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Windy weather jackets (really breathable) that can be used when it's cold with layers

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Windy weather jackets (really breathable) that can be used when it's cold with layers

Old 10-11-14, 03:51 AM
  #1  
boeckelr
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Windy weather jackets (really breathable) that can be used when it's cold with layers

Hi -

I've looked thru this forum and the net in general and have seen lots of threads for cold or wet weather jackets.

Anyway I'm not too concerned with wet weather because I try to stay away from it....but even when it's in the mid 60s if I'm riding near the ocean in CT I end up freezing because of the wind.

I've researched this to death - I can buy an active shell of a softshell....something with Gore Windstopper or with a manufacturers own material, like a Specialized's Defelct. I honestly don't know where to begun or what is good.

I do know that a) I sweat ALOT and don't want to wear something that doesn't breathe and makes me feel like I'm in a sauna; b) Im a big guy with big chest and shoulders and it's hard to find jerseys or jackets that even fit me.

Today I went to my lbs which finally got in a huge load of windbreakers, mostly Pearl Izumi and Bontrager stuff. The Pearl Izumi XXL fits me great, but once again I'm not sure which models are good. I've also looked at Gore's website...and am interested in something with Windstopper.....the salesman at the lbs claimed that the materials in the PI and Bontrager jackets were more breathable than Windstopper jackets, which I find hard to believe wo some sort of evidence.

My questions - am I going to be better off with a softshell or active shell? Will an active shell with a good breathable material still make me sit in my sweat more than a good softshell? I realize that with an active shell I can layer...while with a softshell I won't need to do quite as much layering until it's cold because they tend to be warmer.

Since PI gear actually fits me, are there any specific models that people have found to meet my criteria? Being able to use it for wind when it's in the low to mid 60s is important too.

Are there any decent softshell jackets that don't have added insulation? I don't want fleece if I can get away with it because it makes the jacket less versatile. I want to add the layers myself if needed....I don't want a real warm jacket that precludes me from using it when Its not super cold.

I noticed Gore sells a shirt that has Windstopper material in the front of the shirt while leaving the back uncovered. Woild I just be better off buying one of those to put under my jersey when it's in the 60s and then buy a softshell for when it's colder?

And finally, does anyone know how Gore models fit compared to PI? I'm intrigued with the Gore Phantom 2.0....alot of people say that it's the most versatile piece of clothing they own.

Sorry for all the questions.

Thanks!
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Old 10-11-14, 08:29 AM
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For the 60's? that's LS shirt or arm warmers and a SS shirt weather, preferably wool, no jacket required.

I have a lot of cold weather gear and jackets. Soft shell, hard shell, wind stopper etc. nothing breathes like you wish it would. Nothing. Honestly the best and most versatile piece of kit I have is a 15 year old pearl Izumi windbreaker. That thing have gone with me everywhere. Vents in the back, light weight , packable wind protection with some reflective stripes, roomy enough to layer over what ever is necessary for the temp, it works great from 60-10F. Unzip the front to cool off. Simple. Soft shells are great but not nearly as versatile, windstoppers don't breathe but are great when it's really cold.

Get a a simple venting PI windbreaker and start there.
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Old 10-11-14, 08:45 AM
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Windproofness for mid 60s temp, something at 5 CFM max should do.

You could go for a patagonia houdini, the 2013-2014 one which is at 3.5 CFM (2008-2012 one at 35.4 CFM)
I wear a marmot essence 2014 which is a waterproof-breathable jacket between .14 and .20 CFM that behave nearly like a windbreaker because of its high breathability (among the best on the market) with venting under the arms and its low CFM. It starts losing comfyness with wind going through when it's well below freezing (around 0F) and there is strong wind bursts. For 1/2 hr commutes, it's just fine when it's above freezing (up to 60F) or when there is strong cold wind and 65F/70F temps for longer commutes.

