10 Best Windbreakers and Wind Shirts of 2024


10 Best Windbreakers and Wind Shirts

Windbreakers and wind shirts are ultralight light-weight jackets, operating shells, pullovers, or anoraks weighing 2 to eight ounces, that hikers and backpackers put on as a barrier to forestall winds from stripping away their physique warmth. They’re normally product of extremely breathable and skinny (low denier) nylon that may be worn over a fleece or base layer to dam the wind and preserve you hotter when climbing or path operating. They’re amazingly heat contemplating how light-weight they’re.

Here are the very best windbreakers and wind shirts and shells out there at the moment. Note: when purchasing for windbreakers, and wind shells, retailers might checklist them underneath path operating jackets or operating jackets, since there’s a lot overlap with climbing and backpacking.

While you possibly can put on a windbreaker anyplace, they’re significantly helpful when sporting a rain jacket or technical shell shall be too heat. Wind shirts are an important layer to put on on chilly mornings over a fleece as a result of they maintain your physique warmth with out the majority of a rain jacket. Elastic wrist cuffs, an adjustable waist hem, and a full-length zipper are additionally helpful for sealing within the warmth and venting for thermal regulation.

1. Arc’teryx Squamish Hoody Windshell


2. Patagonia Houdini Jacket

Patagonia Houdini
The Patagonia Houdini is among the most legendary wind shirts out there at the moment. Weighing simply 3.7 oz, it’s made with a 15 denier 100% nylon ripstop shell with a DWR end for improved water resistance. Elastic wrist cuffs make it straightforward to drag up the sleeves in case you get too heat, whereas a drawcord cinches the hem. The hood adjusts with a single drawstring, whereas the jacket packs snugly into its zippered chest pocket, which has a carabiner clip-in loop. A ladies’s model can also be out there. Read the SectionHiker Houdini Review.

View at REI

3. Enlightened Equipment Copperfield Wind Shirt

Enlightened Equipment Copperfield Wind Shirt
The Enlightened Equipment Copperfield Wind Shirt is an extremely refined, 2.4 oz wind shirt, out there with 7d, 10d, or 20d nylon with an adjustable hood, elastic wrist cuffs, a drawcord hem, and a full-length zipper. While most windbreakers and wind shirts have elasticized hood openings, the Copperfield hood is adjustable with pull cords, so you possibly can utterly seal off the face from drafts and stop the hood from flapping loudly and violently in excessive winds. The sleeves are lower to be snug when sporting a backpack and the match runs a few half-size giant for layering. A ladies’s mannequin can also be out there. You can have the choice to customise the Copperfield in quite a lot of colours and cloth weights. Read the SectionHiker Review.

View at Enlightened

4. Rab Vital Hoody

Rab Vital Windshell Hoody
The Rab Vital Hoody is a light-weight hooded jacket with an elasticated hood with a stiffened peak and rear quantity adjustment, so it stays in place in robust winds. Made with 20 denier nylon, it has two zippered hand pockets, a entrance zip with an inside storm flap, elasticated cuffs, a hem drawcord, and inside stuff pocket. Weighing 4.6 oz, it’s a comparatively heavy windbreaker as a result of it’s so wealthy in options and inside storage. A ladies’s model can also be out there.

View at Amazon

5. REI Flash Jacket

REI Flash Jacket
The REI Flash Jacket is a extremely breathable gossamer-thin windbreaker full of options. Weighing 4.3 ounces, it has 5 pockets together with a big zippered chest pocket, two inside drop pockets, and unzippered handwarmer pockets. The hood is adjustable with a rear cordlock and the jacket has elastic wrist cuffs to seal out the wind. There’s additionally an elastic hem adjuster together with a full-length entrance zipper for air flow. REI doesn’t publish a denier spec, however the recycled nylon could be very comparable in weight and texture to the Patagonia Houdini and the Rab Vital Hoody. The sizing is beneficiant which is nice for layering. We suppose this jacket is a good worth.  A ladies’s mannequin can also be out there. Read the SectionHiker Flash Jacket Review.

View at REI

6. Outdoor Research Helium Wind Jacket

Outdoor Research Helium Wind Jacket
The Outdoor Research Helium Wind Jacket is a light-weight wind jacket made with a 30d Diamond Fuse nylon shell for improved sturdiness and wind resistance. Developed by Pertex, Diamond Fuse nylon is extra abrasion-resistant and windproof than common nylon as a result of it’s made utilizing diamond-shaped fibers that lock collectively when woven. In addition, the Helium Wind Jacket has one chest pocket, a hood with a rear quantity adjuster, brim, an elasticized face opening, wrists cuffs, and laser-cut underarm vents that dissipate warmth buildup. The match is beneficiant, making this a very good jacket for energetic layering in colder climate. A ladies’s model can also be out there. Read the SectionHiker Review.

