Lightweight but durable wind shirts?

10:33 a.m. on July 13, 2017 (EDT)
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Hi all,

Any recommendations for wind shirts more durable than the Patagonia Houdini?

I've loved my Houdini but it's just too fragile. Unless you're above tree line or otherwise on wide open trail it gets damaged; any little snagging branch can tear it wide open. I've had it patched up three times now (at only $5 a pop for shipping) but I'm tired of the routine.

This last time they opted to give me an e-card for the full price of the garment (which is awesome) but instead of getting another one I upgraded to the Alpine version hoping the two layer construction might be a little more durable. However, I'm not sure it's really the same class of product so I may still need to fill that hole in my kit.

I'm guessing to get a garment in that same 4-7 oz category they will all be similarly fragile.

What do you think?

11:13 a.m. on July 13, 2017 (EDT)
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You are probably correct that anything else as light will be just as fragile. I've got the NOLS windshirt which I've had forever and I can't wear it out.   Certainly heavier that the Houdini and not as compressible.  All gear is a trade-off in one way or another.

12:21 p.m. on July 13, 2017 (EDT)
andrew f. @leadbelly2550
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2,383 forum posts

the alpine houdini is a somewhat different product - a bit heavier, but significantly, it is a waterproof/breathable shell that doesn't vent moisture nearly as well as the regular houdini.

if i were looking for a more durable but breathable wind shirt, i might consider LL Bean's anorak. 49 bucks, a more durable grade of nylon, not waterproof, very likely more breathable than any waterproof/breathable shell.  i can't speak to the current version, but my previous one was highly durable. 

1:14 p.m. on July 13, 2017 (EDT)
Joseph Renow @jrenow
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I use a polyester windbreaker that I got for $15 at Walmart. I removed the mesh liner with some scissors and the large I use is 8oz with zippers. I have a 44" chest and by the look of things you could probably drop down to a medium or possibly a small since Walmart's sizes run large and that would put you well under 7oz. Polyester also absorbs less water and dries faster than nylon so for clothing the additional weight pays off...and the calandered fabric is super tough...I have rubbed it through trees and and fences for about 5 years with no rips or tears.

10:38 p.m. on July 13, 2017 (EDT)
denis daly
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Have to agree with Joseph on the polyester wind shirt..I have a 100% epic fabric wind shirt from go lite weighs 4 oz...I bought it off of a hiker on backpacking light in 2011..been using it since...Seems he has a cheaper option than looking for a discontinued item...Trailspace has one review of the helios.I have the same color combo as the reviewer...

8:10 a.m. on July 14, 2017 (EDT)
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I like my Marmot Ether Driclime but wouldn't recommend it for the use you are looking for...its about 10 oz with a liner since I tend to only wear it in the colder seasons so its more of a combo approach than pure windshirt.  It has held up for several years without major issues, but I usually shed it prior to bushwacking.  Denis and Joseph seem to have hit upon something more in line with your needs.  I might grab one to stuff in the pack for the trips where its not dropping below 60.

8:52 a.m. on July 14, 2017 (EDT)
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Thanks guys, I think I'll try a polyester version of some kind. I did see this Columbia windbreaker on sale for $25 (I only go to Walmart as a last resort, lol)

It would be sweet to replace a $100 Patagucci shirt with something like that. :)


I'm not even talking about bushwhacking with it on, the last big rip in the Houdini was on-trail; other than the AT (which is maintained like no other trail in the world I think), most south eastern trails get overgrown every year. It was so frustrating in that I had just gotten that thing back from a sewing repair and immediately ripped a sleeve almost all the way off on a tiny little snag, arrggh. 

1:54 p.m. on July 14, 2017 (EDT)
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That stinks. I know what you mean as we travel some of th same trails. I don't expect the Marmot is any sturdier than what you have tried and this is more likely random luck, but I just have a few minor knicks that haven't affected performance that I can tell after a couple years of southeast trails. It's certainly been grabbed by briers multiple times. I have a couple of photos of the damage in the review linked above. Maybe you just move so much faster than me (I refer back to your 46 mile weekend) that the velocity of the tear makes it much worse!

10:24 p.m. on July 14, 2017 (EDT)
Rob R
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783 forum posts

I was able to find a special ops Level 4 PCU wind shirt made by Patagonia on eBay for 50 bucks.  It's significantly sturdier than civilian versions and the DWR is permanently bonded to the material. 

11:12 a.m. on July 21, 2017 (EDT)
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I wear nylon T-shirts as they are warmer when wet, dry faster than cotton and are fairly wind resistant. I only wear nylon shorts and shirts for this reason, plus they are durable,light and stow small.

11:20 a.m. on July 21, 2017 (EDT)
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Thanks Gary...

hey I plan to be in Weminuche early still around there?

July 12, 2020
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