May 30, 2011 at 10:26 am #1274642
I'm weighing the pros and cons of each setup and wanted some input from those who may have experience with either or both. A windshell and a separate rain jacket offers more versatility, I would imagine, in that when its not raining but windy above the tree line, I could don the windshell and hopefully it would breath better than a rainshell? Obviously though one jacket would be lighter than two. So thoughts?May 30, 2011 at 11:14 am #1742791
Event rain jacket if I expect significant rain. I can wear it open and not sweat it out if it's just windy but dry. Mine is about 16 oz or so.
Houdini windshirt + frogg toggs if I don't expect a lot of rain. The frogg toggs are really just there for backup in a freak storm. Not fun to wear, but they do the job of stopping the rain. I've always just used the Houdini when I go this route (been lucky with rain!).May 30, 2011 at 1:35 pm #1742829
If you are going to bring a Rain Jacket regardless then you don't need to also bring a wind shirt. The rain jacket cuts wind just like a wind shirt. Generally a wind shirt does NOT breath like a good rain jacket does. In order to be extra light a wind shirt is not going to use the more expensive and heavier breathable materials like eVent/GoreTex or have pit zips or other features that a good rain jacket typically has to make it more breathable.
For me the decision is what conditions do I expect. If rain is not likely then I will just save weight and go with the wind shirt.May 30, 2011 at 3:16 pm #1742857
I always take both a windshirt and rain jacket.May 30, 2011 at 4:45 pm #1742876
@vesteroidLocale: Eastern Sierras
I have found that taking my houdini and a bonifide rain jacket (if there is a reasonable chance of rain or cold) is whats working for me these days.
I have a houdini, a 3 layer pro shell goretex and a cloudcape from zpacks.
If its warmer I take the houdini and cloudcape. If its cold I take the houdini and 3 layer pro shell goretex.
That darn houdini is magic, I love it. I cant believe sometimes how much warmth it provides for almost no weight.May 30, 2011 at 4:51 pm #1742879
@5150broncoLocale: Bay Area, Ca.
double post.May 30, 2011 at 4:52 pm #1742881
@5150broncoLocale: Bay Area, Ca.
when talking about wind and rain jackets nothing is better than TAD gear or Triple Aught Design.
Amazing gear!May 30, 2011 at 4:57 pm #1742883
No weights listed on the site for anything I looked at, but with all the zippers and such, my guess is they're relatively heavy. Bombproof, I'm sure, if that's what you're after.May 30, 2011 at 7:11 pm #1742945
"Generally a wind shirt does NOT breath like a good rain jacket does. In order to be extra light a wind shirt is not going to use the more expensive and heavier breathable materials like eVent/GoreTex or have pit zips or other features that a good rain jacket typically has to make it more breathable."
Going to guess you swapped wind shirt where you meant to put rain jacket. Wind shirts are leaps and bounds more breathable than ANY type of rain jacket. I do agree that if you're taking a rain jacket a wind shirt tends to be redundant.May 30, 2011 at 7:24 pm #1742948
@ Matthew: Thats what I thought, what between the goretex and DWR and all. But I do agree with both of you in that a wind jacket is redundant, especially for a long term hike, no sense carrying both. Looking at the mountain hardwear epic to do the job.May 30, 2011 at 7:24 pm #1742949
Stephen B Elder JrMember
@selderLocale: Front range CO
"I do agree that if you're taking a rain jacket a wind shirt tends to be redundant."
Unless maybe you're hiking hard and it's blowing like crazy, cold enough to need SOMETHING but not pouring rain…I sure like not getting sweat soaked…May 30, 2011 at 7:53 pm #1742965
"Unless maybe you're hiking hard and it's blowing like crazy, cold enough to need SOMETHING but not pouring rain"
I agree. I prefer a wind shirt to a rain jacket. I don't, however, see any scenario that you would need a wind shirt + rain jacket. Personal preference will dictate but typically you will use one or the other.May 31, 2011 at 12:50 am #1743030
@ngatelLocale: Southern California
Sometimes I bring both. If it is really windy and you are hiking up some serious elevation gains, you need a windshell and a rain jacket will be too hot. I guarantee it! I just did a hike like that this weekend.May 31, 2011 at 12:04 pm #1743195
"Unless maybe you're hiking hard and it's blowing like crazy, cold enough to need SOMETHING but not pouring rain…I sure like not getting sweat soaked…"
If its that cold and windy I don't think I'd be overheating then would I? I agree with the idea that taking both is redundant (especially on a several-month hike where every ounce is critical). I only need wind protection above the tree line, so the short amount of time I spend there daily will be covered by the rain jacket.
