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Another (probably stupid) wind shirt question
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Christopher Kuzak
Another (probably stupid) wind shirt question on 04/01/2013 16:20:31 MDT Print View

After reading nearly every thread on wind shirts over the last year, and not really ever intending to get one, I picked up a Salomon Clima Wind at the local REI today. It was marked down and with the 20% discount I couldn't resist once I felt how light it was (scale says 2.5 oz).

At any rate, now that I have one, I'm trying to figure out what to do with it. I've got a Super Mica, a Patagonia Nano Puff, and a standard 4 oz light hiking shirt (all of which I got on sale too over the last 2-3 years). I've been taking a cheapo 30% polyester/70% cotton thermal shirt to wear at night forever, but am now thinking of ditching it since it weighs 6 oz. Any thoughts out there? Would the new wind shirt also work as something to sleep in? Would it be too hot? Should I ditch any of the other layers?

Most of my trips are in the Sierra.


Martin Clark
(Marty_Mcfly) - F

Locale: Southeast US
best as part of a system on 04/01/2013 18:03:24 MDT Print View

In my experience a windshirt is best used as part of a layering system to manage the conditions. Often times a wind shirt has difficulty working at its best unless it has a thin poly-pro or similar shirt underneath it to wick the sweat off you. I doubt ditching the use of a long-sleeve completely is a solid solution, but would recommend ditching your cheap cotton which isn't an efficient use of weight. I would recommend going to walmart and getting a $9.00 starter dri star shirt. I've stopped purchasing patagonias base-layers I like them so much. Combine a wally world long sleeve and a wind shirt and you've got a winning combo. OR use a long-sleeve of your choosing. FWIW

Edited by Marty_Mcfly on 04/01/2013 18:04:27 MDT.

Randy Martin
(randalmartin) - F

Locale: Colorado
Re: Another (probably stupid) wind shirt question on 04/01/2013 18:27:53 MDT Print View

If you have read every thread on wind shirts then you should have a pretty good idea of how other people use it. My use of a windshirt

1] Drastically reduce heat loss from wind and allow me to keep warm when moving
2] Protection from biting insects and therefore may very well be worn to bed over my baselayer.

Your patagonia nano puff is already wind proof so what I did was replace my Nano Puff with the R2 jacket and so I have a much more versatile system with an insulation layer that can breath very well when I want or I can add wind protection when it's breathing too well.

Steven Paris
(saparisor) - M

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Another wind shirt question on 04/01/2013 21:38:54 MDT Print View

Here's how I use my windshirt:

This past weekend, I went for a long dayhike in the Columbia Gorge. When I started around 8:45ish, it was very cool. I had a short sleeve synthetic t-shirt, a wool Indie Hoody and a Rab Cirrus Windshirt (similar to a Houdini). In the bottom of my pack was a full-on rain shell (not ever used but I was going on a hike I hadn't done before and had thought about that recent lost hiker on Mt Hood).

The Gorge is a lot of ups and downs, so within 10 minutes, I shed the windshirt, slinging the pack around on one shoulder and stashing it in the outer mesh pocket of my pack. The trail started up into a steep side canyon. I took off the wool midlayer and never needed it again. For the next hour +, it was only the windshirt that got used, in shade or when stopping along the creek or if there was enough wind to chill me, then off quickly when the trail got steeper and I got hotter. I never felt I needed long-sleeves under it.

If light rain had come, I would have put on the breathable windshirt first, hoping that the light rain would pass.
If heavy rain had come, I would have put on the rain shell only (at first) and (hopefully) moved more slowly to not overheat. I would have added the midlayer if it got cold.
If cold dry weather moved in, I would have put on the midlayer, the windshirt and a hat.
If I had been camping, I would have put on the windshirt when I got to camp (if I was starting to chill). I would have eventually added the midlayer (under the windshirt) and an insulation layer (like your Nano Puff) over the windshirt (or finally putting the windshirt away). I wouldn't sleep in it unless it was an emergency and I needed to put on all the clothing I had with me.

