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Winter Cycling Don't let snow and ice discourage you this winter. The key element to year-round cycling is proper attire! Check out this winter cycling forum to chat with other ice bike fanatics.

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Old 12-02-07, 02:28 PM   #1
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Wind vs. thermal vest

What's the difference between a wind vest and a thermal vest?

Is the thermal vest water proof where as the wind vest is not?

What do most people recommend? I live in Nor Cal. I usually just wear a base layer and jersey and arm warmers on the upper body but some days get pretty cold and I'm considering on getting a vest.
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Old 12-02-07, 03:06 PM   #2
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I would think wind vest keeps the wind (and possibly rain) out. Thermal does not keep them out as much.

As for a recommendation, based on my own personal I only wear my wind/rain proof jacket (Fox Stormvent) when it is somewhat cold (< 40F) and rainy, or when it starts to get really cold (temp is below 25 degrees F). Even with only a simple longsleeve base layer, I get too warm with the windproofing.
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Old 12-03-07, 07:43 AM   #3
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wind vest is generally thin and just blocks wind

thermal is thicker, has insulation
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Old 12-03-07, 09:48 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by edzo View Post
wind vest is generally thin and just blocks wind

thermal is thicker, has insulation

Yeah. Thermal would be considered more of a mid-layer where windvest is an outer-layer.
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Old 12-04-07, 01:36 PM   #5
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Just because it's not "thermal" a wind vest can really make a difference it comfort. Most are windproof (not waterproof) in the front with a mesh back for venting. So they regulate your temp well. I wear mine a lot in the spring and fall around here. They're really easy to stow if you get warm as well.
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Old 12-04-07, 01:53 PM   #6
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I have both wind and thermal vests.

The wind Vest as stated will cut down on the wind and act as an outerlayer.
When purchsing one try to get one made out of Windtex or similar. They can be a tad thicker,BUT they will work and are breathable. That plays in more in the Spring or Fall seasons. Next and this is key. Purchase a wind vest with a mesh back. This will allow your sweat to work off your back and you will stay dry longer, much longer. You may also find a vest with rear pocket. Many vests
skip this feature, also zippers that open at both ends. They can be tucked in your jersey if you get warm.

A Thermal vest is heavier and made of WINTER weight material. Full coverage on the front and back, mine has pockets. Again Wintex or Gore are the better options to wick your sweat off your back. These are too large to fold up in your jersey if you get warm.

FYI, You can get a thermal on ebay

I paid $20 last spring including shipping for similar, $35-45 now with shipping is right.

Good Luck
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Old 12-04-07, 03:03 PM   #7
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A wind vest keeps wind out.

A thermal vest keep heat in.

IMHO you want a vest to do the former and not the latter; use base- and middle-layers to retain warmth, and use a vest when it's not cold enough to warrant a full coverage shell.

I have a vest that's windproof (and I suppose somewhat waterproof...but only slightly) on the front, and completely open mesh in the back. I wear this on top of a long sleeve mid-weight jersey, which in turn goes over either long- or short-sleeve baselayers depending on outside temps. This is an excellent combination down to about freezing. I've tried closed-back vests, thermal vests, and other more substantial outer layers, and they all wind up being much too warm for riding in 30s/40s/50s (F).
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