Hands-on Gear Review

Outdoor Research Tantrum II Review

Price:  $109 List | $68.16 at Amazon
Compare prices at 4 resellers
Pros:  Stuff pack has a waist strap to allow independent carrying, super breathable, great stretchy fit.
Cons:  Terrible water resistance, not as wind resistant as other jackets, not ideal with a large backpack.
Bottom line:  The option to bring it along anytime without needing a hydration pack is a huge bonus.
Editors' Rating:   
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Measured Weight, size L:  5.1 oz
Pockets:  1 zip (chest)
Material:  Stretch nylon
Manufacturer:   Outdoor Research

Our Verdict

Simply put, the Outdoor Research Tantrum II is our Top Pick for Running and Biking because of how easy it is to bring with you. While almost all of the jackets in this review stuff down into one of their pockets and clip into a hydration pack or a harness with a reinforced clip-in loop, the Tantrum takes portability a step further by stuffing into a tiny dedicated pocket on the lower back that has a thin elastic waistband and buckle attached to it, allowing you to carry it around the waist. While you can still clip it in if you choose, or just throw it into a pack, it is the only jacket in this review that you can conveniently carry with you on any adventure without needing a backpack or harness. We found this level of versatility to be absolutely huge when trying to select a jacket for any given day, and aren't ashamed to admit that this little feature alone accounted for the Tantrum joining us on more adventures than any other jacket in this review. Enough said!

Product Update
The Outdoor Research Tantrum has been replaced by the Tantrum II. Scroll down to see the inside scoop on what's new!


RELATED REVIEW: The Best Windbreaker Jackets For Men


Our Analysis and Test Results

Review by:
Andy Wellman

Last Updated:
Friday
April 6, 2018

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The Outdoor Research Tantrum II vs. the Tantrum


OR updated the Tantrum to the Tantrum II this season, dropping their integrated waist-belt carrying system for the more classic chest stow pocket with clip-in loop. There has been a drop in weight, as well as different seam lines and a number of new colorways. Check out the new Tantrum II in the first photo below, followed by the original Tantrum.

Outdoor Research Jolt
  • Lighter weight — Outdoor Research managed to shave roughly half an ounce off their previous version. The old version weighed in at 5.2 oz for a size large, whereas the same size in the Tantrum II tips the scales at a featherweight 4.7 oz.
  • Storage changes — On the Tantrum II, OR went with the classic chest pocket storage system, which now has a clip-in loop. This replaced the old Tantrum's lower back pocket with integrated waist belt storage, which we talk about below in our review of the original version.
  • Seam lines — The seams across the torso appear to have changed, along with the shape of the chest pocket, which now has a storm flap over the zipper.
  • New colors — The Tantrum II is available in 4 new colors, one being the blue shown above.

The following text still reflects the original OR Tantrum jacket.

Hands-On Review of the Outdoor Research Tantrum


We've already mentioned how much we like the option to wear this jacket around your waist in its tiny stuff sack with attached elastic waist belt. We love this feature so much for running and biking because we prefer not to carry hydration packs when we don't have to. Granted, for adventures over a couple hours, we typically do carry a pack of some sort, and in that case the bonus versatility is nullified, but for adventures of less than that long, we like to go light. For running, we prefer a simple hand-held water bottle accompanied by the Tantrum around our waist, and for mountain biking we have a bottle holder on our frame, and again, a Tantrum around our waist. While the advantages of this system are huge, the glaring disadvantage of the jacket is that the stuff pocket is in the middle bottom of the lower back, and holds the waist strap when the jacket is being worn. The location and added bulk in this spot makes it annoying to wear the Tantrum under a large backpack, climbing pack, or harness. Running vests and hydration packs didn't sink low enough to rub against the pocket. So while we love this jacket for running and biking, it wasn't our top choice for backpacking or rock climbing.

Excepting the location of the stow pocket, there is a lot to love about the Tantrum, as well as a couple things to be disappointed about. We loved the fit of this shell that is sleek, moves great with the body, but still leaves room for a mid-weight warmth layer underneath. The stretch fabric is the stretchiest in the review, and is hyper-breathable as well, again reinforcing this jacket as a great choice for sweaty activities. Where it doesn't shine is water resistance, as this was the single least resistant wind breaker we tested. If water falls from the sky, it will have absolutely no problem soaking through this jacket. Also, while the permeable stretch fabric allows incredible breathability, it is not as wind resistant as others we tested. Overall, we loved this jacket, which is why we're willing to declare it our Top Pick.

