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Wind Shirts

Top Picks

How we choose: The best wind shirts highlighted here were selected based on 262 reviews of 76 products. Our top picks are those that are readily-available in the United States and have received the highest overall ratings from reviewers.

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Patagonia Houdini Jacket

user rating: 4.5 of 5 (11 reviews)

The Patagonia Houdini Jacket is a classic. An excellent, all-around, windproof, water-resistant, lightweight shell, it performs in a wide range of outdoor scenarios. I've had mine for more than six years and use it primarily running, hiking, and skiing, but have also taken it biking, paddling, traveling, and more. It conveniently stuffs into its own pocket as a just-in-case layer, and at less than 4 ounces there's no excuse not to bring it along.

Reasons to Buy

  • Lightweight (women's 3.6 oz / men's 3.7 oz)
  • Blocks wind
  • Sheds light rain and snow
  • Full length zipper
  • Helmet-compatible hood
  • Packs away
  • Current models made with 100% recycled nylon ripstop

Reasons to Avoid

  • Water resistant, not water proof
  • Use some caution with thin material
  • You could find a cheaper windbreaker...

  hiking in the Houdini Use I've had my Patagonia Houdini Jacket for six years and regularly wear it running in the rain or snow, hiking, cross-country skiing, and more. It's a basic, lightweight, nylon windbreaker with full-length zipper and hood and is extremely versatile and well made and durable. It fits and moves well, whatever your outdoor activity. My husband, Dave, also has a Houdini and uses his regularly as well. Both stay in rotation in our mudroom year-round. Materials & Weather Resistance Current versions of the Houdini are made with 1.2-oz 100-percent recycled nylon ripstop with a DWR (durable water repellent) finish and are Fair Trade Certified sewn.

Read more: Patagonia Houdini Jacket reviews (11)

L.L.Bean Mountain Classic Anorak

user rating: 4.5 of 5 (2 reviews)

A simple, inexpensive but highly functional wind shell. The nylon shell is wind and water resistant but will soak through and will let air through in a stiff breeze. Zipper pulls and some cords seem intended more for town or campus but do the job. On the plus side, highly breathable and apparently built to last. Hood is best used with a ballcap or it will fall down over your eyes.

Reasons to Buy

  • Anorak style
  • Wind and water resistant
  • Price
  • Very breathable
  • Durability

Reasons to Avoid

  • Could have been made lighter weight
  • Not waterproof
  • hard wind gets through

In high school and until I lost it in college, the LL Bean anorak was one of my favorite shell jackets. Lightweight, all-purpose, indestructible, I wore it all season, all the time. The last couple of years, Bean reintroduced the anorak, and I recently decided to give it a try. LL Bean's Mountain Anorak is an old school windbreaker, basically. It's a pullover with a half-zip in front. You can pull the hood tight with a bootlace-looking string that has leather disks to keep it tight, elastic cuffs, and an elastic shock-cord you can tighten at the hem.

Read more: L.L.Bean Mountain Classic Anorak reviews (2)

Marmot Ether DriClime Hoody

user rating: 4 of 5 (2 reviews)

A truly phenomenal product.

Reasons to Buy

  • Ultra lightweight
  • Great wicking
  • Truly comfortable in cold, high windy conditions

Reasons to Avoid

  • This product may wear out faster than my average garment
  • I wish the hood had a drawstring

Years ago I bought a Marmot DriClime Jacket. It was too warm for me so I gave it to my wife. Finally Marmot came out with the Ether.  This product is significantly lighter than the standard Driclime and matches my high-sweat, high-body-heat very well. In windy, cold conditions, I hike with only a very thin short-sleeved shirt under the Ether. This is my go-to hiking garment for any hike where the temperature may go below 50°F.  The Driclime lining is thinner than a standard Dri Clime jacket, so this jacket has less insulating value than you might expect.

Read more: Marmot Ether DriClime Hoody reviews (2)

Black Diamond Alpine Start Hoody

user rating: 4 of 5 (2 reviews)

A nice balance of breathability, wind resistance and precip resistance — more durable than your average windshirt (but heavier too).

Reasons to Buy

  • Good breathability, while still very wind resistant
  • Very good DWR
  • Nice stretchy Schoeller material

Reasons to Avoid

  • Heavier than most windshirts
  • Size up

This isn't your average ultralightweight windshirt, for one it comes in at 8.2 oz in XL, about double what my other (Patagonia Houdini) windshirt is. But there are some advantages.   The Schoeller material has a nice stretch to it and is definitely going to be more durable than any of the real lightweight windshirts. It strikes a nice balance of wind resistance, breathability (~ 40 cfms) and sports a very good DWR; the HH on this shirt (from Black Diamond) is 500mm (my Houdini is ~ 100), so it's very water resistant.

Read more: Black Diamond Alpine Start Hoody reviews (2)

Paramo Fuera Windproof Smock

user rating: 4.5 of 5 (2 reviews)

Great windshell for variable alpine conditions and snow.

