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Wind Shirt Advice?
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James Patsalides
( - MLife

Locale: New England
Wind Shirt Advice? on 08/05/2009 21:09:45 MDT Print View

Any wind shirt users... would love your thoughts on the best brands, pros and cons of different types etc. Thanks!

Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Windshirts on 08/05/2009 21:56:20 MDT Print View

Windshirts took more effort to get my head around than just about any other part of my UL kit. Base layers were easy and I had some experience with light insulation layers, but I was trying to put windshirts in the same category as a jacket. Think shirt with a hood instead of jacket.

What kind? I like Montane, but I got a deal on a Patagonia Houdini and that works for me. The full front zipper allows ventilation options underway with my pack on and easy on and off. I like the drawstring at the waist over elastic, again for ventilation options. I would prefer a zipper on the chest pocket, which has just a couple Velcro tabs. I do like the hood, to get full coverage and more multi-purpose use.

Consider a lighter color for use as sunburn and bug protection. I wish I could get one with opening cuffs and tabs like the Ex Officio Airstrip shirts, so I could roll the sleeves up and down to suit.

Gordon Smith
(swearingen) - MLife

Locale: Portland, Oregon
RE Wind Shirts on 08/06/2009 00:51:45 MDT Print View

I love wind shirts. They breathe far better than conventional rain gear yet with their DWR treatment they can keep you pretty dry in light rain or even a brief downpour. For most day hikes and backpack trips a wind shirt is all I carry for rain gear. If it looks like rain is likely I'll take a NF Diad, but for most summer jaunts in my area the weather is typically good and the wind shirt is perfect.

I've used a Montbell wind shirt for the past several years and like it a lot. It lacks a hood though, so I also had to bring a rain hat. This year I got a Houdini and so far I like it better. It's an ounce heavier but has a hood so I can leave the rain hat at home. It weighs about 4ozs I think and stuffs into its own pocket.

A few months ago I hiked up and back down a very steep 3000' mountain with a group of 12 people. It rained steadily all day. I was wearing my MB windshirt and a rain hat and used a 5.5oz Montbell trekking umbrella. Everyone else had more standard rain gear, some even had rain pants. Temps were about 50-55 degrees. Most people were complaining about how much they were sweating under their rain gear. At the end of the day I was the only person still mostly dry and comfortable.


Edited by swearingen on 08/06/2009 01:03:41 MDT.

Ryan Linn

Locale: Maine!
Re: Windshirts on 08/06/2009 05:26:02 MDT Print View

I agree that the windshirt was one of the hardest things to get used to in the UL kit. I got a montane featherlight, which has been very nice so far. I find that it only sheds a very light mist, in which case I'd rather go with just my base layer.

The other day I wore the windshirt in steady rain, and it wet through almost immediately. However, it kept me warm enough that hiking in the rain was not uncomfortable, and when the rain stopped the windshirt dried off almost instantly (it holds almost no water at all when saturated). I was able to keep my rain jacket dry for camp, rather than sweating through it while hiking. So far, I think the windshirt is a good investment.

James Patsalides
( - MLife

Locale: New England
Windshirt Advice on 08/06/2009 06:17:14 MDT Print View

So, thanks for your perspectives... do you ever wear it INSTEAD of a base layer or is it always a layer to add? I'm going to take a look at options etc, will I find any examples in, like, REI? So I can try before I buy?

Edited by on 08/06/2009 06:17:46 MDT.

kevin smith
windshirt on 08/06/2009 07:15:58 MDT Print View

i have the golite ether and i love it
it is really light has a hood and packs down very small

i take it with me on all my backpacking trips just in case


Kevin Babione
(KBabione) - MLife

Locale: Pennsylvania
GoLite Ether on 08/06/2009 07:54:29 MDT Print View

Another vote for the GoLite Ether. My primary rain gear is the Gatewood Cape but it really has to be raining for me to put that on. The Ether is only 4 ounces (in a XL)and is what I put on first if rain hits. The full-length zipper is what attracted me to it - I generate a lot of heat while hiking and, in the absence of pit zips, the front zipper allows pretty good thermal management.

Chris W
(simplespirit) - MLife

Locale: .
Re: Wind Shirt Advice? on 08/06/2009 08:01:19 MDT Print View

The Patagonia Houdini is generally considered the top wind shirt with the GoLite Ether and MontBell also being fairly popular. It is not designed as a base layer although I guess you could wear it as one if you really wanted to. Not sure I'd like the feel myself.

Bradford Rogers
(Mocs123) - MLife

Locale: Southeast Tennessee
Windshirt on 08/06/2009 08:16:38 MDT Print View

I have a Marmot Ion and a Montaine Aero Smock. I wear them while hiking in winter with a base layer (normally wool) underneath. It is amazing how much warmer they keep you, but still breathe better than most (if not all) rain jackets. Perhaps it is the two I have used, but I find them to wet through quickly, so I do not use them in even a light rain. I don't carry mine in the warmer months.

