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Logic Check: Windshirt
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Hiking Malto
(gg-man) - F
Here's the problem on 02/18/2013 08:08:50 MST Print View

I think there may be a flaw in the logic of the question. At 65+ degrees the only logic I can see is if it is very windy. But in my experience a windshirt shines when hiking at temperatures between 25 and 55F. I normally hike in a long sleeve base layer. The addition of a wind shirt allows me a hike without an insulation layer down below freezing. I view it as one of the versatile pieces of gear that I carry.

jerry adams
(retiredjerry) - MLife

Locale: Oregon and Washington
Re: Here's the problem on 02/18/2013 08:29:54 MST Print View

If it's below about 45 F I'll use GoreTex jacket. If I get warm, unzip. If I'm still warm I'll take it off. There really isn't a temperature range where I'm too warm with GoreTex and too cold without, so windshirt is superfluous.

Since it rains a lot where I go, and GoreTex is a lot better in rain, I see no reason for windshirt.

But, it's just one of those things that works for some people/conditions and not for others.

Link .
(annapurna) - MLife
Re: Re: Here's the problem on 02/18/2013 08:53:48 MST Print View

I hike in Washington and I use my windshirt a lot,it is my favorite piece whether on day hikes or multiple days out.

michael levi
(M.L) - F

Locale: W-Never Eat Soggy (W)affles
Re on 02/18/2013 08:56:47 MST Print View

It adds a lot of warmth on cold summer mornings/ evenings where you would never have a full on rain jacket. Baselayer or t shirt + windshirt = a ton of warmth for the weight.

Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: windshirt on 02/18/2013 09:34:03 MST Print View

A windshirt is a shirt with jacket-like features and fills those gaps. Think about wearing one as you would a button down shirt and getting the jacket features along with at a weight that is less than a typical nylon button down.

a windshirt seals out wind and provides protection from light precip while remaining breathable. Get a light color and you have bug and sun protection too.

I find one useful for an extra bit of warmth when I have leveled out on exposed trails or heading downhill and in camp. It works great with a light fleece, which combine to make a deconstructed insulated jacket that can be worn in whatever combination is needed. If you use a poncho, it protects your arms and sides in cold wet weather.

Brian Lewis
(brianle) - F

Locale: Pacific NW
Re: windshirt on 02/18/2013 10:44:09 MST Print View

Since I got a very lightweight breathable shell, I'm not tending to take my windshirt on backpacking trips as often as I used to. And I love my windshirt; it's been a hard decision at times.

Where I still use it a lot is doing long walks just from my house in shoulder seasons. A hoodless windshirt comfortably fits in a pocket so I can start out with it on and then not need a pack or fanny pack to carry it when I get too warm --- windshirt, thin gloves, earbags, and a small water flask all fit in my pockets and do me well for 5 to 10 mile local walks.

Max Dilthey
(mdilthey) - M

Thanks, all! on 02/18/2013 12:49:31 MST Print View

I'll be picking up the first windshirt that slips into a good percentage off from a sale. You all have convinced me that it's worth trying. While I love my Gore-Tex rain jacket, I can't imagine ever cycling in it. Just too much moisture!

I will probably become a windshirt believer/convert pretty quickly. THis is one of those shining moments where I'm extremely glad I'm on this forum!

Maris L
(Ablaut) - M
Re: Thanks, all! on 02/18/2013 14:31:28 MST Print View

Max, glad you'll give it a try, especially on the bike. I've use my Houdini on the bike from autumn thru early spring, all the way down to those 5f nights. The multi-use of having it for other activities sure beats buying a separate, cycling-dedicated wind shell. Takes a couple of minutes getting warmed up but even cycling on those coldest days I can get away with wearing very little under it and stay warm with next to no moisture. It also packs up way smaller than rain shells to stash in the back of the jersey pocket as a just-in-case layer.

Dan D

Locale: Boston, MA
it's tough on 02/18/2013 14:52:23 MST Print View

Honestly, my biggest hold up with a windshirt is that i'm afraid it would limit the use of my nice Arcteryx goretex shell that i paid so much for! Even though it weighs over a pound... ugh.

