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Breathable windshirts?
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Chad Miller

Locale: Duluth, Minnesota
Breathable windshirts? on 01/23/2009 10:47:19 MST Print View

I am in the market for a new, highly breathable wind shirt. Currently I have the non breathable MontBell Windjacket made of the great ‘sauna fabric’.

I was hoping to get a few recommendations for products / materials for highly breathable wind shirts. I understand that the more breath able the fabric the less it will block wind. As I sweat easily a more breathable fabric is worth less wind resistance.

Thanks for all your help.


Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
Re: Breathable windshirts? on 01/23/2009 10:54:29 MST Print View

I have a Marmot Ion, which is noticeably more breathable and less wind resistant than my non-breathable old model Golite Helios.

A friend who owns both Marmot Ion and Patagonia Houdini commented that the Houdini was even more breathable and less wind resistant than the Ion.

Going with that plus reading other feedback seem to indicate that the Patagonia Houdini will suit you better.

Edited by ben2world on 01/23/2009 11:03:31 MST.

David T
(DaveT) - F
. on 01/23/2009 12:08:18 MST Print View


Edited by DaveT on 05/12/2015 16:07:59 MDT.

David Olsen

Locale: Steptoe Butte
windshirt fabric on 01/23/2009 12:22:44 MST Print View

Anyone making the 1.1 ounce DWR into windshirts these days?

Brett Peugh
(brettpeugh) - F

Locale: Midwest
winds of change on 01/23/2009 13:00:35 MST Print View

I had one made out of Momentum and I like it much better than the Ion or Houdini

Johann Burkard
(johannb) - F

Locale: Europe
Breathable windshirt on 01/23/2009 13:32:58 MST Print View

I used several Pertex Microlight products (VAUDE Laser Jacket, Haglöfs Zeal, Haglöfs something, Montane) and one Pertex Quantum product (Mont-Bell UL Wind Jacket).

Sweating was never a problem with both fabrics.

I liked the design of the Zeal and might get one again some day.

Jason Shaffer
(PA_Jay) - F

Locale: on the move....
Re: Breathable windshirts? on 01/23/2009 13:43:59 MST Print View

The most breathable windshirt I've used that's commercially available is the good ol' Montane Lite-speed, Pertex Microlight. I find it more breathable than the Houdini or the GoLite - as well as better designed (another matter). As per the fabric specs, Microlight is more breathable than Quantum as well. In drier weather I also allow the DWR to wash/wear out somewhat, esp. under the arms and along the back. That helps noticeably. I haven't noticed a significant difference in windproofness.

Momentum 90 vs. Microlight: Interesting. I have a lot of Momentum 90 fabric for MYOG quilts & bivies. I'd like to make a windshirt out of it. I have my doubts it would be much more breathable than Microlight (given fresh DWR's on both). That's just based on my experiences with both fabrics in quilts and bivy's though.

Edited by PA_Jay on 01/23/2009 13:53:05 MST.

Chad Miller

Locale: Duluth, Minnesota
Breathable windshirts on 01/23/2009 15:50:08 MST Print View

Thanks for all the information!

Mike W
(skopeo) - F

Locale: British Columbia
Breathable Windshirt... on 01/24/2009 01:49:35 MST Print View


Edited by skopeo on 04/27/2015 14:45:13 MDT.

joe newton

Locale: Bergen, Norway
RE: "Breathable windshirts?" on 01/24/2009 03:14:40 MST Print View

I sweat at the drop of a hat (or the effort to bend down and pick it up at any rate) and I rate the Montane Lite-speed (Pertex Microlight) for it's breathability which is the most important consideration for me when buying clothing. The only time it gets moist inside is when I'm trail running, uphill, and venting the full length zip quickly sorts that out. When it's time to come back down the hill, just zip it up, pull up the hood and it'll keep you snug until you get home. Hiking here in Norway in the winter I rarely wear more than a base layer and the Lite-speed with a powerstretch fleece in the sack in case it gets really cold and a Primaloft jacket for when I stop.

Nick Chen
(fleetparadox) - F

Locale: Socal
Montane Litespeed? on 01/24/2009 03:15:48 MST Print View

For those of you recommending the Montane Litespeed, the Jackson site lists it at 6oz... is this correct? Seems a bit heavy.

