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Andrew Shapira
(northwesterner) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Wind Shorts on 10/04/2009 12:22:48 MDT Print View

The upper legs produce a lot of heat. It seems as though it would be very useful to have a wind short, similar to a wind shirt. I'm wondering if something like this might be a good use of 3 or 4 ounces in cold weather here in the Pacific Northwest.

I've done some searching at this site and on the internet in general, and haven't found much. A company called Soffe makes nylon wind shorts, but those probably aren't very breathable.

Any thoughts about whether wind shorts are a good idea, and if they are, where good wind shorts might be found?

Jeff Jeff
(TwoFortyJeff) - F
Re: Wind Shorts on 10/04/2009 12:43:50 MDT Print View

If it's cold or windy enough to need wind shorts, wouldn't it be cold/windy enough to need wind pants?

Tom Clark
(TomClark) - MLife

Locale: East Coast
Re: Wind Shorts on 10/04/2009 14:06:50 MDT Print View

I think the more ventlation around the crotch, the better. Why increase the likelihood of sweat there?

Andrew Shapira
(northwesterner) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: why on 10/04/2009 17:06:03 MDT Print View

Why would wind shirts make sense for the torso, but wind shorts not make sense for the part of the legs that generate the most heat? Why let all that heat escape?

One possible system for cold conditions: underwear (if desired), base layer / longjohns, wind shorts over that, pant shell over that.

John Frederick Anderson
(fredfoto) - F

Locale: Spain
Wind Shorts on 10/04/2009 17:17:28 MDT Print View

Wind Shorts..

Nobody's gonna buy 'em if you call them that.

josh wagner
(StainlessSteel) - F
heheh on 10/04/2009 17:27:52 MDT Print View

just like nobody bought wind breakers when wind shirts were called that

Lynn Tramper
(retropump) - F

Locale: The Antipodes of La Coruna
Re: Wind Shorts on 10/04/2009 17:38:15 MDT Print View

Well, it's really only the crotch that produces excess heat, and most folks like to avoid a sweaty crotch, but if the weather is cold enough then wind shorts might improve heat retention in a good way. Only way to find out is to try it. A lot of people go the other way with leg protection by wearing wind or waterproof chaps. It may also depend on how high your gaiters go (if you wear gaiters), and how low your rain jacket goes.

Andrew Shapira
(northwesterner) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Re: Wind Shorts on 10/04/2009 17:42:59 MDT Print View

> Well, it's really only the crotch that produces excess heat ..

Is that really true?

From Mark Verber's site: http://www.verber.com/mark/outdoors/gear/clothing.html#Legs

.. One thing to keep in mind... your upper thighs come just after your head and your core torso in the amount of heat you can lose. So even though you legs tend not to be as affect by cold, insulating your upper legs can be a big help if you are trying to stay warm.

James D Buch
(rocketman) - F

Locale: Midwest
Shorts, Cold and Wind -- Bicycle Experience on 10/04/2009 18:31:40 MDT Print View

I don't get to hike much in Iowa, but I bike a lot.

In the summer, my outfit is wicking shorts and top, with lightest weight thin fabric my goal. The inseam lengths are from 8" to 10", generally. Keeps me cool all through the summer so long as I am moving and making a breeze.

In the transition period, like now with days in the high 40's or any of the 50's or the low 60's, I wear heavy cotton shorts which are pretty much wind proof. I like the longer inseam lengths up to 14" or 15". If you can't buy them, just cut off some heavy cotton pants and put in a simple hem.

I am in the process of buying leg warmers to help with the lower temperatures in the 40's and 30's. Actually, I could just use black long thermals, polyester or wool, for those temps too.

I can imagine that a fleece or flannel lining to the shorts would be a nice addition, but then one might question the interaction with the long thermals.

Those leg ties that are intended for young men's shorts to cinch the shorts up to the legs, but instead are always left to dangle stylishly are a thought for ventilation control to contain more heat or to open up for more ventilation. You could use velcro closures to do the same without the "dangle" of the leg strips.

To me, the idea isn't new. So I don't automatically reject it.

To others, the idea seems new, and so they tend to automatically reject it.

IF they themselves had thought of it, it would be a different story.

I have seen a few bicyclists whose winter outfit is shorts over thermals of the bicycling kind ($$$$). Actually looks nice, to me anyway.

