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Windshirt + Rain Jacket or Single Shell?
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Justin Baker
(justin_baker) - F

Locale: Santa Rosa, CA
Windshirt + Rain Jacket or Single Shell? on 10/30/2011 17:25:34 MDT Print View

For 3 seasons use, what would you prefer a rain jacket and a wind shirt or a single shell?
Obviously the single shell would be lighter, but I could see issues of breathability or overheating in a place that is very windy, but not that cold (but cold enough that the wind will chill you).

What kinds environmental factors would affect your choice?

Or would you rather just throw on an extra layer like a hoody to provide a little more heat, but let the wind factor wick out some of the excess heat keeping you just right?

Morgan Rucks
(rucksmtr) - F
... on 10/30/2011 17:58:48 MDT Print View

I'm a santa rosa kid too, and i like using a wind-shirt and a separate shell.
I end up soaked if i work hard in a rain-shell.
Hey do you want to meet up and try to set up a local trip? I've been going up and backpacking at the Palisades by calistoga. Its a fun ovenighter.

Bob Bankhead
(wandering_bob) - MLife

Locale: Oregon, USA
Re: Windshirt + Rain Jacket or Single Shell? on 10/30/2011 17:59:13 MDT Print View

Windshirt + Rain Jacket

My windshirt gets worn every single day. It adds some warmth at the start and end of the day and at many rest stops. It is easy to put on and take off even while hiking (although I slow down while doing so since my attention is in part diverted). It is far more breathable than any rain jacket. It takes up almost no space in an outside pocket of my pack (easy to reach means more likely to get used).

I save my rain jacket for hiking through steady precipitation, no matter the intensity. I also slow down and reduce my number of layers so as to stay warm but not overheat and add to the humidity under the jacket.

Which rain jacket I take depends on how long I'm going to be out and what kind of weather I'm expecting to encounter. My 4 oz O2 Rainfair jacket sacrifices abrasion resistence for light weight and breathability and can double as a windshirt. However, as I use my windshirt A LOT, I worry about damaging the outer surface from abrasion by packstraps and constant packing/unpacking.

Between the fabric itself and the many venting options, my default 12 oz Montbell Peak rain jacket gives great abrasion resistence and acceptable breathability for most storms. If I anticipate running into one of our late-season multi-day intense PNW storms, I'll carry my 22 oz Gortex Thunderlight Parka.

Irregardless, I carry my GoLite Reed WP/B rain pants. At 4 oz (mine are the old original type without the ankle zips), they are lighter than the 6 oz O2 Rainfair pants and far more abrasion-resistent. I really don't like pushing my way through miles of wet (either from dew or rain) brush overhanging the trail. We get a LOT of that here in the PNW.

Edited by wandering_bob on 10/30/2011 18:02:07 MDT.

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Re: Windshirt + Rain Jacket or Single Shell? on 10/30/2011 18:49:38 MDT Print View

+1 on wind shirt + rain jacket... or in my case a Marmot Essence or a poncho. A good wind shirt is indispensable and versatile.

David Chenault
(DaveC) - BPL Staff - F

Locale: Crown of the Continent
re: shells on 10/30/2011 18:52:03 MDT Print View

I've gravitated towards a very light stretch woven soft shell and a WPB coat. The soft shell has less wind resistance than a traditional wind shirt, but is more breathable. This combo seems to be the most versatile (for me).

Hamish McHamish
(El_Canyon) - M

Locale: USA
_ on 10/30/2011 19:06:44 MDT Print View

Patagonia Houdini full zip jacket (4.5oz in XXL) plus Marmot Mica (8oz in XL) for me.

John Vance
(Servingko) - F

Locale: Intermountain West
Windshirt and poncho on 10/30/2011 19:31:15 MDT Print View

Houdini and poncho for me.

eric chan
(bearbreeder) - F
depends on 10/30/2011 19:45:51 MDT Print View

on how much rain you expect and how constant it is ...

for low rain probability or light rain ... ill bring a windshirt/softshell and my OR helium ...wind+helium = 11 oz, or soft+ helium = 20+ oz

for constant rain or more adverse conditions ill bring my OR revel only and use the torso flo ventilation ... 13 oz ....

the reason being that some of the UL jackets are not optimum for exertion in constant rain IMO ... nor are they that durable should you have to wear them on harder ground ...

