Forum Index » GEAR » A Visual Paradigm for Windshirts - Multiple Axis of Understanding.-Rev 0


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Richard Nisley
(richard295) - M

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
A Visual Paradigm for Windshirts - Multiple Axis of Understanding on 02/16/2014 23:56:33 MST Print View

There was a recent thread entitled “Windshirt Question”. See http://www.backpackinglight.com/cgi-bin/backpackinglight/forums/thread_display.html?forum_thread_id=87001&disable_pagination=1

As is common on the forum, there were a lot of dissenting opinions. About ½ ways through the thread, Paul Hatfield (clear_blue_skies) posted, “"The MEC RD Windshell Jacket has a CFM rating of 7. MEC does not carry any high rated CFM jackets." - MEC Service Centre.

This was first countered by Dan Durston (dandydan), who said, “From ample personal experience, the RD Windshell is highly breathable. It's nothing like the pseudo-plastic bag windshirts (ie. Montbell). Unless you're looking for a super DWR windshell to attempt to wear during light rains, the RD is great. Compared to the Houdini, the RD is easily more durable and breathable.”

Dan tweaked my curiosity and then Eric Chan (bearbreeder) PUSHED ME OVER THE CLIFF TO LAND ON A CLOUD OF ENLIGHTENMENT. I had never seen windshirt marketing and the resultant user psychology so honestly and clearly explained in a few words. The companion challenge was if I could explain the performance aspects as clearly and succinctly as Eric did his part. I have tried and my results are to follow after restating Eric’s post:

“the RD windshells of my partners that ive tried and the ones ive played around with at MEC are quite breathable IMO. much more so that my trail wind. as the the MB ... if its the same fabric as the EXL puffies ... well that fabric isnt "breathable" at all ...as to the "high CFM" thing ... i suspect that most "normal" people these days use their windshells as a semi-static layer or just walking around the park, so a less "breathable" windshell makes sense from a marketing perspective god forbid you get reviews on backcountry, REI or amazon saying "this $$$$ windbreaker SUCKS, it doesnt block the wind !!!" and to be quite honest, even among people who use it for higher exertion, most dont think that sweating is such a big deal anyways ... you can always walk into a warm building to dry off. if you want "guaranteed" breathability get a thin non-membrane softshell ... theyll be more durable (and heavier) to boot.

1

2.1

3

People frequently seek quick understanding by asking, "What is the best?"
Best is only known when the options can be objectively evaluated in Multiple Axis of Understanding. Has this ever been done before in an easy-to-understand way? If so, I have never seen it.

The objective of this thread is not to discuss windshirts other than those three measured and shown above. The objectives are to determine your opinions as to the most relevant windshirt characteristics to measure? Also, what is the most desirable way for that information to be presented?

Edited by richard295 on 03/01/2014 14:00:30 MST.

Roman Vazhnov
(joarr) - MLife

Locale: Russia
Re: A Visual Paradigm for Windshirts - Multiple Axis of Understanding.-Rev 0 on 02/17/2014 01:01:17 MST Print View

Those axis are good. It would be useful to measure water absorption somehow, and add it to the graph.

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: A Visual Paradigm for Windshirts - Multiple Axis of Understanding.-Rev 0 on 02/17/2014 02:23:20 MST Print View

Hi Richard

Brilliant!

Cheers

eric chan
(bearbreeder) - F
tested on 02/17/2014 02:35:12 MST Print View

are those tested values for the MEC RD richard?

i would make it a graph with 3 variables ... weight/breathability/water-resistance, thickness doesnt matter except as a function of the weight unless it implies durability ... and i would invert the scale for the weight

that way the more area the in the graph a windshirt covers, the "better" (lighter, more breathable, more water resistant) it will be

i think most of the outdoor clothing industry is driven by marketing (and fashion) personally ... not necessarily by performance, durability or common sense

how else will they sell new shinny gear every year to people who already have still functional models of their jackets/pants/baselayers/etc ...

;)

Edited by bearbreeder on 02/17/2014 02:41:30 MST.

