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Windbloc or No Windbloc

2:44 p.m. on March 20, 2002 (EST)
(Guest)

a.k.a. Johnnycakes

I wanted to hear what others think about windbloc fleece. I bought both the pants and the jacket, and am not so sure they

7:25 a.m. on March 21, 2002 (EST)
(Guest)

a.k.a. Chris

I like my jacket, but I don't think I'd get pants. My sierra designs pants with long underwear are warm and windproof enough for most times when I use the jacket (and am active and creating heat) For around camp at the end of the day, I like my heavy fleece pants with shell pants over if it's wet or windy. I think the jacket is very usefull when you don't need the bulk or warmth of a shell and fleece combo. As a stand alone piece, the windproof fleece is significantly warmer than regular, even in moderate wind. Bottom line is, the jacket holds a usefull spot for me, but it hasn't replaced my regular fleece. IMO, keep the jacket, return the pants and spend the $$ on something you'll get more use out of.

Quote:

I wanted to hear what others think about windbloc fleece. I bought both the pants and the jacket, and am not so sure they

2:04 p.m. on March 22, 2002 (EST)
(Guest)

a little of both is the answer. the "partial eclipse" fleece made by patagonia is one of my most used garments. it has windbloc on the front and back and powerstretch fleece on the sides, under the arms. stops most of the wind but breathes much better than full windbloc.

 

Quote:

I wanted to hear what others think about windbloc fleece. I bought both the pants and the jacket, and am not so sure they

7:25 p.m. on March 24, 2002 (EST)
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Interesting question

I had a discussion with one of the top guys at one of the major guide services about various insulators, particularly Windblock types, and later, out of his hearing, with one of the guides who worked for him and a guide who worked for a competing service (interesting discussions you can have when sitting around waiting for weather at 14k on Denali). Opinions differed greatly. I would say the basic thing is what works for you, works for you. The only way to find out is use it in a variety of conditions. Mucho bucks? Yes, but gear wears out anyway.

My opinion (not that an Old Greybeard's opinion is to be trusted, bigotted old geezers that we are) - I really like wind blocking materials for gloves and hats (especially the Mountain Hardwear balaclava that has the mesh over the ears), but find that the jackets are definitely not as good as a combination of 200-wt fleece plus a light windshell. Marmot's Driclime and Schoeller are just as good at insulating and wind blocking, plus a lot lighter and more compressible. Windblock jackets are more bulky to put in the pack than 200-wt fleece plus a light windshell. The head guide type claimed the windblock did not have as wide a temperature comfort range as straight fleece, although I haven't found that to be true - just not as warm. One thing I have used my windblock jacket for is when stopping after hiking - throw it on over my other clothes while resting, then shove it back in the pack when ready to go - no juggling of layers. These days, I am using my belay jacket for this purpose - warmer, lighter, more stuffable, plus water-repellant almost to the point of being waterproof (Integral Designs Dolomiti, but Marmot and Patagonia make similar ones).

One disadvantage that windblockers have for headgear, at least for some people, is that they block hearing. I haven't found it to be a problem, but friends have said they are almost deaf with a windblock hat or balaclava that comes over the ears (I attribute this more to listening to too much rock music on their portable CD players). The Mountain Hardwear balaclava overcomes this with mesh panels over the ears, but you might not have this problem if your hearing is good enough.

As for the pants, again Driclime and Schoeller are just as good or perhaps better. Anyway, you may well be wearing waterproof breathable shell pants or wind pants, in which case, there is zero benefit to the windblocker. If you are wearing a shell pant, be sure to get full side zip, and follow Kris suggestion to get a fleece pant (again full side zip). With full side zip, you can layer and unlayer without taking boots off (or even skis or snowshoes), or even taking the shells completely off. Or, again as Kris said, put the fleece over the shells during a rest stop.

Having had a few years experience with windstopper materials, I would say take the whole setup back and get something like (1) regular fleece plus light wind shell, or (2) something like Driclime or Schoeller, or maybe (3) something like Patagonia's Puffball. Any of these will give the same benefits, but more stuffable and probably lighter.

April 24, 2014
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