Windshirts: 2012 State of the Market Report (from Backpacking Light)

From Backpacking Light we have a hot-off-the-presses review of wind shirts.  Windshirts: 2012 State of the Market Report – Part 2: The Present and Future of Windshirts @ Backpacking Light Weatherproof, lightweight, breathable. Might the windshirt be the ultimate tool in the lightweight backpacker’s arsenal?  by Dave Chenault | 2012-10-30

I’m puzzled why the author’s choices did not include the Marmot Driclime windshirt, the one item that I observed on so many thru-hikers on the PCT in 2010.  It also comes up as the perennial favorite on several long distance backpacking planning guides.

The first UL windshirts came on the scene a decade ago. Windshirts, combined with a base and mid-weight insulating layer comprise items that make up the ultralight backpacker’s gear choices for keeping the torso warm, even in light sustained rain.  While moving, I have retained adequate body heat in cold light rain with temps dropping down in the low 40’s.  I have employed the Patagonia Houdini as part of my gear since 2010, and it still looks brand new, with no evidence of abrasion or wear in over 4,000 miles of backpacking.  It remains the only garment that I use that has not sustained tear or wear in all that time.  The Houdini has been updated for 2012/13, coming in at an even lighter weight.  The author’s comparative rating of several jackets resulted in a grade of A- for the Patagonia Houdini, noting that , “The Houdini is made, simply and well, from a fabric which represents the best balance of performance characteristics currently available in a hardshell windshirt.”

Checking the Patagonia website, the updated Houdini clocks in at 4 oz.  It has to be popular, as the men’s version is already sold out in sizes Xsmall- Medium.

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