Camping

How to Choose the Best Windbreaker Jacket

 

Windbreakers are the saviors when you need to survive in dry but windy weather. People who are fond of short adventures such as trail running or hiking know the importance of windbreaker jackets.

But when you are new to this stuff, you have to know how to choose the best windbreaker jacket to make your adventure truly adventurous. The last thing you’ll want is to become unable to break the wind and come back home asap.

So, we are here with complete guidance for buying a windbreaker so that your spending doesn’t turn into ashes.

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What Is A Windbreaker and Why Do You Need It?

A windbreaker or a windcheater is a fabric coat that makes a shield against wind chill. Also, it protects against light or heavy rain, it depends on which material is used. People love the windbreaker jacket for its slim and lightweight design.

Since windbreakers are made of quality synthetic fibers, they work great for insulating against the wind as well as preventing cold air from passing through. However, they come with the ideal level of breathability as well so that the user feels comfortable.

However, people sometimes confuse windbreakers and rain jackets which are not the same. Windbreakers insulate your body from the wind which results in keeping your body dry in any wet condition.

They are lighter and more breathable compared to rain jackets. Also, windbreakers don’t have waterproof membranes as rain jackets do.

So, if you ask why you should get a windbreaker for you, we’d say that the most compelling reason is breathability. If you go hiking in a rain jacket, you’ll feel how quickly it turns into an annoying, sweaty endeavor that you won’t face with a windbreaker.

Also, some other reasons are:

  • Windbreakers make training easier: When you are outdoors in the cold months, the first thing you’ll want is to keep your body at a constant temperature to avoid hypothermia. Windbreakers are specially made for keeping you dry and warm.
  • They are worthwhile to purchase: If you can pick a quality windbreaker, it is built to last. Only if you can look after it, you’ll have a long journey with your windbreaker.
  • You can use them as casual clothing: Both the beautiful colors and the form-fitting materials are the reason why windbreakers look so great. They are trendy and purely functional at the same time.

Types of Windbreakers

You will find two specific types of windbreakers on the market. These are:

  • Trail windbreakers: They will allow you to run on any kind of uneven or unpaved terrain. Also, people purchase these windbreakers for hiking and trekking as well.
  • Running windbreakers: As the name sounds, these are basically tailor-made windbreakers for runners. You can also wear them while playing baseball, basketball, soccer, etc.

Pro-Con List of Windbreakers

By now, you know quite a lot about windbreakers. To be crystal clear about them, let’s see the pros and cons of windbreakers so that you can be sure what you are going to get.

Pros

  • They are ideal for running
  • Very resistant to wind
  • They ensure maximum sports performance
  • They can easily go with other garments
  • Suitable for different sports

Cons

  • They usually cannot withstand heavy rain

Things You Must Ask You Before Buying a Windbreaker

We will talk about how to choose the best windbreaker jacket but before that, you should know what makes you purchase a windbreaker. Below are the three most common situations when you need a windbreaker:

  • Do you need a shell while cross-training, cycling, or running?
  • Do you need a layering system that can keep the wind off you as well as improve your underlayers’ performance?
  • Are you willing to buy something to wear on a warm day as a top layer in case a wind blow is expected?

If any answer to the questions is yes, go for a windbreaker but don’t expect that it can work the same as a rain jacket. And, one point you should never miss is that the faster you move, the lighter your windbreaker should be.

How to Choose the Best Windbreaker Jacket

So, how can you choose the best windbreaker for you? Since there are thousands of options on the market that make you confused. But hey, consider these factors below, you can end up purchasing the right one for you.

Material

Nylon and polyester are mostly used materials for windbreakers. Also, they are sometimes reinforced with polyamide which takes the flexibility of the windbreakers to the next level.

Do not ever skip durability while making a purchase. You will get some options that come with fabrics like elastane and they provide even greater fitting and flexibility. If you value COMFORT OVER ANYTHING ELSE, then these windbreakers should be your choice.

Also, if we speak about water and wind resistance, nylon comes first. Jackets that are hard shell type, are mostly made of nylon and they are fully waterproof rugged jackets.

In case you want to go for a softshell jacket, most of these jackets are made from polyester. They are flexible, soft, and element-resistant material.

Another material named fleece is also used for making windbreakers. This is quite the same as polyester without a few dissimilarities. It softens up the neckline and collars of the windbreakers which reduces chafing.

Breathability

It’s not always enough to make the windbreakers durable and functional. Something that you have to wear for an expanded period, must be comfortable as you can breathe well.

So, don’t overlook this feature while buying a windbreaker for you.

Most of the windbreakers come with a notably low-denier fabric. Materials like polyester and nylon help the windbreakers to keep the wind away during movement and allow to increase breathability.