Woubeir (from Europe)
(Woubeir) - F - MLife
Re: A Visual Paradigm for Windshirts - Multiple Axis of Understanding.-Rev 0 on 02/17/2014 05:18:54 MST Print View

"i think most of the outdoor clothing industry is driven by marketing (and fashion) personally"

+1 (sadly enough)

Personally, I would like to see water absorption, drying time and durability and thickness might not be very usefull (unless that is like Eric already said actually an indicator of durability ).

And then (of course): a CFM of 31,5 for the MEC RD while they say only 7 and they also say they do not carry or make highly breathable windshirts themself. Any idea why this difference ?

Dan Durston
(dandydan)

Locale: Cascadia
Windshirts on 02/17/2014 06:22:27 MST Print View

Wow. This is a really cool analysis. Thanks.

It clearly reveals the difference (trade-off) between the '12 Houdini and the newer version.

I tend to agree with Eric that a single axis could be used to communicate durability. I personally prefer fabric thickness, as weight can be pretty loosely correlated with durability due to differences in feature sets.

Edited by dandydan on 02/17/2014 06:28:12 MST.

David Chenault
(DaveC) - BPL Staff - F

Locale: Crown of the Continent
Re: A Visual Paradigm for Windshirts - Multiple Axis of Understanding.-Rev 0 on 02/17/2014 09:05:21 MST Print View

Awesome Richard. I wouldn't change a thing.

Delmar O'Donnell
(Bolster)

Locale: Between Jacinto & Gorgonio
More than one dimension. on 02/17/2014 09:47:48 MST Print View

It's good to think about reality in more than one dimension! Especially if one can use a nifty radar plot.

If water resistance is generally a tradeoff with wind resistance, then I'd put those on one axis (say, vertical). If weight and thinness are usually opposed, I'd put those on the other axis (horizontal).

Edited by Bolster on 02/17/2014 09:53:12 MST.

Richard Nisley
(richard295) - M

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Re: tested on 02/17/2014 10:08:13 MST Print View

Eric,

You said, "are those tested values for the MEC RD richard?"

The answer is yes! A few days after mulling over your post of 2/4/14, I ordered a MEC RD. After it arrived, I tested it for the variables shown.

Edited by richard295 on 02/17/2014 10:39:47 MST.

Steven Paris
(saparisor) - M

Locale: Pacific Northwest
A Visual Paradigm for Windshirts - testing on 02/17/2014 10:33:35 MST Print View

With all the hang-wringing in a recent thread, I'm almost worried to see it graphed, but I'll send you a Rab CIrrus for testing if you want or have time. No worries if you don't.

Ryan Smith
(ViolentGreen) - M

Locale: Southeast
Re: Re: tested on 02/17/2014 10:40:39 MST Print View

Good news! 31 CFM is a good number and the HH is even higher than the old Houdini. Looks like a winner even if a bit heavier than I would prefer. Not overly expensive either.

Ryan

Edited by ViolentGreen on 02/17/2014 10:42:27 MST.

eric chan
(bearbreeder) - F
Re: Re: tested on 02/17/2014 11:18:57 MST Print View

Richard thanks for the tests and ordering one

I was pretty certain that it was fairly breathable based on the ones my partners have, the instore darth vader tests and dan's testimony

I think its good news for those who want something breathable as its cheaper than the old houdini ... Though slightly heavier

And while this might not help folks outside canada ... There is the mec no question asked warranty if you dont like it

If you need to combine shipping remember that the T2/3 are still in clearance at mec

;)

John Harper
(johnnyh88) - M

Locale: The SouthWest
Re: tested on 02/17/2014 11:37:02 MST Print View

Really nice work, Richard. I would volunteer to send you my Montane Mountain Star for testing if you'd like.

Dan Durston
(dandydan)

Locale: Cascadia
RD on 02/17/2014 11:37:11 MST Print View

The RD is a good windshirt. The hood seals well around the face to keep out bugs, so it's highly funtional in bug season. It is a bit heavier than some windshirts, but the weight is all in the fabric so you're getting a more durable garment. It's also got a nice long cut, so it doesn't ride up when you bend over.

Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Industry motivations on 02/17/2014 12:04:58 MST Print View

"i think most of the outdoor clothing industry is driven by marketing (and fashion) personally ... not necessarily by performance, durability or common sense"

The checkbook rules. Some gambles are made and there are winners and losers.

But somwhere somebody thought that the changes would increase sales, profitability on that item, or serve the whole product line better. Who knows.

Others have pointed out that these garments may be pointed to other markets than backpacking. If consumer research is done, I assumed it is pointed at use per activity: climbing, running, hiking, skiing, etc. They may be responding to data that shows the sales are dominant in areas other than hiking, with marketing and design leaning to the surveyed needs of the activities that produce larger sales. If there is more money from runners, the needs of backpackers may take second seat. The horror!

Or there was some Peter Principle of Comittee rule that kicked in and they made a dumb choice--- for our needs anyway. It has been interesting to see this slice of the outdoor market, looking at one category of clothing within one activity. Richard's contributions have really added to the science and objectivity.

Max Dilthey
(mdilthey) - M

Locale: MaxTheCyclist.com
To Eric Chan on 02/17/2014 12:08:33 MST Print View

Partially unrelated, but I feel like Eric has come dangerously close at times to being completely dismissed on BPL because of his somewhat reckless way of presenting his (often polarized) opinions.

...and I think he's one of the smartest contributors to this forum, pushing other people to substantiate their claims and keeping a "hivemind" from forming on loads of topics.

I think this is awesome, and I think I want to apologize to Eric for what I can only assume were several times I ignored or publicly denounced him over the last year (though, I don't do anything like that often). Looking back, he's usually right, usually contributes a ton, and usually does it in a way that reflects a great deal of clarity.

Cheers, mate

eric chan
(bearbreeder) - F
Re: To Eric Chan on 02/17/2014 12:41:34 MST Print View

No apology needed

Everyone and their bear is entitled to their say =P

Dale is correct IMO that there are markets other than backpacking

For climbing i use my trail wind as an UL belay layer ... In the summer i clip it to my harness and wear it belaying ... It acts as wind and emergency light drizzle protection

Belayed climbing is very stop and go ... Even while climbing a pitch youll try to take a decent amount of rests on technical pitches ... So breathability isnt thr biggest deal

Of course youll sweat like a hippo in a sauna on steep approaches

Im sure theres other sports like this as well

And then theres the marketing ...

;)

J Dos Antos
(Damager) - M

Locale: Redwoods of Santa Cruz Mts
Re: A Visual Paradigm for Windshirts - Multiple Axis of Understanding.-Rev 0 on 02/17/2014 17:13:12 MST Print View

Richard,

Thank you so much for all the time and effort you put into your analysis. I greatly appreciate it.

IMHO, in this case very humble, I think you nailed it with your existing criteria.

The only drawback to your awesome data is I learned my 2013 Houdini is not the product I thought I was buying based on past performance reviews from many satisfied BPL members. However, since it's my first dedicated windshirt, I have nothing else to compare it to, and honestly have found it to be adequate thus far. That MEC RD looks mighty tempting now.

Eric,

I also want to echo Max's comment and say thanks for much of the great info you have posted. I like that you present a differing opinion based on your experience. I wish I had more access to MEC gear, which I had never heard of (I'm in the US) until reading your posts.

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Re: Industry motivations on 02/17/2014 21:22:51 MST Print View

> But somwhere somebody thought that the changes would increase sales, profitability on
> that item, or serve the whole product line better.

Industry does not have motivations. Individual people do.
In this case, maybe a guy in marketing (or design) thought he had better come up with a new design for the next year so the boss doesn't think he is 'surplus to requirements'.

> Peter Principle of Committee
Quiz question: What constitues a majority on a committee?
Answer: two people coordinating and ignoring the rest.

Cheers

Serge G.
(sgiachetti) - M

Locale: Boulder, CO
nice job on 02/17/2014 22:00:11 MST Print View

Thanks for your work, Richard. Nice to have some real data to reference in these forums.

I also appreciate a lot of your insights Eric.

@Dan–Curious what size you went for in the RD, Dan? Also, is there actually a meaningful amount of stretch?

Cheers