The tundra is turning brown and gold around Porphyry Basin high in the San Juan Mountains in early September. With a cold autumn wind blowing over the ridges we were happy to have our Tantrum wind breaker.
The tundra is turning brown and gold around Porphyry Basin high in the San Juan Mountains in early September. With a cold autumn wind blowing over the ridges we were happy to have our Tantrum wind breaker.

Wind Resistance


The Outdoor Research Tantrum ranks at the bottom of the test results when it comes to wind resistance, on a similar level with the Arc'teryx Squamish Hoody and the Sierra Designs Exhale Windshell. However, we awarded it five out of 10 points on a comparative scale, rather than something lower, because it still does a totally sufficient job of protecting a person from the wind. While it obviously didn't block a cold wind quite as well as most of the other jackets, at least it made up for it by being super breathable.

Time to throw on a layer in the screaming wind on the exposed ridgeline of the Monarch Crest Trail in Colorado. A lightweight wind breaker like the Tantrum is easy to carry on a ride like this.
Time to throw on a layer in the screaming wind on the exposed ridgeline of the Monarch Crest Trail in Colorado. A lightweight wind breaker like the Tantrum is easy to carry on a ride like this.

Breathability and Venting


Breathability is one of the strong suits of this jacket, and it needs to be to perform well as an aerobic wind layer. The soft insides of the stretchy fabric seem to absorb water and wick it outward slightly better than some of the slicker nylon fabrics used on the Patagonia Houdini or the Fast Wing Hoodie. The fabric itself is among the most air permeable in the review and may be the single most breathable fabric that we tested. Many times we ran for long hours wearing this jacket with no excess sweat build-up on the inside, including through the night while pacing the eventual race winners of the Hardrock 100. While we loved the breathability of the fabric, we lament that the jacket has no features designed to help venting while running or biking, like the front button on the Salomon Fast Wing Hoodie. Regardless, this one scored eight out of 10 points.

Paulo Wellman wears the Tantrum wind breaker near the top of North Apostle Peak  a centennial 13er in the Sawatch Range of Colorado  with Ice Mountain in the background. While testing we found wind breakers to be an invaluable layer for summer peak bagging.
Paulo Wellman wears the Tantrum wind breaker near the top of North Apostle Peak, a centennial 13er in the Sawatch Range of Colorado, with Ice Mountain in the background. While testing we found wind breakers to be an invaluable layer for summer peak bagging.

Fit and Functionality


This jacket was one of the best fitting in the review, scoring nine out of 10, second only to the Arc'teryx Squamish Hoody in this department. The stretchy fabric really made the fit of this jacket work perfectly. While it isn't quite as sleek as some, that only means that it's large enough to fit a warmth layer underneath, while still hugging the body and in no way impeding movement. Compared to some of the fabrics we tested, such as that found in the construction of the Mountain Hardwear Ghost Lite Jacket, the fabric is silky silent and doesn't snap and pop in a strong wind or crinkle incessantly when moving. In short, we loved the fit of this jacket, one of the reasons we are happy to recommend it.

The Tantrum is light and stretchy and has the softest and quietest fabric of any tested in this review. Its light fabric is also highly breathable  making it a great option for aerobic activity. Here you can see the pouch on the lower back that the jacket stuffs into  and where the waist strap lives when not in use.
The Tantrum is light and stretchy and has the softest and quietest fabric of any tested in this review. Its light fabric is also highly breathable, making it a great option for aerobic activity. Here you can see the pouch on the lower back that the jacket stuffs into, and where the waist strap lives when not in use.

In terms of functionality, we have obviously already waxed poetic about the awesomeness of the waist strap on the stow pocket. However, that same pocket is not so comfortable while wearing a large climbing pack or backpack. This jacket has elastic wrist enclosures with thumb loops for holding the sleeves in place while layering over, and also has an elastic-lined hood that features a single pull drawcord that works great to keep out the wind and elements. It has only one chest pocket and no hand pockets, cutting down on bulk and weight. Overall, a very well thought out and constructed wind breaker for active pursuits, nine out of 10 points.

The wrist cuffs on the Tantrum have sewn-in elastic to keep them tight  a feature that worked just fine.
The wrist cuffs on the Tantrum have sewn-in elastic to keep them tight, a feature that worked just fine.

The hood on this wind breaker tightens with a single draw cord and cinch buckle on the back of the head  much like many others in this review.
The hood on this wind breaker tightens with a single draw cord and cinch buckle on the back of the head, much like many others in this review.