Weight

We mentioned the lightweight term several times in the article which indicates how weight matters when picking a windbreaker. These things affect the weight a lot:

  • Heavy-duty materials like fabrics that are waterproof or that are used for insulation purposes.
  • Pockets, zips, and toggles.

However, going for the heavier windbreakers means you will get a more effective result when it’s about keeping you dry in a wet condition. But it causes the windbreaker to become less breathable.

So, what should you choose? The heavy or the lightweight one? Beating your brain out?

Well, listen, if you are going to use a lot of energy and move really fast, pick a lightweight windbreaker. The more lightweight your windbreaker will be, the more breathable it is.

But if you want something to go slowly, feel every dramatic drop of rain, windbreakers with waterproof shells will be great.

Waterproofing

You must love to wear something that can withstand the wind and rain at the same time. But the fact is you should not let your windbreaker be waterproof unless it literally has to.

Although windbreakers often come with a durable water repellent (DWR) they do not contain waterproof membranes as a rain jacket does. What it means is, your windbreaker may wet out too fast and easily if you use it as a waterproof jacket.

However, hikers should prefer wearing waterproof coats because they have to spend a long time in the elements. In this case, there are tons of waterproof jackets on the market that should be a pick.

Hood

It might seem a bit less significant but you should think about whether you want a hood with your jacket. However, it solely depends on which sport you will be doing.

For instance, if you are a runner, a hood might seem too bulky for you. In this case, you will want a windbreaker jacket without a hood or may with a hood that you can stow away without affecting movement.

On the other hand, if you are a cyclist, you need to expose your head for quite longer than a runner. For this, the hood is essential for you. But you may find it difficult to handle the hood while the wind blows. So, what can you do?

Well, think about these things below:

  • Do you want your hood to leave room for something like a helmet as well as extra layers?
  • Can you stow the hood away to avoid air resistance?

There are windbreakers having hoods that are designed with extra room for helmets. Also, they are adjustable, in case you need to custom fit the hood to your needs. So, yes, you can get thousands of options out there, just pick the one you need.

Fit

Every brand uses a specific size. So, you shouldn’t skip considering the sizes. You will notice that most of the companies come with their individual guides, be sure that you know well about your chosen brand.

As we mentioned before, windbreakers usually come with a layering system to let you get the room to cover your other layers. Simply pop it on your layers to test this and measure it up carefully.

Color and Style

Color and style are nothing but your personal choice. But there are some considerations you should have before making the final decision.

Things like ‘whether you are out at night or if you’re out while fog comes drifting in’ matter. In these types of cases, you should go for yellow or white windbreakers.

If you need something with really extra visibility, go for Squamish Hoody because it has reflective logos that fit your needs.

Let’s talk about style a bit. When you wear a tighter fitting windbreaker, it allows less wind and keeps you warmer. However, wider cut materials are roomier and you can place them over other bags more easily.

In case you ever thought about having a storage sack in your windbreaker, then go for one that features a pocket. These types of windbreakers are even easier to pack, store, and take with you.

Finishing Touches and Expert Opinions

While we have put the protection stuff on the top, there are some more finishing touches you should look for as well. Well, we are basically talking about things like adjustable hoods, elastic closures on the cuffs and waist, pockets, or chin collars in order to cover your mouth.

And finally, gather some ideas from people who already wear their own windbreakers. Once you have picked one brand, it’s best to become sure about its breathability and flexibility right before you purchase it.

Frequently Asked Questions

What if I want a fully waterproof windbreaker?
Well, you should expect them to be windproof, just as the name suggests. However, they often come with a DWR that protects you against the rain but not against torrential rain. In this case, you should go for a hardshell jacket that offers you a good defense against extreme conditions.
Does a windbreaker keep me warm?
Yes, it certainly does. Although windbreakers are almost the thinnest and lightest layers on the market, they work like a champ when it’s about keeping you warm.
How should my windbreaker jacket fit?
It should hit your hips as well as the sleeves above your wrists. Make sure the jacket is fitted for a sporty style.
How can I size up in a windbreaker?
Find the answer to ‘when will you ride with the jacket on the most?’ this question. If you are going on a short ride, pick a bigger size. Otherwise, get the smaller one for long rides.
Will my windbreaker shrink in the dryer?
You should not shrink your windbreaker with the heat from the dryer and washer, chances are you may damage the jacket in the end.

Final Words

So, now you know how to choose the best windbreaker jacket, don’t you? We tried not to skip any necessary information left so that you do know everything about it and make a happy purchase.

Take all the above-mentioned points into account before you buy a windbreaker for yourself. Hopefully, you will get the very right one for you.

Good luck with the purchase!

Editor's Panel

We are here to bring you only the most updated and comfortable products to be used in Camping, Hiking, Biking, Traveling, Fishing & Fitness. Our product testers team diligently put each & every items through vigorous trials and only bring you the best out of the bunch.

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