Richard Fischel
windshirt alone 90% of the time on 10/30/2011 19:56:33 MDT Print View

i have a hooded wild things windshirt in epic that i seam sealed the hood and shoulders. epic isn't fully waterproof, but it's sufficent that unless it's a deluge it works fine. epic isn't the lightest or as breathable as some of the other windshirt fabrics, but it's a good compromise.

Mike M
(mtwarden) - MLife

Locale: Montana
both on 10/30/2011 20:04:59 MDT Print View

both- Houdini (Large) 4.2 oz and Helium (XL) 7.1 oz, the Houdini gets used a lot, the Helium gets used very little, but that's exactly the way I like it :)

Stephan Doyle
Re: Windshirt + Rain Jacket or Single Shell? on 10/30/2011 21:39:01 MDT Print View

My windshirt is just that - a SHIRT. It's my spare and easy way to keep me a little warmer. No, it's not an insulation piece, but it will keep me warm enough while moving and might even keep me from throwing on a proper insulating layer at short stops.

My rain jacket is a true shell. If my windshirt won't keep me warm, this comes on. Its eVent fabric is breathable enough to be comfortable to hike in, but only if I'd be cold in my windshell. So they don't overlap, and at less than 9oz I have full weather protection.

In desert climates I've left my rain shell and gone only with my windshirt. Most of the time though, I bring both. When I'm expecting near-constant rain, I'll leave the windshirt at home, instead bringing a proper second base layer to enjoy something dry at the end of the day.

Personally, I don't typically wear/bring fleece in 3-season conditions anymore. A windshirt has proved much better, and with an UL down top, I have more versatility, more warmth, and smaller pack space all at the same weight.

Dan Durston
(dandydan) - F

Shells on 10/30/2011 22:08:13 MDT Print View

Windshirt+Rain Jacket for most trips, but just the rain jacket for fast 'n light/SUL trips. The windshirt is nicer to wear and I wear it a lot, so it usually comes along, but it's easy to get by with just the rain jacket.

Eric Blumensaadt
(Danepacker) - MLife

Locale: Mojave Desert
eVent parka only on 10/30/2011 22:39:46 MDT Print View

I prefer my REI Kimtah eVent parka for both rain and a windshell. And soon I'll wear it for backcountry skiing as well.

Justin Baker
(justin_baker) - F

Locale: Santa Rosa, CA
Re: Windshirt + Rain Jacket or Single Shell? on 10/31/2011 01:17:22 MDT Print View

Thanks for the advice. I will get a windshirt soon.

That sounds like fun. I had never even heard of the palisades. Shoot me a p.m. for when you want to go, I'm not in school/unemployed right now so I'm down for whenever. What state park/blm/???? is it located in?

Steven McAllister
(brooklynkayak) - MLife

Locale: Atlantic North East
Windshirt, Windpans, Cape, Skirt on 10/31/2011 03:53:53 MDT Print View

Warm light rain or snow - windshirt
Cold light rain or snow - windshirt and windpants
Warm heavy rain or snow - windhsirt and short cape(Integral Designs)
Cold Heavy Rain or snow - windshirt, short cape and skirt(polycryo ground cloth)

The combination of the windshirt and cape are lighter or at least as light and more flexible than a rain jacket.
The combination of windpants and skirt keeps the lower body warm and since the skirt doubles as a ground cloth and other uses, is a multiple use item.

The wind pants are multi-use as well, adds warmth and or bug protection over shorts or long hiking pants. They come in handy on laundry day and is usually all I need in most rain and snow. The skirt extends the protection in cold drenching rain.

The cape also helps keep the pack dry and can be additional shelter in camp.

Nico .
(NickB) - MLife

Locale: Los Padres National Forest
Depends on Conditions on 10/31/2011 11:16:32 MDT Print View

I think it depends on anticipated conditions. If the weather forecast doesn't call for chances of rain or snow or only a slight chance, I only bring the houdini. Like just this past weeked (10/28-10/30), I did a two-night trip in the Sierra out behind Mammoth Lakes and only brought the houdini because the weather forecast was stable and clear.

If rain/snow is likely or even 50/50, I'll bring a rain shell (ID eVent jacket at the moment) instead.

I can't think of too many times, if ever, that I've brought both. I'm usually working so hard while hiking that even if it's cold/windy/wet, I'm giving off a ton of heat and not worried about getting chilled or hypothermic. The wind jacket/rain shell pretty much only comes out at breaks and/or in camp, so I really only need one or the other.

Of course, I could understand that if I hiked in areas with more winter-like weather and or less-predictable weather, I might want to bring both along.