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Windshirt question
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Gary Dunckel
(Zia-Grill-Guy) - MLife

Locale: Boulder
Windshirt question on 10/28/2012 09:02:43 MDT Print View

I'm confused about why many of you prefer to wear your windshirt as a next-to-body layer, maybe just over your base layer, and your puffy layer over that. I've always preferred to wear mine as an outer shell, to make my down layer more efficient. What am I missing here?

jerry adams
(retiredjerry) - MLife

Locale: Oregon and Washington
Re: Windshirt question on 10/28/2012 09:23:41 MDT Print View

I don't understand why anyone would have a windshirt period.

Of course I'm in the rainy Pacific Northwest so I think a waterproof breathable hardshell is required on the outside. And a base layer is necesary. And in between an insulation layer with enough warmth for the minimum temperature I'll encounter.

If you add a windshirt inside, it's heavier than just having a thicker insulation layer

Edited by retiredjerry on 10/28/2012 09:24:42 MDT.

Ken T.
(kthompson) - MLife

Locale: All up in there
Re: Windshirt question on 10/28/2012 09:27:21 MDT Print View

People just putting on the down jacket over the windshirt at breaks. I don't use one either. I'm almost in the PNW. Pretty wet/windy.

Daryl and Daryl
(lyrad1) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest, USA, Earth
Re: Windshirt question on 10/28/2012 09:30:31 MDT Print View


My strategy is the same as yours. Wind shirt (actually an uncoated hooded nylon widnbreaker) is always on the outside (of bare skin, polypro top, or insulated coat).

A raincoat would, if worn, go over the wind shirt.


jerry adams
(retiredjerry) - MLife

Locale: Oregon and Washington
Re: Re: Windshirt question on 10/28/2012 09:41:17 MDT Print View

"I'm almost in the PNW. Pretty wet/windy."

I make it down as far as the Eel River occasionally. It always seems warm and dry. Nice extension to the warm season. Doesn't seem wet/windy.

I guess I don't go there in the winter though. And I probably look at weather reports and avoid the wet/windy periods.

jeffrey armbruster
(book) - M

Locale: Northern California
"Windshirt question" on 10/28/2012 10:32:01 MDT Print View

I think that the op was also asking about an outer layer increasing the efficiency of a down jacket/vest. I agree with Jerry that, since I'm going to carry a wpb shell, a windshirt if sort of redundant. And I layer my down under the shell for what I presume is better warmth (wind, etc.)Maybe people don't want to go through the gyrations of swapping out pieces for a short break. Or maybe I'm missing something.

I own a Houdini and wear it all the time for day hikes.

Edited by book on 10/28/2012 10:39:14 MDT.

Steven McAllister
(brooklynkayak) - MLife

Locale: Atlantic North East
Windshirt against skin? on 10/28/2012 11:41:36 MDT Print View

I've never heard of anyone who wears a windshirt as a base layer.
Wear one over the top of a base layer and you add significant warmth for minimal weight.

Under another layer kind of defeats the purpose and contributes little.

I find a windshirt to be the best use of ounces that I carry.

A best use of a windhsirt is in conditions where you can overheat and also become very chilled depending on wind exposure and/or light rain.

I usually find a winshirt is more comfortable in light rain or snow than a rain shell if the temps aren't too cold. You do get wet, but not cold.

I also wear it under a cape in cool heavy rain or snow to add warmth. The combination breaths better than a waterproof breathable shell.

Bob Bankhead
(wandering_bob) - MLife

Locale: Oregon, USA
Windshirt question" on 10/28/2012 12:14:47 MDT Print View

Common sense says match your gear to the conditions to be encountered where you're going.

windshirt vs. no windshirt vs. hardshell?

raingear or no raingear?

down vs. synthetic insulating jacket vs. merino wool zip-T?

down vs. synthetic sleeping bag?

sleeping bag vs. quilt?

No single piece of gear fits all situations.

Edited by wandering_bob on 10/28/2012 12:15:35 MDT.

