When there’s a strong wind in low temperatures, it often feels colder than it really is. This is due to the wind chill effect. The body regularly releases heat and sweat through the skin, then the sweat evaporates – cooling the surface of the skin. When wind is added to this process, the cooling effect is intensified. As a result, the ‘felt’ temperature differs considerably from the temperature measured. It can be very pleasant in summer, but in winter it can render you freezing quickly. Wearing a windproof jacket effectively counteracts the wind and wind chill effect.
There's nothing worse than returning from an outdoor trip absolutely freezing. Whether it’s an early morning run, a walk through the countryside or a multi-day hike, you need the right kind of outer layer for when it starts to get windy.
As the name suggests, windbreakers are designed specifically to keep you warm on colder, windy days. These jackets are not only ideal for repelling the wind but can also look very stylish. However, windbreakers only work if they’re made of the right materials and have the right features. To help you choose, read our advice on what to look out for when buying one.
Depending on what you’ll be using the jacket for, there are a few things to consider:
Windbreakers are designed to protect against strong winds and most use fabrics that stop cold air from penetrating to the skin. With the help of appropriate base layers, these lightweight jackets can provide protection all year round.
Note that a windbreaker is not designed to keep you warm on its own, rather to stop the wind getting through. This being said, the thicker the fabric, the greater the protection. On the other hand, a lighter jacket also often offers greater flexibility and comfort.
Most lightweight windbreaker jackets use very thin fabric, making them breathable while still able to block the wind. The light weave of the fabric allows more air to circulate and makes them more flexible. However, the downside to a very thin fabric is the jackets’ inability to remain waterproof. Decide before buying your jacket if you need it for just wind or wind and water protection.
Although windbreakers vary in weight, most are still very light. One good way to figure out which weight of windbreaker you need to buy is to think about how fast you’ll be moving and how much energy you’ll use on your trip. Bear in mind that a very lightweight jacket will be more comfy for longer journeys.
Modern windbreakers are almost exclusively made of synthetic materials such as nylon and polyester, primarily designed to stop cold air getting through to the skin.
Nylon is durable, however can also be noisy, making a rustling sound when you move. This material is also not moisture-wicking, meaning that you can get sweaty under it. It is, however, easy to clean and dries very fast. Polyester, on the other hand, offers better moisture wicking properties, allowing moisture out but not in. Many windbreakers are made from a mix of polyester and nylon.
If staying warm is the goal and your destination is very chilly, think about investing in a windbreaker with a fleece lining.
Not all windbreaker jackets are waterproof; many jackets are only water resistant and therefore not ideal for heavy rain. Keep in mind that the lighter the fabric, the less waterproof it will be. As always, pay close attention to the information in the product descriptions.
Windbreakers at addnature
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