Anyone have experience with the mountain hardwear epic? Looks bombproof (sure I might save some ounces elsewhere but have to purchase a new jacket every year with the lightweight materials most companies use these days, NOT meant for ADK cripplebrush haha) and Ive heard very waterproof.May 31, 2011 at 12:26 pm #1743205
I like to wear a down sweater as a light windshirt and keep my rain shell in case it starts raining. When it gets cold I can wear both.May 31, 2011 at 12:48 pm #1743221
"If its that cold and windy I don't think I'd be overheating then would I?"
You'd be surprised. Rain jackets can get pretty toasty even with rain and 40* temps, etc. Rain jackets are very warm when you add in your bodies respiration and is why I prefer a wind shirt.
I have no experience with that fabric.May 31, 2011 at 2:28 pm #1743266
If you spend time above treeline, a windshell is really nice to have. As mentioned, even in 40 degree temps, it's still quite easy to overheat a rain jacket when climbing. In Colorado alpine, where the sun is really warm, but the wind chill can make you really cold, a windshirt is a critical piece of gear in my 8lb baseweight. A rain jacket just doesn't breath well enough for our sunny alpine weather, where, once you're protected from the wind, it can be very warm (warmer than the temperature would indicate).May 31, 2011 at 5:05 pm #1743335
@brooklynkayakLocale: Atlantic North East
I find that I wear my hooded windshirt in 99% of the rain I encounter, even sheets of blowing rain.
The exception would be when temps get below about 40 f. Then I will very rarely pull over a 4oz cape and use my polycryo ground cloth as a rain skirt.
I find that even the most breathable rain jacket holds in too much moisture while hiking.May 31, 2011 at 5:07 pm #1743337
if your hiking at low elevations than leave the windshirt behind, if your hiking at elevation much you'll find that your windhsirt will get a LOT of wear time
get a light rain jacket (Frogg Togg/Dri Duck certainly are viable options) and carry a light windshirt (10-11 oz), very little weight penalty over a medium weight rain jacket and MUCH more versatile
someday in a perfect world there will be a lightweight rain jacket that sheds rain and breathes well, that day appears to be well off into the future :)May 31, 2011 at 11:20 pm #1743481
the trick to not overheating and sweating out a rain jacket in sub 40F temps is to wear very little under it … no more than a cap1 or nike dri-fit shirt, sized skin tight for wicking of course … and to use the zipper to vent it
dont wear layers underneath, you start cold and warm up as you go
above 40F … well youll have to ask yourself, if youre sweating under a rain jacket that is being used for "wind protection" …. arent you better off just wearing a light fleece and letting the wind cool you off as you move?
cooling isnt a BAD thing on the move … overheating is …
when stopped … on goes the puffy anywaysJun 1, 2011 at 12:38 pm #1743642
So, your advice is to wear a fleece without your rain jacket when it's moderate, but when it gets cold, carry your fleece and wear your rain jacket? That doesn't make a lick of sense.
A windshirt weighs MUCH less than a light fleece and is a lot less bulky. I'd much rather be wearing a windshirt and spend less time juggling layers, only to bring out a lightweight rain layer when there's a real storm (and leave it at home, if there isn't a chance of one).
The only time a fleece makes sense is when temperatures are cold enough to warrent a mid-layer to couple with your windshirt.
Also, breathability does more than just keep you from overheating/sweating. It also allows you to dry off. A windshirt will give you wind protection while your layers dry off, preventing flash-off or evaporative cooling (keeping you warm). A rain jacket will NOT do this for you. It doesn't breath well enough to allow your layers to dry out.
Seems most people who argue against carrying a wind jacket don't have any experience with them at all, or don't encounter conditions where they're extremely useful (above treeline). Everyone I know who's ever tried one out here, swears by a windshirt.Jun 1, 2011 at 1:08 pm #1743648
ohh bull …
youre just arguing what works for YOU …
the solution for ME is simple
when wearing rain jacket as "wind shirt" … needs to be pretty cold and windy … wear a light wicking shirt and the jacket … thats it … keep moving and youll be warm
when its no AS cold or windy … just wear a R1 and yr light wicking shirt …
when its VERY cold or windy … wear the shirt, R1 and jacket
sweat is a function of core temp … if you keep cool when yr moving, you dont sweat as much
wind can HELP you keep cool if you use it right … ive been fine below 20F with just a shirt and fleece, just keep moving
i do use a windshirt occasionally but you dont NEED one … i use it because its cheaper than tearing apart a rain jacket on climbs
as to fleece … well all those ultra heavy climbers and other folks who wear R1s must have it wrong …Jun 2, 2011 at 7:41 am #1743938
for cool to cold above the tree line pursuits the combination cannot be beat. mix and match as need. great breathability with the option to block the wind as needed and pretty good rain protection as an added bonus. i do everything possible to avoid brining/using my eVent hard shell. my epic fabric wind shirt is so much lighter, more breathable and more comfortable that i seldom leave home without it. if the forecast calls for pain (heavy sustained rains) the hard shell will make the trip list, otherwise only the wind shirt goes. i've come to the conclusion that hard shells, no matter what the fabric, are primarily for use in heavy rain and not much else.
