Forum Index » GEAR » Current UL windshirts and breathability: are there other options and layering techniques?


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Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: light softshell on 02/08/2014 11:51:03 MST Print View

The OR Ferrosi material is a good example and much like the First Ascent Sandstone models. Good buy!

Paul Hatfield
(clear_blue_skies) - F
Options on 02/08/2014 11:51:52 MST Print View

Those pictures don't do much to assure me about the fit of the Westcomb Crest.

Here is a list that I compiled of highly-breathable wind shirt options (from people's opinions, not direct firsthand knowledge):

Arcteryx Incendo (-expensive, ?may be breathable only due to mesh venting)
Westcomb Crest (-expensive, -limited distribution, -durability of fabric)
"Faux-dini" eBay special (+lightweight, +inexpensive, -wacky sizing, -short sleeves, -unknown DWR durability)
REI Packable Fleet Jacket (-no hood)
Brooks L.S.D. Lite Jacket III (-baggy fit, -rear yoke)

Towards the heavier, soft-shell side of the spectrum:

Rab Boreas (-pullover, -very low hydrostatic head)
Rab Alpine Jacket (-expensive, -durability of fabric, -poor availability in US)
Rab Vapour-Rise Lite Alpine (-heavy, -expensive, -durability of fabric)
Mountain Hardwear Chocklite (-heavy, -pocket placement)
Outdoor Research Ferrosi (-heavy, -pocket placement)
Outdoor Research Whirlwind (-pullover)
Black Diamond Alpine Start Hoody (-expensive, ?hood size)
MEC RD Windshell Jacket (-limited distribution, CFM = 31.5 (tested by Richard))

Key:
+ = benefit
- = drawback

The elastane in fabrics that rely on it for stretch makes the fabric heavier, retain more water, take longer to dry... and reduces the long-term longevity of the garment. But many people like the feel of stretch fabrics.

Please see thread number 87696 "A Visual Paradigm for Windshirts - Multiple Axis of Understanding.-Rev 0" for Richard's measurements of air permeability and hydrostatic head for a variety of jackets.

Edited by clear_blue_skies on 03/06/2014 14:39:12 MST.

Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Current UL windshirts and breathability: are there other options and layering techniques? on 02/08/2014 11:54:57 MST Print View

I went off on Patagonia and sent them an email. Maybe of everyone does, we can halt the decline :) Oh, to be a fly on the wall at the Monday morning meeting :)


From CUSTOMER_SERVICE@patagonia.com

"Hey Dale,

Thank you for your email!

I'm sorry about how you feel about the new Houdini!

I passed your comments along to the right folks, and although I can't promise anything you can rest assured that your voice has been heard.

Let me know if there is anything else I can do for you!

Adam S.
Customer Service Representative

Customer Service | 1.800.638.6464 | www.patagonia.com
Please consider the environment before printing this e-mail


-----Original Message-----
From: Dale
Sent: Friday, February 07, 2014 5:52 PM
To: CUSTOMER_SERVICE
Subject: Patagonia Houdini fabric changes

What FOOL in your design or marketing departments thought it would be a good idea to change the fabric specification on the Houdini? They took one of the best outdoor garments made and turned it into a garbage bag with sleeves! BRING BACK THE OLD FABRIC!!!!! Please?

Edited by dwambaugh on 02/08/2014 14:01:21 MST.

Delmar O'Donnell
(Bolster)

Locale: Between Jacinto & Gorgonio
Paul's Short List on 02/08/2014 12:18:10 MST Print View

Paul, is your short list focused on high breathability? Or what features does it select for?

I'm asking because a number of the often-recommended (but less breathable and/or heavier) replacements that are mentioned here at BPL for the Old Houdini don't get a mention, such as: Ghost Whisperer, Stoic Wraith, Montbell Tachyon, Rab Alpine, Rab Cirrus, Pat Nine Trails, Montane Mountain Star, etc...

