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Outdoor Research Tantrum II - Women's Review

The Tantrum II is a comfortable, affordable jacket that finds a nice balance between breathability and wind resistance.
Outdoor Research Tantrum II
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Price:  $109 List | $63.79 at Amazon
Compare prices at 3 resellers
Pros:  Comfortable, breathable, good weather resistance
Cons:  Fewer features
Manufacturer:   Outdoor Research
By Lauren DeLaunay ⋅ Senior Review Editor  ⋅  Aug 8, 2018
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75
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#3 of 12
  • Breathability - 25% 8
  • Weather Resistance - 20% 7
  • Comfort - 20% 8
  • Portability - 20% 8
  • Features - 15% 6

Our Verdict

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.


Compare to Similar Products

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 was beaten out by the Brooks LSD for our Best Buy Award due to its lack of features and slightly heavier weight.

Performance Comparison


Breathing free in the Tantrum II!
Breathing free in the Tantrum II!

Breathability


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 provides great breathability during this spring day in Yosemite!
The Tantrum provides great breathability during this spring day in Yosemite!

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.

Weather Resistance


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.

Showing off the nice fit and great hood on the Tantrum.
Showing off the nice fit and great hood on the Tantrum.

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.

Comfort


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.

The Tantrum has one chest pocket and a whole lot of style.
The Tantrum has one chest pocket and a whole lot of style.

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.

Portability


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.

Easy  awesome portability with the Tantrum II.
Easy, awesome portability with the Tantrum II.

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).

Features


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.

These little thumb loops are useful  but not our favorite feature.
These little thumb loops are useful, but not our favorite feature.

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.

Best Applications


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.

The one small reflective logo on the Tantrum limits its urban usability.
The one small reflective logo on the Tantrum limits its urban usability.

Value


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.

Conclusion


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.

Getting ready for the rain with the Tantrum's sturdy hood
Getting ready for the rain with the Tantrum's sturdy hood


Lauren DeLaunay