Nov 2, 2008 at 2:11 pm #1231853
I've done a ton of research through the forum archives and have found a lot of useful info. I'm more of a back country skier than a backpacker but clothing-wise there seem to be a lot of similarities. I (think) that I am looking for a wind shirt or jacket to keep the icy chill of winter away while I am sweating my rear off on the skin track. My layering setup, some present, some *future:
capilene base layer
*patagonia micro puff vest: for easy warmth through fast layering; easy to vent
EMS primaloft jacket: emergency or cold-as-balls weather. (It is quite warm)
heavier gore-tex or rain jacket: if weather demands it
bottom: (I am pretty happy with this stuff.)
poly-pro base layer
REI schoeller dryskin pants
smartwool ultra light ski sock
My issue is this. When I am skinning or climbing with ski gear I work up a helluva heat with lots of moisture. I go through 2-4 full nalgenes of water pretty easily during a daytrip. I can be comfortable hiking along in 25 degree weather with just a base layer but as soon as the wind picks up or I go over a windy ridge and have to transition to ski mode or perform some other task I am FREEZING! I have experimented a bit. My TNF fleexe back softshell jacket is good for skinning in extremely cold (~10F) weather but bulky and not very versatile. I actually rather like using my mesh-sided old nylon cycling vest since it breathes and vents so well, but bare arms against the wind or light snow can get cold, and I end up putting a warmer jacket on every time I switch to ski mode. This can get time-consuming and cold on shorter laps. I got an ultralight Salomon wind shirt/jacket for next to nothing, only to find that it was as breathable as a trash bag. Within about 5 minutes of skinning in 15F cold I would be soaked; and then subsequently freeze.
-extreme breathability (!)
-a full zip
-a bright color and/or reflectivity, and a drop back would be nice for cycling versatility
-to not spend too much money (just have to find a sale…)
don't care about so much:
-full water repellency (I don't often go backcountry skiing in the rain, and if I know that it might rain I bring a full rain jacket. Gore-Tex for a blizzard.) If it can shed spindrifting snow that is fine.
-ultra light weight. Just something reasonably light and packable would be fine.
-I could go either way on a hood
I'm 5' 11" and 164 lbs. So far I have considered:
Montane Litespeed: Seems unavailable here in the states
Patagonia Houdini: expensive, and possibly discontinued
A friend suggested the Wild Things Epic wind shirts, which ironically are made where I grew up. I am concerned that there are more of a weather shell which won't breathe well enough.
Any and all suggestions would be appreciated.Nov 2, 2008 at 3:09 pm #1457306
> Patagonia Houdini: expensive, and possibly discontinued
Hmmm, I haven't heard anything about it being discontinued. I believe it is usually just out of stock until spring… not sold during winter.
The houdini is expensive but it should last for years and you'll get heaps of use out of it. I like mine a lot. If you can wait you should be able to pick one up at 20% off some time.Nov 2, 2008 at 3:15 pm #1457310
Another issue you might have to contend with is the fragility of certain windshirts. Being a skier myself, I've found that sometimes falls can damage clothing far tougher than the UL stuff that folks here use. I'd pick a windshirt on the sturdy side if I knew it was going to come in contact with the snow often.Nov 2, 2008 at 3:18 pm #1457313
That is a good point. Falls and tree/shrub/rock snags definitely do happen. As I mentioned I am not concerned with this garment being ultra-light. If you all could think of anything that blocks wind well, vents and breathes well, and has a bit of durability then shoot! I would rather carry a few extra ounces than sweat or freeze to death. At the same time I don't want something so bulky that I can't fit layers over it if need be.Nov 2, 2008 at 4:38 pm #1457326
There is always the Marmot Ion which can take a lot of punishment but some do not think it breathes that well or you can make your own out of Momentum from thru-hiker.comNov 2, 2008 at 6:52 pm #1457345
@skopeoLocale: British Columbia
…Nov 2, 2008 at 8:52 pm #1457362
If you think you can go without a hood Campsaver has this on sale now:Nov 3, 2008 at 12:27 am #1457377
@oiboyroiLocale: South West US
Two options that are very breathable and more durable than ultralight windshirts are the Cloudveil Prospector and REI Pyrn.
The Prospector has gotten some good reviews from BPL members and staff, but personally I have found its not as good at blocking the wind as I would like. Might be good for extremely high aerobic activities though.