View at Outdoor Research

7. Black Diamond Distance Wind Shell

Black Diamond Distance Wind Shell
The Black Diamond Distance Wind Shell is a light-weight 15d Jacket with a primary function set together with an adjustable hood with a rear quantity adjuster and elasticized face opening, elastic wrist cuffs, a zippered chest pocket, and hem adjustment. The factor that differentiates it from different windbreakers is its DWR coating, which is woven into the jacket fairly than coating its exterior. This makes it far much less vulnerable to sporting off attributable to abrasion from stuffing and unstuffing, offering longer-lasting safety in mist and drizzle, It doesn’t make the jacket waterproof like a rain jacket however does lengthen its vary in variable climate. The match is slim.  A ladies’s model can also be out there. 

View at Backcountry

8. Warbonnet Stash Jacket

Warbonnet Stash Jacket

The Warbonnet Stash Jacket is a light-weight 5.0 oz windbreaker made with the breathable non-waterproof cloth that Warbonnet makes use of to make their backpacking quilts (it’s additionally out there in a non-breathable waterproof cloth). It has torso-length pit zips, elastic cuffs, and an adjustable snug-fitting hood with toggled neck controls. I’ve been utilizing one since this autumn and the venting functionality is fairly distinctive. Read the SectionHiker Review.

View at Warbonnet

9. Montbell Tachyon Parka

Montbell Tachyon Parka

View at Montbell

10. Black Diamond Alpine Start Hoody

Black Diamond Alpine Start Hoody
The Black Diamond Alpine Start Hoody is a extremely breathable hoodie Schoeller stretch-woven cloth to supply unrestricted freedom of motion and extremely packable wind and climate resistance. It has an adjustable, climbing-helmet-compatible hood, elastic hem adjustment, light-weight stretch cuffs, and underarm gussets for added vary of movement. The jacket stuffs into its personal chest pocket, which options an inside carabiner clip loop. Weighing 7.4 oz, the Alpine Start’s considerate design and wonderful breathability make it a superb alternative for winter climbing and backcountry ski touring. Read the SectionHiker Alpine Start Review. 

View at Backcountry

Windbreaker and Wind Shirt Buyers Guide

Here are the important thing options and elements to be looking out for when selecting a windbreaker or wind shirt.

Wind Resistance

The wind resistance of a windbreaker depends upon how tightly the material it’s made with is woven and options that assist seal the jacket from drafts like elastic wrist cuffs, a drawcord hem, and a totally adjustable hood. Most windbreakers and wind shirts are produced from skinny, low-denier nylon or polyester that’s extremely breathable in addition to being windproof. Some windbreakers are lower slim which is nice for operating, whereas others are extra generously sized so you possibly can put on them over a mid-layer, which is commonly fascinating for climbing, backpacking, climbing, and mountaineering.

Breathability and Venting

Unlike rain jackets, nylon windbreakers, and wind shells normally have fairly good breathability proper by the material, which you’ll confirm whenever you really feel the material turning into damp underneath your armpits from perspiration. In basic, the thinner the material weight, measured when it comes to denier, the higher it will likely be from a breathability standpoint. Keep in thoughts that very skinny materials put on out way more shortly than thicker extra sturdy ones. Some jackets additionally use extra specialised nylon that has a really tight weave for improved wind resistance, although this may imply they maintain extra warmth. If warmth buildup is a priority, it’s higher to get a wind jacket with a full-length zipper as an alternative of counting on underarm vents for extra air flow. Foregoing a hood can also be one other technique that may scale back a wind jacket’s stage of warmth retention.

Weight and Packability

Wind shells usually vary in weight from 1.5 oz as much as 6 oz and are extremely packable, normally compressing all the way down to the scale of an apple as a result of they’re made with such light-weight nylon. When climbing and backpacking, it’s usually handy to stuff a wind shirt or wind jacket loosely in your backpack, filling within the voids between stuff sacks and equipment, fairly than scrunching it up or stuffing it into its chest pocket, except you wish to connect it to a climbing harness.

Water Resistance

Most windbreakers and wind shells have a DWR coating on the outside to repel mist and drizzle, however you shouldn’t rely on a wind jacket to maintain you dry within the rain. The DWR coating can even shortly put on off the extra occasions you stuff the jacket right into a backpack or right into a pocket, rendering it ineffective. If you want a rain jacket, purchase your self a correct rain jacket designed for that activity. Similarly, most rain jackets are too heat to make use of as windbreakers.

Wind Jackets vs Pullovers

Windbreakers can be found as jackets with full-length entrance zippers or pullovers with quarter-length or half-length chest zips. Full zip jackets are normally preferable when it comes to air flow as a result of they permit extra airflow, however pullovers are normally lighter as a result of they forego the added zipper weight or are hoodless.

Hood Adjustability

An adjustable hood is vital to seal out drafts, significantly across the face. Look for jackets with neck toggles and barring that, ones with tightly becoming elasticated face openings. A rear quantity adjuster can also be helpful to downsize a hood to a human-friendly dimension if it’s helmet-compatible.

Fabric Denier

Fabric denier is a unit of measurement used to find out the fiber thickness of particular person threads used within the creation of materials. Fabrics with a excessive denier rely are usually thick, sturdy, sturdy, and heavier. Fabrics with a low denier rely are usually sheer, mushy, silky, and lighter in weight.


While venting, as in pit zips is useful, it’s simply not as efficient as a full-length zipper. Because weight is at such a premium on wind shirts, if there are pit zips, they’ll be completely open fairly than having zippers.

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