What is Windbreaker Jacket?

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Some folks think they can get away without wearing a jacket when the transition months—in the fall and spring—come calling. Those are the type that will wear a T-shirt in March with 45 degrees out on the pretense they’re not freezing.

Never roll with such crowd. Nobody will admire people that are inappropriately dressed. Rather spend your hard-earned money on transition-weather jacket—a windbreaker. 

The windbreaker has absorbed lot flak, and the reason is not far-fetch. When people hear the word “windbreaker” their mind immediately assume a cheap, structure-less jacket—especially wore during the 1990s. It is far from that.

The windbreaker comes handy for traveling to destinations that have moderate temperatures—and cold ones too. It’s the jacket that isn’t a nuisance to bring along even when you think you won’t need it. 

NameFeatures 
Outdoor Research Helium II100% Water-proof Provided by Pertex SheildPRICING
Race Face Chute WaterproofIt is Highly WaterproofPRICING
Columbia Men's EvergreenVents are PerfectPRICING
Marmot LeadvilleKeeps You Warm and Good and Wind ResistancePRICING
Navis Marine SaltIt is of High Quality and Water Cannot Dare Get Through!PRICING

The important features to look out for in windbreakers are water-resistance, lightness and breathability. The weight for most windbreakers is less than a pound. That way, it is easy to stash in your bag—whether exploring or hiking.

High-end windbreaker in most case feature a polyurethane coating, and that keeps water at bay so it does not soak through the outer shell. The inner lining of a windbreaker should be breathable to resist stuffiness. The reason is because a lot of people keep themselves active while vacationing.

The Need for a Wind Breaker Jacket

The benefit of a windbreaker over other thermal layers is because they’re very lightweight; they are incredibly packable, and relatively cheap. 

For nearly all outdoor adventure, the windbreaker is our go-to first layering option—expect  if it’s raining or snowing.

To tell the best windbreaker jacket out there, we rated using five different metrics. Their breathability, wind resistance, venting, and fit and functionality. Others are water resistance and weight and packability. 

Wind Resistance

Some jackets are better resistant to wind than others—using their interior liner. With 2.5 layers waterproof or breathable membrane, they’re heavier and thicker than most jacket that readily comes to mind. Jackets that are comparatively weak when it comes to wind resistance are very breathable.

Breathability and Venting

While some jackets come with breathable fabric, others feature armpit vents, venting buttons, and mesh hand pockets. 

Some did a great job of helping to move out moisture for breathability via their mesh pockets, outer layers, and underarm vents. 

Other jackets come tough on the wind to resist it, at the same time breathable, but lack venting features. Such jackets will score the lowest when you look at venting metric.

Let’s delve into the best windbreakers. Trust me, you’ll love them. Some of these windbreakers have the features in the right places.  

1. Outdoor Research Helium II Jacket

The Helium II does it job quite well as a windbreaker, taking out wind and bringing to life a layered strategy.

It is surprisingly water-proof considering the weight of it. Manufactured using Pertex Shield+ 2.5L 30D ripstop nylon; it is water-resistant and highly durable. The taped seams provide extra protection when it comes to both wind and rain.

The Outdoor Research Helium II comes with a lot of practical features. The Napoleon-style zippered pocket on the left breast keeps things reasonably dry even in the rain. Inside the jacket, you’ll find a velcro pocket which has a loop for keys.

Although the wrists are elasticated, you’ll find that there are adjusters for the waist and hood. The hood itself cannot be stowed away, but whether you need this or not is down to personal choice.

For storage, pack it into its pocket, and even at these light and tiny proportions, you can still squeeze a little more air out and pack it discreetly in your backpack.

The Helium II comes in a variety of striking metallic colors, such as lemongrass and aloe/charcoal. These are great for the trail, but have a quick think before you turn up to a dinner party in your new jacket.

Outdoor Research Helium II is the choice for the best windbreaker for someone who doesn’t have to stick close to a budget.

Pros

  • 100% water-proof provided by Pertex Sheild
  • Well-packaged into a granola bar
  • It has stuff pocket perfect for storage
  • Reflective tape

Cons

  • The jacket can have more pocket

2. Race Face Chute Waterproof Jacket

The Chute Waterproof Jacket is available in “Safety Yellow” and it feature a new team logo.

The soft hand polyester fabric is goes through a great treatment—W/R  treated. Again, the lamination to a breathable membrane (water-proof) is done using the light weight mesh—and that backs it up.

This jacket keeps water away—because of it seam-sealed nature. It is a full-zip style jacket that is perfect with a helmet compatible attached hood.

The Chute Waterproof fits true to size. You can wear a Medium in pretty much every piece of clothing, and the Medium Chute Waterproof will fit perfectly well. 

You can consider it a little long in the tail—where it reaches down to the hemline of the short. You’ll not experience the sleeves going up when you’re in your riding position.

The Chute Waterproof is produced with a material that seems heavier than a standard, minimalist rain jacket. You can cram it into your pack while out on a ride. But it is not highly packable.

What the Chute Waterproof does not have in packability, it gains up in burliness. As you ride in the Chute Waterproof, you could get your shoulder stuck into trees and crashed through a few branches. But the jacket will not be touched. That goes to show strong they could get in touch situations.