Don't let the negativity here discourage you, except to highlight that the introductory sport may be bicycles rather than backpacks for "wind shorts".

For bicyclists, wind in the crotch area is a serious consideration that all have experienced if you do the sport in cold windy weather. :-(

Andrew Shapira
(northwesterner) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Shorts, Cold and Wind -- Bicycle Experience on 10/04/2009 18:57:05 MDT Print View

Thanks James. The negativity here isn't too bad. Some is expected - typically ideas are judged mainly on things other than the merits of the idea itself. I joined BPL only a few days ago - what I like about BPL so far is that people seem very willing to answer questions from people that have not been around here very long. In many other online communities, if you are a relative outsider or newcomer, and start asking offbeat questions, you will get an extremely negative knee-jerk response.

Anyway, what I was hoping is that someone made wind shorts that are similar in construction to backpacking wind shirts, e.g., the GoLite Wisp or others reviewed here are BPL. Or, that by asking about this, I would at least get some info that leads me to a better system.

About the idea itself: it seems that if the upper legs are producing a lot of heat, then either (a) it ought to be possible to use this heat just as with the upper body, or (b) there's some mechanical issue like chafing that makes this difficult or impossible. Putting wind shorts over long johns would seem to minimize chafing, if that is an issue. Maybe there is some other problem with it. Or maybe (unlikely) it's simply that nobody ever tried it.

BTW: the conditions I have in mind are 10-40 degrees F. When it's around 35 and raining and windy, I find it tough to stay warm if I stop for more than about 5 minutes.

Edited by northwesterner on 10/04/2009 19:01:06 MDT.

John S.
(jshann) - F
Re: Re: Shorts, Cold and Wind -- Bicycle Experience on 10/04/2009 19:14:34 MDT Print View

Just get a pair of golite wisp and have any alteration person cut and hem...

Lynn Tramper
(retropump) - F

Locale: The Antipodes of La Coruna
Re: Re: Shorts, Cold and Wind -- Bicycle Experience on 10/04/2009 19:22:11 MDT Print View

As far as I know, no one makes shorts specifically to repel wind, but you could possibly make some mock ups to try. In NZ where I do most of my hiking, it is traditional in cold weather to wear long johns next to skin, then tough short and gaiters over the long johns. On top of this may be added a very long (mid-thigh) length raincoat, so upper legs are pretty well protected. The shorts and gaiters help to protect against abrasion, and to a lesser extent cold. But heat loss from thighs is really not as great as it is from head, back and chest, though I notice guys really don't like getting their crotch cold! Also keep in mind that heat loss from thighs decreases with age and female gender (we, ummm, have better insulated thighs).

Personally, if it's cold enough that I'm worried about my thighs (rarely happens) then I prefer to go for full length leg protection. Same applies to cycling really. If it's cold enough riding downhill to make my thighs cold, my entire leg will be cold too.

James D Buch
(rocketman) - F

Locale: Midwest
Fabrics - Delicate Issue ? ? on 10/04/2009 19:33:51 MDT Print View

Currently, the term "wind shirt" for backpacking seems to mean a very light garment of just a few ounces. To me, the GoLite Wisp and Patagonia Houdini are the obvious pattern of interpretation. These are lightweight, very wind resistant and formulated with a DWR or durable water repellant coating.

They don't have a soft feel to the hand, to me.

I have used Patagonia "Wind Pants", a 3 ounce black pair that were really useful during an April, May hike on the Appalachian Trail in GA and NC.

Perhaps some are thinking of "Wind Shorts" as a cutoff of the wind pants which would weigh just a couple of ounces a pair.

I am coming at this from the viewpoint of heavier weight fabric, typically cotton. Imagine cargo shorts in heavy cotton as a starting point. The pair weighing about 8 ounces.

There are nylon fabrics which somewhat mimic these grades of cotton. Supplex or some other name comes to mind. There are probably other synthetics that would fall in this general category as "cotton mimics". There are probably a lot of hiking shorts that already are good wind blockers, but since there is so much ventilation from the short legs, nobody pays any real attention to it.

So, would the concept be windproof lightweight shorts that are put over something, like a wind shirt or wind pants?

So, we come to the real issue.... what do you envision "wind shorts" to be? There may be existing clothing articles that do what you intend for them to do. What would be a complete outfit which incorporates the "wind short"?