Is the Litespeed and Feather smock made of both the same material? Are they truly as breathable as the Houdini?


Matt Lutz
(citystuckhiker) - F

Locale: Midwest
Re: windshirt fabric on 01/24/2009 06:57:33 MST Print View

Thru-Hiker sells a kit for a windshirt that is made out of Momentum.

Jason Shaffer
(PA_Jay) - F

Locale: on the move....
Re: Montane Litespeed? on 01/24/2009 12:52:11 MST Print View

Yep - 6 oz in M should be correct. I saved a 1/2 oz by: removing the hem drawcord (I don't like the bulk), and cutting out the zipper backing (had a tendency to catch if careless). The hood toggles/cord could be lightened too.

The Lite-Speed is heavier than some but I think it's worth every oz (all 2 of them). More durable fabric for such a high use item, and a double-layer hood which is warmer. My 2003+/- model has seen a TON of off-trail forest use and it's still going strong. Will buy a new one soon though.

Lite-Speed & Featherlite are both Pertex Microlight 52g/m2 (1.3oz/yd2 I think). See the Montane Product Menu. Hike-Lite UK was a good retailer IME. But a guy on has blue Lite-Speeds for ~$50usd + s/h.

Jason Shaffer
(PA_Jay) - F

Locale: on the move....
Re: Re: Montane Litespeed? on 01/24/2009 12:53:46 MST Print View

Are they truly as breathable as the Houdini?
In a lab, I don't know. In use, definitely. I don't get the Houdini accolades out there. I think the Houdini blows. Too short in the torso/tail (I'm only 5'9"), bad hood design, and overpriced. YMMV.

Edit: No Montane or retailer affiliation. I do have a houdini I'd like to sell tho... sweet shirt! :)

Edited by PA_Jay on 01/24/2009 12:59:28 MST.

James Moughan
Breathable windshirts? on 01/24/2009 13:43:33 MST Print View

Another + for the Montane Featherlite. I sweat like a pig and barely notice I have it on, water resistance is good too. Montane do cut their clothes slim and long in the arm, which may or may not suit you.


Locale: South West US
Re: Breathable windshirts? on 01/24/2009 14:10:11 MST Print View

Hey Chad,

I have to agree with Jason on this one. The most breathable ultralight-windshirt I’ve used is the Montane Lite-speed. Better than the Houdini that I currently use.

The best material for a balance of comfort, breathability and windproof-ness is Pertex Equilibrium. However, the jacket I have is a hefty 11 oz. If you can find the fabric in a lighter weight and omit any pockets/features I bet you could get it down to the 4-6 oz range.

Best of Luck,


Lynn Tramper
(retropump) - F

Locale: The Antipodes of La Coruna
Re: Re: Breathable windshirts? on 01/25/2009 12:37:45 MST Print View

Montane Featherlite or MYOG equivalent from Thru Hiker get my vote to.

Paramo Fuera Smock on 01/25/2009 14:29:22 MST Print View

The best windshirt is the Paramo Fuera Smock. Once you use a wired, roll-away hood, you will never buy a shell without it. The high collar that can zip up over your chin is great.

The fabric, unlike similar Patagonia, Marmot, etc., is not calendered and does not have any coating. It is a simple, tight weave. It has the best drape of any of the fabrics used in windshirts as well and minimizes noise.

Lynn Tramper
(retropump) - F

Locale: The Antipodes of La Coruna
Re: Paramo Fuera Smock on 01/25/2009 16:07:04 MST Print View

The Fuera may be a great windshirt, but at 300g it is in a different league all together from the shirts we are discussing. Plus I do not want a hood on my windshirt....

Michael Davis
(mad777) - F

Locale: South Florida
Re: Re: Re: Breathable windshirts? on 01/25/2009 18:14:41 MST Print View

I'll throw in still another vote for Montail Litespeed windshirt, actually two votes, my wife loves here's too.

Yes, it is a tad bit heavier than some of the competition, but IMHO well worth it for such a full featured, highly breathable and important piece of gear.