In drier CA, you could probably do with only one baselayer/midlayer (a L/S wool or synthetic) and the Salomon windshirt for hiking. Carry the Nano Puff (for camp) and the Mica (for rain) in your pack. Some CA folks might suggest only the Mica as both wind and rain shell. I'm sold on both here in the PNW.

Hope this wasn't confusing (there's a kid who is working overtime on distracting me!)

Christopher Kuzak
wind shirt on 04/01/2013 23:27:36 MDT Print View

Not confusing at all--great actually. It crossed my mind to just return it but I started to think along the lines of your post and the variety of uses I could put it to. As you indicate, it'd be great for cool morning hikes or when it's damp out. I'm even thinking of ditching the shell on weekend trips if the weather calls for it.

josh wagner
(StainlessSteel) - F
sleep? sure on 04/02/2013 19:56:30 MDT Print View

anytime it is even relatively cool out i sleep in my windshirt. i believe it really does a wonderful job of protecting the down in my sleeping bag from condensation from my body. it also keeps it cleaner. it also makes it easier to get out of the hammock in the am since i have on a little bit of warmth.

Steven McAllister
(brooklynkayak) - MLife

Locale: Atlantic North East
Another (probably stupid) wind shirt question on 04/03/2013 06:19:18 MDT Print View

@Randy, love your explanation:
"I have a much more versatile system with an insulation layer that can breath very well when I want or I can add wind protection when it's breathing too well."

That is the most common use of a wind shirt for most people, but there are other reasons to carry a wind shirt.

Edited by brooklynkayak on 04/03/2013 06:19:57 MDT.

Steven McAllister
(brooklynkayak) - MLife

Locale: Atlantic North East
Another (probably stupid) wind shirt question on 04/03/2013 06:36:26 MDT Print View

I carry a short cape for rain, but use only the windshirt as my outer shell in most rain and snow.

If it is cold and raining hard, I will wear the windshirt under the cape. I find it helps keep me dryer underneath. Perspiration can condense on the inside of any rain shell. The windshirt helps block and redirect this dampness to the ground.

J Dos Antos
(Damager) - M

Locale: Redwoods of Santa Cruz Mts
Re: Another (probably stupid) wind shirt question on 04/03/2013 11:07:57 MDT Print View

Hi Christopher,

I'm a recent convert to windshirts myself. I used to only carry a DriDucks for rain/wind, until talking to a few SUL backpackers who I really trust for gear advice. I now have a Houdini and it's an amazingly versatile piece of clothing that fits perfectly with the other layers in my system. I went with the Houdini over the Montbell Anorak because of the convenience of the zipper, which made sense to me since I am constantly taking this jacket off and putting it on. It protects from wind, light rain, and depending on your baselayer, sun and skeeters.

Also, it's a great jacket for trail runs.

In fact, I've also switched to Montbell Dynamo wind pants as my primary lower baselayer. My mediums weigh under 3 ounces, and have replaced my convertible pants. I used to be a die-hard shorts guy, but that's how much these wind layers have impressed me.

Diplomatic Mike

Locale: Under a bush in Scotland
Re Windshirts on 04/03/2013 11:25:26 MDT Print View

Hike in Scotland, and you'll know what a windshirt is for! :-)
A typical hike might involve 15 miles, with 3-4000 feet of ascent Mostly off trail. On the uphills, you can get soaked in sweat. As we 'enjoy' an Atlantic weather system, a cold wind often blows, so you can be warm and cold every 2 minutes unless you block the wind.

If i only strolled along level trails in warm weather without breaking a sweat, i would probably leave the windshirt at home.

jeffrey armbruster
(book) - M

Locale: Northern California
"Another (probably stupid) wind shirt question" on 04/03/2013 15:31:12 MDT Print View

Josh: so, Houdini as a vapor barrier? Neat. Have you used it this way in winter?

