Wind Shell Reviews

The North Face Geosphere Jacket

      As a rule of thumb, I like to have at least one windproof jacket in my collection of outerwear.  This does not include hard shells, since hard shells are inherently windproof (although, to be perfectly honest, I have seen a very few fully seam-taped hard shells in my lifetime that were merely wind-resistant).  The Geosphere has the potential to fill that slot: a windproof, water-resistant, breathable shell.  Constructed from TNF’s proprietary Hydrenalite fabric, and given a good dose of DWR, the jacket’s designed to keep you dry in most conditions, like a softshell, although, given the option, I’d probably more accurately classify this one as a windshell, suitable for cool, windy weather with a chance of rain.  At over 17 ounces, the Geosphere gets a good kick in the pants from many windshells that are very comfortable in the 3-7 ounce range.  But then again, it’s a good deal more durable, and feature-packed,  than those shells, and could probably stand up to even a bit of bushwhacking.

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REI Boreas Jacket

REI Boreas Jacket

 No season in the outdoors is safe from unpredictability; spring and fall, of course, hold more uncertainty than summer and winter.  It’s always nice to have an emergency shell to throw on in the event of a sudden rain- or snowfall.  Compressibility is of high priority, and it’s nice to have a hood, as well.  The REI Boreas is an excellent candidate for an emergency shell.

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Cabela's Cimarron Peak Windstopper Jacket

Cabela's Cimarron Peak Windstopper Jacket

Hardshells are not necessary for the majority of wet weather cases.  Often a softshell, with or without a hood, will do just fine.  And if you can find one with Windstopper, Gore’s proprietary windproof membrane, that’s even better, because windproof garments are inherently water-resistant.  From all appearances, Cabela’s Cimarron Peak fulfills these requirements: a Windstopper membrane, lightweight, a fully adjustable hood, and seamless shoulders.  But there is another, less pleasant side to this jacket: really wonky fit, as we will see.

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