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Outdoor Research Baritone Quarter Zip

rated 4.5 of 5 stars
photo: Outdoor Research Baritone Quarter Zip long sleeve performance top

This shirt is a super soft, warm, stretchy quarter-zip layer that's perfect for wear around the house or in camp on a cool fall day. I wear mine when I'm working remotely or to and from adventures, but for big days in the mountains or on the trail, I reach for something else.


  • Extremely soft feel
  • Stretchy fabric with plenty of give
  • Unobtrusive thumb loops
  • Quarter-zip keeps fit relaxed


  • Not the most breathable
  • Doesn't wick as well as other layers
This is a good representation of the color...The other photos are a little washed out

The Baritone quarter-zip is a heavy-weight baselayer or a lightweight mid-layer designed to be stretchy and soft for ease of movement and comfort. The men's and women's versions of the shirts are refered to as the Baritone and the Melody, respectively, if you're looking for the same product for your wife/girlfriend. OR's website describes it as "perfect for cold weather activities that demand warmth, stretch, movement, and moisture management", and I've found this statement to be generally true aside from the "moisture management" part.

The fit:  I'm 5'8", 190 pounds, with a muscular build, and I bought a large.  the body fits well. The shirt isn't snug, but it's not baggy. I'd call it a flattering fit.  For a shirt in general the sleeves a slightly long, but considering the shirt has thumb-loops this is by design. It's hard to use thumb-loops when the shirt stops at your wrist. Taller people will appreciate this if they have longer arms, too. The collar is tall enough to cover my neck but not so tall that it jams my chin, and the length of the shirt falls on the middle of my rear, although given the material is stretchy it tends to drape where a normal shirt would.

The feel:  This is the best part...This is the softest quarter-zip I own. It's like a combination of cotton and microfleece, but not the kind that snags on dry skin. The outside is more akin to a cotton-type weave and the inside is more similar to a very fine micro-fleece...Hard to describe, but extremely soft and comfortable. The seams are flat enough that they're not uncomfortable if you're wearing this as a base layer. I usually wear this over a t-shirt when I'm lounging around the house, more for the practicality of not washing it every day, but it feels softer than the t-shirts when I go without them.

The function:  This shirt isn't the lightest...If you're looking for something to take to the backcountry that saves weight as a heavier base layer or a lighter mid-layer, I'd probably recommend OR's Vigor gridfleece or something from another company. The large weighs 12.6 ounces/357 grams. When worn as a baselayer I find the shirt wicks moisture in line with other heavyweight polyester shirts, but the tight weave that gives the fabric a soft hand also makes the shirt feel a little less breathable. It's hard to describe, but I wouldn't want to sweat a lot in this shirt as it starts to feel a little "clingy". 

The fabric is an 82% poly / 18% spandex blend that makes it extremely stretchy, which is great for movement and comfort. There's no restriction on movement at all. The shirt has a pocket on the right hip that might be good for a set of keys or something small, but it's not a hand pocket. Thumb loops hold the sleeves down, but the fabric is stretchy and the arms are long enough that I haven't used them a whole lot aside from when I'm layering something over top and just want to keep the sleeves down temporarily.

My recommended uses: I wear this shirt as an everyday piece around the house, when I'm flying places or traveling, and when I get back to the hotel after a day out. It would work as a light mid-layer, but the dense weave of the fabric and the lack of real loft when compared to a grid-fleece or more traditional fleece layer means it lacks insulation per ounce. It wouldn't be a terrible choice, but there are other mid-layers that do the job better.

As a baselayer I'd wear this for a low-impact adventure like a late fall day hike under a windshell, or possibly as a light mid-layer under an insulated jacket if skiing inbounds. I would not use this as a layer in a more technical layering system.  I wear mine mostly around the house.

Who would like this: Someone looking for a casual piece of outdoor clothing to wear every day around the house, while traveling, or for low-impact outings

Who might not like this: Someone looking for a lightweight or technical piece of clothing to fill a specific niche in a multi-layer kit


A hip pocket keeps small items from bouncing
Thumb loops keep the sleeves down when layering
The inside of the fabric is extremely soft and the seams are all flat-sewn


The outside face of the fabric is a tight weave similar to a cotton T-shirt


The collar is stiff enough to stand without being annoying against the chin


The zipper is a spring-loaded "lay flat" zipper


I'm 5'8", 190 pounds, and a large fits me perfectly


Another closeup of the fabric



I've owned this shirt in various colors for a year and a half and I wear it 3-4 days/week. I take at least on on every trip. These shirts have been to Washington, Colorado, Illinois, up and down the East Coast, and in rain, shine, and snow.

Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $90

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Price MSRP: $89.00
Current Retail: $89.00
Historic Range: $39.60-$99.00
Reviewers Paid: $90.00
Fabric 82% polyester, 18% spandex
Center Back Length 29.5 in / 75 cm
Weight 13.2 oz / 374 g
Product Details from Outdoor Research »

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