Dan Durston
(dandydan) - F

Windshirt on 10/28/2012 12:15:17 MDT Print View

Q) Why baselayer + windshirt + down (in that order)?
A) This arrangement is ideal if you're breaking camp in the morning and know the down is only going to be worn for 20 min or so. Once you get warm enough, you can stow it and keep rolling without additional fiddling with layers. Around camp in the evening etc, windshirt on the outside is ideal for max warmth and to protect the down garment.

Q) Why windshirt next to body?
A) This setup would be most suitable for physical bug protection, where you want a physical barrier, but wearing a baselayer as well may be too hot. Some windshirt fabrics are nicer than others for this. A lot of 'trekking shirts' (ie. RailRiders) are similar material as a windshirt. If a windshirt is too 'plasticy' they it won't feel good.

Q) Why a windshirt at all?
A) I like using a windshirt, even for PNW use alongside a traditional WP/B shell. Almost never do I take it instead of a WP/B shell although that may be suitable for some locales (ie. southwest). A windshirt is a lot more breathable than a WP/B jacket, so it's great to wear all day in windy/chilly conditions. While a WP/B shell could be worn, the windshirt is far more breathable so you stay more comfortable and you divert wear/tear from a pricey WP/B shell - especially while bushwacking. It's just much nicer to wear in non-raining conditions so it's worth the 4-6oz considering the amount of use it sees.

I really like this one (MEC RD Windshirt, 5oz, $78). A bit heavier than some, but all the weight is in the material and cut, so it's more durable than most with a nice long torso, great hood and nice long sleeves. I added thumb loops to mine.

Edited by dandydan on 10/28/2012 12:18:00 MDT.

windshirt on 10/28/2012 12:39:22 MDT Print View

I havent pulled the trigger on a windshirt...yet.
I know some absolutely swear by them.
I cannot see it doing anything but adding wt.

I hike in short sleeves down in 40s'-50s, or maybe long sleeves if expected highs are only in 40s.
If cold, I put on my melanzana fleece hoody, at all stops, etc. I sleep in it too.
If cool and windy, I wear my driducks jacket, very breathable, never had any issues.

If you are bringing a fleece midlayer, and have breathable rainjacket, you wont find a place for a windshirt.

The combo of windshirt and a baselayer would have to outperform a midlayer fleece in warmth, and weight to be useful. It really doesnt seem too. .

Edited by livingontheroad on 10/28/2012 12:42:42 MDT.

Stephen M
(stephenm) - MLife

Locale: Mind your own business
windshirt on 10/28/2012 12:49:18 MDT Print View

A windshirt is great if hiking above treeline.

Steven McAllister
(brooklynkayak) - MLife

Locale: Atlantic North East
It can on 10/28/2012 12:52:41 MDT Print View

Re: "The combo of windshirt and a baselayer would have to outperform a midlayer fleece in warmth, and weight to be useful. It really doesnt seem too."

A windshirt over a base layer can be warmer than a grid fleece, like the melnzana, in wind. And the combination much lighter.

I find the melanzana grid fleece doesn't perform well alone in wind, but I do like it a lot because of it's weight, breathability, waterphobia and the fact that under a shell is 4x warmer.

I often wear a light baselayer and the melanzano hoody grid fleece with a wind shirt on the outside in below freezing, windy conditions. If I get at all sweaty, I open the windshirt.

You really feel the difference when the windshirt is removed.

Gary Dunckel
(Zia-Grill-Guy) - MLife

Locale: Boulder
windshirt on 10/28/2012 13:22:50 MDT Print View

I appreciate you guys weighing in on my question. It looks like I have been doing it right all along. So for those that put their down jacket over the wind shirt, they are just doing it at quick rest stops? It makes sense there.

I expect that those of you in the PNW have a different set of conditions to deal with. Here in Colorado, we enjoy lots of days when there won't be any precipitation, summer or winter. But I always carry both a wind shirt and a WP/B shell, for the flexibility. The wind shirt nearly always is worn while I hike, over a base layer of various thicknesses, plus maybe a synthetic vest if it's colder. It's so much warmer when the temps get below 45-50* F, due to the wind blocking capability and no moisture buildup. I size mine so that they will fit over my insulation, for extra warmth, and also to protect the expensive down jacket from campfire embers.