Water Resistance


This jacket could have ended up as one of the highest scorers in this review if it didn't have such a glaring weakness — its water resistance. When we took it into the shower and got wet in a five-second spin through the water spout, we got really wet. Like, there was seemingly no DWR coating at all, and water instantly soaked through the jacket to the inside. This was probably the single least water-resistant shell in the test. We gave it three out of 10 points, with the only positive thing being that it does indeed dry quickly like OR claims, and now you have been warned!

We were disappointed with the water resistance of this jacket -- what water resistance? The tiniest spray of water immediately soaked through to the skin. Not gonna help you out should you get rained on.
We were disappointed with the water resistance of this jacket -- what water resistance? The tiniest spray of water immediately soaked through to the skin. Not gonna help you out should you get rained on.

Weight and Packability


Our size large jacket weighed 5.1 ounces on the scale straight out of the packaging, ever so slightly more than was claimed by OR on their website. This was pretty darn light, but middle of the road for this review. Based on weight alone, we awarded seven out of 10 points. However, when considering packability, we couldn't help but give it two bonus points, the only jacket in the review so positively affected by how small and easy to carry it is. Not only does it stuff down micro-sized, but it carries without a pack, a bonus we have already spent a lot of time gushing over. In the end, this jacket got nine out of 10 for weight and packability combined.

While most of the jackets in this review packed down very small into their own pocket  the Tantrum was the only one that came with an attached waist belt. This allowed us to bring this jacket on days of mountain biking and trail running when we didn't carry a pack  and was an awesome feature.
While most of the jackets in this review packed down very small into their own pocket, the Tantrum was the only one that came with an attached waist belt. This allowed us to bring this jacket on days of mountain biking and trail running when we didn't carry a pack, and was an awesome feature.

The Tantrum was our Top Pick for Mountain Biking and Running because packed down it comes with a waist strap to wear it without a pack. On this ride of the Monarch Crest Trail  we were happy to be able to bring it along without needing our backpack  and when the wind picked up later were very happy we had it.
The Tantrum was our Top Pick for Mountain Biking and Running because packed down it comes with a waist strap to wear it without a pack. On this ride of the Monarch Crest Trail, we were happy to be able to bring it along without needing our backpack, and when the wind picked up later were very happy we had it.

Best Applications


This jacket is best suited for highly aerobic activities in dry conditions. Due to its very poor showing in terms of water resistance, we wouldn't want to use it as a potential rain layer while climbing, hiking, or backpacking. Not only that, but the pouch on the back makes it not ideal for use when carrying a big pack. What it is really good for is running, mountain biking, road biking, peak bagging, or other adventuring where you want some warmth and wind protection without the need to carry a pack. When partaking in any of these activities it was our go-to layer during the test period. For that reason, we gave it our Top Pick for Running and Biking.

The review author (left) with world famous mountain runner Kilian Jornet in the Silverton school gym immediately after the finish of the 2016 Hardrock 100. Wearing the Tantrum jacket through the night  he had the privilege to pace buddy Jason Schlarb and Jornet as they ran the last 10 miles of the famous race together  finishing while holding hands in the second fastest time ever.
The review author (left) with world famous mountain runner Kilian Jornet in the Silverton school gym immediately after the finish of the 2016 Hardrock 100. Wearing the Tantrum jacket through the night, he had the privilege to pace buddy Jason Schlarb and Jornet as they ran the last 10 miles of the famous race together, finishing while holding hands in the second fastest time ever.

Value


The retail price for the Tantrum is $109. This is close to the lowest price in the review, and a very good value. As long as you match what you intend to use it for to our recommendations above, we think you will be very happy with the performance of this jacket, and also with the money you spent.

Conclusion


A fantastic and comfortable fit, incredible breathability, and the ability to carry it anywhere on any sort of mission are what make the Tantrum a great wind breaker jacket. Poor water resistance and a bulky pocket on the lower back that rubs when wearing a large pack or harness is what makes the Tantrum a wind breaker with limitations. While we consider it the Top Pick for Running and Mountain Biking, we also acknowledge that we would not consider wearing it while climbing or backpacking, or if rain was in the forecast. So, if your needs match this jacket's strengths, we couldn't be more happy to recommend it. But if you want a jacket for anything other than running or biking, we recommend you look somewhere else.

The Monarch Crest Trail is a portion of the Colorado and Continental Divide Trails  and easily one of the most classic mountain bike rides in Colorado. The Tantrum jacket was a perfect addition to the ride on this windy autumn day.
The Monarch Crest Trail is a portion of the Colorado and Continental Divide Trails, and easily one of the most classic mountain bike rides in Colorado. The Tantrum jacket was a perfect addition to the ride on this windy autumn day.
Andy Wellman

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OutdoorGearLab Editors' Rating:  
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 (4.0)
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