When you want some protection from the elements, but a full shell would be overkill, a thin windproof is the obvious choice. Not just for runners, these versatile lightweights are equally handy for climbers and hillwalkers; in fact we can't think of anyone who wouldn't want one. In this comparative review we put 9 to the test.
With these articles with lots of cool photos, would you be able to add more location details/link the image to climbing routes?
There are usually some great looking locations/routes (first one from Dan, first from Martin, a few more from Dan (Scotland just generally looks great!)) and it's tricky to work out where they actually are!
> The first actual climbing pic in the intro (third photo) is John McKenna on 'The Star of Abu Judaidah' in Barrah Canyon, Wadi Rum
And me climbing in the Dynastar top - maintaining my rep as the review team's pet punter - I'm seconding a mod at Windgather Rocks, the spiritual home of the Peak District punter. In my slight defence, I am wearing my trainers, it was rather straightforward, I had soloed it previously and my cousin Paul (who took the photos!) had just led it as his first ever route on his second ever time outside climbing, which was cool.
I have an aerofoil pull over - which is just awesome for everything and it gets use year round at different times.
I also have a Patagonia Houdini pull over which is UNREAL (poppers, not a zip!). It's so so so good. Its about 8 years old, picked up in Canada for a canoe trip as a windproof / sun proof layer, and it will not die. So much abuse. Keeps the mizzle off and the wind out whilst breathing like a pro.
Detailed reviews as always! I agree that Windproofs are probably the most versatile of outdoor gear (next to grid fleece!). I use mine all year round (appropriately layered) more than waterproof for sure.
Any reason why two brands had 2 tops featured ? When nearly all brands produce multiple styles of windproof. I'm guessing other brands didn't reply to request to supply gear for review ?
My favourite Windproofs; Patagonia Houdini, been very durable, packs away to next to nothing, good all around balance of protection/breathability/weight. Montane feather lite smock, very similar to houdini but roomier for layering under for winter biking.
Black diamond alpine start more breathable and less windproof for all day use, but more suited for mountaineering than others.
Thanks for this article I was just in the market for something to run in as the wind chill has got somewhat colder in North wales! A very quick google and I got a Marmot Etherlite Hoody for 60 on sports pursuit which, given what you have written makes is a good buy.
I find it crazy that windproof jackets are not way more popular. I use them for hiking, climbing, cycling and running, all of the time. They're cheaper, more breathable, typically more conformable, dry faster, are more compact, lighter than waterproof jackets (in general) but really take the edge off the weather. And yet most shops seem to stock a few at best.
I've had and still own many over the years, with my favourite being the Arc'teryx Squamish.
No Paramo? It isn't fashionable, but the Fuera smock is a great bit of kit, tough material and a decent wired hood. For bad weather winter runs it's my go to outer layer in preference to my lighter weight (and hoodless) Montane.
Is it light? I've got the impression nothing from Paramo is light, although I accept that I might be wrong on some models. Somehow in 30+ years of doing outdoorsy sports it's one brand I've never used!
Windproofs are great! Arguably the best bit of clothing in terms of protection/gram. Goes pretty much everywhere.
Missing a few good or good looking ones in the review list, guessing they didn't send them in:
- Patagonia Houdini - used for a long time, great.
- Arc'teryx Squamish
- Rab Vital (?)
- Hooded lite-speed
I'd look at a hood on a windproof as a near essential, given the reason it'd mostly be worn - particularly from a 'clip it to your harness to put on at the belay' standpoint. Strange (IMO) to see a preference for hoodless versions. Then again, maybe I get cold ears easily!
> Is it light? I've got the impression nothing from Paramo is light, although I accept that I might be wrong on some models. Somehow in 30+ years of doing outdoorsy sports it's one brand I've never used!
It's not 'ultralight' unlike some in the test, but certainly lighter than a waterproof, and possibly better for climbing hillwalking as the material can take a fair bit of abuse
Still waiting (in vain) for a full zip Windproof (not stretchwoven soft shell) jacket with a properly helmet compatible hood and 2 decent sized chest pockets - would be a near ‘do it all’ outer layer. Anyone tried sewing pockets onto these light fabrics?
I’m still waiting (in vain it seems) for a Windproof (not stretch woven soft shell) with a properly helmet compatible hood and 2 x good sized chest pockets - basically the top half of the old Rab expedition windsuit with a trimmer cut. Would be all that’s needed as an outer layer for pretty much all fairish weather activities. Anyone tried sewing pockets onto lightweight Windproof fabrics?
Fancied the Montane Featherlite smock version having read this review - SportsShoes had it at 10% off £45 normally - MrsPete not sure I need another windproof so didn't buy. Next morning looked again, now 40% off, ie 30 quid plus postage - grabbed it then confessed to Mrs. It worked very well at parkrun in sub-zero conditions...
Yeah I have had one for a couple of months now and used it loads and been very impressed. Had it on Friday before last for a run over black hill to Bleaklow and it worked a treat, not to mention loads of night runs after work in the local woods where it has been close to or below freezing, and along with a long sleeve base layer (mountain equipment ignis)I have been perfectly warm. Great piece of kit at a bargain. And personally prefer it as a smock without a hud as I like a beanie / headband.