Thanks for sharing your comments.

Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Windshirt question on 10/28/2012 13:40:17 MDT Print View

I only wear a windshirt on bare skin when drying a base layer. DO think of a windshirt as a shirt rather than a jacket. I think that helps fit it into a layering scheme.

I wear my windshirt on top of wicking base and mid layers to block wind and light precip. My windshirt wouldn't fit over my puffy layers and the shell on a puffy layer is performing the same function as a windshirt anyway. I could see adding it if things were getting really nasty. It makes sense to leave the windshirt on under a puffy added on a quick break.

Steven McAllister
(brooklynkayak) - MLife

Locale: Atlantic North East
I Stand Corrected on 10/28/2012 13:50:01 MDT Print View

I stand corrected, those are good examples of wearing a winshirt under layers.

I also carry wind pants during the cooler months. It adds warmth if you are wearing shorts and have hairy legs:-)

I wear my windshirt and windpants when I'm doing laundry in town, or even on the trail, if there others around.

jeffrey armbruster
(book) - M

Locale: Northern California
"Windshirt question" on 10/28/2012 13:57:06 MDT Print View

I have a North Face anorak that is waterproof (but barely breathable!) that weighs 6 oz. This past summer in good weather--with a good forecast--it became my shell and windshirt. It blocks wind better than my houdini and is wp, just in case. On a day hike or peak bagging trip taken during an extended hike, the anorak is more robust and will work if there's a thunderstorm or worse, whereas the Houdini would wet out pretty quick in a thunderstorm. If there's a chance of weather I bring my event anorak and leave these other pieces at home.

I thought about the Houdini for bug protection but now I wear a sun shirt that is part nylon as a base layer; the skeeters can't penetrate it with their nasty little beaks!

Edited by book on 10/28/2012 14:05:48 MDT.

Paul Mountford
(Sparticus) - MLife

Locale: Atlantic Canada
Re: Windshirt question on 10/28/2012 13:58:51 MDT Print View

Like many have already said, I use the wind shirt over my base layer.  I've only started using one in the last 18 months, but I regret not learning about the benefits of it sooner.  In fact I wish I had one when I was hiking in the PNW.  

Conditions in Scotland are arguably as wet and windy as the west coast.  In wet misty conditions I go with the wind shirt until the precipitation gets heavy then I put on my eVent jacket.  By the time the rain lets up, I take off the eVent jacket and the wind shirt has dried from my body heat.  Has worked well for min it the 2 - 8 dec C range.

Joe Guilmette
microweight merino wool vs wind shirt on 10/28/2012 16:42:53 MDT Print View

i'm in the "i do get it" camp in regards to wind shirts. i wear a LS microweight shirt from Icebreaker when I want to cover up. I also always carry a WP/B jacket (Marmot Mica) that I wear as an outer shell over my down layer when cold, or just over my LS shirt if just cool and i'd like to wear it.

with a WP/B jacket and a merino LS microweight layer, I just don't see where a wind shirt fits. and I can't imagine bringing one in lieu of my LS shirt or WP/B layer...

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Re: Windshirt question on 10/28/2012 17:30:32 MDT Print View


Setting up camp. Wind is starting to pick up. Wearing a mesh tank top under my Houdini.


Next morning biting cold wind with gusts around 30mph. Want to minimize moisture into my down vest. Wearing all the clothes I brought. Once the sun got high enough I stuffed the vest into my pack. Yes, I know it is quite a fashion statement :)

Pictures by Andy Duncan.

Stephen M
(stephenm) - MLife

Locale: Mind your own business
Re: microweight merino wool vs wind shirt on 10/28/2012 17:36:55 MDT Print View


A windshirt is far more breathable than any Wpb shell, the trick is only to wear the Wpb shell if its bucketing down with rain.

Edited by stephenm on 10/29/2012 04:52:57 MDT.