The Montaine and the Houdini are more breathable but are not supposed to have as good of DWR as less breathable windshirts like the Mont-Bell(but the less breathable the more wind it blocks).

Chris W
(simplespirit) - MLife

Locale: .
Re: Windshirt on 08/06/2009 08:24:25 MDT Print View

The DWR on the Houdini is supposed to be top notch. I haven't had mine out in rain but my gf has and stayed dry in shorter hard rains and longer misting sessions. I've heard the same from others as well.

Edited by simplespirit on 08/06/2009 08:24:55 MDT.

V k

Locale: New York
Houdini on 08/06/2009 08:36:09 MDT Print View

another vote for the Houdini wind shirt.

Bill B
(bill123) - MLife
Re: Windshirt on 08/06/2009 08:40:06 MDT Print View

A few years ago I got caught out in a thunderstorm above treeline with 25mph wind, 50deg. temp and a horrible rain/hail storm. I was wearing a thin base layer and Houdini. I didn't have time to put on a rain jacket because of the lightning so I beat a hasty retreat for the treeline. I was out in the rain for about 20 minutes and was soaked through. Once I was below treeline, I realized that I was warm enough that I didn't have to change clothing, so I continued hiking. I remained warm until I reached my campsite at which point, my clothes were dry.

It did take a change in attitude to get used to using a wind shirt, but once I got used to it, the windshirt became my favorite piece of gear.

Link .
(annapurna) - MLife
Re: Re: Windshirt on 08/06/2009 09:14:52 MDT Print View


Edited by annapurna on 05/02/2010 08:17:35 MDT.

Mark Hobbs
(markhobbs) - F
REI on 08/06/2009 09:31:58 MDT Print View

I don't think REI carries ANY windshirts. You'll have to go to a Patagonia retail store or just order one from an online dealer with a good return policy.

You can find Patagonia stores on their website:

Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Rain and windshirts on 08/06/2009 09:36:17 MDT Print View

It's handy to have some DWR function in a windshirt, but too much waterproofness just makes them a sweat box. Breathability has been the deciding factor in all the reviews of windshirts I've read. I have had some lightly coated windbreakers that were fine around town, but turned into steam baths once I was working a bit. Add the ventilation cut-off from pack and shoulder straps and you're dripping in no time.

As far as wearing one as a base layer, it would be sticky and cold-- no wicking properties. I would go with something like the Ex Officio Airstrip Lite shirt if you want long sleeve protection that can be worn comfortably without a base layer; otherwise, various weights of wicking polyester shirts do the trick.

Gordon Smith
(swearingen) - MLife

Locale: Portland, Oregon
RE: REI on 08/06/2009 11:05:33 MDT Print View

I think Anna and Mark are correct, I've never seen a windshirt at REI either. For the Houdini I tried one on for size at my local Patagonia outlet. They only carry the Houdini in black though and I wanted a blue one. So they gave me a coupon code good for free shipping from their online store and I ordered it from there.


Edited by swearingen on 08/06/2009 11:06:32 MDT.

Jeff K
(jeff.k) - F

Locale: New York
Layering with a Windshirt on 08/06/2009 12:25:06 MDT Print View

Someone asked about using a windshirt as a base layer, but I was wondering how others layer it. I assume most of the time it is over just a base layer. However, is there any use of getting a larger wind shirt so it can be layered over a light insulation layer such as the Montbell ThermaWrap or Inner Down.

I would guess both of those layers have decent wind blocking properties. However, the wind shirt could be useful over a non wind blocking fleece.

Any suggestions or comments on layering would be appreciated. I was planning on getting my wind shirt just large enough to fit over my base layer, but wanted to see what others suggest first.

todd h
(funnymoney) - MLife

Locale: SE
Re: Layering with a Windshirt on 08/06/2009 14:00:27 MDT Print View

I layer my windshirt over a Cocoon vest and am very pleased. I should add that if it's cool enough for the vest, I wear my base layer, too.

I highly recommend it as a useful layer.

Michael Bachman
(rivrfox) - F

Locale: Western Slope, Colorado
wind jackets on 08/06/2009 14:07:23 MDT Print View

My gf has a houdini and I have an OR Ion and we both love them. I use it for biking, day hiking, peak bagging in the summer, you name it. I got mine on a great sale and she gots hers for free replacing an old paty rain jacket that had worn out.

I usually layer mine over a patagucchi wool 2.


Lynn Tramper
(retropump) - F

Locale: The Antipodes of La Coruna
Re: Layering with a Windshirt on 08/06/2009 14:07:32 MDT Print View

I frequently use my Montane Aero OVER my insulation layers around camp. Garments like the MB down inner don't cut wind very well, plus I like having something over them to protect them from food, flames, forays into the woods to gather firewood, yes, I always size up one size for this purpose.