Edited by Bolster on 02/08/2014 12:18:43 MST.

Paul Hatfield
(clear_blue_skies) - F
List on 02/08/2014 12:57:23 MST Print View

> Paul, is your short list focused on high breathability?

Yes, that's right... high-breathability wind shirts that are water-resistant.

Low-breathability options are extremely abundant, and overlap with the functionality of rain jackets anyway, so I don't find them interesting.

Woubeir (from Europe)
(Woubeir) - F - MLife
Re: CFM claims of brands vs. CFM values here ? on 02/08/2014 13:04:34 MST Print View

Perhaps a side question, but I'm wondering how the CFM values we get here correlate with own CFM values of brands ? Why ? E.g. because the CFM of Patagonia's old Houdini is here rated as ± 36, but Patagonia claimed in the past (maybe now they changed position) that a fabric with a CFM of 15 and more was a no-go. And perhaps because you see quite a lot values around 10-15 and for some a value of more then 10 is so-called extremely breathable while here that would be almost like crap. Etc ...
Just curious. And because I always learned to be critical of any result.

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: List on 02/08/2014 14:05:31 MST Print View

> high-breathability wind shirts that are water-resistant.

A moment's thought will show that this is really a contradiction in terms, at least with current (and foreseeable) technology. You will just have to decide which way to go.

Cheers

Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Re: CFM claims of brands vs. CFM values here ? on 02/08/2014 14:18:25 MST Print View

Richard Nisley is the one to know of course. He's the guy with the lab machinery.

What I've seen (and object to) is windshirts with a 2-3CFM rating, which is terrible even compared to 15CFM. My take is that if the wind is blowing too hard and cold for a 35CFM windshirt, I'm in a storm and I'm wearing a rain shell at that point anyway. I want to keep a nice little cloud of warm air about me, block the *breeze*, and fend off the lighter rain drops--- without feeling like I'm in a steam bath. I guess the issue is wind *proof* vs wind *resistant* and to what degree.

The link below refers to a document evidently written by a Patagonia designer and links to a BPL thread from 2005, so it is dated. See http://www.verber.com/mark/outdoors/stash/patagonia-testing.html and http://www.backpackinglight.com/cgi-bin/backpackinglight/xdpy/forum_thread/165/index.htm

"How does CFM measure wind resistance?

Cubic feet per minute per square meter (CFM) is a measure of the wind resistance or air permeability of a fabric. The higher the CFM, the greater the volume of air passing through.

When hard shells dominated the landscape, discussions about CFM didn't come up. Traditional barriers like H2NO, Gore, Triple Point, Entrant, and other respectable waterproof breathable technologies all have a 0 CFM rating. They are absolutely windproof.

With the advent of soft shells and more breathable fabrics, the air permeability argument becomes complicated, sometimes heated.

Traditional layering has always taught the "vapor barrier warmth" concept. That is, maintain a (windproof) stable dead air space next to skin and you will stay warmer. That's true, if you're watching football game from the stands in November.

But what happens when you're pounding uphill to the ridge before someone else sneaks into that untracked line of new powder? You can use a bit of convective heat loss; and you need more breathability to move the extra moisture you create through exertion.

And a fabric with 0 CFM doesn't provide it. We've found that fabrics that measure as much as 5 CFM are still functionally windproof: that is, you don't feel the breeze come through. And they afford much greater comfort on the uphill. So we use 1-5 CFM as our standard for weather-protective soft shells (Mixmaster, Dimension, Dragonfly, etc.)

Shells for higher exertion activities (e.g. Slingshot, Super Guide Pants, Talus Pants) must be even more breathable. For these products we hold to a comfortably wind-resistant, but not windproof, standard of 10-15 CFM.

Beyond this, we don't go. We don't produce shell fabrics with a higher CFM (say, 15-20) because our field test shows that further gains in breathability don't offset the heat loss from wind penetration. (See Schoeller Dryskin on the chart on the next page- offering high breathability, but not enough wind protection) The goal is: both warm and dry.