Justin Baker
(justin_baker) - F

Locale: Santa Rosa, CA
Re: Another (probably stupid) wind shirt question on 04/03/2013 15:55:32 MDT Print View

So if you are hiking in the wind and don't have a windshirt, you can just throw on a little more insulation. The wind will blow right through it, but it will still give you that tiny bit of warmth. Then you turn around a bend in the trail and suddenly there is no wind. You end up overheating. It's even worse when the wind is really gusty and infrequent. You constantly go from being cold to hot.
Windshirts are just more comfortable.

I sleep in my windshirt all the time.

Edited by justin_baker on 04/03/2013 15:57:01 MDT.

Steven McAllister
(brooklynkayak) - MLife

Locale: Atlantic North East
Windshirt does not make a good vapor barrier on 04/03/2013 17:24:22 MDT Print View

Regarding wearing a winshirt as a vapor barrier in the winter:

A vapor barrier should NOT be breathable. So a windshirt or even breathable rain jacket is not a good choice.

A vapor barrier works by blocking moisture from getting to your puffy layers.
A breathable membrane, especially a proper windshirt, will let moisture through.

jeffrey armbruster
(book) - M

Locale: Northern California
"Another (probably stupid) wind shirt question" on 04/03/2013 19:35:13 MDT Print View

Steven: D'Oh! of course! Although I remember someone on a thread who wore their wpb shell at night in winter as a vapor barrier.

So now I'm curious as to why you'd wear a windshirt to bed.

Edited by book on 04/03/2013 19:37:33 MDT.

Justin Baker
(justin_baker) - F

Locale: Santa Rosa, CA
Re: "Another (probably stupid) wind shirt question" on 04/03/2013 19:50:06 MDT Print View

Yeah, a windshirt is not going to act as a vapor barrier unless it is a windshirt that doesn't breathe, which would make it a terrible windshirt. When I wear my windshirt while sleeping, I experience no condensation. I am completely dry. Where did all that moisture go? It went into my bag.

Martin RJ Carpenter
(MartinCarpenter) - F
Drizzle on 04/04/2013 03:45:22 MDT Print View

The other 'wonderful' feature of the UK climate is that an awful lot of the time when there's wind there's a sort of light drizzle about. Or very brief, stronger showers either happening or threatened.

Windshirts are rather nice for that sort of thing.

Steven McAllister
(brooklynkayak) - MLife

Locale: Atlantic North East
Another (probably stupid) wind shirt question on 04/04/2013 04:28:11 MDT Print View

I agree, a windshirt is more comfortable than a rain shell in a drizzle.
I also find it more comfortable in most snow, unless it is really cold out.

I can walk all day wearing a windshirt in heavy snow if the temps aren't much below freezing.

I can't say that would be the case with all windshirts. Mine may not breath as much as some windshirts do.

Richard Reno
(scubahhh) - M

Locale: White Mountains, mostly.
windshirts in winter on 04/04/2013 06:38:28 MDT Print View

Oh, I'm good in a merino t-shirt, Ibex 1/4 zip Zephyr, and Houdini inn temps down to about 0F as long as I'm moving; have to keep an eye on the ventialtion to avoid sweating everything out and make sure the head's warm and dry when the wind picks up, but that's OK. I just slip on a nano-puff oer the windhsirt at lunchtime.

I LOVE the Houdini- my only issue is that i wish the hood didnt' hang out over my face quite so much. A hat with a brim takes care of that, though.

Steven McAllister
(brooklynkayak) - MLife

Locale: Atlantic North East
Another (probably stupid) wind shirt question on 04/04/2013 08:04:35 MDT Print View

Most hoods on windshits seem loose, awkward and annoying unless there is a hat on underneath.
The combination of hat under a windshirt is perfect. The sides of the hood help protect the face from windburn and side spray as long as it is kept reasonably taut by the hat.