The Tantrum II from Outdoor Research has a lot going for it and quickly became one of our favorite layers. It's comfortable, breathable, and lightweight, all at a reasonable price. We loved how easily packable it is, and it includes some of the runner-friendly features we consider necessary. Despite being a high scorer, it didn't receive an award because of its lack of visibility and slightly heavier weight. That being said, there are many great uses for which we'd happily recommend this jacket.
Outdoor Research Tantrum II - Women's ReviewPrice: $109 List | $108.95 at MooseJaw
Compare prices at 2 resellers Pros: Comfortable, breathable, good weather resistance
Cons: Fewer features
Bottom line: The Tantrum II is a comfortable, affordable jacket that finds a nice balance between breathability and wind resistance.
Manufacturer: Outdoor Research
RELATED REVIEW: The Best Women's Running Jackets of 2018
Our Analysis and Test Results
The recently updated Tantrum has many of our favorite qualities: it's comfortable, super breathable, and has solid weather resistance. In the end, it beat out for our Best Buy Award by the Brooks LSD due to its lack of features and slightly heavier weight.
Running is a high-energy, high-output activity and one that forces us into a sweat no matter how slow we're going or how cold it is, which is why this breathability is the most important factor in any piece of running-specific clothing. For jackets, we spent months in the field directly comparing their ability to allow air to flow.
The Tantrum II is one of the most breathable jackets that we tested, without a doubt. Its lightweight material is slightly heavier than the of The North Face Flight RKT or Mountain Hardwear Ghost Lite but was significantly more breathable. We never experienced the "trash bag effect" in this layer like we did in those two.
Besides choosing materials carefully, the second thing a designer can do to ensure breathability is include venting. The Arc'teryx Gaea, for instance, has different materials on the back and underarms to help keep us cool where we need it most. The Tantrum is one cohesive fabric, but we found it to vent will all over regardless.
If jackets didn't protect us from the elements, we wouldn't need them! So we set out in rain, wind, and cold temperatures to see which jackets could protect us best. The Tantrum served as an above-average wind layer, but it has few insulating properties.
In the wind, the Tantrum excels, which is something that makes it one of our favorite lightweight jackets in this review. Often, manufacturers struggle to find the balance between breathability and wind resistance. If a material can keep out the wind, it also tends to keep out the airflow necessary to cool us down. The Tantrum excels in this realm and strikes a balance between those two qualities better than even the Best Buy Award-winning LSD.
While capable of shedding moisture and protecting us during light rain, the Tantrum is not a rain jacket, and we would not head out into a downpour in this product. Similarly, while we're certainly warmer with it than without, this jacket was not created to provide insulation. If you're looking for something to keep you comfortable on chilly mornings, we'd recommend the Brooks Canopy which is a bit heavier and warmer.
Everyone has their own preferences when it comes to comfort, so we assembled an expert team of runners and colleagues to judge each jacket based on its fit and feel. We identified a few key features that create our favorite comfy layers and asked for feedback on each.
The Tantrum's nylon construction is one of our favorites in this review. Somehow, it avoids the clingy feeling of the Flight RKT and is instead soft and luxurious to the touch. Though it's not quite as cozy as the merino Rush or super-soft Gaea, this was the most comfortable of all the uber-light jackets we tested.
One other factor that contributed to the Tantrum's high comfort score was the fit. We love jackets that find a balance between form-fitting enough to stay put when we run and loose enough to not constrict our movements. Our testers found that despite a lack of stretch, this product has a nearly perfect fit. However, a bit of stretch is always nice, as with the Patagonia Airshed.
This is the Outdoor GearLab, after all, and we're looking to bring the products we tested on the craziest adventures we can think up. Portability matters, whether you're diving deep into the backcountry or for a few laps around the track. We tested both weight and packing size to come up with one coherent score for this category.
At 3.5 ounces, the Tantrum is among the lightest jackets that we tested. While a few of our favorites weighed in at under three ounces, the Tantrum was right there with them. The Brooks LSD, for example, is half an ounce lighter but also doesn't have a hood. The weight of this jacket is super friendly for long and short missions alike. We never felt held back.
The Tantrum, like many of its competitors, packs easily into its own pocket for easy transport. There's a clip loop to attach to a harness or pack easily, but after running with the armband of the Brooks Canopy and LSD, we wished this clip loop was built more with the runner in mind. (This is a running jacket review, remember).
The main thing that separates a running jacket from other windbreakers or rain shells is the features. To be the runner's perfect companion, these products had to contain a few crucial details. The first of these is visibility. For running in urban areas, especially at night, reflective markings are crucial to our safety. The Tantrum has one reflective logo on the arm, but we wish it had more visibility on the rear. The LSD, for example, has a long reflective stripe on the back.
One detail we did appreciate about the Tantrum was the hood. Many of the jackets we tested have hoods, but this one has a sturdy brim to help keep moisture out of our face and eyes. This is a massive benefit to runners. The hood is elastic, as well, and stays on our heads more easily than the loose-fitting hood of the Under Armour Outrun The Storm.
This jacket does have thumb loops, but we found them to be less durable than some of their competitors. Because they're not built into the sleeves, they were a bit annoying when not in use. On the flip side, the Tantrum also features a cinch cord at the waist which we find to be excellent at helping to keep out moisture and mosquitoes. Finally, we love the chest pocket on this jacket that is large enough to fit an iPhone 6 easily.
The Tantrum's best qualities are its portability, comfort, and wind resistance, making it a great choice for a variety of outdoor activities. It could be a great trail-running jacket too, but its lack of visibility limits it for use in urban environments.
At only $109, the Tantrum II is one of the least expensive jackets we tested. We thought it provided a great value… until we found the LSD. Comparatively, this $85 has more runner-friendly features, included enhanced portability and visibility, which ultimately won it the Best Buy Award. We think the Tantrum could be a better choice for you than the LSD, however, if breathability is paramount to features.
The Tantrum II from Outdoor Research is an awesome jacket and one of our highest scorers overall. We loved its unique combination of breathability and weather resistance, and we found it to be both comfortable and affordable. While it has some nice features, like a chest pocket, thumb loops, and sturdy hood, we wish it had more visibility for urban runners. We ultimately chose the LSD for our Best Buy Award because of its portable armband and high visibility, but if these things matter less to you than breathability, the Tantrum would be a great purchase.
OutdoorGearLab Member Reviews
Most recent review: August 8, 2018
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