wet  long  and dreary Adirondack early season snowshoe adventure  the OR Foray pants kept our lead tester dry and toasty  without undue condensation or confinement.
On a wet, long, and dreary Adirondack early season snowshoe adventure, the OR Foray pants kept our lead tester dry and toasty, without undue condensation or confinement.

Water Resistance


Outdoor Research started their clothing line with excellent waterproof gear and continues that tradition. The Foray pants are up there with the top performers in our review. Over a long day of real-life "wintry mix" in New York's Adirondacks, we had no incursion. Our comparative "shower test" showed that the water repellent coating on the Foray holds up as well as average. The zippers are waterproof, not letting any water in even under direct shower-head pressure.


Every one of the pants we tested is made of fabric with coatings that will not transmit liquid water. Making fabric waterproof isn't that complicated. Needless to say, then, the fabric of the Outdoor Research Foray pants is fully waterproof. Liquid water will not get through. Pants distinguish themselves in construction and zippers. Also, we find that pants made with more rigid fabric simply "feel" more protective, especially from the wind. In these ways, the Foray pants are largely excellent. The seams are all sealed, the long zippers are resistant to even pressurized water, and the cuffs and waist are simple but secure. None of the pants we tested suffered any major leakage. The zippers on some of the less expensive pants were a little vulnerable to pressurized water.

The orange tabs inside the cuffs of the OR Foray pants are for installing elastic as a sort of gaiter stirrup. This strategy is very effective at keeping snow out of your boots.
The orange tabs inside the cuffs of the OR Foray pants are for installing elastic as a sort of gaiter stirrup. This strategy is very effective at keeping snow out of your boots.

Comfort and Mobility


Here the Foray excels. We dig the soft and quiet fabric. The fabric is also a little stretchy, and the cut is close but not confining. The pants taper at the cuff to minimize flapping in windy conditions. It is a little more work to get these narrow cuffs over bulkier footwear like ski boots.


Of the Gore-Tex pants we tested, the OR Foray is the softest and quietest. Other Gore-Tex options, like the Arc'teryx Beta AR and Marmot Minimalist, at least when new, are crinklier and stiffer than the Foray. Once "broken in," the differences are lessened.

Simple  clean  and low-profile cuffs of the OR Foray work over shoes of varying sizes  as long as those boots are something smaller than ski boots.
Simple, clean, and low-profile cuffs of the OR Foray work over shoes of varying sizes, as long as those boots are something smaller than ski boots.

Breathability and Venting


"Name brand" waterproof-breathable fabrics seem to breathe better than "in-house" formulations. It is more expensive for Outdoor Research to license and use Gore-Tex in the Foray pants, but the result is breathability that surpasses almost all of the self-branded fabrics.

Venting of the Foray is accomplished by 3/4 length zippers that separate from the bottom and have separate zipper pulls to also ventilate from the mid-thigh. This venting is excellent for some conditions. For the most part, especially with pants like the Foray that are easy to take on and off, it is often better to simply remove your shell pants when venting is required. Opening the vents while it is raining will get you wetter from the outside. Leaving your rain pants on while it is not raining, even when vented, is way hotter than just taking them off. We don't weight "venting" very highly in our scoring. It is better to just take your pants off when you need venting.


The other Gore-Tex products breathe essentially the same as the OR Foray. The Arc'teryx Beta AR and Marmot Minimalist are all made with Gore-Tex and breathe better than most budget-oriented models. The most breathable pants in our review are the Mountain Hardwear Stretch Ozonic. The Patagonia Torrentshell pants have side zips that vent just like those of the OR Foray. The short ankle zippers of the Top Pick Outdoor Research Helium don't really ventilate at all.

Licensing actual Gore Tex fabric makes the Foray pants more expensive but brings proportional performance increases.
Licensing actual Gore Tex fabric makes the Foray pants more expensive but brings proportional performance increases.

Features


One pocket, suspenders attachments, and a drawstring waist round out the list of features on the OR Foray. We don't look for a ton of features on our lightweight shell pants. In fact, the suspenders attachment is a little strange. We have a hard time envisioning the user that might employ such a modification.


The robust and sturdy Arc'teryx Beta AR has an elaborate belt and a zip fly. None of the pants we tested are heavily featured, and we like it that way.

The elastic  drawstring  and suspender-ready waist band of the Outdoor Research Foray pant. These have lots of options  especially for such light pants.
The elastic, drawstring, and suspender-ready waist band of the Outdoor Research Foray pant. These have lots of options, especially for such light pants.

Packed Size


Given the amount of protection this model offers, the OR Foray packs down incredibly small. Shoving down to just a little bigger than a 12 ounce can of Sprite, the Foray is easy to bring along on most sorts of adventures.


Many of the pants we tested are similar in size. The Best Buy Marmot PreCip, for instance, is almost the same size. The Top Pick OR Helium pants are even tinier.

The lone rear pocket of the Foray pants is suitable for small items and doubles as a storage and carry pouch.
The lone rear pocket of the Foray pants is suitable for small items and doubles as a storage and carry pouch.

Weight


The Outdoor Research Foray weighs 10.2 ounces. At this mass, especially given their comfort and protection, it is difficult to leave them behind if there is the slightest chance of wet weather on your excursion.


There are certainly lighter and decidedly heavier rain pants available. The Top Pick cousin Outdoor Research Helium is 2/3 the weight of the Foray. The other Editors' Choice is 3 ounces heavier.

Durability


Durability is a two-pronged consideration. First, how well will the fabric hold up to mechanical abrasion and punishment? This is a function of fabric thickness and composition. The fabric of the OR Foray is on the light end of average. Next, in terms of durability, we look at how long it will maintain its performance characteristics under various pressures. We look for lasting effects in terms of breathability, absolute waterproofness, and surface water repellency. The waterproof membrane of the OR Foray is protected by fabric layers on both sides. It will maintain its waterproofness for as long as the fabric holds up. Breathability is a function of cleanliness. Keep your gear clean, and it will breathe better. Finally, the durable water repellant used on rain pants varies in quality. Not all of it is as durable as the others. Our shower test, supported by anecdotal evidence, suggests that the DWR of the OR Foray will last a little better than average.


The DWR of Patagonia clothing has long been exceptional and shows in all of our outerwear tests. The Patagonia Torrentshell pants are no exception. Their DWR exceeds that of the OR Foray and most other pants in our test.

Best Applications


These are the pants for the discerning user that wants emergency and occasional use rain pants but demands excellent weather protection.

The 3/4 side zips of the Foray pants leave enough space to go on and off over all but snowshoes and skis.
The 3/4 side zips of the Foray pants leave enough space to go on and off over all but snowshoes and skis.

Value


These aren't inexpensive nor are they very durable. The performance and packability are excellent, but you pay for it.

Conclusion


The OR Foray will serve that half of the hiking and climbing population that mainly carries rain pants for occasional use. Of course, there are much less expensive options out there to fill this same niche, but these less expensive options do not perform as well as the Foray.


Jediah Porter