My favorite piece of gear is a smartwool midlayer with a windresistant front panel and on the front of the arms as well (very important), that they don't make anymore. Very versatile and cut wind in most cases (would not handle strong cold wind for too long). And breath like crazy on the back. Wear it from -40F up to 70F. Bought it on sale. Not worth it otherwise.
Here are 2 that looks similar
SmartWool® Men's PhD® SmartLoft Divide Hoody Sport Jacket | Merino

a lighter one
https://www.smartwool.com/activities/...de-jacket.html

Last edited by erig007; 10-18-14 at 11:02 AM.
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Old 10-11-14, 12:25 PM
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Between a cotton undershirt and traditional briefs, a mesh windshirt and mesh leggings will keep you bone dry even if you start overheating. Can't recommend them highly enough - and they put a tube of warm air around your body and legs so when you are outside you feel comfortable wearing only a few layers in cold weather.
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Old 10-17-14, 08:50 AM
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^^^Wow , cotton undershirt and briefs? Good luck with that. You don't need bike specific gear all the time. Look for running and cross country ski wear, highly aerobic activities. My favorite jacket comes from New Balance. Windproof front, sort of a knit breathable on the back. Winter wear up to 50F. I like the patagonia merino wool base layers, 3 or so thicknesses. At 60F start with just a windproof vest. For me @ 60F I'm wearing 1 medium weight wool layer. Or thinner.
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Old 10-17-14, 09:28 AM
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The breathable thing seems to be always highly overrated on jackets. My personal preference is to wear something that vents well. I have a Showers Pass Touring jacket, which has been superseded by the Transit jacket, that vents well. Two way front zip, zipper side vents, huge back vent, velcro cuffs that can be sized to scoop air up the arms or snugged up to stop the air works pretty well for me from the 50's down to the upper 20's, with proper layering. Not great for touring (despite the name), only because it doesn't pack down well. Somewhat over-sized, so it's easy to layer under it, so it would probably fit a big guy pretty well. I'll wear technical clothing to pull the sweat away from my body and the jacket venting takes care of the moisture from there.
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Old 10-17-14, 09:30 AM
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I love my Dare2B jacket, it's rain proof/a good shell it breathes semi well, but also has a vent zipper at the back so if needed it can breathe REALLY WELL. I'd recommend one, but the price has since more than tripled after my own purchase.
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Old 10-17-14, 12:21 PM
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any Nylon which is tightly woven but not coated , should Be Fine .. Hit the thrift/charity shops..

If it aint what you want , donate it back again.
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Old 10-17-14, 03:19 PM
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Everybody gets cold differently, but for me a good vest is the ideal compromise between breathability and warmth at the temperatures that you're talking about. My photography vest was made by Ex Officio a number of years ago. In addition to being a good wind-breaker and having a bit of insulation, it has enough pockets to please a packrat. It's my outer garment of choice until winter really takes hold. But I'm never cold if my shoulders are warm. YMMV.
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Old 10-18-14, 06:55 AM
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My fav windproofs are all dense-weave, uncoated fabrics.
Try and "huff" your breath through the material. There should be a little resistance.
You also need sealed cuffs and waist and a high collar.
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Old 10-18-14, 08:50 AM
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I second the recommendation for a long-sleeve shirt (wicking layer) and a good wool sweater. If it is just low 60s, anything that traps moisture near your skin is just going to cause you to sweat, particularly in high humidity. A good wool sweater will keep you plenty warm (and dry).

Actually, I had to read the beginning of the thread a few times -- being the winter forum and talk of layering for cold weather had me thinking Canadian winter temps. I am envious of the OP -- we get temps in the low 60's on a daily basis in our hottest months (July and August) each evening up here in Calgary!
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Old 10-18-14, 11:40 AM
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Originally Posted by dh024 View Post
I second the recommendation for a long-sleeve shirt (wicking layer) and a good wool sweater.
Just to add to that. I have plenty of classic wool sweaters. I find those not versatile enough. They offer warmth but little protection against wind. Wool sweaters with windproof/windresistant panels offer better wind protection in most cases. Only when the wind comes from the back which is not often since when riding the wind has to be faster than us. Because of those panels i find them comfy on a wider range of temperatures and weather conditions. Simple wool sweaters don't. There is a difference between insulation and wind protection. That's why i go for those expensive one though i could DIY something like this on my cheaper wool sweaters. Sewing something on arms and torso could probably do the trick.

