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Value of a windshirt?
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Mat D
(mattiasdeny) - F - M

Locale: Europe
Re: Re: Re: The real softshell concept on 01/12/2010 09:01:32 MST Print View

> Depends on the soft shell. Membrane based soft shells will be much worse. The stretch woven or the lighter pertex/pile style will be about the same.

Exactly my point, and why I mentioned "allowing moisture to escape without having to turn into vapor first". Most membranes out there require moister to evaporate in order to pass through the membrane. Where a decent (a "real") softshell will allow for direct moisture transport. Softshells with a membrane not allowing for direct moisture transfer should be called hardshells really.

A good softshell should provide you with the isolation of more or less a baselayer and the partial wind / rain protection of a windshirt.

One could argue that having 2 separated items is better, allowing you to use them individually and adapt to the environment and circumstances as you see fit. Especially if 2 separate items don't give you a weight penalty.

So does "does a windshirt has value" translates to "does a softshell has value" just as well? I guess the answer is yes - unless you love using your hardshell in an active way, or the environment forces you to use a hardshell (basically heavy continuous rain).

Without hijacking this thread: which one is better according to you: "real" softshell or base + windshirt?

Edited by mattiasdeny on 01/12/2010 09:42:55 MST.

Brad Groves
(4quietwoods) - MLife

Locale: Michigan
Re: Re: Re: Re: The real softshell concept on 01/12/2010 09:29:06 MST Print View

I've found that even most stretch-woven, uninsulated soft shells are not as breathable as a thin windbreaker ala Houdini. The materials are still thicker, possibly denser?, and inherently warmer. I'd like to try Patagonia's Traverse jacket, the thinnest soft shell I've seen. But in short, my experience has been that a windbreaker/baselayer is the most flexible option. (I have used a Paramo-type shell w/success, but that's a little different...)

Mark Verber
(verber) - MLife

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Re: Re: Re: Re: The real softshell concept on 01/12/2010 09:40:07 MST Print View

> which one is better according to you: "real" softshell or base + windshirt?

In conditions where you might benefit from separating the windshirt from the base... I would go with the base + wind shirt for the added versatility. In conditions where I will always being wearing both (say winter) softshell wins because there is one less layer to fiddle with.


Mary D
(hikinggranny) - MLife
Value of a windshirt? on 01/12/2010 12:03:47 MST Print View

I always thought that the main value of a lightweight DWR windshirt was in misty conditions, such as encountered in the OR/WA Cascades. However, I keep using it more and more: to keep off biting flies during rest stops, to keep off the wind when it's too cool and windy to hike without a wind jacket but far too warm to be comfortable while moving in a WPB jacket, to put on during rest stops if it's breezy but not cold, even in the sleeping bag at night so my inevitably dirty shirt doesn't transfer its dirt to the sleeping bag. My Montbell windshirt weighs 2.4 oz. and is well worth its weight, IMHO.

As for the conditions for which I originally bought the windshirt: If it's warm and drizzling, I just get wet. since I'll get just as wet from sweat inside my rain jacket or even the windshirt. My body heat dries out my synthetic shirt and pants in 10-15 minutes once the precipitation stops. If it's cool and drizzly, I wear the wind shirt--if it's more than a mist, I get a bit wet, but the extra layer keeps me from getting chilled. If it's cold enough that I don't sweat inside while hiking, I wear the rain jacket.

Edited by hikinggranny on 01/12/2010 12:06:30 MST.

josh wagner
(StainlessSteel) - F
rain gear on 01/12/2010 17:28:54 MST Print View

i was always under the impression that true rain gear is to be used for rain gear only, as the membranes that keep the water beading up are pretty fragile. therefor i like my 4 oz windshirt to wear unless it's really raining...

i also like to wear mine to bed. i feel it gives me a little 'microclimate' while sleeping

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: rain gear on 01/12/2010 17:49:52 MST Print View


Probably so. But UL advocates multiple use. If one item can be used for more than one and save weight, then it makes sense. However, the is always an economy of scale...

I don't overheat like many, so I am going to a single item Rain/Wind combo. Marmot Essence at 7 oz. We shall see what it really weighs when it gets here, and if it does both for me.

