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Why a wind shirt?
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Reginald Donaldson
(worth) - MLife

Locale: Wind River Range
Why a wind shirt? on 10/16/2008 08:47:16 MDT Print View

I have noticed that gear lists typically include a wind shirt and rain gear. Being a canoeist transitioning into backpacking, I have always used my rain jacket to stop the wind. Why would I want to pack both?

Johann Burkard
(johannb) - F

Locale: Europe
Re: Why a wind shirt? on 10/16/2008 09:08:09 MDT Print View

Wind shirts usually let sweat through better than rain jackets. Also, if the wheather is good in summer, you can go without rain gear and just bring a wind jacket.

Bradford Rogers
(Mocs123) - MLife

Locale: Southeast Tennessee
Wind Shirt on 10/16/2008 09:13:09 MDT Print View

The reason that you might use a wind shirt instead of a rain jacket is generally speaking, the wind shirt will be more breathable, so for hiking, it often preforms better than a rain jacket. I tend to sweat more when hiking hard in my rain jacket than I do in my wind shirt. If you were using it for camp use only then there would be no advantage.

This is a hot topic so I am sure you will get some people who love and hate wind shirts.


Locale: South West US
Re: Why a wind shirt? on 10/16/2008 11:43:06 MDT Print View

Simply because they are more comfortable and weigh next to nothing.

Sun, wind and bug protection for just 4oz.

Monty Montana
(TarasBulba) - MLife

Locale: Rocky Mountains
Re: Why a wind shirt? on 10/17/2008 00:28:55 MDT Print View

And not only do they weigh mere ounces (the MontBell weighs around 2.5 oz) but you can give them a DWR treatment and then they'll shed summer showers while still being able to breathe. They won't handle a hard, driving rain though; I resort to my poncho for that, which also doubles as my shelter.

Misfit Mystic

Locale: "Grand Canyon of the East"
RE: Why a wind shirt? on 10/17/2008 01:55:15 MDT Print View

In addition to the wind resistance, I also find a windshirt adds a fair bit of warmth to my layering system in colder weather. I often wear one over a merino top, and under an down jacket. I think the windshirt helps trap warm air close to my skin, preventing convective heat loss from air circulation inside my clothing.

Plus, if you spend much time hiking UP exposed ridges in moderate weather, windshirts are essential. Raingear is too hot, and no-protection is too cool. Buy one, and I bet it becomes one of your most-used, most-carried pieces of gear.

I think the ID Pertex jacket is sweet, or the Patagonia Houdini. Or you could make you're own with a kit for only about $40.00!

Richard Lyon
(richardglyon) - MLife

Locale: Bridger Mountains
Windshirt in winter on 10/17/2008 08:45:01 MDT Print View

I bought a wind shirt for just the reason Scott suggests - a lightweight warming layer when touring or downhill skiing. I've been using down instead of fleece for insulation and the wind shirt (mine is made of EPIC) adds some necessary protection against wetting out from spindrift and falls. A lighter alternative to a softshell. Not so keen on their use in summer, though the EPIC makes it a workable substitute for a rain shell when it's ground fog or a light rain and not a downpour. Strictly for wind protection I think one is surplus - a vented shell doesn't cause me to overheat and I need to take the shell with me anyway in case it rains.

Mary D
(hikinggranny) - MLife
Wind shirt on 10/17/2008 14:21:41 MDT Print View

I left my wind shirt home when I went to the Wind Rivers last summer, because when it is windy there it's usually cold enough that even a non-breathable rain jacket isn't a problem. However, I discovered that on warm, windless days, the horseflies regarded my permethrin-sprayed shirt as just so much appetizer and chewed away on me at every rest stop. Next time, that wind shirt goes with me, unless I can find a comparably light suit of medieval armor!