The Chute Waterproof’s durability seems to be due, in part, to some additional paneling on the forearms – a place that’s likely to take a beating if you end up laid out on the trail.

The Chute Waterproof comes with two fleece-lined “hand warmer” pockets (front-zippered,). Some people ride with a lot of stuff in their pockets ( keys, phone, sunglasses, some tools and  food, etc.), and these pockets were large enough for normal array of junk to hold junks.

The pockets provide a bit of space yet still slim enough for keeping the junks while you ride. That means you can still keep your personal effects safe while you ride along. Isn’t that cool?

The Chute Waterproof’s 3 layer shell material has a waterproof rating of 10,000mm and a breathability rating of 10,000g/m2. If you pick interest in waterproof ratings and what those numbers look like, give Sam Shaheen’s Outerwear 101 a read and you can thank me later.

In short, a jacket with a 10k/10k rating isn’t the most breathable, nor will it offer  the highest standard of waterproofing–certain  high-end 3 layer shells feature ratings of 20k/25k or above.

Pros

  • It is highly waterproof
  • Great for winter

Cons

  • The sizing and fitting may pose a little problem

3. Columbia Men’s Evergreen Shell Jacket

Columbia’s Men’s Evergreen shell jacket is interchange-compatible shell (waterproof breathability) and versatile, to keep you protected and dry. It offers high value. This jacket features a waterproof-breathable shell; it protects you from the rain using seam. It is also lined with thermal reflective material to keep you dry  and warm  when you go on your  outdoor adventures.

Underarm venting allows pushing aside heat as quickly as possible when the pace goes up and the drop tail, adjustable storm hood and powder skirt keep the elements away.

The Evergreen is a shell jacket which gives room for layering when it comes to this jacket of  choice—for  that perfect combination of protection and warmth.

The shell is 100% nylon Legacy twill and features an Adjustable Storm hold. Other things to look out for are Omni-Heat Thermal Reflective, Underarm Venting.

Pros

  • The extra pockets are well thought out
  • Vents are perfect

Cons

  • The sleeves are too long

4. Marmot Leadville Jacket

The Marmot Leadville Jacket is a great lightweight softshell that can be used for a number of different activities.  The jacket has Windstopper softshell fabric with side panels that stretch as you move.  We put the Leadville Jacket to test on cold rainy and windy hikes, and the outcome will amaze you.  

The softshell material has a high water resistant capacity and even if you’re drenched in the rain for 30 minutes, you’ll be kept dry. We caution that it is not highly waterproof though, so it will soak through in long downpours.  

We found the jacket to be pretty lightweight while stuffing it in a pack when it was warm and it also can get pretty compact for saving room in your backpack.  The Marmot Leadville jacket has a draw cord near the bottom and adjustable cuffs to lock in the warm and keep the cold weather and snow out.  If you cannot live without your music, the jacket even has a hole in the pocket for your headphones.  

Again, the jacket run a little big as we tested and found there is plenty of extra room around the mid-section. Our tester was 6’0 tall and 175lbs.  Activities we think this jacket is ideal for include; cold weather hiking, spring skiing, snowshoeing, cold weather running, and looking sporty while grocery shopping.

Pros

  • It is a fantastic jacket
  • Keeps you warm and good and wind resistance

Cons

  • The sleeves are tighter

5. Navis Marine Salt Jacket 

When we first got our hands on this set, we were shocked as we really liked what we saw in the Navis Marine Finishes. The stitching is of great quality and almost goes unseen. They use a synthetic thread to stitch these units together using a 2 layer SERA-TEX Pro fabric and a Micro Grid Backer.

This product features a perforated nylon taffeta lining, and we couldn’t be happier about it. The collar and sleeves comes with 3M retroreflective piping.

It is perfect using this reflective technology on shoulders and the center hood. On your observation, the jacket sleeves are sewn with the help of a multi-layered process that give way to a natural bend with the arm and shoulder turned off.

The panels lining the upper back ensure this freedom of movement. We really like the extra room you get with the lower sleeves at 1.5″ and a wide Velcro adjustment band, so it can really adjust to mostly anybody. 

The storm seal flap on this jacket is cool. It seems to be perfectly straight! You will notice that the fit of the two overlapping pieces is extremely precise.  You can also hand-monogram the jacket with your signature or name as there is a little white patch to write your name/custom message or whatever you want!

It comes with two pockets on the outside of the jacket and both of these pockets have zippers to seal the pockets. You also have inner pockets for your cellphone/wallet. We love the neck seal which is 4” tall.

There is a velcro patch that is used to seal the neck and give your face added protection/warmth. As far as the collar is concerned, we are pleased to an extent. It is a very soft and warm material but if it gets wet it become slightly uncomfortable as it gets moist. Overall though,  it prevents chafing around the neck pretty well.

The hood (also made of nylon) also scores good points. It has a 6”x1” long reflective patch running down the center of the hood for added safety and wraps around the crown of your head. The shock cord in the brow really works well. The hood is deployable and folds into the back of the collar.

Pros

  • It is of high quality and water cannot dare get through!

Cons

  • It has a sewn inner flap which may go down well with some users

Conclusion

Now you see what windbreakers can do—I guess you underestimated what they bring to the table before now. The array of choices on this list will help you make a decision  forthwith.

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