Then again, i'm still unsure on how the windshirt fits in with rain gear. Shouldn't one always be prepared for rain/wet? Does a windshirt cover this base or is it a gamble? I guess that's why some use the windshirt + poncho method. Which i suppose makes some degree of sense, but you won't be very happy in a cold windy rain storm.

I guess i feel like i can go to a point with a baselayer + goretex shell that is warm enough that i won't be cold no matter how much wind there is. probably a good 55-60F.

Daryl and Daryl
(lyrad1) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest, USA, Earth
Re: Logic Check: Windshirt on 02/18/2013 15:02:58 MST Print View

I wear my very breathable uncoated windshirt (hooded windbreaker actually) at all times (sometimes with nothing underneath) for protection from sun and mosquitoes.

The windshirt also helps keep my heat in if I'm wearing fishnet, a foam vest or a loosely fitting and overly vented military surplus jacket liner underneath the windshirt.

A waterproof or waterproof/breathable jacket would be way too warm for me on a warm day so I wouldn't be able to use it for bug and sun protection when I needed it the most.

On the other hand neither my wife nor my sometimes hiking partner wear a windshirt regularly, if at all.

Justin Baker
(justin_baker) - M

Locale: Santa Rosa, CA
Re: Re: Logic Check: Windshirt on 02/18/2013 15:07:21 MST Print View

You guys actually use a windshirt for sun and bug protection? That sounds terribly hot. I would rather just use a breathable long sleeve shirt. Why a windshirt?

Link .
(annapurna) - MLife
Re: Re: Re: Logic Check: Windshirt on 02/18/2013 15:15:40 MST Print View

I have used a windshirt for bug protection,Washington can have bugs out and not be as hot as you are in CA. and the bugs can be bothersome at higher altitudes where it is not as warm.The hood also helps protect my head and neck from bites.

Edited by annapurna on 02/18/2013 15:21:05 MST.

Peter S
(prse) - MLife

Locale: Denmark
Re: Re: Re: Logic Check: Windshirt on 02/18/2013 15:39:54 MST Print View

Justin, just get a very breathable windshirt.

Richard Fischel
ditching your hard shell for a windshirt on 02/18/2013 15:44:05 MST Print View

unless the weather calls for heavy prolonged rain i don't take my hard shell. even if it rains hard i may get damp, but i'm not going to get wet. if the weather truly looks sh!ty I may just stay home. i’m a big fan of an r1 style hoodie and a windshirt together or an atom lt style primaloft jacket (wt insulight) for everything from the mid 40*’s to 0*f. going light(er) is all about making smart decisions on what kit goes with you and what stays in the trunk of the car. the more you try different things the better you get at the calculus of gear selection.

drifit long sleeve base layer, power stretch hoodie and windshirt. started out somewhere between 0* and 5*f and was cold. after about 20 minutes was comfortably cool. Picture was taken it was about 10*.

power stretch and windshirt

Edited by RICKO on 02/18/2013 16:42:10 MST.

Rob P
(rpjr) - M
Chris Townsend on Windshirts on 02/18/2013 19:01:48 MST Print View


Chris Townsend in the fourth edition of the Backpacker's Handbook has an excellent discussion of windproof fleece, vs regular fleece, softshell and's on pg. 145-148. He says that a windshell is the piece of clothing he wears the most. It's really helpful, he really knows his stuff.

Hope you find a windshirt that you like!

Max Dilthey
(mdilthey) - M

The Chosen One on 02/18/2013 20:22:03 MST Print View

I'm edging into the windshirt camp with a seriously low weight penalty; the Arcteryx Incendo vest weighs in at 3.3oz, which will let me stow it with my arm warmers in a hip pack while biking or in a backpack pocket while backpacking. If the thermal efficiency is to be believed, the lack of sleeves will be less relevant since my core will be kept warm. I think an item suited for a runner, like this vest, is the best choice for me because I aim to move quick when I'm backpacking. A brisk stride gets more miles under my feet, which is what I'm looking to increase these days.

When I'm stopped at a cold summit, it's Gore-Tex time for full coverage. If I'm going to use a windshirt, it's going to be a purely active layer. While I believe the endless testimonials here on the forum, if breathability ceases to be an issue (such as while stopped) then I'll cut the sleeves and use my rain shell that I'll already be carrying anyways.

Wind Vest

Purple, awesome!