Furthermore, i sweat a lot and the OP seems to sweat a lot as well. In my case, i need a thinner layer on the back for the sweat to go away easily. Simple wool sweaters don't allow that well. (one of the reasons why sometimes during rides when it's very cold outside there can be frozen sweat accumulating on the outer layer of the wool sweater)

Last edited by erig007; 10-18-14 at 12:25 PM.
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Old 10-18-14, 11:46 AM
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Originally Posted by erig007 View Post
I have plenty of wool sweaters. I find those not versatile enough. They offer warmth but little protection against wind. Wool sweaters with windproof/windresistant panels offer better wind protection in most cases. Only when the wind comes from the back which is not often since when riding the wind has to be faster than us. Because of those panels i find them comfy on a wider range of temperatures and weather conditions. Simple wool sweaters don't. There is a difference between insulation and wind protection. That's why i go for those expensive one though i could DIY something like this on my cheaper wool sweaters. Sewing something on arms and torso could probably do the trick.
Sorry -- I guess I am just having trouble relating to what you guys call cold, then. I did my 15 km (~10 mile) commute home yesterday in 14 C (57 F) weather straight into the wind gusting to 45 km/h. I wore a t-shirt and was plenty warm. If I had to wear a sweater over that, I would be cooking, even with the wind.
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Old 10-18-14, 12:03 PM
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Originally Posted by dh024 View Post
Sorry -- I guess I am just having trouble relating to what you guys call cold, then. I did my 15 km (~10 mile) commute home yesterday in 14 C (57 F) weather straight into the wind gusting to 45 km/h. I wore a t-shirt and was plenty warm. If I had to wear a sweater over that, I would be cooking, even with the wind.
I can wear a t-shirt too at 14C even at -5C. I can also wear my technical wool sweater depending. I usually wear just one layer though. The windresistant front panels allow to be comfy on a wider range of temperatures. So i feel comfy even when wearing this wool sweater with panels. I would probably overheat with a simpler wool sweater. There are many things that impact what we wear though. Humidity, if you ate an ice cream just before riding, if you just woke up, if you're riding on flat roads or hilly roads, how you sweat, your metabolism, how your garments breath, how long you have to ride... The OP is asking for extra wind protection because what the OP is wearing is not enough so probably that your t-shirt solution won't be enough for the OP. (The OP is riding near the ocean near CT by the way not in Calgary) Dip your t shirt in water and then ride at 14C and tell me how you handle it. Sweat/humidity can decrease insulation by half and dramatically increase the convective and conductive heat transfers under strong wind. High air humidity also disrupt the evaporating cooling process.

Last edited by erig007; 10-18-14 at 02:31 PM.
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Old 10-18-14, 01:50 PM
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Sorry again - I meant no disrespect, and I did not mean to suggest that the OP should wear just a t-shirt. I was genuinely not understanding if this was an issue with the cold, which I admit I may not understand given the different climate I live in. You have set me straight.
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Old 10-19-14, 01:27 PM
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I get a lot of use from a hi-vis windbreaker with zip-off sleeves. The zipper both front and under arms allows some venting and the upper back also has venting.
I have long-sleeved wicking base shirts both thin Champion or heavy UnderArmor coldgear.
I have some thick long-sleeved cycling jerseys and regular short-sleeved jerseys
I have a neck buff, a thick balaclava, a thin lycra beanie, and thin skullcaps.

I also have a bulky insulated cycling jacket and a thinner insulated jacket/jersey but they get less use. The combination of windbreaker, baselayer, jersey, some kind of cap works for most of my rides.
The nice thing about the windbreaker is that it folds up small when conditions warm up and it's no longer needed during a ride. The entire jacket folds up into its rear pocket. I carry a small ultralight drawstring backpack if I know I'll be shedding much clothing mid-ride (jacket, baselayer, tights).

YMMV - Most of my rides are > 40F, the rides I do in 32-39F are usually sunny pleasant days. I sweat a lot so I will be a little soggy but warm.
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Old 10-19-14, 01:32 PM
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I think layers are the thing. I use either windproof Gore shells or a waterproof Gore smock type shell with either wicking t shirts or longer thin fleeces.

Even with goretex,if you put in the effort you will sweat up.

When it's really cold I have a thicker cycling specific jacket with big pit zips and vents at the shoulderblades.
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Old 10-20-14, 12:08 AM
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I own very little in the way of cycling specific clothing, but I find my Pearl Izumi cycling jacket to be indispensable. It even got some use touring through the South (USA) during the summer. When my body is accustomed to 80's at night, even lower 70's feels cold.

Usually it gets worn as my outer layer on most rides from late fall through early spring. It works as well over a t-shirt as it does over a base layer and an insulating layer or two. It breathes well, compared to a hard shell, and vents reasonably well.

I picked mine up on eBay. It was last year's last year's model at the time. Being two years old, the price was right.

Realistically, any unlined wind breaker would work about as well.
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