Outdoor Research Foray Pants Review
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Outdoor Research Foray Pants
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|Pros||Lightweight, stormworthy, quiet fabric, good breathability, 3/4 length side zips, effective elastic cuffs||Mega stretchy fabric, best breathability in the review||Ultralight, super compact, good mobility, extremely comfortable elastic waistband, stows nicely in a reversible pocket||Best inexpensive pant, above average durability, excellent storm-worthiness||Fantastic price, very light, impressively small compact volume, solid storm protection, respectable breathability|
|Cons||No zip fly, one marginally useful pocket||Not quite as abrasion resistant as other models, so-so weather-resistance||Lower durability, feels clammy, hard to pull on over most boots||No pockets, low breathability and ventilation, not easy to put on without removing footwear||Not as breathable as other models, not as durable or as long-lasting, no ventilation options|
|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 that offers exceptional freedom of movement and the best breathability||Hard to beat for any trip where weight and packed space are at a premium||A killer pant for the price, offering better than expected feel and weather resistance||A simple, lightweight, and compact rain pant that excels at a range of outdoor activies at a price that's tough to beat|
|Rating Categories||Outdoor Research Fo...||Mountain Hardwear S...||Outdoor Research He...||Columbia Rebel Roamer||Marmot PreCip Eco Pant|
|Water Resistance (25%)|
|Comfort and Mobility (20%)|
|Breathability and Venting (20%)|
|Packed Size (10%)|
|Specs||Outdoor Research Fo...||Mountain Hardwear S...||Outdoor Research He...||Columbia Rebel Roamer||Marmot PreCip Eco Pant|
|Measured Weight||10.2 oz||10 oz||6.5 oz||12.5 oz||8.5 oz|
|Waterproof Fabric Material||2L Gore-Tex with PacLite Technology||2.5L Dry.Q Stretch Ripstop||2.5L Pertex Shield Diamond Fuse||Omni-Tech Waterproof/Breathable||NanoPro Eco|
|Face Fabric and Layer Construction||100% polyester 50D||100% recycled polyester||30D 100% nylon ripstop||70D 100% nylon||100% recycled nylon ripstop|
|Side Zips Length||3/4 length||3/4 length||1/4 length ankle zips||None||1/4 length|
|Put On Over Hiking or Mountaineering Boots||Yes||Yes||No||No||Yes|
|Stows Into Pocket||Yes||Yes||Yes||No||Yes|
|Waistband Closure||Elastic + shock cord||Nylon Belt + Elastic Band||Elastic with drawcord||Elastic + shock cord||Elastic + shock cord|
Our Analysis and Test Results
The Outdoor Research Foray are an ultralight pair of rain pants constructed from Gore-Tex PacLite fabric and are some of the lightest on the market. They feature just the right fit and set of functions. If you want excellent weather protection and will carry your rain pants more than you will wear them, these are the best on the market.
The Foray nearly maxes out our weighted scoring matrix. We design our scoring rubric to reward products that perform well in the ways most people will use them. With rain pants, people will wear them when it's raining, but will also end up regularly carrying them in their pack. The ratio of each depends on your climate, your tolerance for wet legs, and your ability to go out in wet weather in the first place.
Our test team dug further and found that people are 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. It depends on your region. These are a great option 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 requring excellent protection but also need a compact and lightweight carry.
Outdoor Research started its clothing line with excellent waterproof gear and continues that tradition. The Foray pants are some of the top performers in our review. Over a long day of real-life "wintry mix" in New York's Adirondacks, we had no issues. Another tester opted to use these pants for a five-day ski traverse with rain every single day and couldn't have been happier. Our comparative "shower test" showed that the DWR coating on the Foray holds up better than most. The zippers are waterproof and didn't allow any water in, even under direct showerhead pressure.
Each pair we tested is made of fabric with coatings that will not transmit liquid water. The fabric of the OR Foray is fully waterproof, meaning water will not find its way through the material. Pants distinguish themselves in their construction and zippers; those with a more rigid fabric simply "feel" more protective, especially from the wind.
In these ways, the Foray pants are excellent. The seams are sealed, the long zippers are resistant to even pressurized water, and the cuffs and waist are secure but straightforward. None of the pants we tested suffered any significant leakage.
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, but as long as they are lighter, more minimally focused boots, it isn't a problem. Of the Gore-Tex pants we tested, the OR Foray are the softest and quietest.
Breathability and Venting
"Name brand" waterproof-breathable fabrics seem to breathe better than "in-house" variations. 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 different 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 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, could turn out to be much warmer than simply taking them off. We don't weight "venting" very highly in our scoring, as we find it more conducive to take them off if you need a high level of venting.
The other Gore-Tex products in our fleet breathe primarily the same as the OR Foray. The most breathable pants are ones with air-permeable fabric, which transfer moisture better even when you aren't working hard.
The OR 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 on the market, but we find these to be more protective.
Given the amount of protection the OR Foray offers, they pack down incredibly small. They're capable of squishing down to just a little bigger than a 12 ounce can of La Croix, so they're easy to bring along on most adventures.
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, and we have a hard time envisioning the user that might employ such a modification.
None of the pants we tested are heavily featured, and we like it that way.
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 pretty middle-of-the-road for weight-focused rain pants. Next, how long will the pants maintain their 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. Our shower test, supported by anecdotal evidence, suggests that the DWR of the OR Foray will last a bit longer than average.
Should You Buy the OR Foray Pant?
These are the pants for the discerning user that wants emergency and occasional use rain pants, but who demands excellent weather protection in case their week-long trip turns out to be damp. The full side zips make them appropriate for mountaineering and backpacking; they are small enough to take as a just-in-case layer for day hikes, and their cuffs will just barely fit over ski boots. There are less expensive options out there to fill this same niche, but these less expensive options do not perform as well as the Foray — primarily in regards to their breathability and all-day stormworthiness.
What Other Rain Pants Should You Consider?
If you're looking for the most lightweight and packable pant to keep at the bottom of your pack, the Outdoor Research Helium Pant is the one. Another great Gore-Tex PacLite option is the Marmot Minimalist Pant, which is a bit more affordable than the Foray, but it only features 1/4 length zips. For an ultra-affordable rain pant that still boasts great performance, the Columbia Rebel Roamer is our recommendation.
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