The no longer produced REI Pyrn is made out of Pertex Equilibrium and IMHO is the best balance of windproofing and breathablity. I use it for cycling over a base layer(Cap 2) and find it a little cool at first but once I warm up it keeps me just right. Currently, I think the Montane Dynamo jacket is the only garment using this material.
P.S. Here's a review of the Montane Dynamo by Outdoors Magic.Nov 3, 2008 at 12:39 am #1457378
Woubeir (from Europe)Participant
Patagonia has confirmed to me that the Houdini will be discontinued.Nov 3, 2008 at 6:34 am #1457388
Has someone ever done a test on the strength of Pertex Quantum vs. Pertex Microlight? The Microlight jackets are pretty solid but Quantum has always felt a little experimental to me.
Joshua, if you're looking for something made of Microlight, Vaude makes the Laser Jacket (I own it). Like most German stuff it's got a ton of options (pockets, pit zips) but it still weighs 150 g or so.Nov 3, 2008 at 6:39 am #1457389
@mad777Locale: South Florida
I have a Montane LightSpeed and love it, very breathable and relatively tough for a windshirt, full zip, but not very water resistant.
My large weighs 6.5 oz and my wife's weighs 5.6 oz.
Montane products are also available at prolitegear.com
Their stock rotates quite often so you may have to ask them to order one.Nov 3, 2008 at 9:59 am #1457419
Johann, Ryan J. was the first I ever saw come out and say Microlight was more breathable than Quantum. Before that the general consensus was the opposite.
The lightspeed did gain weight over the years with more features added. Mine is an older one that I think was more around 5 oz for a size large.Nov 3, 2008 at 12:22 pm #1457429
Anything in EPIC won't be breathable enough for that level of activity. I like some of the thin, light polyester wind shirts for cycling. Pearl Izumi makes some nice ones (their Optik cuts the wind well, but also breaths well and is very light, under 4 oz). Louis Garnot also has some inexpensive wind shirts (one model was the Stratos, maybe 6.5 oz). The cycling wind shirts typically are hoodless and have an athletic cut. Performance and Nashbar usually blow them out at the end of the season, but occasionally they can be found on sale in season (as in right now).Nov 3, 2008 at 2:54 pm #1457448
@retropumpLocale: The Antipodes of La Coruna
I have been using the Montane Aero (Quantum) for several years. I find it is both very breathable and very durable, but lacks a full zip. I also have two sleeping bags in Quantum, and breathability hs not been a problem with them either. I haven't tried the Microlite fabric for comparison though.Nov 6, 2008 at 6:39 am #1457795
Very pertinent suggestions and advice!
Despite being out on winter conditions most of the time I actually have problems staying dry on the inside more than the outside. A compromise of wind proofness sounds just right. My current nylon wind vest has huge areas of open mesh and is O.K. so 100% windproofness is not necessary. Just something that snow won't immediately stick to and melt on, and that will cut the wind enough so that I don't icycle-ise with every gust on a ridge top after sweating it out for the last hour.
I've seen some breathability complaints on the Marmot Ion, which turns me off to it.
Does the Cloudveil Prospector have insulation or a fleece backing? I can't quite tell. My TNF Apex Bionic jacket has a fleece backing and is too warm and sweaty for skinning in anything over 10F.
The Montane Dynamo and REI Pryn sound spot on. Too bad one is discontinued and the other is only available in dark grey in GB! Can anyone think of any other pertex equilibrium jackets? I'll have to track something down :)Nov 6, 2008 at 9:21 am #1457823
Has anyone used the Patagonia Nine Trails jacket? I found one in a local shop. While it has no pockets, it does have a full zip. This thread: http://www.backpackinglight.com/cgi-bin/backpackinglight/xdpy/forum_thread/12726/index.html?skip_to_post=93405#93405 suggests that the front fabric is identical to the Houdini while under the arms and on the back is a very breathable looking stretchy woven fabric. Considering that in the backcountry I am wearing a good sized pack almost all of the time, this could work out. Durability is still something of a concern. Hmmm.Nov 6, 2008 at 9:59 am #1457831
Arcteryx makes a windshirt called the Squamish which is reviewed on this site. Haven't used it though myself.Nov 7, 2008 at 12:10 am #1457961
@oiboyroiLocale: South West US
Does the Cloudveil Prospector have insulation or a fleece backing?
Nope! The fabric is thin and has a smooth outer. The inside has a very slight texture which helps keep it off your skin and trap some warm air. Neat stuff.