if you are planning on using your wind shirt in the rain it helps to seam seal the hood and shoulders. it makes a big difference.Jun 2, 2011 at 11:44 am #1744050
that's pretty much my experience as well, albeit I'm not in an overly wet environJun 2, 2011 at 2:34 pm #1744124
The folks wearing the R1s aren't using them for wind protection. They're using it for mid-layer warmth in colder conditions. The fast and light climbers that I know (including myself) almost always carry a windshirt for wind and precip protection, or they just use a softshell and skip the fleece midlayer. The softshell folks usually struggle to avoid sweating when weather is more moderate, since they need wind protection, but the fleece inner has too much insulation. A windshirt creates a softshell with a variable-insulative mid-layer, with the drawback of less durability.
Don't get me wrong, I love fleece, but only as a midlayer in cold temperatures where a windshirt over a baselayer isn't enough (usually winter or a cold spell in fall).
You don't sweat 'as much' -> very key. Any amount of moisture can make you very cold in the presence of wind. You don't have to be sweating a lot for evaporative cooling to take effect. A fleece doesn't help here, as the wind cuts right through it, chilling you via your baselayer.
Since you do own a windshirt. What happened when you tried it as a replacement for your fleece layer for wind protection? What did you not like about it? And where do you do most of your climbing/hiking?
I found out about windshirts from a climbing friend a year ago, and I haven't looked back. A fleece didn't work for me for MANY reasons.
1) Useless against strong winds, and a rain jacket is too warm.
2) Binds to baselayers, hindering mobility.
3) Hard to adequately vent, which often meant it had to be taken off (arms can't easily roll up, fleece still insulates when unzipped).
4) Lots of bulk so you can't just store it in a side pocket (or on a harness) and keep moving.
5) A half-pound+ heavier than a windshirt when in the pack.
6) Cold when wet in the wind (due to flash-off), which means it's in the pack during rain, requiring you to open your pack liner in the rain.
Here's how a typical day goes for me:
* cold in the morning, windjacket worn
* sun warms up, vent windshirt (unzip/sleeves up)
* above treeline, unvent windshirt
* winds calm down, vent windshirt
* wind picks up, unvent windshirt
* strong ridgeline winds, no change
* off ridgeline, vent windshirt
* brief mid-day thunderstorm, unvent windshirt
* rain stops, no change, dry in minutes
* a warm afternoon, windjacket goes in side pocket
* (if overnight) I setup camp and windjacket goes on
* I cool off and down jacket goes on
Here's how it went with a fleece:
* cold in the morning, fleece jacket worn
* sun warms up, fleece comes off
* above treeline, fleece goes on
* wind calms down, fleece comes off
* wind picks up, fleece goes on
* strong ridgeline winds, fleece comes off, rain jacket goes on (some sweating as rain jacket doesn't breath well enough)
* off ridgeline, rain jacket comes off, fleece goes on
* brief mid-day storm, fleece comes off, rain jacket goes on (some sweating as rain jacket doesn't breath well)
* rain stops and winds make me uncomfortable (too cold with a fleece due to sweat, or a sticky wet mess with a rain jacket)
* a warm afternoon, rain jacket comes off
* (if overnight) I setup camp and fleece goes on
* I cool off, fleece comes off and down jacket goes on
As you can see, with the fleece, I'm required to change layers quite often, requiring placement in the main pack. The fleece spends a good chunk of the day in the pack, as well, since it doesn't vent as well as a windshirt.
In addition, I have to be much more careful about managing my core temperature. I don't have a wind buffer to ward off evaporative cooling if I don't remove layers quick enough to prevent sweating, or I sweat in a rain jacket since wind/rain protection is still necessary. This leads to me being too cold in a fleece, since wind cuts right through it, causing evaporative cooling (a rain jacket is still too warm to comfortably wear).
Yes, I am arguing for what works for me, but I'd be surprised if the situation is much different for others in mountain climates. Everyone I know out here that has tried a windshirt uses the same strategy, or goes the softshell route (and struggles with wind and precip at moderate temperatures). Softshells are great for the legs, though, since legs are more adaptive to different temperatures.
The key difference between a fleece and windshirt in terms of usability is that a fleece keeps you warm by adding insulative value, and a windshirt keeps you warm by trapping a microclimate. A fleece becomes appropriate if you are chilled due to not having enough insulation. A windshirt becomes appropriate if the wind is destroying your microclimate. They each have their own uses. But, in typical mountain climates, where wind is your main enemy, I've found a windshirt to be much more usable.
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