Jeffs Eleven
(WoodenWizard) - F

Locale: Greater Mt Tabor
Re: Value of a windshirt? on 01/12/2010 22:09:03 MST Print View

So Mary, you've tried and liked the baselayer/ windshirt combo? I've been thinking bout it (same locale) and It seems like a good idea if the windshirt can deal with the rain. the wind in the gorge can be very chilly AND misty. I get too hot in my softshell and wet out my Rush jacket. Glad to hear that you use this setup with success. I'll have to give it a shot.

Dan Durston
(dandydan) - F

Re: rain gear on 01/12/2010 22:33:32 MST Print View

i was always under the impression that true rain gear is to be used for rain gear only, as the membranes that keep the water beading up are pretty fragile. therefor i like my 4 oz windshirt to wear unless it's really raining

No.....the 'membrane' in a waterproof garment does not cause the water to beed up. The membrane is on the inside of the jacket so it's not directly exposed to the rain/elements. The 'DWR' (durable water repellent) coating is on the outside of the garment and this is what causes the water to beed up. Any DWR coating wears over time so you should re-treat this every few years depending on the level of use. Having a functioning DWR coating keeps the jacket breathing well. Once the DWR fails and water soaks into the nylon out layer then the jacket has 'wetted out' and it won't be nearly as breathable until it dries again.

If you only use your rain gear as rain gear then you'll be wearing it less so you'll need to re-apply the DWR coating less often, but this isn't a big deal.

Edited by dandydan on 01/12/2010 22:35:01 MST.

Mary D
(hikinggranny) - MLife
Value of a windshirt? on 01/12/2010 23:02:13 MST Print View

Jeff, I've used the base layer plus windshirt combo successfully in the 40's and upper 30's when it's breezy. When it gets lower than that I have a light fleece vest that I add over the base layer and under the windshirt. Of course I also use a headband or cap, depending on temp, to help regulate my body temperature.

I wouldn't expect the windshirt to keep moisture out beyond mist, though. When the mist turns to drizzle, at some point it's going to soak through the windshirt.

Brian Lewis
(brianle) - F

Locale: Pacific NW
not just for wind on 01/13/2010 09:14:54 MST Print View

A lot of posts here suggest that a windshirt is primarily for use against ... wind. Which makes sense, it's great for that. But I find it's a great layer over just a hiking shirt starting out on a chilly morning even if there's no wind --- I don't carry a fleece, my next-up warmth layer is something I could only walk in for any distance if it were quite cold out. A windshirt plus warm hat and mittens to allow for some temp adjustment without stopping --- that's a good combo for me regardless of wind.

Mat D
(mattiasdeny) - F - M

Locale: Europe
Re: not just for wind on 01/13/2010 09:32:20 MST Print View

Interesting approach Brian. A friend of mine who's quite cold resistant uses a windshirt in a similar way eliminating the fleece altogether.

What would be your next-up warmth layer?

David T
(DaveT) - F
. on 01/13/2010 10:13:45 MST Print View


Edited by DaveT on 06/16/2015 23:09:49 MDT.

Mark Regalia
(markr) - MLife

Locale: Santa Cruz
Don't use mine on 01/13/2010 16:24:15 MST Print View

I live on the Central CA coast and hike the Sierra. I just haven't found any use for my wind shirt. It seems that it can be replaced by a WPB rain shell or a soft shell when it is cool. There is no need for it when it it warm, and besides over short sleeves it is too clammy. For warmer conditions if I need some sort of shell I'll throw on the long sleeve shirt I carry for evenings. I tried one on a bicycle and went back to a highly porous shell, again it was just too clammy. But that's my preference, others obviously have made better use of theirs.

John S.
(jshann) - F
Love my windshirt on 01/13/2010 17:16:44 MST Print View

I use my windshirt every day of every trip and love it.

Edited by jshann on 01/13/2010 17:56:21 MST.

George Matthews
(gmatthews) - MLife
Re: Re: Don't use mine on 01/13/2010 17:34:48 MST Print View

I love a windshirt (Houdini) over Merino UL hoody. With gloves like PossumDown, I am comfortable down into the 20's.

Simple. Light. Doesn't get any better (almost).