Edited by mdilthey on 02/18/2013 20:22:45 MST.

Stephen Komae
(skomae) - MLife

Locale: northeastern US
Houdini vs. vest on 02/18/2013 20:46:12 MST Print View

For only .7oz more, you can have sleeves and a hood in the Houdini. In a piece as light and unrestricting as this, I see no reason to forego the sleeves and hood.

I find the Houdini to be a standout piece that travels with me on every outing, although I elect to wear a heavier, stretchier windshell for climbing. The hood often adds a good amount of control over warmth, especially when combined with a light hooded base layer or R1 which means I often don't bother to carry a hat, and the sleeves slide up over your elbows easily if you need to vent. In the warmer months I'll play with the sleeves and hood throughout the day to adjust my temperature, and in the winter I'm wearing it all day long and it doesn't come off until I'm home. I too thought the windshirt thing was a silly one... then I tried it and now I've got a whole closet full, including two Houdinis.

Eugene Smith
(Eugeneius) - MLife

Locale: Nuevo Mexico
Re: The Chosen One on 02/18/2013 20:46:44 MST Print View

Windshirt vest?

Not even in the same league IMO. I do find a simple vest to cut wind for highly aerobic activities (running, cycling, xc skiing, etc) to be beneficial in some instances, but those are very few and far between. Vests need to be worked into a system, especially a wind vest layer which is solely for cutting wind at your core while moving quickly, not necessarily static use (backpacking). Not a solid replacement for a full on windshirt which provides coverage against wind and subsequent rapid cooling at the surface of your skin at rest, assuming you've broken a good sweat.

If you're looking to save an ounce or two over a windshirt, look for those savings elsewhere.

Travis Leanna
(T.L.) - MLife

Locale: Wisconsin
Under 2 ounces on 02/18/2013 20:56:20 MST Print View

How about a full windshirt for under 2 ounces?

Max Dilthey
(mdilthey) - M

Some minor flaws in that logic. on 02/18/2013 21:02:29 MST Print View

Hmm.. I mean, I hear what you're saying, but I feel like the shortcomings are being addressed by my rain layer.

You say it'll be part of a core-warmth management layer for highly aerobic activities, which is exactly what I'm using it for. While static, you say the sleeves and the hood provide warmth, which is exactly what my rain shell provides me. I'm not bare-skinning up the mountain, remember; I've got at least a baselayer, more in sub-freezing conditions.

As far as weight penalty goes, if I was trying to go as low weight as humanly possible and nothing else I could probably slip under 1 ounce. What kind of durability am I looking at? Slim to none. Durability matters to me, so don't quote my 3.3 oz brag as a claim at finding the lightest. I found the lightest at a certain standard for durability.

Besides, the weight penalty is not a fair comparison. The Houdini might be only .7oz for sleeves and a hood, but as another forum member stated before, as you increase weight you can mildly correlate an increase in fabric quality. I checked in to the Dead Bird camp specifically so I'd get something durable, since I don't want pinhole tears in my windshirt after a few weeks of use. If you compare it to the Incendo Jacket, I'm cutting a full ounce, plus the associated, let's say, 20% reduction in bulk. Seemingly irrelevant, but when you're packing everything you own for a month into a hip pack, a frame bag, and a stuff sack, an extra 2 inches of compressed material can be a make or break for even bringing it.

Let me emphasize that; if the benefits of the item aren't above the bulk penalty, it doesn't come with me. If it rips at a sneeze, it doesn't come with me. I biked across the northeastern U.S. without a windshirt, and I used my rain shell on peaks. The phrase "Skimp on ounces elsewhere" implies that this item is a necessity, which it is not.

I think the decision to get the vest as a core piece during aerobic activities was a good one. Maybe I'll get a full hoodie down the road, but I was a skeptic from the beginning of this thread because I had simply never felt the need for a windshirt. It seemed to me to be another UL item touted to backpackers to get them to spend more money. I am now a believer that there is some value to be had, but I see that value to be a way to keep your comfort up while you're plowing up the mountain, which is the one area I can say I'm almost always too warm or too cold in.

For this aerobic activity, the vest balances the durability and weight I'm looking for to dip my feet.

Edited by mdilthey on 02/18/2013 21:10:21 MST.