At the other end of the scale, as mentioned, we don't make 0 CFM soft shells. What's the point of a soft shell that doesn't breathe better than a hard shell?"

jerry adams
(retiredjerry) - MLife

Locale: Oregon and Washington
Re: Re: Re: CFM claims of brands vs. CFM values here ? on 02/08/2014 14:28:57 MST Print View

"But what happens when you're pounding uphill to the ridge before someone else sneaks into that untracked line of new powder? You can use a bit of convective heat loss; and you need more breathability to move the extra moisture you create through exertion."

Is the only reason you create extra moisture when you're exercising, that you're over-heating? If you don't wear too much, then you won't create any more moisture than when you're sitting?

Not that you can always control this. One moment you're exercising more, the next less, not possible to always have just the right amount of insulation.

Sometimes you can regulate by how vigorous you are. When you go uphill, if you start getting warm, slow down. When you go downhill and you get cold, speed up.

Nathan Watts
(7sport) - MLife
Re: Re: Re: Re: CFM claims of brands vs. CFM values here ? on 02/08/2014 14:39:05 MST Print View

"Not that you can always control this. One moment you're exercising more, the next less, not possible to always have just the right amount of insulation."

A great plug for jackets and clothing with deep or full chest zips and pit zips or buttoned openings. Zippers can make more of a difference than fabric breathability. Even mesh lined pockets can be helpful.

Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: CFM claims of brands vs. CFM values here ? on 02/08/2014 14:53:35 MST Print View

"A great plug for jackets and clothing with deep or full chest zips and pit zips or buttoned openings. Zippers can make more of a difference than fabric breathability. Even mesh lined pockets can be helpful."

Indeed! I like snaps or Velcro tabs on storm flaps for the same reason: you can leave the zipper open when it isn't raining too hard, but still get some air between the fasteners.

Roman Vazhnov
(joarr) - MLife

Locale: Russia
Re: Re: Current UL windshirts and breathability: are there other options and layering techniques? on 02/08/2014 15:17:59 MST Print View

Dave,how BD Alpine Start compares with Rab Alpine? In terms of air permeability and water absorption? I have windshirt (local manufacturer) from the same type of Equilibrium (i think) as Westcom Crest, also Vapour-rise lite with the same face fabric, and i think they are good. Definitely they allow high intensity motion, such as running, XC skiing. DWR do not compares with EPIC at all, and i am too lazy to bother with restoring it regularly. So air permeability is rather high, but i assume, you don't need such level of air permeability when hiking for example. Because the trade off for good breathability is lesser protection from wind, which can be significant in winter conditions for example. I have successfully used Squamish in -10 F during crosscountry skiing (not racing speed, but not easy walking either). Air permeability of Squamish is between Quantum GL and Equilibrium/MHW Chocklite, i can breath through it rather easy and i assume this level is quite balanced. I'm a little obsessed with windshirts, and BD Alpine Start really caught my attention. Is it really so good? I have old Shoeller stretch woven softshell too (Dryskin extreme), but it absorbs A LOT of water (although it has thin inner fleece-like layer). Because of the structure of the fabric we can think that Equilibrium has some kind of inner "pump" layer. If we want to make something more durable, we can use fabric with thicker fibers (maintaining air permeability meanwhile). But won't we get something like MHW Chocklite in result? Equilibrium can be worn next to the skin and it is bugproof - usefull combination in summer.

Edited by joarr on 02/08/2014 15:39:14 MST.

Delmar O'Donnell
(Bolster)

Locale: Between Jacinto & Gorgonio
Solution. on 02/08/2014 16:02:25 MST Print View

Dale may have the solution. We may just have to petition Patagonia to get the old Houdini back. Certainly they could make a "Houdini Classic" and add it to the lineup.