I would go for a skin pleasing fabric which rejects most of the wind and which is capable of taking and holding a good DWR treatment. I suppose I would want the lower leg ventilation to be capable of being adjusted up and down. I may be interested in insulation, but unsure as to the insulation being whole lower body versus just in the shorts area.

So, it comes to a system of lower body comfort, and shorts which reject air flow through the fabric is the currently highlighted part.

Hope this doesn't sound negative.

Andrew Shapira
(northwesterner) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
What wind shorts are (again) on 10/04/2009 19:48:44 MDT Print View

> So, would the concept be windproof lightweight shorts that are put over something, like a wind shirt or wind pants?

Yep.


> So, we come to the real issue.... what do you envision "wind shorts" to be? There may be existing clothing articles that do what you intend for them to do. What would be a complete outfit which incorporates the "wind short"?

One idea for cold conditions that I mentioned earlier is: underwear (if desired), base layer / longjohns, wind shorts over that, pant shell over that. As I said, maybe they'd be made from the same material as GoLite Wisp wind shorts, or other wind shirts reviewed at BPL.

I think the main benefit of wind shorts over some other system would be that you would not use material and weight for the lower legs. Wind shorts would do for the legs what a vest does for the torso: protect where heat loss is potentially greatest, and provide another point in the weight/warmth tradeoff spectrum.

But hey, I don't really know - I just wanted to know if the thing exists!

I was envisioning actual shorts. But, even though the following doesn't seem to come down as low as I was thinking, maybe they'd be useful: http://www.shoebuy.com/new-balance-wind-brief/262288/559124?cm_mmc=frooglelist-_-none-_-none-_-none
The setup might be: wind briefs, longjohns, long pants. Dunno how effective this would be, or how much the briefs weigh.

Edited by northwesterner on 10/04/2009 19:50:55 MDT.

Brad Smith
(DocOne) - F

Locale: Southwest
Wind Shorts on 10/04/2009 20:44:00 MDT Print View

I believe what you want is a pair of running shorts - which are extremely light nylon or poly and often have a liner for comfort.

Jack H.
(Found) - F

Locale: Sacramento, CA
Re: Wind Shorts on 10/04/2009 21:24:14 MDT Print View

Agreed. Running shorts are the same as "wind shorts".

Jason Elsworth
(jephoto) - M

Locale: New Zealand
Wind shorst on 10/04/2009 22:10:00 MDT Print View

Colin Ibbotson's wind pants are the bees knees
They go all the way from his waist to his knees
They are better than Adam and the Ants
They are Colin Ibbotson's wind pants.
(With apologies to any Man City fans).

http://www.andyhowell.info/trek-blog/wp-content/colin-kit-2008-2.html

He calls them waterproof shorts, but they are actually cut down Montane Featherlite windproof pants. I think they would be great in rain with softshell pants - as used by Colin. I can see them replacing my Golite Reeds if I am wearing soft shell pants.

Lynn Tramper
(retropump) - F

Locale: The Antipodes of La Coruna
Re: Wind shorst on 10/05/2009 12:57:37 MDT Print View

"They are made from a cut down pair of Montane Featherlite windproof pants to just below knee level."

I wear something almost exactly like this, but certainly wouldn't call them shorts! They cover my whole leg from the top of my knee high gaiters. Running shorts, OTOH, are very drafty as the leg is baggy and they are very short. So it really depends on what you want to accomplish...if you truly want windproof shorts, then I would cut down something like the featherlite, then add elastic hems to the legs to seal off drafts.

Andrew Shapira
(northwesterner) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Re: Wind Shorts on 10/09/2009 01:31:32 MDT Print View

Are running shorts really going to accomplish for the legs what a wind shirt does for the torso? At the bottom of the short, running shorts do not fit snugly against the leg at all. This could allow a lot of heat to escape.

I'm hesitant to buy a wind short or pant and then chop off part of it to make it into a short. That would be a pretty expensive experiment.

Edited by northwesterner on 10/09/2009 01:34:26 MDT.

Jason Elsworth
(jephoto) - M

Locale: New Zealand
Wind pants on 10/09/2009 03:18:13 MDT Print View

Get some Dri Ducks pants and chop them off - should be much cheaper. They don't last that well, but a least you will quench your thirst for wind pant knowledge.