Reasons to Buy

  • Excellent wire peaked hood
  • Perfect garment for layering
  • Robust
  • Quiet and soft
  • Windproof
  • Snowproof
  • Quick drying
  • Ethically made

Reasons to Avoid

  • Relatively expensive unless compared to patagucci/arc'teryx.
  • Relatively heavy for a pure wind shell
  • Water resistant only (standard for this type of clothing)
  • Boxy fit, drab colours

Introduction Paramo is a British company that offers an alternative to traditional waterproof textiles. Instead of relying on a membrane to confer waterproofness, the Paramo system relies on the properties of pile fibres to move water using the heat of the body (like animal fur). The shell of their garments is proofed with Nikwax which assists with preventing the pile from becoming saturated.  This  is not pseudoscience but those interested in the system can easily search for the technical details.

Read more: Paramo Fuera Windproof Smock reviews (2)

Drop Veil Wind Shell

user rating: 5 of 5 (1 review)

Massdrop's Veil is a really light and small to carry simple nylon shell with hood. Easy to carry means you won't be tempted to leave it home and then regret it on a windy summit. Great for any outdoor activity where adding a wind blocker is a valued option including hiking, biking, snowshoeing, and skiing.

Reasons to Buy

  • Light and small
  • Blocks wind well
  • Adds function to other gear
  • Light water resistance

Reasons to Avoid

  • I don't feel the breathing

Massdrop has evolved into Drop these days, but they still sell the Veil Wind Shell under that old name. Simple, yet very functional, the Veil does exactly what the name implies. Weighing 3.3oz/93g for the XL size, it is easy to stash and carry. There aren't a lot of moving parts to this thing, but let's take a quick look. I apologize for not having pics of it being used on overnight trips, but the times when I wore it were not times for taking pictures. High wind ridges and chilly campsites are both places where I'm too busy to remember the camera, but those were the times I found the Veil most useful.

Read more: Drop Veil Wind Shell review (1)

Smartwool PhD Ultra Light Sport Jacket

user rating: 4 of 5 (1 review)

The Smartwool PhD Ultra Light Sport Jacket is an extremely lightweight, portable, and comfortable shell for chill and windy days that might also include a little rain. It is a great jacket to take along on a day hike or trail run for just-in-case scenarios or might just work as the sole jacket of a minimalist thru-hiker.

Reasons to Buy

  • Ultralight, minimalist shell
  • Next-to-skin comfort
  • Excellent breathability
  • Packs into its chest pocket for easy portability
  • Doubles as a bug shirt

Reasons to Avoid

  • Snug fit
  • Won't protect from heavy rain (not designed to)
  • Compromise with minimalist function vs lack of features

Description: This is an ultralight wind jacket combining merino mesh panels for breathability and comfort and a DWR nylon to provide wind and weather protection. The merino mesh panels are strategically located (or "body-mapped" as Smartwool puts it) in areas where heat and moisture build-up occur, i.e. the armpits and upper back and can be identified in my pictures by the darker pink material. Materials: Shell: 100% nylon with DWR; Mesh/Trim: 54% Merino Wool / 46% polyester Weight (my sample): 127 g / 4.5 oz Conditions of Testing: I am 5'9", 130 lbs and received a women’s size small.

Read more: Smartwool PhD Ultra Light Sport Jacket review (1)

Smartwool Merino Sport Ultra Light Hoodie

user rating: 4 of 5 (1 review)

A basic, lightweight, hooded, nylon windshirt with a partial, light wool lining in the hood. There’s not a lot of wool-warmth here, and no real rain protection, limiting the useful weather window, but it's well made and does its small job well. Best for light and fast summer trail runs or day hikes when there is wind but no rain in the forecast.

Reasons to Buy

  • Light (around 150 g / 5 oz)
  • Good ventilation
  • A little extra warmth in the hood
  • Hand warmer pockets
  • 100% Recycled nylon

Reasons to Avoid

  • Limited climate window (wind, no rain)
  • Not really a wool garment
  • Not waterproof

Sometimes a simple windshirt is the right choice for a day outing. It’s a warm summer day, no rain in the forecast, perfect for a trail run or power hike. So you set out for the summit in shorts and a t-shirt, with a small fanny pack with a water bottle and some snacks. You work up a massive sweat as the trail winds up steeply through the forest. By the time you reach treeline, the temperature has dropped with altitude and you notice there’s a little breeze, but, no problem, you’re still running hot by virtue of forward motion.

Read more: Smartwool Merino Sport Ultra Light Hoodie review (1)

Montane Lite-Speed Jacket

user rating: 4 of 5 (3 reviews)

Super light and good for basic rain protection. Compresses super small also. Would not want to wear it during a chilly thunderstorm of a few hours duration, but for warm weather backpacking or ultralight backpacking it is hard to beat. Also quite durable for the weight of the material. In general, Pertex is great stuff and Montane makes great products for ultralight use. No frills - just ultra low weight and good performance.

Read more: Montane Lite-Speed Jacket reviews (3)

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