FWIW, I had a chat session with a Pat rep and made the point I was only researching the new Houdini so I would not buy it by mistake on the used market, and explained why. I likewise got an assurance that the feedback would be passed on.

If Pat were to get 50 comments like that, they might start listening.

Edited by Bolster on 02/08/2014 16:05:02 MST.

Serge G.
(sgiachetti) - M

Locale: Boulder, CO
durability on 02/08/2014 16:03:18 MST Print View

Dave had issues with his alpine jacket, but I know how these forums can turn into an echo chamber, so before everyone decides equilibrium is not durable enough for backpacking, I'll add that I've used my rab alpine and vr alpine with equilibrium for everything from ice & rock climbing to ski mountaineering & had no durability issues so far. I'm sure I will tear them some day, but I think the fabric is plenty up to the task of what most people are doing on this forum and in backpacking in general. IMO its the best fabric for the job of a windshirt. If I were bushwacking in the pnw more often, maybe I'd have a tear, but i live in CO where we've got it easy. I bought my alpine for $80. I like the helmet hood on the alpine but the crest has a more minimal construction with a close fitting hood for backpacking. I didn't particularly like the fit of the crest, but I'm picky.

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Current UL windshirts and breathability: are there other options and layering techniques? on 02/08/2014 19:55:26 MST Print View

Buy an older version of the Houdini on Gear Swap seems to be a simple solution for the time being.

Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Water repellent windshirts on 02/08/2014 20:15:23 MST Print View

Roger replied, "> high-breathability wind shirts that are water-resistant.

A moment's thought will show that this is really a contradiction in terms, at least with current (and foreseeable) technology. You will just have to decide which way to go.

Cheers"

I don't expect much in the way of rain protection from a windshirt. The DWR should handle a light drizzle for a short period. Since I am always carrying some sort of rain gear, I value the breathability over water repellency. Of course I don't want a sponge and I should be able to shake off most of the moisture before stowing it.

Richard Nisley
(richard295) - M

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Re: Running hoody on 02/08/2014 20:41:07 MST Print View

hwc,

You said, "... my main purpose of a wind jacket: to block the wind on exposed mountain ridges or summits...". You already have a Marmot Essence in your pack; why do you want a windshirt for that same purpose?

hwc 1954
(wcollings) - M
Sauna on 02/08/2014 21:11:51 MST Print View

>> Essence in your pack; why do you want a windshirt for that same purpose?

I'm not putting on a rain jacket unless it's raining or I'm in need of emergency layering. The Essence is comfortable as far as rain jackets go, but it's still a sauna bath when moving. I wear the Trail Wind Hoody a lot -- more than any other top layer I own. Perfect for taking a little chill off, either from a brisk wind or evening temperatures.

Edited by wcollings on 02/08/2014 21:12:40 MST.

michael levi
(M.L) - F

Locale: W-Never Eat Soggy (W)affles
windshirt on 02/08/2014 21:44:29 MST Print View

My current system is a 2.5oz Montbell Tachyon (awesome hood) which adds warmth and protects from light rain and wind on the move.

I think it breathes well enough, I dont see the point in buying a expensive windshirt with more advanced fabric that weighs more just for more breathability. If I need to vent I just unzip, roll up sleeves, loosen hem etc.

I had a Arc' Squamish but I found it overkill. A windshirt to me needs to be SUL to the point where I can put it in my pocket on a run. The squamish was just too heavy and bulky.

I use a down jacket in camp that weighs 7.4oz so I dont see the point in carrying a 5-6 ounce wind jacket.

Stephen Komae
(skomae) - MLife

Locale: northeastern US
Re: Rear Elastic on 02/08/2014 23:22:35 MST Print View

> These features duplicate my 2009 Houdini, except for the 'rear elastic only.' There's an elastic shock cord inside the bottom hem all the way around, but what is the 'rear elastic only'? Thanks.

Sorry for the confusion, I meant elastic all the way around. The 2013+ models have elastic on the rear only.