I forgot about another jacket that uses equilibrium which is the Rab Vapour-Rise. It doesn't exactly meet your criteria because has light insulation, however you may not need a base layer under it. Many reviews are available online for this jacket.Nov 7, 2008 at 7:17 am #1457994
@pivvayLocale: Rocky Mountains
Whatever you get, just make sure you can vent it. I haven't found a piece or fabric yet that will do exactly what you want. High aerobic activities in the cold are funny. I've been running though snow with no shirt on several times but as soon as you stop, BAM, instacold. A full zip, mesh, whatever will help more than any specific fabric.Nov 7, 2008 at 12:35 pm #1458052
Martin RJ CarpenterMember
To be pedantic the dynamo is actually made out of stretch equilibrium. Not madly stretchy – just enough give to let them use a tight cut and retain movement. Venting pockets & a double ended zip too.
Sorry if I'm not helping! It is of course really not light for a windshell at ~350g.
It might well be the only jacket using stretch equilibrium – even the rab VR with stretch panels uses power stretch instead. No idea why.
TNF do some similar weight jackets in apex aerobic (eg the elixir) which sound as if they might be suitable if you can find them. Seemingly not in their winter catalogue.Nov 10, 2008 at 5:56 pm #1458423
Houdini with BPL Merino UL shirt underneath performs exceptionally well for me.Nov 10, 2008 at 7:18 pm #1458432
I'm taking my time with this one. Buying the wrong thing is one time too many! Thanks again to everyone for the suggestions and advice.
I wonder if I should have titled this "Which wind-resistant, uninsulated, ultra breathable jacket." I'm more interested in something that will cut the wind, fog, mist and snow sprinkles and can be worn all day than something that is 100% windproof, ultralight and more fragile. So far we've got:
Patagonia Houdini: good reviews all around. Ultra light. Sounds decently breathable. I have some durability concerns.
Patagoni Nine trails: Same front fabric as Houdini (?) but even more breathable do to back, side and armpits made of stretchy superthin fabric (+) Same durability concerns.
Montane Lightspeed: UK availability only so no finding/fitting. More durability concerns?
Cloudveil Prospector, Rei Pyrn and Montane Dynamo: These sound more appropriate. Hard to find/fit. Pyrn is discontinued :(
Any thoughts on the Patagonia Traverse? This might be another option similar to the above three jackets. The review on this site makes it sound appropriate: "Breathability in heavy aerobic use was very good – much better than a wind shell such as a Patagonia Houdini. This shell is perfect for cold weather training, or strenuous fall and winter hikes. I did find myself opening the zipper for extra ventilation on strenuous climbs with temperatures in the low 50s."
Mr. Plesko, your advice about venting makes a lot of sense. There doesn't appear to be a "magic fabric" when it comes to breathability. I'm going to stay away from anything without a full zip at the very least.Nov 10, 2008 at 8:01 pm #1458440
I recently got the Backcountry.com Rime Pullover off Steepandcheap, and it's been on a few times. This is a lighter Power Shield Softshell material that is really nice. It's like super-thick longies. It does have some fuzzyness on the inside and comes out around 10 oz. Keep an eye out for this material, it drapes great and makes a nice shirt.Nov 10, 2008 at 8:14 pm #1458445
My impression is that best overall choice for what you want is a softshell. You have the TNF apex, so I do wonder what about that doesn't work, or how that is too warm and heavy. The term "softshell" is totally confused now by marketing and the breathability and performance really very. But you have schoeller dryskin pants, why not a similar jacket?
I used to ski in my windshirt (now many years ago), but I think windshirts are going to be less breathable then woven softshell and much less durable. Plus the flapping fabric of a windshirt vs the tight close fit of a stretchy softshell can be annoying when skiing.
I think fit for a softshell is key, and so for the price, I have a hard time thinking of getting anything other than one custom made by beyond fleece. Their website is not very good and so ordering from them is an act of faith and a waiting game, but you can get exactly what you want in a jacket that should fit you perfectly. I have the cold fusion (wb400), but that is probably too warm for you, but they have dryskin too.Nov 10, 2008 at 8:18 pm #1458448
@pivvayLocale: Rocky Mountains
I have the traverse pants. The jacket might work with a really light baselayer and the full zip to dump heat. I still bet your back will be hot with a pack on but I'm not sure what you can do about that. It will definitely be more durable than most windshirts.
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